Monday, December 27, 2010

Coming Back Into Focus

What I did over Christmas Vacation

I spent a lot of time with my wife and kids.
I had good times with friends.
I worked out a little (actually, very little).
I worshipped.
I drank some beer.
I ate way too many chocolate kisses.

I'm not into guilt, so I don't feel badly about my lack of progress on mileage or poor eating.  I enjoyed myself with family and friends and just relaxed. 

But now, it is time to focus.

I am ready to get back to my mileage and fitness goals. 

Over the past 10 days, I slacked off my training for the upcoming 10K, but I was already ahead of schedule in terms of mileage, so I think I'll be okay if I get back to it today. 

Many of you post pictures of running in the snow and rain, so I won't complain about the challenge of running in our cold desert temps of 58 degrees.  (But seriously, it feels like 52, so you's cold.).

I'll eat better this week, but still have some parties to go to and want to not focus on calories until Jan 1.  On Jan 1st, I'll get back to my old format of tracking my calories daily and posting my weight weekly.  I'll set some new goals for my weight.  As my running mileage ramps up, the pounds should fall (if I'm eating well).

I am coming back into focus and it feels good. 2011 will be a great year.

Big Clyde

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My 20th Wedding Anniversary !

The average daytime temperature in Tucson, Arizona in early December is 66 degrees Farenheit.  Sunny, gorgeous and warm.

But on December 22, 1990 it got down to 34 degrees and it snowed.  It snowed just enough to cover the cacti with a white blanket and for a bunch of friends to have an actual snowball the desert.

She insisted on riding her bike to the ceremony!
And later in the day, my girlfriend and I became husband and wife. 

Today, we are celebrating our 20th anniversary and I am going to use it as an excuse to brag about my wife.  She is kind, funny, wise, patient, confident, plays the guitar and sings beautifully and is surprising us all with a great talent for painting. 

I was first attracted to her when I saw her across a baseball field.  She was beautiful.  But when my friend, who had just flown into town and declared himself "3rd Base Coach", started barking orders at her, I got to see how she handled herself.  He declared that she needed to do what he said and she quickly put him in his place.  That night, he told me that she was "too strong-willed" to be "girlfriend-worthy".  I think I fell in love with her at that moment.

I am even more in love with her today and am so grateful to be married to this beautiful, wonderful woman.

This morning, we took an early morning ride to commemorate the day!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Again, The Best Christmas Video Ever!

Went for a run, after a morning coffee date with my wife.  3.2 miles in 34 minutes.  This is a 10:25 min/mile pace and would make for my fastest 5k time!  I'll run on a track on New Year's Eve to see if I can possibly get below 30 minutes for a 5k.  Could be close!   Off for a short bike ride now (will update mileage later in red).

IronMan Challenge Update:
Running:  3.2 miles done (Goal: 13.1 miles)
Cycling:  14.5 miles done (Goal: 56 miles)

And now...

I showed this video last year, but I love it so much I am re-posting it.  Enjoy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

George Bailey Returns (Grumpy ! - Part Two)

If you read my recent post titled Grumpy !, then PLEASE READ THIS.

That posted on Friday, mid-afternoon.  I wrote about how I felt like George Bailey from "It's A Wonderful Life", when he felt isolated and weary.  Almost instantly, some of you wrote in encouraging me...that was so wonderful and made me feel much better.

Here is what happened next:
  • On Friday at 4pm, our friend stopped by to take our daughter out for a special treat and invited my wife to a party on Sunday (with about 50 good friends).  Total surprise.
  • On Friday afternoon:  other friends called to invite us over on Christmas Day.
  • On Saturday afternoon:  some friends stopped by unexpectedly with cookies!  They invited us to dinner on Thursday night.
  • On Sunday afternoon:  another friend invited us to join their family on Christmas Eve.
  • On Sunday night: We recently started a bible-study group for college students to run until Christmas.  They just told us that they want to keep it going indefinitely!  Good times.
  • On Monday morning:  another friend called to check in and say hello.  Maybe a bike ride this week?
  • On Monday at lunchtime:  other friends invited us over to dinner tonight.
We accepted all invitations and feel blessed (again)! 

