A before and after photo of my weight loss journey.
Exercise, Running

Fit at 40… Before and After a 30 Pound Weight Loss

This post serves as a marker for my weight loss journey as I say goodbye to my 30s and say hello to my 40s. Regular readers, friends and family will note that I’ve been running and doing pull-ups like a madman over the past 8-9 months.

At my heaviest, I weighed 166 pounds. Before, I used to joke with Rae that I had a 5-point Photoshop stroke of blubber around my body. I told her that the lean, muscular Adam was always there, but he was hidden and waiting for the right moment to reveal himself. The shock on the scale, some poor health markers and the impending arrival of our son signaled to me that the time was now to get back into championship form.

As you can see, the hard work has paid off, and the difference in body composition is dramatic. Today, I weighed in at 136.8 pounds.

I might be pushing out the gut out a little bit in the before image, but the stomach had definitely gotten a little paunchy. It's in a much flatter state now!

From the side: I might be pushing it out a little bit in the before image, but the stomach had gotten paunchy. It’s much flatter now!

The photo above shows me at two points in time: January 13, 2013 and March 9, 2015. In the first photo, I had just finished a 14.10 mile run that took at 2:28:49 at an average pace of 10:33. My most recent long run of 13.26 miles was completed on February 28, 2015, in 1:42:05 at an average page of 7:44/mile. That’s an improvement of 2:49 seconds per mile over two years. The second photo was taken this morning after a moderate 5K around my neighborhood (last two miles under 7:00/mile). Following my run, I reached 21 consecutive pull-ups for the first time. My goal of getting to 25 this year is within reach!

Strava Matched Runs feature shows a steady improvement along my regular running route.

Strava Matched Runs feature shows a steady improvement along my regular running route.

I feel more fit today than I have in fifteen years. My running times have steadily improved, pull-ups strength has increased, the waistline has shrunk from 34 inches to 28.5 inches, and my health markers are looking good. The 30 pounds of blubber have disappeared and the body that I want has revealed itself. That paunchy one pack I was sporting has now turned into a six pack (with the eight pack just starting to appear). The legs which were strong yet stumpy looking are now much more defined and lean.

There is still room for improvement. I’m looking forward to achieving (at least once) a sub-20 minute 5K, a sub-1:40 half marathon, and I’ve got four more pull-ups to get to my goal of 25 consecutive pull-ups. There’s a little fat around the midsection that I see when I sit down that I’d like to get rid of. Melting that away will help me reach all of the above goals. Finally, I’d like to be able to maintain this healthy weight and lifestyle for the foreseeable future. As a new father, I’ve got to be around for my kid over the long haul.

Do it for yourself. Do it for your kids! You can do it!

Do it for yourself. Do it for your kids! You can do it!

40 is a big milestone year for me. I’m happy that I’ve been able to turn back the clock such that I feel like I’m in my twenties again. I achieved my weight loss primarily through running, pull-ups and portion control and did not use any magic pills, special diets or gym memberships. I still eat what I want to do — I just try to eat less of what I like to eat (pizza and chips!). I kept and continue to keep track of my weight, runs, and pull-ups on a daily basis. For those of you looking to lose weight, you can do it! Find a plan that works for you which involves more sensible eating habits and regular exercise.

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Wear on the New Balance Minimus Hi-Rez versus the 10v2 Trail Shoes
Exercise, Running

New Balance Minimus 10v2 Trail Shoe Review

At the beginning of this year, I replaced my venerable Puma H Streets with a pair of New Balance Minimus Hi-Rez shoes. The weight of the Hi-Rez shoes was amazing, even when compared to the already light H Streets. The sole was made up of these rubberized pods that were glued onto the bottom of the shoe. I was curious to see how durable the shoe would be. My H Streets always developed a hole along the outer edge of the shoes due to excessive supination when running. Sadly, my fears were confirmed when I saw holes forming in the Hi-Rez shoes after less than 100 miles. As with my H Streets, I tried using gaffer tape to cover the holes over the next 100 miles of running. In the meantime, I also started looking for a new pair of shoes. I came across the New Balance Minimus 10v2 Trail shoe at the local Sports Basement. The 10v2 has a Vibram sole which provides more durability over the Hi-Rez.

There’s this band that runs along the top of the shoe which presses against the top of my right foot, and I had to adjust the lacing pattern on the both shoes to alleviate the top pressure.

So far, I’ve run over 230 miles with the 10v2 and the soles are holding up for now. The wear pattern is there, but no holes have formed as of yet. I figure I’ll be able to get another 100 to 150 miles out of these shoes before I need to replace them.

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Water Fountain at Shoreline Amphitheater
Exercise, Running

First Self-Supported Marathon Run Recap

It was after the third or fourth consecutive self-supported half marathon run that I realized I was actually doing training for a full marathon. I had been doing some serious running (and to a lesser extent biking and swimming) over the past two months, coupled with changes in my diet, in the effort to lose weight. My last half marathon run saw me conquer my personal best time set when I was a freshman in high school. I honestly didn’t think that I would be able to do that so quickly, but that’s what happens when you put in the effort and time towards a worthy goal.

