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Hi guys … I’ve been away for a little while and thought I should come back and catch up … I’ve been meaning to but have been busy.

Firstly, just to put your minds at ease, I’ve still been doing well with my healthier eating and exercise. No, I haven’t fallen apart because I’m not reporting on this blog, although I do miss the encouragement you guys have been giving me.

Second, I ran a 5K on May 31 and set a new personal record! My previous personal record was 22:23, and I wasn’t in doubt of beating that, as I set the old record last year and I’m a much better (and lighter) runner these days. So I set out at a pace under 7:00 per mile, and held it the entire race. By holding my pace fairly steady, I passed a lot of people who naturally slowed at the end, so I was happy with my pacing.

I was hoping, in a best-case scenario, of coming in under 21 minutes, but just missed that mark at finished at 21:03 … a full minute and 20 seconds faster than my old record! I was super happy with that achievement. I’m not much of a 5K runner, but this showed me that I’m getting faster. I really only run a 5K when I want to test my fitness and speed, so I’ll probably do another in a few months as a test.

Third, I injured my back lifting weights, about 5 days ago. I had been doing great with my weight lifting, joined a gym and have been lifting heavier. I started on a new weight routine (after doing the old routine for about 7 weeks), to push myself to a new level. It has a split routine, upper body and lower body. I was doing the lower-body routine, with a superset of squats and deadlifts, and when I was on my second set of squats I forgot to focus on my form (specifically keeping my lower back straight) and as a result pulled a muscle deep in my lower back.

I immediately stopped my routine and rested for a few days. I had my back checked out just to make sure it wasn’t serious, and it was just a muscle strain. My doctor said I could start light exercise after a few days, so I started by walking, then a little jogging, and yesterday ran a few miles at easy pace. The last couple of days I’ve also been doing bodyweight exercises like lunges, squats, pushups, pullups, chinups, and so on, just to stay in shape.

The first few days were difficult, as I couldn’t exercise at all. I couldn’t even sit down for very long, as my back would start to hurt. I used a heating pad, some stretching, some massage, and some walking around to keep my muscles loose and the blood circulating. I think it all helped me heal faster as I’m feeling pretty good right now. I can still feel the strained muscle if I start to move too fast or hard, so I’m taking it easy, but I’m feeling pretty good right now.

I hope to be reporting back more often from now on, but I’m pretty busy with wedding planning, finishing my book, and preparing for my honeymoon (less than 2 weeks away!). I’ve missed you all!

Today I skipped my long bike ride in the morning because I was feeling a bit sore from yesterday’s long run (plus some of the workouts from the last few days) and I decided I needed a rest. One of the things I’ve been guarding against the most is overtraining, so when I feel tired, I skip a workout or two. What matters most is that I keep it up for the long term!

But in the afternoon I was feeling great, and my wife and kids and I met up with my sister and her kids and went on an excellent hike to a place called Sella Bay. There’s a trail through the hills and jungle to Sella Bay, only about 1.5 miles, but it took us more than an hour even though most of it was downhill because we had 8 kids with us (two of them younger than kindergarten age, so it took awhile). I carried my 3-year-old son part of the way down to the bay.

Then we spent a couple hours there, looking at an old Spanish bridge (one of the remnants of the colonial Spanish times here on Guam), playing in a river, swimming in the ocean, and eating snacks. Then, because it was going to be dark within an hour, we headed back and decided we needed to make it in double time in order to get back to our cars before it was dark.

The hike back was an awesome workout. Not only did I have a fairly heavy backpack on my back, I carried my 3-yr-old son half the time, and we jogged/ran some of the way, and it was uphill almost the whole way (with some climbing). We were pretty tired by the end but it was a lot of fun.

I also did a short ocean swim while we were at the bay, and did some beach and jungle running, so I burned over 1,500 calories on the hike!

Eating: Fairly healthy throughout the day … had a bunch of snacks on the hike, including a Clif bar, apricots, nuts and raisins, some chips, a PB&J sandwich, a small wheat bran muffin. Ate a slice of pizza later and a little candy, but I’d burned a lot of calories so it was OK. :)

I hope to do more hikes like this on weekends! So much fun!

