Tuesday, November 1, 2011

From 262 to 26.2

I'm terribly nervous about running the NYC Marathon this Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011. I started training the first week of June. Over the past 5 months, I've ran over 350 miles. 70 miles/month. I've destroyed 1 pair of sneakers. Ran 15 miles in 100 degree heat. Ran across the Golden Gate Bridge. Ran on the Miami Beach Boardwalk at Sunrise. Just this weekend ran in 3" of slush.

18 Miles with Josh Anish in SF.
And for what?

Nearly a year ago, rushing to the PATH station, I felt my stomach slump over my ice cold belt buckle. "Holy Shit! How did I get so fat?" Early on in our relationship, my wife and I passed a man in the mall whose belly stuck out from under the bottom of his shirt over his pants. We agreed we would never let ourselves to go like that. I was not keeping up my end of the bargain.

This is how I decided I needed to do something? Neither fear of diabetes nor fear of heart disease had been enough to scare me into fixing my diet and exercising. This simple, all too fleshy sensation was the trigger. I knew I needed a change.

Shortly after my epiphany, Tim Ferriss released 4 Hour Body. The most important aspect of the book was that it illustrated how other over-worked techies could fix their diets by making simple, repeatable changes. He also got me to think of my diet as a science project instead of something to dread. Cheat day was a god send and got me through a couple tough weeks of travel. At my heaviest, I was 268, at my lightest, I'm down to 222 (really want to be ~210-215). I used to rush off to the train in the morning, and grab a 600 calorie breakfast sandwich, I now make myself a couple eggs with veggies and turkey bacon every morning. It doesn't take me anymore time. And I lost 40 pounds.

Sunrise run in Miami.
Then, in March, @naveen from Foursquare retweeted a message from @dens about Camp Interactive looking for marathon runners for their team in the 2011 NYC Marathon. I committed to run a marathon the year before as my New Year's Resolution, because I'm an idiot. Nevertheless, I filled out the form, I was honest that I didn't think I could run 26.2 miles or raise $5,000.

In June, Camp Interactive accepted me anyways.

I hadn't been exercising or running regularly for over a year. I had no idea how I was going to do run a marathon. Fortunately, as usual, our VP, Product Development had a plan for me. Brian setup some simple, achievable goals for my monthly distances. I also found a first-time marathon plan with the minimum amount of running during the week.

Final run in the snow?!?!
Every run was a new, faster time, or a new longer distance. I learned how to hydrate, when to eat Goo, how to master a negative split (fingers crossed for getting any/all of those right this Sunday), but most of all, I learned that I my body is an amazing, flexible (figuratively) piece of machinery willing to be pushed well beyond my mind's breaking point.

In less than a year, I've dropped 40 pounds and have run at least 20 miles. Fingers crossed for making it the full 26.2 this Sunday. Thank you all for your support and donations (not too late for more), especially my amazing wife who's put up with me spending 1 day every weekend for the past 5 months disappearing in the woods for 2-4 hours and coming home to ice my knees and pass out on the couch.

For all of my friends in or near the city, I'd love to hear your cheers on Sunday. My bib number is: 44712.

Best of luck to all my fellow runners -- esp. Team Interactive and fellow Knerds: Ken and Jen!