Race Review: Frog Hill Half Marathon

The Ultimate Training Run – The Frog Hill Half Marathon & 10K

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This is a slightly smaller local race held in the city of Waynesville, Missouri which is located fairly central in the state of Missouri just north of Highway 44 and about an hour South-Eash of Lake of the Ozarks. I estimate about 200 people participated this past October 3rd, 2015. There are two races to choose from, a 10K and an extremely challenging half marathon.

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OVERALL –
This is a well-run race with chip-timing and medals given to all finishers of either the 10K or half marathon.

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T-SHIRT/SWAG –
This race is sponsored by the Team 413 Gracerunner Ministries and the 413 refers to a verse in the bible, Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” That verse, along with http://www.Team413.org was printed on the back of the green t-shirt and a fun looking frog with the race name was on the front. The t-shirt sizes ran from small, medium, large and extra-large. The rest of the SWAG bag contains papers on various upcoming races in the area and a nice brochure about the historic city of Waynesville, MO which was founded back in 1843.

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AID STATIONS –
There are an adequate number of theme based aid stations throughout the out and back course which feature water and Gatoraid. The end of the race was the best. In addition to bottles of water & Gatorade underneath a nearby pavillion were free grilled hot dogs, chips, soda and more Gatorade.

COURSE SCENERY –
This race offers a variety of running surfaces which each have their own unique scenery. There’s about 20% asphalt & paved road which starts at the school parking lot then onto nice section of downhill roadway which may lull the newbie Frog Hill runner into thinking they could be getting a PR with this race. That road then turns onto a fairly short stretch of running through the a section of the towns quant downtown before turning off onto the majority of the running surface which consist of a mixture crushed gravel and a dirt road. The race director had commented that there hadn’t been rain in a while so the trail type portion of the run may be harder than normal but I found no problems with the surface other than it was very dry and the few times cars drove by they would kick up clouds of dust. There’s a nice mixture of trees, rock formations and views of the Roubidoux Creek along this majority portion of the run. The run ends at a point about a mile and a half from the start at a local park which conveniently is hosting the Waynesville Frog Festival so there is plenty to do and see after the run as well.

Half Marathon Course Route

Half Marathon Course Route

EXPO QUALITY –
Packet pickup for this race may be done the night before the race at a local VFW or from about 7 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. the day of the race. I believe final registration was also available on race day as well for an additional $10 fee but the already low price of $45 was available online all the way until the night before the race, which is when I finally got around do signing up.
I picked up my race packet on race day and was pleasantly surprised to see complementary donuts, chocolate donuts and coffee available for all the racers. There was also a costumed frog walking around and available to all who wanted pictures.
The pickup was inside East Elementary School which provided some nice relief from the slightly chilly weather outside until the race started.
This race used tri-athlete style ankle timers which contestants were instructed to put on their left ankle. I’ve never used this type of timing system before but put it on over my sock and never noticed it was there.

ELEVATION DIFFICULTY –
This may be the part I love and hate the most about this run. Just before the 10K turnabout is an aid station where people were dressed up as ghouls, goblins & monsters which ….if you continue past this turnabout point – be forewarned because how those people look is going to be how you feel if you continue ….just beyond that aid station is Superior Hill and you must be MORE superior to conquor and continue! This is no small hill and for me, only the Pikes Peak Ascent in Colorado had a greater incline. This incline in Waynesville, MO goes on for MILES – well, maybe “just” a mile but it’s up and up and up …..I thought there was an end to it that I could see so I tried running up the hill but the hill didn’t stop …so I tried speed walking and the hill still didn’t stop ….it’s formidable to say the least.

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This hill could make the Frog Hill Half Marathon the ultimate training run because there is NO WAY I would have pushed myself up this many hills of this magnitude on my own. My quads were lit up and on fire after Superior Hill and there’s still 7 or 8 miles miles to go AFTER you’ve fried your quads on that hill.

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PARKING/ACCESS –
Parking was very adequate at the Elementary school parking lot.

RACE MANAGEMENT –
A runner by the name of Melissa Martinez is the current race director and did a superior job. She is very caring and responsive to the needs of the runners.

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Crazy Running Goals

When I first started this blog I had a tagline which read “can a man who can barely run a minute complete a marathon?”  It took a while but eventually the answer was yes and Yes times 3 since I completed full marathons in the months of June, July and August this year.  But a subsequent tagline I had in my head for after completing my 3rd, 4th and 5th marathons was – “Can a man who can barely complete a marathon qualify for Boston?”

Qualifying for Boston – 

I guess that would be Crazy Goal #1.  Of course, one rational reason I had for changing the tagline to the qualifying for Boston reference is unlike the first tag line goal which was achieved within a year, the Boston tagline could keep me going for the rest of my life or, at least a significant portion of it.  I think on blogspot I actually had a blog I’d started specifically for qualifying for Boston and there is a Word document I found a few months back from 2010 which has the pace I needed broken down to the 10th of a mile – 1/10th, 2/10th …all the way up to 26.2 miles and recently, I made up a slightly more rational breakdown of the slightly faster 2016 qualifying times in a recent spreadsheet.

2016 BQ Paces

Maybe such thoughts are in my nature.  Maybe they are in everyone’s nature.  Hasn’t everyone at least thought once about climbing Mount Everest?  Maybe it’s just a reflection of how I see the world or how I’d like to live it.

Why is this goal crazy?  Well, I did a 6 mile training run earlier tonight and had a 13:20 pace.  That particular pace, according to SmashRun.com was my fastest 6 mile run in the past 2 years.  To qualify for Boston, say at age 50, I would need to maintain an 8 minute per mile pace for 26.2 miles and that’s just to technically qualify and not necessarily be accepted.  Heck, my best mile for this year is 8 min 50 seconds.  Perhaps the craziness or absurdity of the goal is a bit temporal based meaning it’s kind of stupid to be thinking of such a vast minute per mile increase at this stage of the game.

