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I must have lied

Friday, November 28, 2014

I did another half yesterday, and it was really a let down for me. A few year back, when I posted my original Sparkpeople profile, I said that I was 1722 out of 1791 and I wouldn't have cared if I was last.

Between then and now, I had fallen way off the wagon, had gotten much more out of shape, and had stopped running all together. But, since mid year this year, I have been pretty focused, exercising usually 5-6 days a week, eating and logging fairly religiously, with only a few truly F'd up days since July. I am down 40 ish pounds from my high, so I expect a lot more of myself.

That 1722 of 1791 was bottom 4%. Yesterday, I came in 6145 of 6250 - that's bottom 2%. I was actually bottom 1% of the men. I know I shouldn't be so whiny - I finished. My time was faster than before. But, as I have plateaued for the past few weeks on the scale, I was looking for a real non-scale victory.

I do have another one coming up in January. I have to see some real progress by then. I have to.

Not to be a complete downer, the rest of my family had awesome runs yesterday. My wife ran the 5k in 32:20 (my original goal board goal was 35:00 for me on a 5k which I did. Next is 33:00. Her 32:20 is very impressive to me!). My daughter broke 2:00 on the half for the first time! And, my son actually came in 52nd overall in the half (out of that 6250) - friggin unbelievable!

And, despite my inability to move much yesterday after the race (and my extremely limited mobility today), we did have a really nice Thanksgiving.

Hope you did too!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZAFTIGDIOSA 12/8/2014 6:03PM

    Do you know how many people are sitting on their couches at this moment WISHING they had enough strength, stamina and GUTS to even ATTEMPT to WALK any kind of race?! You are AMAZING! You have done some things that people half your age can't even do.
I know how it is when you have such high aspirations and expectations of yourself and how critical WE can be of ourselves when we don't reach them. I too get discouraged when I don't hit goals that I FEEL I should have hit already. I get it. But you have to look at what you are accomplishing everyday. Was your family running 5ks and marathons often before you started your weight loss journey? Have you not been an inspiration to your family? Are you gaining weight? Are you still one of those people WISHING they could lose weight, get more active and change their lives? Are you one of those people on the sidelines THINKING about running ONE race? NO! You have already transformed your life in so many healthy ways. I understand how nice it would be if every single effort was visibly rewarded regularly. It's discouraging when you know you are putting in the work needed to get the results you want only to not see them. There may be a missing piece and it may be to enjoy the journey and not be so focused on the destination. I don't know. I've been feeling the same as you lately but I know being hard on yourself only hinders your progress on a spiritual level.
Try to look at it from a different perspective after you get done beating yourself up. Try. Use this frustration as kerosene.
You are AWESOME! You are so strong. You are so persistent and consistent. You inspire me to not be afraid to try something you think you are not ready for. Keep pushing! You've come so far!

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WEWRTFO 11/29/2014 11:13PM

    IMO, this was a great accomplishment to complete and so rewarding to do with your entire family. I get the limited mobility thing and understand how it personally effects us negativity at times. Stay focused on the complete transformation, gradual progress, slow weight loss with various setbacks are all part of it. Your transformation is still early, lifetime of improvement ahead. emoticon

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MOONIUS 11/29/2014 9:13AM

    Be encouraged Jack! Just the fact that you completed it is awesome.


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FITWITHIN 11/28/2014 12:20PM

    emoticon to the whole family! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ADARKARA 11/28/2014 11:42AM

    It's so awesome that you all did that together as a family!

As for the percentile, I don't think you should worry about that. You said your time was faster than before, so that IS a huge NSV! All the % means is that other people were faster, not that you were slow! A little perspective goes a long way. emoticon

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Notre Dame Bucket List trip

Monday, November 17, 2014

Ever since I was a little kid, I have wanted to go to Notre Dame for a football game. You grow up Irish Catholic, it's on your list. When it was time for me to apply to college way back when, I did not put too much thought into it. I was fortunate to get a free ride to a good school in Philly (Temple - Go Owls!), but, Notre Dame was not even a consideration because, while we did not grow up "wanting" for anything, money was not something that was available.

This weekend, I got to check this one item off of my bucket list thanks to a friend with a brilliant son who is now a sophomore at Notre Dame. It came together and my son and I headed up on Friday (having put Rudy on earlier in the week to get in the spirit).

Usually, I oversell things in my mind and I come up short. But, this is one time when my expectations were left in the dust. Everything was so much more than I ever imagined it could be.

But, I think my favorite part was going inside the Gold Dome (the administration building). My friend's son would meet us upstairs instead of walking in with us. I was confused. Apparently, as a student, you cannot walk up the front steps or, tradition has it that you will never graduate from Notre Dame. So, we started walking toward the steps. And, my son stops me. He says, "Dad. I am not walking up those steps because I don't know that I am not going to Notre Dame."

While I know it may be far fetched from a financial standpoint, I have to say, my heart swelled that he had gotten hooked on the tradition that quickly.