This will be a report of my last few days of training as I’ve been a bit busy. :

Eating: I’ve been eating fairly healthy, only overeating once (went out for dinner with the wifey and had lotsa pasta and garlic bread). I’ve been eating light and actually losing weight this week! I had been gaining weight for the last coupla weeks, hopefully muscle weight. I’m not too concerned about weight but it’s nice to see a change on the scale. Other than that, nothing unusual to report, so go to my food log to read more.

Wednesday: Did a 4-mile run on a hilly course in the morning at an easy pace. It felt awesome. Afternoon workout was a 50-minute bike at an easy pace.

Thursday: Easy 4-mile run in the morning. Heavy strength workout in the afternoon, including increasing to 5 sets on a couple exercises. Finished with a 30-minute easy swim, concentrating on form.

Friday: There was a lightning storm outside so I couldn’t run or ride my bike. So in the evening I did 26 minutes on an elliptical trainer at a relative’s house, just to get a few calories burned.

Saturday: Did a long run this morning, about 11 miles at easy pace, a little under 2 hours total. I hope to do a weight workout this afternoon if I have time/energy.

Quick Report

I haven’t had time in the last few days to do my daily report, but rest assured that I’ve been eating fairly healthy again and exercising. I’m pressed for time right now so I’m going to give you a quick rundown of the last 3 days … to see more details of my eating and exercise, click through to see my food and exercise log.

Sunday

You guys read my race report for my triathlon — that was my exercise for the day, obviously. I was tired the rest of the day, took a nap in the morning.

I had a big breakfast of pancakes and ate a lot during the day. It was fairly healthy except in the evening when I had a BK veggie burger and fries, and then some nachos and candy while watching a movie with the kids. But hey, if I can’t indulge after doing a triathlon, when can I?

Monday

This was a scheduled rest day for me, and I needed it because my body was sore. I was lazy all day long, and snacked but stayed within my calorie goal.

Tuesday

Did a really nice 8-mile run in the morning. First 5 were with my sister, at a nice easy pace. Last 3 miles were 800-meter intervals at 5K-10K pace, tiring but great. Took a nap afterward. In the late afternoon I did a really easy swim for 20 minutes, working on my form.

Eating was very good all day, and I had a large calorie deficit. I’ve been discovering that eating more in the morning and afternoon means I’m not so hungry at night — sounds obvious, I know, but I’ve actually been consciously trying to eat more for breakfast, lunch, and snacks, and I’m not so hungry for dinner. This has mean I’ve lost a few pounds this week.

I’m happy to report that I finished my first sprint triathlon this morning! I feel tired but really great. Here’s a report:

Background: I’m a runner but a complete novice in cycling and swimming (just started a month ago). So my goal for this first sprint tri was just to finish and have a good time. I wasn’t worried about my place or my time — I can work on improving later.

The Course: Set in the beautiful little village of Piti, Guam, the sprint triathlon was a 750-meter ocean swim in warm water (in the 80s) (two laps of a triangular course around three buoys) … followed by a 20K bike (3 out-and-back laps on a flat course near the ocean, strong tailwind going out, strong headwind coming back) … and finally a 5K run, along the same flat but windy course. It started at 7 a.m., which might not mean much in colder climates but on Guam, it gets pretty hot by 7 a.m. It was probably in the 90s by the time I was on the run.

The Swim: I’m not a strong swimmer at all, and in fact have never swam 750m without stopping. So I started on the outside, to the back, hoping to avoid the tangle of swimmers at the start. That worked out pretty well, although I was stuck behind a slower swimmer to start with. I think that was a good thing, as it helped me conserve energy and I really didn’t have to do the breaststroke for resting as I’d anticipated. My form was really horrible, but I didn’t care. I expected to be the last out of the water but surprised myself and finished somewhere in the middle (well, the back of the middle, but still not one of the last). I don’t have my split times for any of the legs. I felt pretty decent coming out of the swim, which I was happy with.

The Bike: I ride an old mountain bike, and I think it really hurt me in this race. And as I said, I’ve only been cycling for a month, so I’m pretty slow. I just wanted to be able to finish the 20K bike leg, which I was pretty sure I could do. I did it pretty slow, though, and a lot of people passed me (many of them were actually ahead of me but on their 2nd or 3rd laps, but a few started the bike after me and still passed me). I have to admit the bike was a bit of a struggle, especially in the hot sun, and I finished near last place (maybe 3-4 people behind me).