Why is it not crazy?  Well, it gives direction.  It gives meaning to Interval training and speedwork.  It’s a mountain that’s maybe 5 or 10 years in the future and maybe it’s something I’ll never attain but even so it still gives a direction and a heading.  Something I read back in 1994 and recently came up in one of my facebook running group replies and also came up tonight in an article I read was that runners can maintain their marathon pace for about 3x their average daily mileage.  If I run 50 miles per week then I average about 7 miles per day which means I’ll run out of gas around mile 21 but, if I run 63 miles per week then my daily average is 9 and should be able to sustain a marathon pace for 27 miles.  For me, this helps give credence and justification for another crazy goal I currently have about increasing my monthly mileage 10 miles per month for 6 straight months… I’ll get into that one down below…

Running 7 Half Marathons in 7 States in 7 Days –

Crazy Goal #2 – This is one I’m looking at for May of 2016.  One thing I’ve learned with my training is that many goals and aspirations don’t always happen as fast as I originally think they well.  I’m not always crazy about this aspect of reality.  I have a half marathon coming up on the 20th of this month – about 5 days away and I thought I would be much leaner than I am now.  I thought I would be faster sooner.  I didn’t think I could do all the training I did last year and not be able to pull off the marathon I was registered for but, I didn’t.  well – whatever – I am improving and I am grateful that I still have enough physical acumen to be able to improve.  The question is, how much can I improve?  I suppose that’s another thing that helps make these goals ….crazy is one word but challenging might be another adjective we could use to describe them.  The Mainly Marathons New England Series from May 15th to May 20th plus a 7th half marathon in Indiana is what’s been in my head.

Advantages to this Crazy goal? – It may be do-able.  I seem to like the fact that there are no training programs out for such an endeavor so I have to use my own brain to come up with ideas and I like that.  It’s another reason to keep pushing up my monthly mileage.  May 2017 might be much more reasonable but …the darn challenge of it seems to have an appeal also in which case it will be much more challenging in 2016 then in 2017.  I really like to travel and see new places and this goal would allow me to visit every state east of New York.  I’ve read great reviews about the Mainly Marathons running series so that could be another big plus as well.  I don’t know – 8 months isn’t the longest time in the world to elicit an overwhelming number of physical adaptations but – therein may be one of the biggest advantages – if I can keep this goal in my head then maybe it can help me be more serious and disciplined with my training.  You know, reach for the moon and even if you miss you’ll end up among the stars sort of thing.

A Sub 6 Minute Mile

This goal exist because of a run we did for my high school football team.  If we ran a mile in 6 minutes or less then we got an extra sticker on our helmets – a freakin’ sticker – maybe a star sticker or something.  I think I got 6:05 but lately my mind has been telling me it was 6:04 – either way, it was just shy of 6 minutes.  This goal is crazy because I’m basically wanting to outdo my performance from when I was a teenager.  Ludicrous, right?

Why do I even think this is remotely possible?  I think partly because I was never a track athlete.  I was a lineman, a weightlifter/bodybuilder type person.  I threw a shot-put and discus during the few seasons I was in track.  I wonder now, if I’m actually training as a runner – even as an “adult onset” runner that maybe I can train to that level.  I don’t know, but this also gives me direction.

Perhaps a tangent here but …I realize there will come a day when I can no longer improve, when my times will slow and then my goals will need to change.  However, in my head, I think the better, stronger, faster I can get now – … Citius, Altius, Fortius – the Latin motto of the Olympics meaning Faster, Higher, Stronger – the better I can get over the ensuing years, the greater the mountain of decline will be.  I’d rather be coming down from a 20,000 ft mountain than a 400 foot hill.  I’d like to have mobility and be able to enjoy life for as long as possible ….hence …these crazy goals.

A Sub 60 Second Quarter Mile

While I was training for my first full marathon in 1994, I wanted to see what it was like to run at a 4 minute per mile pace.  The pace Roger Bannister ran when he broke the 4 minute per mile barrier.  That comes out to running 15 mph for 4 straight minutes.  Obviously, I knew I wasn’t going to run an entire mile at this Olympic pace but I figured I could sprint it for a tenth or two and I did.  I had a sub sprint speed that I kept up for 2/10ths of a mile and pretty much crushed that pace.

idk – this goal is a bit crazy because my current endeavors revolve more about getting back to a 10 or sub 10 minute per mile training pace and that pace would need to be more than cut in half for this goal.  I kind of hate to admit this because it reflects on my age but, I have looked into the local senior olympics and it appears I  could maybe even set a record if I could pull off a sub 60 quarter mile.

Add 10 Miles Per Month for 6 Months

I kinda hate this goal at times and it’s something I’m currently pursuing.  The dumb thing on my part is that I went from around 70ish miles in a month to 107 miles when I started this goal.  That 107 mile month was only the 2nd time I have recorded for going over 100 miles in a month but, the following month I did manage 117 miles (116.75) so now September’s goal is 126.8 miles.  I’m off pace by a fair amount with less than 50 miles in the first 14 days.  I have two half marathons this month which will help but really need to do more.  At my level, the best way I have of pulling off this goal is to get in some double run days with maybe a 5K in the morning and a 5K at night.

On the plus side …If I am to pull off 7 halfs in 7 days in 7 states then bumping up my mileage is probably essential.  Rationally & logically, I know that 10 mile increases when one is already beyond 100 miles constitutes less than a 10% increase per month.  I know that rule is debatable but when you’re already pushing max capacity then it’s one I like to point at to help me say my training isn’t completely nuts.  I’ve already thought about October’s training – should I actually manage to pull off 126.8 this month.  I figured I would intentionally slow my pace down on my long runs and was also looking at another trip to the Ozarks, maybe for 4 days since I remember when I started my run streak on July 1st in the Ozarks and had several double run days.  I also know it’s going to get colder outside and have conceded that I may have to put in some treadmill time at the gym.   But, the gym and weight training is another thing on my list that I’d like to add into my life and maybe that brings up something else that …..well – maybe isn’t crazy but I’ve had a heck of a time incorporating it into my life….

