Kyle Seiwert

Kyle Seiwert | This Fat Guy is Running

Kyle Seiwert is the midst of a personal transformation project. At the end of March 2010, the 29-year-old Topekan laced up a new pair of running shoes and set out on a journey to lose weight through distance running. You can read his entire blog HERE.

My Support Group

April 23, 2011

This is not a one-man band by any means. I would say that without support from readers, family, friends, etc., a lot of what I've been doing would feel a little more inconsequential. They play a big part in keeping me focused, keeping me active, and keeping me in good spirits, because if you've read this blog for any period of time, you know that I'm constantly battling myself in the injury department, and good spirits are always a good thing. I owe a lot of what I've accomplished to the people around me.

I'll start with my mother. Like any mom, she's allowed me to share my wacky ideas of needing to lose weight, and then starting to run, without any sort of "you are crazy" feelings about them. I needed that. I mean, I went from working out 3 times a week with minimal exertion to training to run 13.1 miles in the span of about 4 months, logging nearly 30 miles a week at the peak of training. So of course I had to let my mom know when I would hit a milestone, like when I went under 27:00 for a 3 mile run, or the first time I hit double digits in miles for a single run. In the past, before some foot issues, she participated actively in running and running in races, so she knows the excitement that comes with achieving goals and just the overall benefits of running. She is just now starting to get back into running, and I hope that I can provide similar support to her as she has to me.

Next up, we'll discuss my running coach, Coach Jones. This would also be my girlfriend, and absolutely nobody has had to deal with the new running lifestyle change as much as she has. Whether it is hearing me whine about much my feet hurt, or my legs hurt, or my shoulder hurts, or how hot it is/was, or how cold it is/was, or....well, you get the picture. She bears the brunt of the noise, has to wake up early when I'm going out early for a run, has to rearrange her schedule on the weekends because I need to get my miles in, has to get out to a race spot to see me trek towards the finish line (even in the freezing cold), and then has to fight off all the ladies looking for autographs and photo opportunities. OK, I made up the last one, but the rest of them are for real. A former runner cross country runner in her day, she is looking to make the transition back to full time running as soon as she finishes up her Masters degree in about 3 weeks. But, the most important thing to me is that she never has questioned why I was doing this and taking up so much of my time, and her time as well. And for that, I am very grateful.

Third on the list would be the competition, one Brian Sparks. I've written piece or two on Sparks in the past, so most of you know the story. Having said that, his commitment to get better has only kept me more motivated to continue to work as hard as I can to keep improving as well. Sparks recently shaved 19 minutes off of his Half Marathon time, and he's gunning for more. By the time June rolls around and we run the Hospital Hill Half Marathon in KC, he's going to be on my heels, and he's going to have lost, in total, 100 pounds since last February. Believe me, what he has accomplished is still astounding, and he has the desire to keep going until he runs his first full marathon later this year in San Antonio. I know I have to keep working hard, or else he'll be routinely beating me in races, and I just can't allow that happen :). Just kidding, buddy. Keep up the good work.

There have been a myriad of other people, include friends, blog readers, Coach Jones' parents, and unwind.topeka.net, that have been very supportive and have given me plenty of positive feedback. I truly could not have kept this up without everyone and what they've given me along the way. So continue to read, I'll continue to write, and we'll see if I ever make it to Boston.

Recapping Abilene

April 14, 2011

I know everyone was looking forward to seeing some pictures of the Diamond Motel, but I ended up staying at the Budget Lodge Inn in Abilene. Sorry to disappoint. But I assure you that the Budget Lodge Inn lived up to the hype. All I will say is that the room did not have a thermostat. Luckily it was 63 degrees that night, or I might have had some issues. Having said that, the bed was comfy, and I had a mini-fridge, so really, I would stay there again. Oddly.