We are heading up to Johnson City, Tennessee this coming Sunday so he can go on his first college tour - East Tennessee State - on Monday. He said he is concerned with going immediately after seeing a campus like Notre Dame. My thought is that if he likes East Tennessee after Notre Dame, it's definitely a school for him. But, a kid can dream...

(And, I did not slip up on my progress in these pictures - I just had layers and layers of clothes on!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WEWRTFO 11/18/2014 7:41PM

    Great experience. Your looking good! It looks like snow was taking up leg room. LOL! I have twin daughters heading off to college this next fall. Then it gets very quite at home, not sure if I am prepared for that.

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ZAFTIGDIOSA 11/17/2014 3:18PM

    How great was that?!!! What an awesome experience that you and your son got to share in! Notre Dame is one of those iconic places that I, as a kid, wanted to visit. I am so happy you two were there. Great memories made!
Nice pictures by the way!

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MOONIUS 11/17/2014 1:26PM

    Hey Jack! I think it's great that you and your son had the Notre Dame experience. By the way, ETSU is a good school. I used to live near there and I have a nephew who attended there.

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My admiration and appreciation of my Sparkfriends is real

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

One of my Sparkfriends was needing some motivation today and I relayed something from this weekend that each of you needs to know about too.

While we may be connected only through the magic of Sparkpeople, I realized just how real the support, and friendship and motivation I get from this is. My son was running in a state cross country meet, and being OCD, I made sure we were there early. But, it was cold, so we sat in the car for a while and were killing time.

Somehow, Sparkpeople came up, and then I started spouting off and showing off everyone's struggles and successes. How PERSISTENTTIM has gone from being winded sitting on the step doing a video to, a few month's later, being able to walk and video at the same time without being winded. How MOONIUS has been losing weight trampolining and is the reason I bought a body fat scale. How ZAFTIGDIOSA has been working her butt off one pound at a time and will be a plus sized model (and they agreed). How WEWRTFO has dropped from the mid 500s to under 400, went on vacation and still managed to lose weight. How BELLA673 has dropped 9 pounds since September despite the fact that she did not have all that much to lose. Showing them before and afters of everyone and telling them that ADARKARA is a freak about kettlebell workouts and The Princess Bride, and the advice given to me by TJOHNOCONNOR and BCJCPDX2012 and everyone else that chimes in from time to time.

Seriously, spouting off is what I was doing. I guess I did not realize how invested I have become in your successes and that it truly does make me happy - happy enough to share with my family - when you succeed.

So keep it up, your success is my motivation.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZAFTIGDIOSA 11/12/2014 3:41PM

    THANKS FOR THE LOVE!!!!! OMG! That was so nice to read!

It's crazy but I am so invested in how my SparkFriends are doing, especially you. So whenever I see you guys succeed in the smallest of ways, it encourages me so much! I love how resilient you are, Jack. You get your workouts in religiously, even when you may not feel like it. You are always looking for the next challenge. You are always so giving of your time and very good advice. You are a HUGE inspiration to me personally. You and a few others are really helping and supporting me along this journey. Help and support that I have never had and didn't realize how much I needed until it was received.
Thank you and I love you brother! Keep up the EXCELLENT work!

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MOONIUS 11/12/2014 2:42PM

    Hey are an inspiration to us too! Keep on keepin' on (and thanks for the shout out)!


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REALTYLADYLISA 11/12/2014 1:39PM

    Yes, I too find the support here on SP to be pretty important in my weight loss journey. My family has all moved from CT to SC over the past few years, so I have very few people in my local support network, and even fewer who understand the struggle. My SP friends are my rocks to lean on as I travel this path to health and freedom!

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ACHIEVECHI 11/12/2014 1:07PM

    This IS the coolest site ever...with some of the coolest people!
It is great to get support outside of family. emoticon

I don't talk much about SP at home, but my DH knows that I take walk breaks during the day.
Last night, DH asked what my "walking buddy" thought of my new haircut. It is nice that our families take into account that we have different aspects of our lives that they aren't related to them.

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ADARKARA 11/12/2014 12:41PM

    Awwww, I gots me a shout out!

I have to admit, I like bragging about you guys, too. There is definitely something about this place that's special. It attracts the right sort of folk, you know?


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MM11113 11/12/2014 12:23PM


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Belt retired

Friday, October 10, 2014

I have been putting it off as long as I could. I added two notches over the past month or two. But, since the beginning of the year, I have gone from the outermost notch to my second, "handmade" notch. And, I need another. But, the loose end is already too long to add one more.

So, a new one this weekend. And, with continued effort, I hope to have a similar post in another 9-12 months!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ACHIEVECHI 11/8/2014 10:27AM

    Good for you! I have a belt from pre-kids. It doesn't go with any outfit, but I still keep it as a reality check. In fact, I wrote REALITY CHECK on the inside with a permanent marker.
I say keep the belt and keep punching holes in it. emoticon

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WEWRTFO 10/29/2014 9:00PM

    Why retire the belt? Keep drilling new holes in it. This is what I do, it's a constant reminder how much progress you made from the start. I will post a photo of my belt soon on my spark-page. This belt, if you still have it, could become your daily inspiration.