Karate, Running & Weightlifting

Three different venues of aspirations.  I’ve always done pretty well sticking to one at a time and making progress singularly but putting all three together has been a bit of a challenge for me my entire life.  Perhaps cycling could be thrown in there as well although that has not always been in the mix like the other three.

Completing a triathlon or an Ironman could also be nutty goals but those haven’t always been in my life like the other things I’ve mentioned.

I know my lung capacity has always been very close to 6 liters – from high school up through the last time it was checked in chiro school a couple years ago.  I know I’ve had my resting pulse rate in the 30s from being in good physical condition – again, this was back in my teens and 20s but I figure there is some potential there, maybe a fortunate genetic constitution that I’d like to exploit while I’m still alive.

Strength wise – that’s been my forte, if I have one at all but I did hold 7 different state bench press records and have been mentioned in Powerlifting USA magazine a few times and maybe I could give better advice and talk more authoritatively if I were to blog about something I was actually good at – or was at one time but, running is the challenge now …at least one of them.

Reasonable Goals

I know in 2016 I want to get a sub 8 minute mile in the Macklind Mile race.  I did 8:50 this year and I think with the additional year of training and subsequent improvement that a sub 8 minute goal is reasonable.  I don’t really have any other running goals for this current year.  I hit the ones I set already and have only been looking for repeatability in those goals.  My initial mile goal was simply under 10 minutes.  I did that in a race but would still like to hit it in training and I’m probably not too far from away from that goal.  I have looked at things like a sub 2:45:00 half time which should beat my best time from 2007.

hmmmm – other crazy goals????

Beat my 4:30(ish) marathon time – Beat Oprah’s time (4:29) – Sub 4:22:00 time – Sub 4 hour time

These are all marathon times that stick in my head and have been there a while.  4:22:00 is a ten minute per mile pace and sub 4 hours – say, 3:55:00 or so is a 9 minute per mile pace.

When I start talking about time, I recall my previous best performances and a desire to beat those performances.  A sub 4:30:00 would beat 1994 and a sub 5:42:00 would beat 2004.

This is almost the kind of blog that you don’t want to post because on one hand you’re kind of putting it out there – these crazy goals but, on the other hand, I’ve already acknowledged the craziness in the title – Crazy Running Goals.

I suppose dropping excess weight as I have been doing for some 20+ months now is the best thing I’ve been doing to come closer to crazy goals.  I also fully realize the fun that is to be had along the way.  In a recent 5K I averaged something like 11:17/mile so I have a lot of fun and sense of satisfaction to come from any average pace in the 10 minute/mile range.  New distances …which reminds me of an Ultra goal I’ve thought of also – that one would be the Midnight Marathon in Springfield where we would do 5 laps around the Oak Ridge Cemetery (~32 miles) instead of the 4 laps needed for a marathon.

If nothing else – all this tells me that I need to keep training and where possible, improve my training.  There’s a lot of good stuff out there and I’m looking to take the biggest bites out of this banquet of life that I can while I’m still around to consume it.

Week 11 Weigh-In

“What gets measured gets managed”

Peter Drucker”

AND – when you have a financial incentive you can help increase your odds of losing weight by a factor of 5!  Which, is a great reason to click on my HealthyWage badge below which also doubles as my referral link to help you take a significant step in managing your weight as well as giving me an extra $20 towards my final Jackpot! (link opens in new window)  Plus, 10% of the winnings go to help fight ALS (via www.alsa.org)

Click on the Banner to get your share!

Click on the Banner to get your share!

 


This week, we find ourselves at the lowest weight of the year so far, 267.2 pounds.  That’s a 5.6 pound drop over last week which can be typical following a week where the weight has gone up.  That 267 lb weight has been pretty stable and is exactly what I weighed the day before this week’s weigh-in.  Today (Friday, 3/13) I actually weighed in at 256.8 lbs which is good since I need to be at 264 next week and down to 260 the week after that.

2015 Wallpaper 02 half - 2015

As you may have noticed above, my official HealthyWage prize banner has changed from it’s original $2036.00 base prize to a new total of $2096.00 because I’ve had 3 people click on my link and sign up which has added $60 to my potential prize.


 

2015 Running Preview

I still need to finish up Part II of my running preview for the runs I have scheduled for this year – logistically, this blog is a godsend in terms of helping me keep everything straight.  Current list is as follows;

2015

  1. Saturday 3/14 – St Pats 5M Run. – REGISTERED
  2. Saturday 3/21 – McKendree 5K – REGISTERED
  3. Saturday 3/28 – Bridge & Dam 10K – REGISTERED
  4. Saturday 4/4 – Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon – REGISTERED
  5. Sunday 4/12 – 15th Annual GO! St Louis 1/2 Marathon – REGISTERED
  6. Sunday 6/21 – Go! St Louis All American 5k – REGISTERED
  7. Saturday 6/27 – Macklind Mile – REGISTERED
  8. Sunday 6/28 – Pride 5K – REGISTERED
  9. Friday 7/10 – Tour de Belleville – registration not yet available
  10. Saturday 7/11 – Tour de Donut – REGISTERED
  11. Saturday 8/8 – Moonlight Ramble – registration not yet available
  12. Sunday 9/20 – US Navy/AirForce 1/2 Marathon – REGISTERED
  13. Saturday 10/17 – RnR 5K Spinning Medal – REGISTERED
  14. Sunday 10/18 – Rock n Roll St Louis 1/2 Marathon – REGISTERED
  15. Saturday 10/24 – 5K Monster Dash – reg not avail. pending.
  16. Sunday 11/1 – SLTC’s St Louis 1/2 Marathon – reg not available
  17. Virtual Run – Race with Reason – 500 Miles in 2015 for Fighter Medal

The Macklind Mile registration became available so I got signed up for that so I only have two bike rides and two more runs where registration is not available.  I’m not sure if the 5K Monster Dash will be an option unless it’s held  a week earlier due to scheduling conflicts with my Part IV board reviews.  The SLTC 1/2 is the longest running 1/2 marathon in St Louis and I wouldn’t mind doing that again.