So coming out of the deep freeze that was winter, thinking about running a distance race in 66-70 degree temperatures with perfect sunshine sounds ideal. Unless it is humid. And unless it is the first time you've been able to run in the increased temperatures and sunshine. With that, I take you to Saturday morning, April 9th.

I was able to get some sleep, which has not always been the case before a run. I was out the door by 5:45, and I was in the parking lot of the Eisenhower National Library by 5:50 AM. There were already a lot of people out and warming up, enjoying the warm temperatures, but not enjoying the straight wind from the South. Overall, the full and the half marathon's brought nearly 550 people out to Abilene, KS on this Saturday, so it was a pretty good sized field for the location and size of Abilene. I helped myself to a little bit of the breakfast that was provided, including a small bowl of cereal and a half of a banana.

By the time the race was about to start, the wind was blowing in the 15-20 MPH range from the South, and the sun was starting to peek out over the horizon. The gun sounded and everyone took off, you guessed it, to the SOUTH, directly into the wind. This would only last for just over 2 miles or so, as the course veered off to the East and circled a park that was just off the K-15 Highway. This park encompassed another 2.5 miles before we turned back to the South and back into the wind. In fact, if you'd like the see the actual course as it was ran, just clink this Link. Feel free to zoom in and out. Through the first 4 miles I was on a very good pace. My calf felt good (thanks to my compression sleeve) and I was feeling pretty good. But eventually, the wind, sun, and unexpected warmth began to wear me down. I have been getting used to the wind. Running around the lake for my normal runs has taught me to run through it. But it is usually not for more than a mile at a time. What I had not been ready for was the sun and heat. I mean, two weeks prior I finished a long run covered in snow. By the time I made the turn, I knew I was going to have problems hitting my goal time of 1:50:00. I believe I was just a minute ahead of that pace, and it was just a matter of time before my legs got really tired. Missing that last 12 mile run and doing other long runs at a slower than needed pace hindered my chances for hitting that goal time. I wasn't too concerned because I knew I had other chances later in the year. At this point, my goal became to simply finish and collect my finisher's medal.

The last 4 miles were bad, and the last 3 miles were terrible. Had the sun not been out, I don't know that the warmth would have been an enormous issue, but damn, it just wore me out. I stopped and walked at every water station over the last 3 miles, taking two water cups each, just to try to stay hydrated. The last thing I wanted to do was be stupid and pass out or cramp up and not be able to finish. By the time I hit the highway for the last two miles, I had been feeling better, thanks to my walking breaks. I was able to wave at my parents while I was heading down the chute towards the finish line, and I crossed and did not fall over. I finished with an official time of 1:52:43 (now updated on the right hand side), 54th/162 amongst the men, 11th/23 in my age group, and 78th/353 for the half marathon. They don't give out placing medals for 54th, so I was headed to the Brookville Hotel for a terrific post race fried chicken feast. All in all, I was pretty happy with this run, and I have since rewarded myself by spending the entire week not running at all, not working out at all, eating everything I can find, and doing yard work. I've enjoyed all but one of those four things.

Down the road, things will be a little more interesting. I am switching positions at work, so now I will be working on 3rd shift, 10:30 PM - 6:30 AM, so my awesome schedule for running is going to be tested. The big question now is do I run when I get off work and then sleep, or sleep when I get off work and then run? I know, I have it pretty tough. Over the next two months, I have only 2 races scheduled, the first of which is the Run for Ronald 5kReTweet it, etc. I appreciate the support and readers very much. Until next time ... later.

Let's Get Down to Business

April 8, 2011

I'll be heading out to Abilene later today to run through the plains. Since last time, I missed my scheduled long run and suffered a painful calf injury. I went out last Saturday, the first sunny day in forever, and was putting together a good 4 mile run, when my calf seized up in a terrible way. I know it sounds like I am always sore and hurting. It's because I am. I'm pretty sure I'm partly made of glass. Or plastic. I don't know, what thing out there is not tough or durable. That's me. Anyways, I had to limp home the last mile or so around the lake. I was pretty embarrassed, but there really wasn't a whole lot I could do. At least there were several dogs out at the lake to make me feel a little better.