But I should add...virtually none of my close friends (the people above) even know I have this blog.  And realistically, the very few that know about the blog ever read it.  I think that no one above read my post. 

George Bailey with family...and friends!
Some of you suggested prayer. We believe in God and feel strongly about our faith. God knows what we need and yeah, He definitely answered some prayers (eventhough I wasn't specifically asking for any of this). I needed to quit obsessing about it and just trust that we would be okay. When I began to let go of my concerns and just "abide" in Him, He came through in a big way.

So, I thank all of you...
  • those of you who assured me that it would be fine.
  • those of you who said some mileage would do me good.
  • those of you who said that I should count and re-count my blessings.
  • all of you who came alongside me, like good friends do for each other.
I'll end here.  I just felt I had to bookend my grumpiness with a surprising post of gratitude.

Also, I rode 12.5 miles this afternoon and I rode another 2 miles to a friend's house tonight.  My goal is to ride 56 miles and run/walk 13.1 miles by Christmas Eve, midnight.    Only 41.5 miles left on the bike, but I'd better get on the running miles. 

Join me in this challenge, if it fits your schedule for this week.

Big Clyde

An IronMan Christmas Challenge (Accepted!)

I was crusing several sites this morning and saw Luke's site The Fatlete.  He is hosting a challenge that started at midnight today (12/20) and ends at midnight on 12/24.  It is a virtual IronMan challenge. 

The Rules:  Between these dates you must swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles, and run/walk 13.1 miles in any order and in as many segments as needed to make the distance.  

I won't be doing the swim portion and he is okay with that (I'm not getting in my un-heated pool!).  Please go to the link above and register if you are interested.

I needed a kick-in-the-tail challenge for this week.  After confessing my grumpiness on my previous post, I intended to get hardcore on some mileage.  Then, my back started feeling pretty sore and I wimped out this weekend.  With vacation all week, it's time to make up for lost miles.

56 cycling miles.  13.1 run/walk miles.  Five days.  These will be more miles than I have done before and I am grateful for the challenge.  Thanks, Luke!

Does anyone else have any pre-Christmas goals?

Big Clyde

Friday, December 17, 2010

Grumpy !

I'm frustrated and grumpy. 

I feel like George Bailey from It's A Wonderful Life.  He stayed in one place to help others and eventually felt that he had denied himself and had nothing to show for it.  And in the first act of that movie, he is grumpy. 
He doesn't want to play with the kids.
He isn't sweet to his wife.
He has no energy and just wants to drink and complain. 
He thinks his friends have turned against him or taken him for granted.
He's negative and wants everyone around him to take notice.

I am George Bailey right now. 

2010 will go down as the year that our family gave and gave to others and ended with feelings of isolation and weariness.  It's tough for me as a 45-year-old man to face that.  I see that it is hard on my wife, but she is soldiering on.  But it kills me that my own kids are coming to that understanding as well.

Because of my frustration, I am not fun to be around.
I have now missed two workout days!
I am eating like I'm in a contest.

But (heavy sigh, then forced smile), looking on the bright side:

My marriage is in excellent shape.  In fact, my review our anniversary is next week.
We are all perfectly healthy.
We are all on vacation next week.
I lost 50 40 pounds this year.
I have not been this physically fit in 25 years.
My kids excel at school and are happy, well-mannered and playful.
The bills are paid and we still have money under the mattress.
God loves us and is getting us ready for something else in 2011.

So, I will shake off my grumpiness and have fun with my family. 
I will be like George Bailey in act three, when he realizes that he is blessed and that no one is promised an easy road in this life.  It is selfish for me to gripe when so many others have such difficult challenges.

How will I do this?  Sure, I'll flip the mental switch and just "act happier" until my emotions follow suit.  But I'll also punish (or treat) myself with physical workouts while on this holiday break.  I missed two workouts and I will make them up and get in even more mileage.

What's that saying?..."Living well is the best revenge!"    Add a dash of humility, gratitude and compassion for others and I just might become a decent human being someday.