Mainly, I’ve been looking at more runs – a few notable mentions would be the Country Music Marathon in Nashville TN.  As a single race, it’s very pricey with a current going rate of $125 and that’s a bit to wrap my head around.  However, the Rock n Roll series has what’s known as a Tour Pass available for $199 that entitles a person to run in any 3 Rock n Roll events.  There is also an extra fee which brings that price closer to $210 but that still comes out to about $70 per run which is easier to swallow than $125.

However – getting that Tour Pass also opens up the option of partaking in two additional RnR 1/2’s this year and in addition to Nashville, I may opt or the Chicago 1/2 which also features the Remix Challenge which means I can run a 5K the day before the half, as well as the 1/2 the next day – this gives participants a total of 3 medals.  One for each of the races as well as the bonus Spinning Medal showing you ran in the back to back races.

For me – the third RnR would only be second to the Washington DC 1/2 marathon I’m already signed up for because RnR #3 would be the Inaugural Run of the Brooklyn, New York 1/2 on October 10th, 2015.  General registration for the run begins March 16 but, as a pass holder I could sign up early.  It even has a special $55 early entry fee.  (which also makes me wonder if using my Tour Pass for this run would be prudent….)

But – I’ve never been to New York before except for flying into the airport once – I’ve never seen the city.  From what I’ve learned the Brooklyn Bridge crosses right over into Manhattan – another place I’ve never seen before 🙂

Most likely – I’ll sign up then figure out how to get there afterwards… 🙂

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Brooklyn-Bridge-of-New-York-USA

 

Betting $1,266.00 on Myself

In this blog:

  • Betting $1,266.00 on Myself
  • Week 6 Weigh-in

 

Betting $1,266.00 on Myself

I’m keeping things fun, interesting and definitely upping my level of self awareness when it comes to my weight by placing a total of 7 different bets which now total $1,266.00.  This could possibly be confusing and it’s taken a while for me to wrap my head around it all but, I guess that is part of what makes it all interesting.  These money bets have been placed using two different websites so, I’ll take each one in turn.

HealthyWage.com
People are only allowed to make a single bet on this website once.  The bet is to lose a certain amount of weight in a certain amount of time for a certain amount of money.

The parameters are that the time frame is anywhere from 6 months to 18 months and the bets can range anywhere from $6 to $500 per month.  The amount of weight to be lost is up to the participant.

I’ve set a target weight of 212 lbs in 18 months or, by June 26th of 2016.  Since any bet beyond $750 yields the same return – namely $16 per pound, I decided to minimize my risk (as well as upping my yield) by dividing that 750 by 18 months which comes out to about $41.67 per month.  Only round dollar amounts can be bet so I’ll be betting $42 per month.  There is an option to pay all the money up front or to make automatic monthly payments.  I’m doing the monthly payment option.  As long as I win this bet then it’s a pretty cool & very profitable kind of savings account.  My personal payout badge is shown below along with my potential prize.

HealthyWage 2036 Badge

At $42 per month, my total investment will be $756.00.  That $2036.00 figure would be getting my original $756 back along with an additional $1,280.00.  That’s a return of 169%.

There were many factors that went into choosing a final weight as well as the time frame.  Enough factors that would take up a very long blog posting in itself.  In short, however, I picked the 212 final weight because …well, for one thing, it wasn’t nearly as scary as picking a 204 weight.  But, a little over 10 years ago I know I was at a bodyweight of 222 when I benched 515 lbs.  That’s about the only weight I remember from back then and 212 is at least within striking distance of that weight.  I know at 222 there was still some flab that could have been trimmed so the 212 weight goal pushes me beyond a previous best without getting too ridiculous.

The 18 month time frame was picked for a couple main reasons.  A big reason is because of the other website where I’m placing bets and we’ll get into that in a bit but, another reason for the 18 month time span is to help maintain awareness of my weight.  I know that if I don’t do something, like this blog for instance, that I simply won’t be thinking or caring about my weight and my weight will increase.  I think this was pretty well demonstrated during the last couple months of December and January, maybe November too a bit.

That $42 per month is also going to show up on my banking statement and that will be an extra reminder to pay attention to my health.

Almost forgot – I get an extra $20 for anybody that I refer to the HealthyWage.com website that signs up for a wager of their own – just use this link: http://www.healthywage.com/referral/healthywager/name-your-own-prize/75264742700057 which will open up in a new window!  🙂

DietBetter.com
This is a really cool website and a lot of fun.  HealthyWage is great for making a big bet and being able to win some serious cash but it’s lacking in any kind of a fun forum to be able to interact with fellow participants.  DietBet, on the other hand, has an Activity Wall for each game which is a lot like Facebook but it also has a lot of other features which makes it even more fun for people working to improve their health.  There’s literally so much, I’m not sure where to start.  There are two basic games which can be played on DietBetter.com, one is called the Kickstart and the other is called Transformation.

Kickstart – DB4
The objective for this game is to lose 4% of your body weight in 4 weeks.  It’s commonly referred to as DB4 which refers to the Diet Bet 4% game.  There are dozens of DB4 games to choose from on the site.  Some have a hundred participants and some have thousands.  The most common wager is $25 to $35 per person.  At the end of 4 weeks, everybody who lost 4% splits the pot.