I'm getting into Abilene around 7 PM to go through my packet pickup, but I'm mostly excited about getting up there and getting to the food. There is the traditional pasta dinner that night, where hopefully I'll get to meet some people before the race and just sort of chill out before I go to my hotel. (UPDATE: I have moved from the Diamond Motel to the Budget Inn. They were able to get me a non-smoking room with a King Size bed.) There isn't a whole lot to do in Abilene, I don't think, so I probably will just have to go watch some TV until I fall asleep.

7:00 AM will come entirely too soon. That is when the race STARTS, which means I'm going to have to be up around 5:30 to eat breakfast and try to catch a ride with the shuttle to the starting line. I'll go through my warm up routine and then just wait to get going. I feel I've learned a lot about being ready to run these races. First will definitely be to not try to hydrate for the entire day before the race starts. Lets just say you'll be uncomfortable and you'll regret it. Second, I've already accepted that I will not be able to sleep well the night before. It happens. I'm not the only person that gets fired up to go race and compete, so at least I know I'm not the only person out there that is probably completely exhausted. I think I got about 4 hours before the race in Kansas City back in October. Maybe the Budget Inn will be all the comfort I need to help me get well rested for tomorrow morning. I've got a new compression sleeve for my leg to help it out, plus a new knee brace, because I was really struggling about two weeks ago with some knee soreness. Of course, taking basically a week off has helped my legs to feel as good as they have felt in a long time. I'm ready.

After the run, I will be joined by my folks at the legendary Brookville Hotel, and it will be my first time to try their fried chicken, which is supposed to be magnificent. I'll be the judge. I'm extremely easy to please, so I'm sure I'll love it. I'll also try to get some photos from the Budget Inn, and the Diamond Motel if I can find it. Believe me, I have a feeling you'll all want to see these. Make sure to sign up for email delivery of new blog posts, and until next time ... later.

Diamond Motel

March 30, 2011

With my impending trip to Abilene upcoming to run in the Half Marathon portion of the Eisenhower Marathon, I did what I do best. I procrastinated in finding a hotel room. I was able to get the full day off of work, so getting down to Abilene and picking up my packet, eating dinner, and attempting to go to sleep would be a nice, easy sequence of events. Number one on my agenda was to book my hotel room. Holiday Inn Express or Super 8 would have to be the way to go. I've heard of those places, and that's about all I need when it comes to a hotel. Naturally, calling less than 3 weeks before the race and attempting to book a hotel room at the only two places in town that you've ever heard of turned out to be a fruitless endeavor. Would you believe that I was not the only person to come up with those hotels as potential overnight destination? Shock to me. So, I had to go back to the drawing board.

I came up with The Diamond Motel. You cannot beat these rates. Granted, I have no idea where this place is yet, I can only hope it is close to the race start. The guy that booked my room for me at the Diamond Motel also let me know that if I wanted a non-smoking room (did not get that at the Diamond), he also owns the Budget Inn and would take my information over there as well and book me a non-smoking room. So, I guess it worked out in that I might very well have TWO separate rooms booked for the night. Maybe I can negotiate down those sweet rates and turn around and get myself a King Size bed and a recliner in my room.

With only 10 days until the Abilene race, I should point out that I quietly ran 27 miles last week. I don't know how that happened, but just by following Hal's plan, I have been able to build up to a very nice weekly mileage. Now, that has of course, taken a slight toll on my body. I have been unable to stay completely healthy through all of this running. Now, I'm having some knee issues on my right leg (I might have previously written about this), mostly on the outside and mostly around the area where the muscles from the my hamstring and calf meet behind the knee. I have been diligent in icing the muscles, as well as hitting up my chiropractor once a week for some ultrasound treatment. It has helped, but nothing will help as much as taking 9 or 10 days off after I finish this Abilene race. Hopefully finish it in a time of less than 1:50:00. But until then, I'll just have to keep treating it and try not to hurt anything else. Also, it has officially been one year since I strapped on the shoes and hit the pavement. It has been tough, for sure, but I have been able to keep the weight off, changed my eating habits, and generally feel as good as I ever have. So, if you are thinking of getting out there and changing, just do it. Make sure to follow me on Twitter, @kyleseiwert. Until next time ... later.

