Weight Loss & Fitness Pursuit – First Weigh-In

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Posted on 19th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in Health & Fitness


Okay so this is the first Monday following our first week of our newly found active spirit and it’s time for me to weigh in to start tracking the data.  My goal is to step on the scale every Monday morning to see where I’m at.  I’ll store the data in Excel and generate a line chart just for kicks.

So, today I step on the scale and… 227 lbs.  That’s my starting point.  I know I’ve been both lighter than that and heavier than that within the past few months but this is the official number I’m using after apparently putting on a number of pounds in just the previous month or two.  That’s pretty nasty, really.  A great weight if I was a fullback for a college football team – don’t I wish!  Not such a great weight when just a couple of months ago I was 209 and heading below that… and that without a regular exercise program in place at the time.

I’m actually guessing that I may stay at that weight for a week or so while I work out.  Considering how out of shape I am I’m not physically able to work out with any gusto for more than about 40 minutes in any single workout before being exhausted.  Plus, I would expect that I might gain muscle back that I have clearly lost and replaced with a squishier, jigglier substance, and that muscle will be more dense and heavy.  We’ll see, but I don’t think I can burn off enough fat during this early stage of working out to lose a lot on the scale in short order.  I’m okay with that, as long as I am getting back into shape and can accomplish more while running, exercising and lifting.

And, with that, I’m off!

Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run/Walk Results

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Posted on 19th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in Day to Day Goodies | Health & Fitness

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The results from yesterday’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run/Walk were posted, today.  They broke down the results by just about every category you would want; be it male/female or age group.  As I had written in my race recap, yesterday, They also had given us all a chip to attach to our shoes which allows everyone to get a specific time on their run, rather than just a gun time.  So I was able to see exactly how I stacked up against the rest of the race participants.

Here are The results of the Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run/Walk.  If you click on the male age group of 30-34 you will see my result – in all of it’s baseline glory.  There were 16 participants in my age group and I finished dead last.  My chip time (so the total time it took my chip to cross both the starting line and the finish line) was 40:21 – yikes.  That’s over 40 minutes to travel 3 miles by jogging and walking.  I finished 187th out of 234… Let’s cut this short and just say there’s a lot of room for improvement.  This was pretty much the exact baseline I thought I would see but needed confirmed.  I am way out of shape and need to keep this effort in the forefront of my mind at all times, right now.

Every day I am asking myself, the following questions:

  • Is today one of the minimum 5 days this week where I work out?
  • What will I do for my work out?
  • When will I work out?

… and while that doesn’t sound like much, it’s a big step forward.  That’s the first and last time I ever finish last in anything that I try – period.

Completed The Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run/Walk Today!

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Posted on 18th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in Day to Day Goodies | Health & Fitness

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This morning I participated in the 2010 Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run/Walk in University Circle.  There were two events: The first was a 5K run/walk for adults and children and the second was a 1K that was geared towards families and young children. There was a pretty decent crowd there – somewhere between 500 and 600 people – and the scene was about as alive as you could expect for an early Sunday morning.  The event seemed to go smoothly and I would guess most had a pretty decent time.

The event was at 8:30 am with check in starting at 7:00 am.  You all know me and how I love mornings.  And this was a Sunday morning!  Needless to say it was difficult to get up and at ‘em but it was especially tough this morning after Taiji spent his night being completely disruptive.  Natalie and I think that he believed that we were leaving on a trip because certain suitcases and bags were visible upstairs and became upset and wanted to spend time with us rather than let us sleep.  Whatever the cause, he kept me up most of the night on a very inopportune spot and I wasn’t too pleased.

The second hurdle became finding an area to park.  I was unfamiliar with where “Wade Oval” is, exactly, so I simply aimed for the lot in University Circle that I was most familiar with that I felt was close.  This lot is opposite the Triangle Apartments, where Natalie and I lived several years ago and that turned out to be a substantial error.  It turned out that my chosen lot was a little under a mile away from Wade Oval and I had to hoof it over there to check in.  Since I borrowed an extra 15 minutes from the sleep gods this morning, I was running merely ‘on time’ rather than early and so I had to hoof it at a decent pace (kind of like a… oh-man-I-better-step-lively-to-make-it-to-class-on-time type of pace).  Once I located the place where the action was and checked in, I found out that there were no lockers or places to store gear like wallets, keys, phones, event registration papers or similar (all things that I had with me) and so decided to hoof it back to the car (now mixing in a little jog with my speed walk pace) while keeping an eye open for better parking situations.  Of course, as I headed back, I walked right past at least two parking areas right where the action was – D’OH!  I made it back to the car, put my stuff away and drove over to the better parking areas.  And, after 1.6 miles (just over half of a 5K distance, I might highlight), I was ready for a 5K!

As I left the car and walked past the main podium, a DJ had upbeat pop music pumping from some large speakers and a classically overzealous aerobics instructor (or similar) was on a microphone warming everyone up.  I declined to participate in this because I was already plenty “warm” after my treks from and back to the car.  Also, it was still only about 8:10 am and the sound of the instructor yelping through the speakers to get people to stretch and perform aerobic exercise was making me want to run back home and jump in bed.  So I simply headed over to where the run was going to start from and I stretched out the legs.