I’m currently in three of those games right now which all end between Feb 28 and March 2nd.  Two games are for $30 each and one is a $100 game.

The hundred dollar game is called Bet Big to Win Big and has 130 people in it.  Another game I’m in is called ObesetoBeast.  It has 578 players and the guy hosting that game is somebody who lost 170 lbs themselves.  Their theme is Obese to Beast, hence the name of the game.

The largest DB4 game I’m in is called …(I’m almost embarrassed to say this) the Blogilates Hot Body Challenge.  In spite of the name, it’s got 4,718 players and a total jackpot of $141,540.00.  So far, all us players have lost a total of 4,654 lbs.

Transformation – DB10
This game involves dropping 10% of your bodyweight in 6 months.  The game consist of 6 one month rounds with a specific weight drop objectives each month.  The gray diamonds in the graph below represent the specific goals for each month.

Progress Chart

For each month the cummulative weight loss goals are 3%, 6%, 8%, 9% then 10% for the final two months.  From what I understand, half of the total pot is split up between the first five rounds with the remaining half divided up at the end of the 6th month.  Below is a screenshot from the Feb 5 to Aug 4 Transformation game.  It’s what each player sees on their dashboard.

Game Progress

I’ve never done anything before with specific weight objectives and these are pretty reasonable goals to obtain.  When I looked back over my data in last years 12 week contest, I threw out the weight losses in the first and last weeks to consider only the data in the middle 10 weeks which represented the most legitimate weight loss and that came out to 32 lbs in 10 weeks or, 3.2 lbs per week so, even half that effort should keep me in line with the above goals for each round.

So, right now I’m in three DB4’s and two DB10’s.  You can join a DB10 game up to 14 days after it starts and do a verified weigh in up to 48 hours before a game starts.  The 14th day of a 6 month game that started Jan 21st just happened to coincide with 2 days before the Feb 5th game started so I joined them both.

Also just signed up for another DB4 game which starts on the same day as one of these other 4% game ends which will make for some totally legitimate weight loss since I’ll be using my ending verified weight for one game as my beginning verified weight for the next game.

All in all, it’s a really cool & fun site.


 

Week 6 Weigh-in

2015 Wallpaper 02 half - 2015

I’ve tried to clean the wallpaper up a little for 2015 by having one single month per line.  I’ve added in all the various bets to help keep track of them easier.  Most end around the same time so it shouldn’t be too difficult.  The black borders along the sides are so my desktop icons are easier to see and don’t obscure the weigh in data.

For now, I’ve just added the Russian Cyrillic alphabet to the right of the wallpaper.  I think I’ve mentioned my foreign language interest before.  Duolingo.com is a site I have an 84 day streak going with in German.  From what I’ve read in the forums the lessons are like (or even better) than Rosetta Stone but free which is a great price!  The language courses themselves on duolingo are generated by users of the site and often native speakers.  The website ultimately makes money when students become proficient enough to start translating documents from one language to another.  Kind of clever.  🙂

It’s sort of like a fun game and doesn’t take too much time per day.  I’m currently at level 10 in German with a vocabulary of 308 words.  I’ve also played around with French, Italian and Spanish but am really anticipating the completion of Russian which is currently at 62% completion.

For now, I’ve been working at developing some proficiency with the Russian alphabet which has 31 characters plus an additional two symbols which designate either a hard or soft sound.  Memrise.com is the site I use for that.

Betting to Lose & Week 5 Weigh-In

In this blog:

  • HealthyWage.com
  • A VLOG?
  • Week 5 Weigh-in
  • Drop 70+ lbs in 12 Weeks

 

I kind of messed up my last blog by not completing it, forgetting about it, then not publishing until 4 or 5 days later and then forgetting I didn’t finish it until after I clicked that publish button 🙂  sometimes I get easily distracted.

HealthyWage.com

HealthyWage.com is a website where you can bet to drop an amount of weight of your choosing, in a time frame of your choosing.  I have learned a bit about the specific algorithm the website uses.  For my particular case and set of personal statistics, I’ve learned that any total bet at or above $760 yields the same payout results of $16 per pound loss.  So, that’s a profit of $160 per 10 lbs lost or $1,440 for 90 pounds lost.

It doesn’t matter if I take 6, 8 or 10 months to lose the weight, the payout is the same.  It also doesn’t matter if I bet more – bets of $1,000, $2,000 or even $3,000 yield the same profit of $1,440.

There are two aspects to starting the program.  One is to get a verified beginning weight and the other aspect is to choose your bet.  There are two ways to get a verified weight.  One way is to make a short video of yourself getting weighed.  The other way is to print out a verification form that you would take to your doctor and have them sign and date the form with a weight obtained at their office.

I did both – and my doc was kind enough to take a quick 53 second video of me as well as signing my verification form.  I took a picture of the form and spliced it into the ending part of my video so everything is about as legitimate as I could make it.  In the video it is recommended to wear minimal clothing so I had on shorts and a t-shirt, no shoes.  The video composition is simply of me stepping on the scale, then a close up shot of my weight (which was 292.0) then me stepping off the scale, pulling out my pockets to show nothing is in them, turning in a circle,  then stepping back on a second time with a second reading (which was the same).  Pretty easy and that follows the sample video HealthyWage gives on their website.

I’ve got my video uploaded and now have up to two weeks to decide on a bet.  I’m pretty certain I’ll max out my potential profit with a total bet of $760 but am uncertain as to the total amount of weight to lose or the time frame in which to lose it.

One caveat with that site is that you only can make a bet once.  I have a years worth of statistical data regarding my weight as well as data buried in my computer somewhere from two other times I did the 12 week Lose to Win contest.