Big Clyde

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

They'd Be So Surprised...

My co-workers and friends have noticed that I have lost weight over the past nine months.   Many of them even know that I have ridden in a few bike races...and that I was grateful to just simply, finish the race. 

And although I have been running a bit since May, I have  been very inconsistent.  Until recently...

I knew that I needed a new big challenge to motivate my fitness activity.  I could have gone for more distance on my bike, but that would just mean a lot more hours out on long rides.  So, I decided to run a 10K in January and a half-marathon in March.  I've told almost no one except my family.

I don't look like I friends and co-workers would be so surprised. 

I am starting to wonder:  how many miles per week does the average jogger/casual runner actually run? 

I've logged in 10 miles per week for the past two weeks and I'll do that again (or more) this week.  I am actually ahead of the training plan, but think that it is going well, so I'll keep pushing it.  

And as I begin Week 3 of my training routine for the 10K, I am amazed at the improvement I see with each run.  I still feel slow, but I know that I am getting faster.  I am still heavy, but I am actually becoming more...umm, athletic.

I guess I can officially claim it...I'm a runner!   It seems so unbelievable to me, but I am actually going to run a half-marathon soon and it will be another step in this Clydesdale Project to change my life forever.

Tonight's run:  2.5 miles at an 11 min/mile pace.  That is one minute faster than I was a week ago!  My thanks to so many of you for the great advice!

Big Clyde

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Longest, Runningest Day

I went out this morning (after hours of procrastination) for my "long Sunday run".  This is on my 10k training schedule.  Today's schedule called for a 3.5 mile run, but I chose to go further.

Last Sunday, I chose to go 5 miles because it's a convenient loop near my house and I wanted to do something big for my 45th birthday.  Having done it once, I felt I should keep it up.  This morning's 5-mile run felt harder somehow, but it was only 1 minute slower.  My legs have felt "heavy" since my Thursday night run, which was only 2 miles, but at a faster pace for me.  Yesterday, we walked a lot around Old Tucson Studios (I'll post some pics of that later).  So, maybe that is why this morning's run felt harder.  But I am also somewhat of a internal whiner on my runs.  Today's run was 5 miles in 1:03.  I just think it is a miracle that a guy like me is running 5 miles.

As for cycling, times have changed in the Clyde House because I am no longer the only one on the bike.  Samson, of course, rode his epic El Tour 40 mile race with me last month.  But my wife, daughter and Samson went out last weekend and my wife rode again a few days ago and had chain problems.  So, I am off the the local bike shop to get two bikes back from the service dept.  Feels awesome to know that we are all becoming so active.  I'm guessing we'll do a short, casual ride today.  More miles.

Then tonight, CuppaJoe (my 9-year-old son) and I will run the "WinterHaven 5K".   It should be casual and fun.  CJ and I have run together recently and I know that we will likely be walking more than running...fine with me after this morning's 5-miler...but we'll see.  If he is up for more running, I'll rally.

That should make 8 miles on foot today and some recovery miles on the bike.  What a great day!

Big Clyde

Friday, December 10, 2010

Update on Thursday's Run...and the EAP!

Just in case you hadn't seen it, I had a great short run on Thursday night and updated on that post.  I wrote:
I did it in 20:45!  That is a 10:22 pace per mile, which is much better than my recent 12:00.  I don't think I could have gone further, because I was breathing pretty hard during the last 1/2 mile (okay, the whole run).  My thanks to Patrick Mahoney for the special coaching for tonight and to the rest of you for the encouragement!  It made it more fun for me.

Patrick from The Road has been busy lately.  He re-launched his Endurance Athlete Project website, which is described as "a social network for athletes".  I don't Facebook, but I have signed on there and think it is cool.  Please go check it out.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tonight's Running Goal...

According the the 10k training plan, I will run 2 miles tonight.  Until tonight, my pace has been 12:00+ minute miles on each run.  But I felt great on Tuesday night's run...after eating horribly, including a warm-up walk, so...

Tonight, I will strive to get to an 11:00 mile pace per mile.  2 miles in 22 minutes.

