It’s been a pretty big week I guess….lots of cool things to do, talk about, and celebrate….so much so that I’ve not gotten around to posting in over a week. So where do I start…well bare with me, this one may be a little long winded!
While most were out enjoying green beer, corn beef and cabbage on 3/17, I decided to take to the bike and met my brother for a 25 mile loop (his second…yikes!). It was awesome to get out there, and was a nice recess from my typical running…and by Sunday 3/18 it was up and at ’em bright and early, and on the road to NYC by 6am to watch two good friends rock NYC 1/2 Marathon. The mini road trip with my wife Amy and good friend Wes didn’t come without some apprehension since it was the first time both Amy and I left Emma for more than an hour, but we left her in good hands (good friend and colleague Michelle) and of the 5 hours we were gone….I think Emma slept for 4. All and all it was a great time…Emma did well….and our good friends Julie Culley (debut 1/2 marathon at 1:13:30) and Kristen Prendergast (PR at 1:24:05) tore NYC’s course to pieces.
The work week went as it typically does, busy and something scheduled on most nights…and with a dinner celebration scheduled for Tuesday (thanks again Wes for taking Julie & I out to celebrate her 1/2) and family birthday celebrations in honor of my 31st scheduled for Saturday & Sunday 3/25, I decided I’d be calling my little “Almost Vegan” experiment 10 days early on 3/20 at day 80…but not before some final biometric testing. And while I wasn’t totally surprised by the below results…..I find it encouraging to share for anyone looking to make some relatively easy changes to their lifestyle for big time results!
Now keep in mind, my activity levels have not changed (averaging approximately 5-7 hours each week), and the only major change was my nutrition plan. I ate “Almost Vegan” beginning the first week in January with minimal “cheats”. I say “Almost” because I refused to give up pizza on Friday’s, milk in my coffee, and if I would have a salad that had a little feta on it, or pasta with a little parmesan I didn’t scrap it off….but I did go without meat, fish, eggs, and all other dairy (including on of my favorite snacks, Chobani Yogurt). My typical day included:
- oatmeal for breakfast with coffee
- a banana at 10am
- a salad for lunch or grilled veggie wrap
- a smoothie and granola bar around 1 or 2pm
- an apple and a couple handfuls of almonds in late-afternoon
- some sort of bean-based dish for dinner
- cereal with soy milk for dessert
My results were as follows:
January 2, 2012
- Weight = 157.4
- Body Fat % = 16.5%
- Total Body Fat = 26.01 lbs
- Total Cholesterol = 157
- HDL (Good) Cholesterol = 37
- LDL (Bad) Cholesterol = 108
March 20th, 2012
- Weight = 155.2
- Body Fat % = 15.0%
- Total Body Fat = 23.2 lbs.
- Total Cholesterol = 149
- HDL (Good) Cholesterol = 39
- LDL (Bad) Cholesterol = 98
Overall interpretation: 2.2 pounds weight lost, 3 pounds of LESS body fat, 10 point DROP in bad cholesterol. Points requiring further exploration……why is my HDL on the low side? It used to be closer to 60 (when my bad LDL cholesterol was higher too), which many would consider “better than ideal” for a man. The quick research says that when you’re not consuming a lot of animal-based product and the LDL that goes with it…your body doesn’t need to produce as much HDL (good) cholesterol to manage things.
All in all, I’m pretty pleased here. To be completely honest, I wasn’t really “needing” to make these changes…but instead did it to further reinforce to myself, and all those I coach / train that with the right actions…..anybody can get results…even someone that many may look with the “oh you’re just different…you’re just skinny….you’re just an athlete…..”, etc…….the fact is, the right things, done over and over again consistently….work!
So with some impressive health gains realized to their fullest on Tuesday….I still had much to accomplish this past week. I still had two evening meetings, 1 volunteer coaching session at the local youth track club, two running workouts (6 x .5 mile hill repeats, and 5 x 1 mile repeats on the track) a 22 miler to get in on Saturday, two 31 year birthday celebrations to attend….a normal “day job” to complete….and a few minutes to be a good husband & Dad. No sweat, right?
Well, it’s now Sunday…and I’ve got one more birthday party to go to, and I’ve made it through the rest…..I dragged myself through the dreaded running workouts, realizing my fitness is not what it was last year….actually enjoyed my evening meetings, had a blast at track practice, cherished the few minutes with Amy & Emma…..and put an exclamation point on Saturday with a 22 miler that brought me to tears…..WHAT!?
Yeah, it’s true…I admit it…I’m a bit of a mush….but I finally got a little runner’s high at about mile 19 yesterday….what’s this you ask? Well, it’s different for everyone, but picture this…..I’m running on a wooded trail next to a beautiful gorge…it’s about 60 degrees and sunny in late March, I’m thinking about all the good things in my life…my wife & kid…my family…my friends…my work….I’m thinking about how fortunate I am to live in an area with such beautiful landscape, and am reflecting on all the blessings I have as I get ready to enter my 32nd year in this world….and I’m all by myself….or am I? Then I hear it….the song that just touches your soul and makes you realize, you’re not alone at all, he’s out there…..the lump in my throat starts to tighten, and as I begin to get emotional. I look to the sky in thanks, catching the most impressive rays of sun peering through the clouds. It was an incredible moment…one I hope to soon replicate….a perfect way to celebrate the end of my last long run….and the beginning of a new birth year.
So I hope you’ll take a moment…maybe re-read the above paragraph, and then click on the below link…..listening with your eyes closed….maybe thinking about my moment…or even better, thinking about yours. Life could always be busier, tougher, more hectic, and in the rare opportunities I stop to look around….I realize I’m pretty lucky to have what I do…and it’s good to be me. I hope you feel the same.