And we're back...

March 21, 2011

OK, so I took nearly a month off from writing new blog posts. I didn't exactly have a whole lot to talk about. I mean, I threw up a filler column on Spring Training! If that didn't indicate how little I had going on, well, next time I'll just announce a layoff. But, since February 23rd, I've actually been out doing things. Running, for sure, and taking part in a couple of races in Manhattan. I've been doing my best to stay active and keep my weight down. I'm not kidding when I say that I put it back on if I take any sort of time off, so in that regard, I have continued to be successful. I weighed in at 165 last week, so that puts me at 41 pounds down. Not really focused on weight loss anymore, because I'm at a point where it is going to be tough to lose anymore, so now I just look to keep it off. Anyways, that's boring. Let's talk about some running, and a couple of races that I was able to run in.

February 25th

This race was something new, but something I would definitely do in the future. The Manhattan Running Company put on a trail race out by Tuttle Creek Lake. I have never run on a trail, and really did not have an idea of what was going to happen until I got there. It was about 35 degrees out, and plenty of snow on the ground. This made things a little bit tricky. I had just picked up some new running shoes, but I really did not want to junk them up right off the bat with tons of snow, water, and mud. I went back to my old shoes, and was assisted by the folks at the running store with the insertion of two dozen or so screws into the bottom of the shoes in order to grip the ice and snow. It was an enormous help. Anyways, running on a trail was something crazy. Ups and downs, tons of turns, jumping over large rocks and down small ravines...and that was just in the first mile. It was very challenging, but I'm glad I did it. I finished right in the middle of the standings, so I thought that was cool. I would do more trail runs if I knew of some good places to run them here in town.

March 19th

Manhattan again, this time for the St. Patrick's Day 10-K. I was really, really looking forward to this race, mostly because of my fondness for Manhattan, and because this was the second 10-K I've ever been a part of, and because Abilene was only 3 weeks away. I wanted to go out and put my best effort into it. Then, after my long run the previous Sunday, I was pretty banged up. My right leg was so sore I could not finish my Tuesday run, and I was worried. I have not had a real serious injury since I started running, but I thought I had just received one. Right through the outside of my knee was so tight, I could hardly walk. I had to put in two emergency chiropractic sessions, many icings, many stretchings, and even some ultrasound therapy just to make sure I was in position go on Saturday. I did not run at all after Tuesday, so I had no idea how my leg would respond. Getting out early on Saturday to warm up and do some light jogging had me concerned. My leg was still tight and had some sharp pain in the same area. WTF was I going to do? I had really been invested in this run, so I hated to think of skipping it. I decided that I would start, and if it got too bad, I would just ease up and make sure I finished without hurting myself too much. Once we started, the leg started hurting. This was going to be bad. But after the first quarter mile or so, it loosened up and stopped hurting. I was hoping this would happen, but was less than optimistic. With the relief that I was going to be fine, I decided I was going to have a great run, even though my iPod died at the starting line! As it turns out, the run was everything I could have hoped for. I was able to complete my second 10-K in a PR time of 47:42. Pretty stoked. Now, as for how that translates to qualifying for the Boston Marathon, I'm not even close, even though I felt I ran as hard as I could for this race. But, that's why it is a 5 year plan, and not a 1 year plan.

