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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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

Half-Marathon – San Tomas Acquino Creek Trail

I completed my third half-marathon this morning, running along the San Tomas Acquino Creek Trail near my house in Santa Clara. The first time I ran this far was way back in ninth grade, when I was fourteen years old! I was pretty fast (and light) then, averaging each mile in about 7:51 for a total time of 1:43:00. I didn’t run another half until a few years ago, when Rae and I did our own self-supported run to Cupertino Village and back.

I did today’s by myself, starting out at 9:00 am and returning two hours later. We only recently found out about the San Tomas Acquino Creek Trail, even though we’ve lived in Santa Clara for four years now. It’s great in that you can do most of the trail without ever having to stop at a crosswalk or light. I ran all the way to the old 3Com/Palm headquarters (now it’s the Atheros corporate offices). The first part of the run was much quicker than the return trip, as I was slowed by blisters on my forefeet. I guess I haven’t run long enough to develop callouses on that part of my feet yet. Every step back was somewhat painful, but I managed to truck back home. Fortunately, the return trip always seems shorter (to me at least) than the initial leg.

There were a number of people on the trail today, from walkers to runners to bicyclists. I passed by the parking lot where the San Francisco 49ers and the City of Santa Clara want to build the new 49ers Stadium. I can easily see the trail being used by Santa Clarans to get to gameday. I’m still torn whether to vote yes or no on Measure J. Part of me is still not convinced that the stadium deal works out financially for the city. For instance, there really not much parking around the proposed stadium, unless the Silicon Valley tech companies are going to open up their parking lots of Sundays. I can see traffic being a killer because of this. Second, there’s not much to do or see around the Great America area without driving. With AT&T Park and the Shark Tank, there’s ample shops and restaurants within walking distance in San Francisco and San Jose respectively. I can see people driving to attend after-game parties and events outside of Santa Clara; that doesn’t really help the city then, does it?

If you judge the stadium vote based on the number of Yes on Measure J versus No on Measure J signs around town, you’d think that Yes is going to win by a landslide. They definitely have the money and the backing of the 49ers and City behind them. Still, there’s a part of me that leaning towards voting no come June. What are your thoughts on bringing the 49ers to Santa Clara?

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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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