One thing I learned from the contest was that each time I did that contest I kept starting out at a higher weight which is a reason I was happy that I maintained my weight within that 260 +/- 3% range last year and from my monthly averages I can see I maintained that range through the end of November.

Overall, I think maintaining any given weight is kind of a farce – at least for me.  I can see maintaining an amplitude range around a given weight and maybe even working to minimize that amplitude range so, if I was 205 then my range might be from 200 to 210 and based on my data from last year, I’d probably be a little rotund during the Christmas holidays but more svelte & sexy towards the end of Summer 😉  🙂

A VLOG?   (Video Blog)

When I was trying to verify the legitimacy of HealthyWage.com I came across a forum where someone suggested looking at YouTube to find people who had shared their experience with HealthyWage.  I didn’t find a lot of personal testimony (none actually) but there were plenty of news stations that had featured HealthyWage.com  Below is a screenshot from one of the videos (you can click on the picture to see the entire video)

2014 HealthyWage Press Release YouTube

I wish I could gain $2,000 for losing 29 pounds.  When you first sign up at HealthyWage there is a small form to fill out and one of the questions ask what kind of a better/person you are – ie, casual or looking to be competitive or one choice is “I’m here to make money (lose 15% or more)” and I chose the most aggressive option of being there to make money so, that might have tagged me as a ringer or something which is why my winning is limited to that $1,440 or $16/lb prize.  That’s still not bad and a $760 bet would still put my total prize over $2,000.

I’ve had an idea of putting up a VLOG before during my previous contest but never pulled the trigger on that idea.  I have received some encouragement on this idea.  I think my student loan may be pushing to make it a reality.  Not including any previous college, just the DC program debt is now made up of 13 different students loans which have topped $270,000.00 and in my mind, if I do nothing with everything I’ve learned then that money spent is truly a waste and can really only have any value if other people are helped in some way.  Even if it’s just one other person, if their life can be made better then we can start to ascribe some value to the educational investment.

idk – I do have many thoughts and ideas regarding a VLOG and maybe I’ll hash them out a little more in future blogs.  If I go that direction I may add another tab on this blog called YouTube.  I only have about 1/2 dozen videos posted and only about three of those are any good but I still get comments on a very regular basis.  My primary audience consist of 1st year med students.  If nothing else, putting up a VLOG could help me get back into completing other anatomical videos that I’ve thought about for a long time.

Week 5 Weigh In 

I better get this part in before my mind goes too tangential and I don’t finish like last time.

2015 Wallpaper 01 January - 01-23-2015

I can update my Running Log tab and put down an average weight of 278 for the month.  It’s actually 277.6 but, I’m trying to keep that data clean and easy to look at.

And Voila!  My odometer/weight table is updated and I’m 15 lbs lighter than I was last year at this time 🙂  Next month I’ll need to average lighter than 269.  And, if I can get my butt outside for almost any amount of time then I’ll be able to enter something other than a zero for my monthly mileage which would beat last years total.

Now, I did have an official verified weigh in of 292 this past Monday so, it may look like I’ve dropped 13.4 lbs in the past 4 days but, I was already pushing 280 the week before and was probably well above 280 the morning of my weigh in.  It just so happened that I could only get to the doctors office at the end of the day so bodyweight is usually higher at the end of the day.  But, the weight measurements have to be pretty legitimate so, for the record, all i had to eat the day of the weigh in was a pizza and the day before it was my traditional pre-contest meal consisting of 4 cheeseburgers from McDonalds.  I don’t eat fast food very often but, it was a good reminder of how miserable one can feel when eating that crap – mainly because of an extraordinary amount of sodium in the food.

For the most part, I do my best to make my weekly weigh ins on Thursday mornings, right after I wake up, as was the case this morning.

……………………….

Drop 70+ lbs in 12 Weeks

That would probably make a pretty catchy blog title but, since I’m already pondering it, we’ll tack it on at the end here.

In my previous 3 successful Lose to Win contest I did drop over 70 lbs each time in a 12 week period but, this contest is different.  12 weeks was never long enough to actually get lean or even down to a decent percentage of bodyfat.  BMI scales don’t really apply to me because I still have a fair amount of residual muscle from benching over 500 pounds and scarcely anybody ever builds up that amount of strength & muscle so, those norm BMI scales are for more average individuals.  Funny – it wasn’t until just now with this blog entry that I considered again basing an overall weight objective with body fat percentage.  anything below 20% – something in the teens – even high teens would be good for me.  Especially since I’m probably around double that 20% mark currently.

I’ve mentioned previously an initial weight objective in the lower 240s for this year and I am quite happy with that weight.  I can wear a lot of clothes I own at that weight and don’t mind jumping in the pool ..etc

But, there are personal goals such as qualifying again for the Pikes Peak ascent and finishing that run in under 6 hours or, running a sub 2:30 half marathon which, is what’s needed to qualify for Pikes Peak.

and this HealthyWage competition can be any time frame I choose – anywhere from 6 to 18 months….  so, …. less than 240 is where we start getting into uncharted territories which on one hand can make things intimidating and on the other hand can make things exciting.

A final weight of 200-205 is about all my mind can deal with.  So, if i choose to lose 88 lbs that would put me at 204, just under the top end of what my mind can see.  Considering other weight loss objectives of 78 or 68 pounds would yield a final weight of 214 or 224 and, naturally either one of those would be fine as well.

The money is not a tremendous motivator for me and, in many ways would serve the same function of this blog in terms of helping me pay attention to this situation as opposed to ignoring and forgetting about it.  Competition with other people DOES motivate me and helps to bring out my best efforts.  With over 1,000 other people in previous contest – most are average joes but, there are some spectacular people in terms of effort and determination.  During one contest I walked just shy of 100 miles in the first two weeks.  I took 3rd or 4th place in that contest.  They guy that won did some outrageous number of spin classes – something like 124 during the 12 week period and there’s only 84 days in 12 weeks so I talked to him after the competition and he admitted to doing double spin classes on many of the days.  He would spin for an hour before work and again for an hour after work – just amazing effort and focus to keep that up for so long.

