Earlier this year, I wrote about my attempt to get myself back in shape, improving my health and fitness. After 10 months, I have a lot to report.
According to my recent visit to my doctor, I have lost 23 pounds. I realized early in the process that making changes I could live with would yield better long-term results than a quick crash diet. I made some changes, and I have seen results. My exercise program has been focused on weight training, with some high-intensity interval training thrown in, and that has added some muscle while cutting fat.
Just over halfway into the year, I participated in a Spartan Race to gauge my progress. I did a three-mile Spartan obstacle course/mud run in the Poconos in July. I knew going in that running isn't my strength, so I approached the event as a challenge, not a race. It was held on a ski resort, so the course began with a mile and a quarter of scaling the mountain before you hit the obstacles. Doing the event without a team or a companion, I had to push myself to keep going in the summer heat and get through it. This took me nearly 4 hours, but I felt good afterwards because I knew I could not have done it in 12 hours the prior summer.
My wife, Deb, also ran a mud run in the summer, and we decided to enter one together in September. It was the Biggest Loser Walk Run at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, which is essentially the Spartan Run without the pressure of being timed. I made it through in about 90 minutes (unofficial), a vast improvement from my performance in the Poconos. This time, I was able to get through more obstacles and run more of the course. My recovery also came faster.
The winners of the Spartan Run (male and female) finished in a little over half an hour. We saw them posing with their plaques as we ate bananas and drank Powerade recovering from our race. Deb said, "I think it's more impressive that someone your age got yourself in good enough shape to finish in 90 minutes than the winners finishing in under 40 minutes."
From the struggle to make it to the gym, to make it through the high-intensity interval training classes and to make it through two obstacle races, I know I put in a lot of work this year that has improved my health. It's made me feel better overall, and I feel better about myself.