This past week, I had been talking to Rae, Felix S. and Felix W. about the possibility of running a self-supported marathon. I had been checking out possible routes, and I found one that would take me past my regular Levi’s Stadium/Highway 237 route to Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View. I decided on Friday that I would at least try to run it; up until then, the longest run that I had done was a 15.3 mile run on June 14, 2014. A full marathon would be 11 more miles! Could I do it? Felix W. had no doubt, writing to me in an email:

Awesome, Adam! I have full confidence you can do it! Today will be an exciting day indeed!

My belief was strengthened hearing this from someone who has completed many marathons, centuries, double centuries, and even the Tour Divide. With good thoughts coming my way, I woke up at 5:30 am on Saturday morning to begin my marathon preparations. While eating my morning banana, I assembled my gear for the run.

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Levi's Stadium 49ers
Exercise, Running

Running, Half Marathons and Weight Loss

When I was a freshman in high school, I ran the San Dieguito Half Marathon. I have only a few memories from the race. First, it was cold and rainy that day, and I wore a very thin cotton t-shirt with a giant Peace symbol on it. Second, immediately after crossing the finish line, I remember collapsing into my father’s arms and being completely drained for the rest of the day and week. The last few miles in the rain were tough, and I was probably suffering from hypothermia. Finally, my time was 1:43:14, which translated to a 7:51/mile pace — not bad for a 14-year old kid — and 500th place out of 1035 participants.

Date Distance Pace Moving Time
February 4, 1990 13.1 miles 7:51/mile 1:43:14

The longest training run that I had done prior to San Dieguito was maybe 10 miles. The extra three miles, the cold weather, and my poor choice of running wear contributed to me swearing off long-distance running for many years. It wasn’t until I met Rae that I ran another half marathon (as part of our personal triathlon training). Last year, I began running more regularly, completing twelve self-supported half marathons:

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The Minimus shoes are remarkably lighter than the already light H Streets.
Exercise, Journal, Running

New Balance Minimus HI-REZ Shoes

For the past several years, my running shoes of choice have been the Puma H Streets. These are a favorite of the POSE running crowd, although they were never meant to be used as running shoes. Today, they are harder to find in my size (women’s size 10, since I can’t seem to find the men’s version anymore). So, when I finally decided that the holes in the shoes were getting too big (check out the photo below), I started looking for a new pair and brand of running shoes.

Felix was telling me that a few of his friends were using New Balance Minimus shoes, so I went over the NB site to check them out. The Minimus is actually a series of lightweight, minimalist running shoes, and the one that struck my eye was the Minimus HI-REZ. The specs show it to be lighter than the H Streets, 3.7 ounces versus 5.8 ounces. Judging solely from the photos, I liked the thicker sole in the front; one drawback on the H Streets was that the bottoms wore out so quickly. I tend to strike the ground on the outside front part of my foot, and that’s where all the holes formed.

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Exercise, Journal, Running

Running in Fort Collins with Felix

Running with the Fort Collins Running Club

Following the completion of my work with Jared, I drove up with Rae to Fort Collins to meet up with our friend Felix Wong. He’s been living in Fort Collins for the past three years. After resting from the long drive (about an hour from Boulder), we headed out to the Old Town to eat some Ethiopian food. Felix told us about a race that he participates in with the Fort Collins Running Club called the Tortoise and Hare. With our great dinner, we hoped to have the speed of those great Ethiopian runners!

The race was a 5 mile (4.78, according to one runner’s GPS) out and back course in Edora Park. Rae and I were going to take it easy on the run and told Nick the organizer that we would be running a 10 minute mile. The race was neat in that it featured a staggered start. The slow people (tortoises) would go first, followed by the fast ones (hares).

I felt pretty good as we were running, so at the halfway point, I told Rae that I was going to go ahead. I increased my pace and felt for the first time what it was like to lead a race. Of course, my finishing time was slower than many others, but because of the staggered start, I completed the course first! My overall time was 40:51. Rae’s finishing time was around 45:41; if she ran the same pace for both the beginning and end, she ran roughly a 9:35 mile. By my calculations, then, I was running roughly a 7:35 pace on the way back! I don’t think that I could have kept up that pace for the entire 5 miles, but I’m still proud of my performance!

Click on the link below to see the photos!

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Exercise, High School, Running

Half-Marathon

Nineteen years ago, when I was just 14 years old, I ran the San Dieguito Half-Marathon in a time of 1:43, which translates to a 7:51/mile. I remember the weather was rainy and cold… I fell shivering into my Dad’s arms at the end of the race! Until yesterday, that was the first and last half-marathon.

On Sunday morning, inspired by all of these fantastic Olympic performances we’ve been watching in Beijing, Rae and I completed our own self-supported half-marathon. We ran our normal neighborhood route, to Wolfe Road in Cupertino, back to the house, and again our neighborhood route. Going at a fairly leisurely pace in perfect running weather, we completed the run in 2:04, or just under 10 minutes per mile. We stopped twice at the house to resupply our water bottles and were delayed at stop lights just a few times, bringing our total time out running to about 2:12.

I’m pretty happy with our performance, seeing that our longest run to-date this year has been 6-7 miles. Normally, we just do our 3-mile neighborhood run, so it was definitely a stretch to go 13.1 miles. The actual run went by a lot more quickly than I remember, but that’s probably because I had someone to talk to. That said, my legs today are a bit sore, so I won’t be running consecutive half-marathons any time soon!

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