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BELLA673 10/27/2014 11:35AM

    Great job, how exciting. I'm sure you will need another new belt in the near future, keep it up! emoticon

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RUNNER4LYFE 10/12/2014 1:47PM

    Woohoo!!!! Way to go!!! I love buying new clothes, but only when I can afford it :) Have a blessed Sunday!!!

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DAYBYDAY14 10/12/2014 6:16AM

  Congratulations! emoticon emoticon
I say that really feels like your getting somewhere.
Hope I have a similar tale to tell in 9-12 months time!

Comment edited on: 10/12/2014 6:16:34 AM

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ZAFTIGDIOSA 10/10/2014 5:16PM

    Love it! Good stuff!
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REALTYLADYLISA 10/10/2014 11:49AM

    Congrats!!! Always good to have a legitimate reason to go out and buy new clothes!!!

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ADARKARA 10/10/2014 9:29AM

    That is so awesome, way to go!!!!

I'm on my 3rd belt since starting this. This one will last, as it has holes all the way around!


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MOONIUS 10/10/2014 9:00AM

    Good job, Jack! I have the same issue. I have added two holes to my belt and really need a couple more to keep my pants from falling down! Maybe I'll buy a new belt for Christmas.


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Landscaping, weight loss and steaming human waste

Thursday, October 09, 2014

When my wife and I bought our first house in Philly back in 1992, it had no landscaping. We wanted to get some put in, but did not have the money to have it installed. So a local nursery made a plan and told us you just "drop the shovel in the ground and kick it." We figured with about 50 plants, we could get it done in a day. No way. The drop and kick method was replaced with four full weekends of ground preparation (including about 10 cubic yards of processed fertilizer which, I kid you not, was processed from the Philly sewer system). In the summer. Steaming. Two years married. I am surprised one of us didn't take a shovel to the other and make the other fertilizer. It was that bad. After we finally got the ground prepared, it was another two full weekends of planting. When it was done, it looked unbelievable. We lived in that house for four years, and we took such good care of that landscaping. Out there every weekend, weeding and trimming to maintain it.

We have moved a few times since. One time the builder installed the landscaping. Another time, we had money, had a landscape architect draw up a plan, and we spent silly money on the landscaping. Bridges, stone dry creek beds. It was beautiful. But, over a 10 year period it got overgrown. Every couple of years, we would bring someone in to clean it up and make it look good again.

But, ultimately, we never had such pride as we did with that original landscaping. The blood, sweat and tears (and stench of steaming human waste) that went in to it created a sense of pride in my wife and I that could not be matched by the most beautiful landscaping paid for with cash.

What made me think of this was a post by ZAFTIGDIOSA where she jokingly said she wished she could snap her fingers and be at the size she wanted. And said she knew it would take effort and patience.

We all would like that finger snapping ability. What I'd give to be at 180 tomorrow, and, like I have set as a new goal, be able to walk on a beach shirtless, confidently. But, I will give that blood, sweat and tears (and workout stench (fortunately, not steaming human waste)) to get there. No, it's not drop and kick or a snap of the fingers. But, when I get there, I will take pride in what I have achieved. And, I believe, with that pride will come the same pride to maintain because I will know the real effort that went in to it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NETGYRL 10/10/2014 5:16PM

    Really great point. Thanks for the blog.

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    Well, I hate dealing with landscaping and gardening, but the premise is right...the more effort you put into something, the more you value it and work to maintain it. That being said, I'm trusting that once this weight is OFF, I WILL be able to maintain it especially because of how hard-fought the battle!!

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ZAFTIGDIOSA 10/9/2014 5:05PM

    That is a perfect point. Oh how we humans think! We really do not value anything that we didn't have to put some type of effort into. It's crazy but if I could snap fingers and be where I wanted to be, I probably would end up right back where I am at now because I'd figure if I did it once, I can easily do it again.
I'm glad you shared this story because sometimes you get discouraged a little bit and you just wish it were a tad bit easier and a whole lot quicker. However, with all of this effort, struggle and pain we're putting in now, it will be seared into our brains not allowing us to ever come back to this point again. I guess that's why so many people who lose weight rapidly on fad diets or with pills or chemicals, end up just as big or bigger than when they started. It wasn't something they had to work REALLY hard at so it's subconsciously taken for granted. I use to be able to drop weight so quickly that getting up to a certain size never bothered me. I ate and did what I wanted to do. Recently, I tried those same old, tried and true methods and I was not having any luck, AT ALL. So, this new approach is very slow, thought out and has me conscious of everything I am eating and doing. This is new for me. I'm having to learn to trust the process, relax and let the results come when time. It's hard but it'll be so worth it. Right now, I'm smelling the fertilizer that's processed with the Philly sewer system, in the middle of the summer, and I'm just thinking about the beautiful landscape that will be at the end of this process. LOL!
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