The Run: My legs felt dead coming off the bike, but I started out pretty fast. Too fast, actually, and soon I was breathing heavy and knew I had to cut back. I was pretty tired by now, but tried to keep a decent pace. I don’t know what my pace was but I’m guessing around 8:00 miles. It was very very hot. I passed a few people around halfway through the run. One of them stuck with me and pushed me for the rest of the run, but I pulled away from him in the end with a strong finish.

Overall: My overall time was 1:39:48, which many experienced triathletes would probably laugh at, but again, I just wanted to finish and have fun. I accomplished my goals, so I’m happy! I had a great time, and look forward to my next sprint tri in June.

Improvement areas: I can obviously get better in the swim, with a little more endurance and better form. I bought the book “Total Immersion” to help me with my form, and I think it could make a bit of difference in the next tri. My bike needs a lot of improvement. I think I need to buy a road bike, first of all, because my bike was squeaking and I was struggling with it. I think the front tire was a little flat too. I also need to build up speed and endurance, but that will come with time. I really enjoy cycling, even if I’m slow, and I think I’ll only get better. The run was fine, about as good as I could do considering my legs were dead — I think it’ll get faster if I can get better endurance in the bike and swim. Transitions were fairly smooth, although I think I could have skipped the socks. I think I’ll get better overall as I continue to train — I’ve only been doing this for a month, so I have nowhere to go but up. :)

Did an 8-mile run this morning, not exactly a “long run” but the longest I’ve done since the marathon. It was so great! One interesting note is that my long run pace seems to be much faster these days, even though it seems like I’m running really easy. I’m about 2 minutes faster during my long runs than I was just 4-5 months ago.

Anyway, I’m a bit tired right now because we were out in 95-degree sun for about 3-4 hours, watching soccer. Boy was it hot! Not a good idea the day before my triathlon, but oh well. :)

Eating wasn’t so bad today.

WO: 8-mile run at about 8:30-8:45 pace, 70 minutes. 1,250.

B: Coffee. Sprouted peanut butter toast. Kashi Golean Crunch cereal w/ soymilk. Kashi Golean blueberry waffles w/ maple syrup. 630.

S: Salad w/ lettuce, mango, avocado, feta, nuts. 235.

L: Spaghetti w/ marinara sauce. 635.

S: 7-up (I was thirsty!). 100.

D: Burger King veggie burger w/ cheese. Side salad w/ a little light Italian dressing. Half a biscuit, a little rice. 430.

Totals:

Ate: 2030.

Burned: 2300 + 1250run = 3550.

Deficit: 1520.

It’s now Saturday morning for me, and my first sprint triathlon is tomorrow morning! I’m super excited.

To give you some background, I’ve done a “super-sprint” triathlon before … 400m swim, 6-mile bike, 3K run … but that was much easier and was a year and a half ago … I completely stopped biking and swimming after that, and even before that I had only just started.

So this past month of triathlon training has been incredibly fun, and I’m just learning to swim and bike, really, and to build up endurance in each sport.

My goal in tomorrow’s triathlon is just to finish and have fun. And I’m pretty sure I can do both. I won’t be fast or competitive, but that’s OK.

I have another sprint triathlon in three weeks … it’s the exact same course, so I should be able to see if I’m getting better. My goals for that one will also be to finish and have fun, but also to do it a bit faster than this first one.

I know I can do the swim, although it will be the hardest leg of the triathlon for me by far. It’s 750 meters, which I’ve never actually done all in a row without breaks. I plan to do it by breaking up the freestyle swimming with a little breaststroke for resting purposes.

The bike is 12 miles, and that shouldn’t be super hard, although it might be if 1) I’m too tired from the swim and/or 2) I start out at a pace that’s too fast. I hope to go at a medium pace, for me, which would be slow for most people. I’m just riding a mountain bike, so I won’t be fast anyway. I hope to get a road bike later this year!

The run is a 5K, and that’s not a problem, although I know from my brick workouts that running after cycling is tough. :)

Wish me luck! I’m really looking forward to this.

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