So, it is nice to be back, and I will be posting a little more frequently as we are now getting into warmer weather and more races. I would also suggest that if you are in the Topeka area, and are looking for a race to run, sign up for the Run for Ronald 5K, which benefits the Ronald McDonald House of Topeka. It's a good cause, and I'm going to beat the drum for this race until it happens, so sign up. Also, let me know when you sign up so I'll stop bugging you. Catch me on twitter at @kyleseiwert, and until next time ... later

Spring Training is Underway!

February 23, 2011

Nothing about this post will do with me or running. Sorry in advance. It's all about baseball. I'm a big baseball fan. I'll watch any game that is on. I tried to become one of those uber-statistics guys a few years ago, but I find it is hard to enjoy games when you are focused on the underlying statistics instead of what you see on the field. If you want to be able to explain to someone why you love you some UZR, I won't stop you, but very few people are going to care. This brings me to this baseball season.

I'm an Oakland A's fan. Have been since I was 8, watching the Bash Brothers, or Steroid Brothers, while I was an impressionable youngster out here in Kansas. The 1989 World Series was the first one that I remember watching, but that was only because the baseball was secondary to the Loma Prieta Earthquake right before Game 3 of the series. Since then, I've been immersed in all things A's. Even though the franchise makes no money and hardly draws any fans to their games, they have a fervent base of die hard fans that follow the team religiously, which I suppose you could say about every team. This spring brings about new hope that a team with severe financial limitations can compete with the big spenders in the Majors.

The A's, for a lack of a better word, have been flat abysmal offensively since, I don't know, 2003?! None more so evident than last season when the team leader for Home Runs was 16 (!), and they finished a paltry 25th in the Majors with a slugging percentage of .378. This season, armed with some offensive upgrades, I would expect Oakland to, at the worst, be able to field a league average offense, where even 60 more runs could yield a significantly higher amount of wins.

What will carry the day for the A's will of course be pitching. A team that lead the AL in ERA appears to have become deeper and better, with significant additions to a bullpen that was racked with injuries last season, much like the whole team. The fact that the pitchers had to go out last season and basically put up shutouts every single night in hopes to get a win should hopefully be relieved a little bit by the improved offense.

Texas will be a major player in the AL West, of course. I think the division will come down to those two teams when all is said and done. While Texas made some offensive moves, their pitching will take a major step back, and that is how you win in the Majors. One thing to keep an eye on will be how Texas does in interleague play. That is basically the number one reason they made the playoffs last season. Texas finished .500 against AL teams, but dominated NL teams last year on their way to winning the West. Anyways, I'm excited for baseball to start, and hopefully there are some baseball fans that read this blog and feel like voicing their opinions/favorite teams, because baseball talk is always welcome. Until next time....later.

TFGIR Essay Series: Volume 1

February 17, 2011

I very rarely get comments on my posts, and for the first time, I received an e-mail from someone who stumbled onto this blog through a search through the blogspot database. This e-mailer was interested in writing a guest column or article "about people's mental and physical health and the long term side effects if things are not handled properly." Interested, I responded that I would be agreeable to this. After reading through what I received, I decided that publishing an essay series similar to my previous interview series could be kind of a cool thing. So, in the future, if you want to write something and get the word out about anything in particular, feel free to hit me up.

Today's inaugural guest column/essay comes to us from e-mailer Samantha Harris. I did not find out where Samantha is from, but I did have her whip up a small bio to introduce herself to the blog and its readers.

I found your blog while I was searching through blog spot for health related blogs. A little bit about myself, I am 24 and recently earned my bachelors with an emphasis in journalism and communications. I currently don't have a blog of my own, I haven't found the time to devote to a blog of my own yet, but it is something I would like to start in the future. In my free time I enjoy doing yoga and my newest endeavor is training to do a marathon, I have always been a mediocre runner but now that I am out of college I am trying to get serious about it, wish me luck ;).

There is some very good advice in this column, so if you are tired of me talking about myself, this is a good refresher to let you know that there are several things to look out for when beginning and continuing an exercise program. OK, so without further ado, I unveil the first installment of the TFGIR Essay Series, courtesy of future marathon runner Samantha Harris.