People tend to become a part of what they’re around so, in my competitions I would know there are people like that out there and would align myself with those people.  Knowing there are people busting their butt as much as I was or even more.

As far as competing against myself, I have my run mileage and weight data from last year which is nice but not nearly as exciting.

So, do I push myself to shoot for a 204 weight or make things easy on myself and go for a much easier win with say, a 244 weight?

I’m not sure at this point but my inclination is probably summed up by a quote from Thomas Carlyle, “Make no small plans, for they haven’t the capacity to stir men’s souls”

 

10 Strategies to Empower Your Life

In this blog:

  • Day 14:  Say No – 10 Strategies to Empower Your Life
  • Week 39 Weigh-In
  • 5K – Karate Testing – Half Marathon
  • Future Plans & Death
  • Week 2 – After Action Review

Start Saying No.   The Day 14 Video is called Say No.  There is a pretty detailed 10 step list which can help a person empower their lives.

A short Yes List and a long No list.

10 Powering and Productive Strategies you can use to empower your personal & professional life.

  1. What strategies, initiatives and activities will you say “No” to?  List the activities that can slow down or prevent progress from happening.  Everything is fair game – nothing is sacred in this exercise.  Simply put, if an activity does not advance you forward, then say no immediately.
  2. What meetings will you decline or delegate?  List every meeting you have in the remainder of the challenge and determine which you will NOT be attending.  Meetings consume large chunks of productive time and most can be declined or delegated to someone else.
  3. What relationships will you not keep?  The way you manage your relationships has an enormous impact on your ability to perform at high levels.  Identify the top three energy draining relationships you are committed to saying No to then, focus on creating strategies to free yourself from each of them immediately.
  4. What competitors will you not follow?  Too much time is lost by following and focusing on too many competitors and so-called gurus.  Identify the top 3 and immediately remove yourself from all of their email distribution list, blogs and other related communications.
  5. What websites will you not visit?  Websites are like magnets & vampires they draw you in and suck away your productive time.  Pull up your list of favorites and delete most from your favorites and keep only the ones of greatest value.  You must institute a “No Surfing” policy and stick to it.
  6. What money will you not spend?  Put yourself on a fiscal diet – every dollar spent should be thought of as an investment towards greater operating income even petty cash.  With this in mind, what things or entire even budget categories will you not spend money on.
  7. What foods will you not eat?  We are all reservoirs of energy and everything we do requires that we use it wisely.  So, it’s imperative that you focus in on your nutritional intake and exercise.  Eliminate any food or drink that compromises your energy levels.
  8. What thoughts will you not entertain?  Remember, that which does not move you towards your goal, takes you away from it.  Therefore, remove those thoughts that are limiting, defeating or downright negative and consciously replace them with thoughts of abundance, optimism and positivity.
  9. What television shows will you not view?  If there was ever a time hog that needed to be slaughtered, television tops the list.  If you stop to think about it those tv hours don’t take long to add up.  Even in a moderately tv watching household, it’s amazing how many hours are spent in front of the box.  The solution — go cold turkey and focus on making huge performance gains.  Take control of those previously lost hours and put them to good use.
  10. What will you no longer tolerate from yourself or others?  Identify the standards you wish to measure your life by and reuse to lower or negotiate at any time or any reason.  No is a tool of liberation and empowerment so use it with absolute authority and conviction.

That’s one heck of a list!


Week 39 Weigh-In

While updating my weekly weigh-in wallpaper for my computer, I realized my weigh-in isn’t until tomorrow BUT …I’ve already done it and we’ll just say it’s close enough for this week.  For today I’m weighing in at 263 pounds which is a 2nd consecutive week of declining weight.  Overall, still maintaining +/- 3% of that 260 weight I started at from a week after my winning weight loss contest so – ….27 weeks of maintaining a weight loss is fine by me!  🙂

Week n - 2nd 12 Week Session Weeks 39-27 - Copy

…maintaining a 50+ lb weight loss for over 1/2 a year – 27 weeks 🙂


5K – Karate Testing – Half Marathon

This should be a really fun weekend….

On Saturday I have a 5K in downtown St Louis at 8 a.m. – and ….as soon as that is over I’ll need to get my butt to the dojo back over in Illinois because Karate testing starts at 10 a.m.  On Sunday, the St Louis Rock n Roll half marathon starts at 7 a.m.   Packet pickup for these events ….I’ll do that Friday – there is supposed to be a wrist bank in the 5k packet that I wear during the half marathon then when that run is finished there is supposed to be a tent where I can get my Spinning Guitar Pick medal for participating in back to back runs 🙂   …just remembered – since this will be my 2nd Rock n Roll half marathon of the year I’ll also be getting some kind of repeat performance medal… I think i have pics of these somewhere …. all told, I’ll net 4 medals from this weekend.

obtained for running back to back races in the same weekend

obtained for running back to back races in the same weekend

obtained for running two Rock n Roll runs in the same year

2013-04-02_20-43-47_165 - Copy

HalfMarathonMedal Sat5k_Medal


Future Plans & Death

Running – Here I’m looking at repeating the 26/30 week program I was doing for my 3rd full marathon. It was originally a 26 week program and I added four blank weeks so it would end on the date of my 3rd marathon (November 1st) and, ironically enough, I pretty did exactly what was listed during those extra four weeks …nothing – pretty close to nothing anyway but, I did get in a good 1/2 year of training and made running progress.  When I started that 26 week program it was kicked off by a couple half marathons so I’m going to let this week’s half marathon be the kick off for my next 1/2 year of running.