I'll update tonight and let you know how it went!

UPDATE:  I did it in 20:45!  That is a 10:22 pace per mile, which is much better than my recent 12:00.  I don't think I could have gone further, because I was breathing pretty hard during the last 1/2 mile (okay, the whole run).  My thanks to Patrick Mahoney for the special coaching for tonight and to the rest of you for the encouragement!  It made it more fun for me.

Big Clyde

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Short Hill-Climb ride

35 minutes, most of it uphill, for my bike ride tonight.  This is my "cross-train" day for Week Two of my 8-Week training plan for the 10k race.   I like the plan and actually look forward to the next workout each day.

I am now tracking both running AND cycling miles on    It is a pretty cool site and will help me track mileage more easily than the bar I have been manually inputting here.

Hope everyone is having a good week!

Big Clyde

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Feel-Good Run

4:10 am   Wake-up to alarm
5:05 am   Leave for Starbucks, then 2 hour drive to monthly meeting in Phoenix
7:05 am   Arrive in Phoenix, hit Starbucks for another round...then the office
7:30 - Noon   Long meeting
Noon  Devour the world's greasiest chinese food, which was horrible.  Look up from empty plate, wanting to punch myself in the face.
Noon - 5 pm   Meeting, part two.
5:00 - 7:00 pm   Drive home, stopped at Arby's (second mistake of the day).

7:00 - 8:00 pm  Good time with the family.  Change clothes. 

8:00 - 8:30 pm  Went for a cool 2.5 mile run!  I didn't hate this one.  I actually felt good on the run.  Amazing.  It's my 4th cardio day out of the last 5 days and my first run after my confidence-building 5-mile run on Sunday.  I ran the entire 2.5 miles tonight and realized after about 20 minutes in that I was pretty energized and began running faster. 

Next run is just 2 miles on Thursday.  I intend to push it and work on some speed.

Big Clyde

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The 5 Mile Run

A Running Clydesdale!
I did it!   Thanks to many of you for the advice and encouragement.  I used the Galloway "walk break" method and with a 5 minute warm-up, did a 4:1 run/walk interval.  I completed it in 62:30, which was actually faster than I thought I would do, especially with the walk breaks. 

My training plan is the Hal Higdon 10k Novice plan and I just completed week 1.  That only called for a 3 mile run for today's "long run".  But in honor of my 45th birthday yesterday, my wife suggested that I try some stretch goal.  5 miles is the longest I have ever gone for a run, so I guess it qualifies.  I will likely stick to the training plan from now on.

Again, thanks for the inspiration and advice, my friends.  I am very grateful to all of you.


Big Clyde

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Birthday Run

I turn 45 years old today!  I've had a great day with a short neighborhood bike ride, waffles and fruit for brunch and relaxed time with the family. 

Mrs. Clyde suggested that I commemorate my birthday with a long run this weekend.  I did my 2 miles today, as per my schedule, but tomorrow (Sunday) I will either do a 4.5 or 5 mile run (with likely a few walk breaks).  4.5 miles would have some nice symmetry with my 45 years, but the 5 mile loop would be a pretty convenient way to mark the distance.   

I wish I understood more about training.  Am I better off shuffling along at a very slow speed while trying to run the entire distance, or should I take 30-60 second walk-breaks, etc.?  I hate the thought that I am going with too far of a distance for my abilities right now and will end up walking much (most?) of it. 

I've never gone beyond 3.1 miles (other than casual walks), so I think I'll just try to run, walk, shuffle, whatever and try to get it done as fast as possible...just to get a benchmark for this distance.

Any advice? 

I'll let you know how it goes!

Big Clyde

Friday, December 3, 2010

Coming Back...

I just got back from a great 15 mile bike ride after work.  I've been sick for the last few days and am now feeling better.  A little extra sleep will really help too.  I only missed one running day, so I switched around some cardio days and will do two runs this weekend.  So, I'll be back on schedule by tomorrow night.

I'm looking forward to also catching up on your blogs.   Have a great weekend, everyone!

Big Clyde