"Full Dedication: Initial Barriers and Steps to Getting in Shape

When individuals decide to get into shape, most simply envision long runs at dawn. Few realize the careful balance between physical and emotional control a truly successful exercise regimen demands. To begin getting into shape after a long delay in physical activity takes patience, support and positive feedback. While it’s easy to get caught up in all the extraneous details revolving around fitness, these mental considerations first need to be addressed to ensure a well-intentioned promise to oneself doesn’t end in frustration and discouragement.

Unfortunately, for the beer and pizza lovers out there, curbing unhealthy dietary habits is the first step to looking and feeling better. That means trading in the excessive carbohydrates, sugars and saturated fats in exchange for healthy grains, fruits and vegetables. However, meat lovers rejoice. Lean meats and fish are also vital to nourishing all that muscle you’ll be building. For the vegetarians out there, legumes are also a great source of this needed protein.

Next on the list of lifestyle adjustment comes all the destructive habits that can get in the way of your health. That means smoking, excessive drinking and any other detrimental substance use also needs to be given up. Unfortunately, one lingering habit is enough to sabotage an entire exercise regimen. Furthermore, after exercising, individuals often feel they “owe it to themselves” to indulge in those negative dietary or lifestyle habits, which can draw you right back into the downward spiral of inactivity and poor lifestyle choices.
After correcting these dietary and lifestyle obstacles, it remains important to set yourself up for success. Instead of setting an overwhelming routine up front, it’s best to start slow with easy, measurable goals that allow you to see your progress. Furthermore, make those goals specific to ensure you stick to your routine. Finally, focus on one goal for several weeks at a time. Again, overwhelming yourself with several different training routines can discourage you to the point that the sight of a pair of sneakers makes you shudder.

Next is learning about how to stay safe when exercising. That means you must invest in the right equipment and facilities to train in. While the wrong pair of sneakers can easily lead to joint problems or a turned ankle, a poorly-maintained gym can also put you at risk. One of the biggest considerations of a facility is air quality, which can be affected by numerous toxins, including radon, carbon monoxide and asbestos. Asbestos especially, poses significant long-term dangers, causing mesothelioma symptoms that might not appear for decades. To ensure a lifetime of fitness, these lasting concerns deserve attention so you don’t do more harm than good during your training.

Once you’re on the road to fitness, keeping a record of your progress becomes increasingly important. Keeping a workout log both encourages and lets you see your progress. In addition, creating a community of supporters helps remind you that you’re not taking these health steps for just yourself, but everyone you care about as well. This support system can be informal, where you simply chat about it with a friend or your spouse, or something more organized, like a blog or online forum. However you choose to share your progress though, be sure to tell everyone your results and goals.

The final step to ensuring a lasting exercise routine involves adding additional motivation as needed. Reaching initial goals is one of the biggest destroyers of an exercise routine, which is why adding additional goals and motivation becomes so important. However, ensuring your continued success in a routine still remains secondary to making sure you’re exercising in the safest, healthiest way possible. Running at an indoor track for five miles each morning does little good if you’re also sucking in asbestos the whole time. A successful exercise regimen involves the complete physical and mental dedication needed for any great change. Don’t be fooled, deciding to live healthier involves the total revision of your lifestyle. Only by dedicating yourself fully to this challenge will you reach your goals of living healthier and feeling better.

And there you have it. If you are interested in communicating with Samantha about anything, she can be reached at samanthaharris02@gmail.com, and she might be on twitter, I didn't ask. I am on twitter at www.twitter.com/kyleseiwert, or just @kyleseiwert. Hopefully you enjoyed today's post. Feel free to email it to your friends. You never know what might inspire you or someone you know. Until next time ... later.