I will be going back to Kansas City for a week long review for my part IV boards exam which is scheduled for May of 2015.  Part IV is interesting and once you pass you can never take it again and whatever score you get is what you live with for the rest of your life.  It determines which states you can practice in and even which insurance companies will pay you.  It is quite important so – KC review beats out my trip to Wynne Arkansas.

There is a nice half marathon on Sunday, November 2nd which I have run in before – maybe I’ll make that my 2nd kick off half.

Scrolling through media to find those upcoming medals reminded me of several events I want to do in 2015 – Macklind Mile, Tour de Belleville, Moonlight Ramble, Tour de Donut, Lincoln Presidential 1/2 mary, Go! St Louis 1/2, etc.

New Spreadsheet plan – shorter distances but maybe faster times.  I want a much higher percentage of running as opposed to walking … I almost forgot what the Future Plans referred to but I think I remember it mainly pertains to setting up a new program and creating a new spreadsheet.  I think I’ll start a new weigh-in wallpaper with that new spreadsheet.

Death – I’m still pondering this concept – this reality.  I went to another Masonic Funeral last week for a fellow Mason who had been a master mason for 61 years and 9 months.  I remembered during my first Masonic Funeral that one of the higher ranking members of the lodge tried explaining to me that one of the objectives of freemasonry was to overcome the fear of death.  What exactly does that mean, I’ve wondered.  I suppose ….well, I can’t speak for everyone but thinking about dying isn’t a constant thought in my head.  I suppose it’s just ignored but even my awareness level of an impending death but, at this point, I know one thing.  I know partly how my funeral is going to look.  I know there will be Masons present and I’ve heard what they are going to be saying a couple of times now.

I think part of this Masonic teaching kind of embodies that Carpe Diem notion which was briefly mentioned in a previous blog.  Some of the lines from the Dead Poet’s Society such as…. “did these boys wait until it was too late to take one iota from their life of what they were capable of?”  …just paraphrasing from memory there.   or that poem – To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time by Robert Herrick – “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying and this same flower that smiles today Tomorrow will be dying.”

I’ll keep learning.  On a kind of related note, it looks like I’m going to be an officer in the lodge come 2015 or maybe starting in December of this year so… still more to learn.

Week 2 – After Action Review (AAR) phone call – 

compare & contrast….  wow, what a difference a week can make.  week 1 of this 100 Day Challenge was fraught with poorly defined objectives and mainly only served to provide a greater awareness of what a loser I was in certain aspects of my life.  Week 2 AAR – huge difference – yesterday was a simple day consisting of work, karate and then coming home and kicking butt around the house with various endeavors but, at the end of it all, I could honestly say that I had lived that day about the best I possibly could.

Anyway, each week at Noon (CST) there is an AAR phone call with Gary, the guy that made up this 100 Day Challenge and in that 40 minute phone call he mentioned a list of 12 things to help improve our lives so, I took notes in this blog to share with others who might be interested.  My list has 14 items but I wasn’t able to completely differentiate between all the items so …there is a two item bonus in my list.

Also – I mentioned previously that this was a $147 course but there was an offer extended for me to be able to add up to 3 people to the program for $47 each.  Not that I would pay that but, if anyone is interested I’ve still got two extra people I can add to the program.   Leave a message – paypal me $47 to my email address of dukowitz@gmail.com and we’ll set you up.  I’ll probably shoot out a mass email to the 300 or so Masonic brothers in my lodge, maybe one or two of them will be interested as well.

There are 77 days left in the 2014

  1. Elevate your conversations
    – High Achievers talk about Big, Bold, Better Ideas
    – Average People talk about common events
    – Little People talk about other people – gossip, etc
  2. Elevate your Beliefs –
  3. Elevate your Actions
  4. Elevate your Attitude – expose your mind to a better life.  expose yourself to excellence – surround yourself with it
  5. Elevate your expectations by demanding more from yourself and others.
  6. Elevate your discomfort by elevating & challenging your discomfort zone.  it’s inconvenient to workout when you’re tired – reality is it’s convenient and easy to make an excuse.  it’s inconvenient to make a good meal and convenient to buy fast food.  expose yourself to discomfort.
  7. Elevate your value by raising the bar and going the extra mile.  the difference – go the extra mile –
  8. Elevate your gratitude by elevating your consciousness.
  9. Elevate your future by focusing on key priorities.  What we think, know or believe is of little value compared to….
  10. Elevate your joyfulness – it’s perfectly fine to have fun in everything that you do.  joy is a virtue that hides in plain site
  11. Elevate your reputation by delivering exceptional results.
  12. Elevate your network
  13. Elevate your Focus by saying No and Setting Boundaries.  Have a short Yes list and long No list.
  14. Elevate your Fun by laughing more and worrying less.   outlook not determined by circumstances (reminds me of Victor Frankl)

Your thoughts your words and your actions & beliefs can help improve your situation.

77 days left in this year and Each One Counts

– Everything Matters –

Everything Counts

Your thoughts, words, action, beliefs are like an elevator that can either help bring you up or take you down.  Well said, Gary 🙂

Always Move Forward

Day 13:  Always Move Forward

The odds that you’ll succeed in achieving any of your goals in the 100 Day Challenge without taking action are about the same as winning the lottery without buying a ticket.

For those times when you feel trapped, stressed or in a prison of your own making, you must take massive, intentional, purposeful goal directed action.  It is the ultimate silver bullet.

In Real Estate, it's all about Location, Location, Location

In Real Estate, it’s all about Location, Location, Location

In Goal Setting and going about achieving your goals, it's all about Action, Action & more Action

In Goal Setting and going about achieving your goals, it’s all about Action, Action & more Action

You can’t just stick out your thumb and hitchhike your way to success.  You have to roll up your sleeves and do the work that needs to be done.

it's like those 10 two letter words... if it is to be it is up to me.

it’s like those 10 two letter words… if it is to be it is up to me.

idk