Saving Myself

February 10, 2011

Tenacious D said it best. The road is f*&#ing hard. Getting out on the pavement has been both great and terrible. I have quickly been reminded that I am, in fact, made of glass. So far, due to the 735 inches of snow Topeka has received this winter, I have only been able to run outside around Lake Shawnee 4 or 5 times. After spending the mild days of the winter inside (stupid decision, by the way), I have been able to only sporadically make it out in the elements. But, that transition from treadmill to concrete has proven to be as difficult physically as always. Maybe I did not notice last year while beginning to run that I was hurt all the time, and just chalked it up to being a newbie, but clearly, running on the concrete takes some toughness.

One thing I have read, and I am not sure whether to believe it or not, is that running on concrete is the hardest surface available. Harder than asphalt. I can only say that I've run on asphalt a handful of times, but it seems pretty hard to me. It has to be able to withstand years of automobile traffic, and it is not harder than concrete? Maybe if any civil engineers are wired into this blog they can steer me in the direction I need to go to find such strength evaluations. Of course, either one are going to be more strenuous than running on a treadmill or a track, with both have a level of cushion and give to them. What I've had crop up so far though appear to be different type injuries than what I dealt with last year. If you remember that I had some issues with my iliotibial band, which can be directly tied to running on hard surfaces and a lack of stretching. Now, I've been dealing with a strained Psoas Muscle, which is most likely due to poor stretching technique, but it never was a problem last year, and I have yet to really change anything I've done. I can only surmise that I've made a poor transition to the cold and the concrete.

What I'm going to do is probably going to preserve my legs and keep me from running hurt all the time, but I'm a little worried that it will affect my race times in a negative fashion. I am going to split my training time between the treadmill and the lake. Less time on the hard surface in order to hopefully not miss workouts, which I did for about the last two months of training for the KC Half. Once I get through Abilene, we'll see if this plan works or not. Either way, I feel I'll be able to train harder on the hard workouts whenever I need to bear down. I guess we'll see. Remember to sign up for email delivery of these posts, and until next time ... later.

I've Lost It

February 3, 2011

I'll admit, it feels very weird to talk about running right now. I have found a hobby that I enjoy, and I've never really had anything resembling a hobby before, so I'm not sure how to discuss it with my friends, or people I work with. In the past I've been a pretty good bowler, but lots of people bowl. Not a lot of people decide to sign up for road races every month. So, I sort of have to rationalize it to myself to make sure not to talk about it too much, because I know that a lot of people don't really care. I liken it to reading, I guess. I am not much into reading. I have probably read five books in the past five years, so when people start talking about books and reading, I just tune it out, or make it pretty upfront that the discussion will be lost on me. Why have someone waste their time talking to me about something that I'm not going to know about anyways? But hey, that is a hobby of theirs, and who am I to get in their way of enjoying something.

Now when it comes to me, I have become hooked on running. I never, ever thought something like this would happen, but it has. I'm currently weighing 167, which is an all time low (at least as long as I can remember), and initially, that was the entire reason that I took up running in the first place, if you remember. In that regards, I have basically achieved my goals. I could probably lose another 10-12 pounds over the course of the year if I just keep doing what I'm doing, so I don't really worry about that aspect of it anymore. But along the way, I became complacent. Running is great for you, but I'm of the mind that I do not like really doing something if I can't do it 100%. I am not a perfectionist, at lease I've never considered myself as such. But there has to be some reason I am always looking at competing against people and myself and improving my times. In the grand scheme of things, it really does not matter. I am not going to turn into an elite level runner, for a long list of reasons, so what would be the motivation for wanting to shave minutes off of my times, other than just personal satisfaction? Like I said, I've lost it.

What has happened is I've engaged in this activity/hobby and saw the inherent benefits, and decided to keep on going. Nothing more, nothing less. Again, think about people that read. Why do they do it? Maybe it is just to kill time, but I figure they put in the time because they are getting something out of it. People that read Harry Potter books have an entire world out there they can all enjoy together, so it is not like they just spent a bunch of time doing something and did not receive anything for it. That is how I view running. It's been a blast. That KC Half was tough, at least I felt it afterward, but when it was going on, I was smiling ear to ear because I was having a lot of fun. That was the big payoff for all the Friday morning long runs before work, and taking it easy during the week because I needed to fit in some miles. Getting out and competing in something, since it certainly is not going to be basketball or baseball, has been extremely rewarding. So anyways, I just need to embrace that I've found something that I enjoy, and I don't care that I can't read good so much.

To tie it all together, the main point of the story is that I was able to sit down and map out potential future races, and I have marked down 14 races for the year. Like I said, I've lost it. Ranging from Topeka, to Manhattan, to KC, to Wichita, I'll be coming to a town near you in no time. To be honest though, the Manhattan Running Company has put together a new thing they are labeling the MRC Race Series. It sounded intriguing, and fun, and I figured why not? Nothing to lose, and if anything, it will keep me focused on exercising and losing the rest of this weight I've got. I have no delusions of placing in any of the races, but I am interested to see how I stack up against what I would call "real runners", because that, to me, is fascinating. I imagine a lot of people that sign up for this series will be runners that have been at this for much, much longer than me. I guess we'll find out. So thank you for reading my rambling. I hope it was not too boring. And remember to sign up for these posts to be emailed directly to you, if you so choose. Until next time ... later.

One week down

January 24, 2011

OK, preparing for Abilene on April 9th is off to a good start. It is certainly going to be a challenging next few months, though. I had mentioned it before, but I "upgraded" my training schedule this time to Hal Higdon's Intermediate Half Marathon training. As a comparison, the first week in the Novice, which I used last year, has you running 12 miles. A good distance for any week, for sure. This new program starts with 16 miles, plus interval running, which I'll talk about later. It is definitely a step up, but I did my best to be ready for it by running double digit miles nearly every week since KC. It turned out to be a good idea.

I mentioned this last time, but last Tuesday was the first time I had run outside in the cold. Ever. It could have been worse. After that run, I had to go back outside for some interval training, which will happen every other Wednesday. For this particular part of this training cycle, interval training is basically some sprints, only they are quarter mile sprints. Thankfully, Lake Shawnee still has their quarter mile markers painted on the sidewalk, so it makes for easy distance tracking. Now, what I've been aiming for is to drop my Half Marathon time this year to 1 hour and 50 minutes, which would be a drop of nearly 8 minutes from KC. We'll see how that goes. But that is relevant to this training schedule because of the following: By taking a trip to The McMillan Running Calculator, and plugging in my goal time, I see what I need to do during speed workouts. In this case, I need to be pulling my quarter mile splits between 1:50-1:55. Fast, and since I have no idea of how it will go, a little bit daunting.

I headed out to the lake just when it started to snow on Wednesday (ended up with 7 inches of snow, so luckily I got out when I did) to try my hand at these sprints. For Christmas I picked up a Garmin 305 Forerunner for such occasions, as it has features to help you run laps, which is essentially what these intervals are. Well, now that I've done these sprints, I can ease up. I ended up running all 5 of these scheduled sprints in under 1:45. Way too much too soon, as my legs were sore for the next three days. Now I know a couple of things. One, if I absolutely had to run faster, I probably could. Two, I really need to take it easy or I'm going to hurt myself.

To wrap up the week, I made runs of 3 miles and 5 miles over the weekend. I really was hoping to get outside on Sunday for my first long run of the year, but it was not going to happen. 14 degrees and a wind chill of 3 degrees was just a little out of my comfort zone. Maybe next time. The treadmill worked out just fine, I suppose. Anyways, things are off to a good start, and Abilene will be here before you know it. Thanks for reading. Oh, and make sure to follow me on Twitter (@kyleseiwert) and sign up for all these wonderfully riveting posts to be delivered right to your email. And until next time ... later.