Everyone gathered at the starting area at about 8:25 – a group of what ended up being noted at 234 participants for the 5K (the 1K runners/walkers started later).  I put on the little strap they gave everyone that had a chip in it that would register your specific chips start and finish times and downed a bottle of water.  As I downed the water I was surrounded by a pretty diverse bunch of folks.  All age groups were represented for sure, and there were men, women, children as young probably 7 or 8 years old, black, white, hispanic, women with babies in jogging strollers, little old guys and ladied… literally, all sorts.  The competitor in me picked out a few that thought looked like those I should try to keep up with, a few that I was sure I wanted to finish well ahead of and a few that I thought were likely to be difficult to keep up with.  I didn’t care about the gents and ladies at the front of the pack who were going to finish this thing in 15 minutes or so – trust me.  I knew I couldn’t run all 3 miles and I knew it would take me over 30 minutes to complete the whole thing at best.  I was just trying to mark some of those who I had hoped would be similar.  As it turns out, I overshot those hopes big time.

The moment we took off running I went right in behind those I was trying to keep up with.  By about the quarter mile point I knew there was no way I could keep up with them and there was a gap between us of about 75 yards or so.  I was watching little old ladies leave my butt in the dust.  I then looked behind me to make sure I was still in front of those who I so arrogantly decided I would finish in front of for sure… and was somewhat pleased that they were still behind me.  I picked out a new set of folks to keep up with and kept on going.

Now, to be brutally honest, I can’t remember the last time that I completed a mile run.  On the treadmill downstairs (when I use it, which is embarrassingly rare these past couple of years) I typically do a half mile and then walk up an incline.  So completing a mile was small goal of mine during this event, as well.  About half of the folks that I wanted to keep up with had stopped jogging and the other half continued – a couple of whom started to distance themselves away.  I kept jogging and was really hoping for some kind of marker for 1 mile.  I was sure it was just up the street, but could never see it.  Eventually, a family group near me blurted out through the same heavy breathing I was exhibiting that they were sure they had run 1 mile.  In my pretty fair exhaustion I took that to heart and began walking, as did they.  We continued walking and eventually (somewhere 250 and 300 yards, I’d say) had to turn right, down MLK drive.  As we rounded the corner, sure enough, there was a young lady with a stop watch and a mile marker sign showing us all that we sold ourselves short in our quest to complete 1 mile.

Frustrated that I didn’t even complete the first mile, I started jogging again and trying to catch back up to the crew that distanced themselves from our pack a bit.  This group was three who looked in decent shape but were taking it reasonable and steady.  One of the three was a young lady (maybe right around college aged looking) who was pushing a jogging stroller with a youngster within.  I caught back up to those three and then slowed down to match their pace as best I could.  I hoped to stay right with them, but simply could not.  I jogged about another half mile and again had to stop.  Much to my mental displeasure, I was also passed by several of those I was so arrogant to assume I could easily beat – but there was simply nothing I could do about it.  I clearly misjudged them.  They were still jogging, while I felt like I was about out of gas.  I grabbed a bit of water at the hydration point and kept hoofing it.

While walking, I was passed by a couple of those that were behind me that were in my initial pace target group and they became my new rabbits.  For a bit of time, I jogged when they jogged and walked when they walked.  I would gain on them when I jogged and would lose a bit of ground when we were walking.  Jogging for any length of time was getting tough for me… maybe two tenths of a mile, and then walking again.  Plus, all of a sudden we were in a hilly part of the course.  I didn’t even think there were hills in University Circle except for in Little Italy.  Those hills sapped my energy something fierce for a while.  On the last ascent I grabbed a bit of water at the last station and heard them talking about only about a half mile to go.  I thought to myself, “All right… I’ve been walking long enough.  It’s a half mile: let’s GO!”

The last half mile was 2/3 uphill – the steepest uphill so far – followed by a flat push to the finish.  As I jogged uphill I quickly left those that were left that I was trying to keep pace with and gave them a little shout of encouragement on the way by.  As best I can tell, we all were jogging at one point and every one of us realized just how hard that hill was in a short period of time.  I made a trade with myself … that if I had to walk any of this hill I would run that much faster at the end, even if it meant pain or sickness.  I ended up having to walk up that hill for about 60 yards, so as soon as it flattened out I just took off running.  I don’t think I’ve ever ran that slow in my life, but it was all I had left.

I ended up finishing in 40:33 (I think I remember on the board as I crossed the finish line)… almost 41 minutes – yikes!  On Friday I had a thought that it might take me 45 minutes to finish in some sort of worst case scenario and I almost matched that.  I was not expecting any hills – completely my naivety – and those really took a lot of energy out of me.  I have no idea where I finished in terms of the entire group of folks but a lot of those I wanted to beat or keep up with took me to the cleaners.  I did a good job of leaving everything I had on the course, today, but I just don’t have enough in me right now – I’m so stinking out of shape.  This was exactly the base line that I was after.  I wanted it put right in front of me – this is how ridiculous you are, right now, Ben.  Well, I got it; loud and clear.

Overall, though, I had a good time and I am happy that I did this.  I was pleased to see a good number of people at the event as I think the hospital does a lot of good for Cleveland and in their research.  It was not very expensive and I ended up getting 3 water bottles, a t-shirt, lots of fruit to eat and bottled water to drink, and some info from some organizations around Cleveland.  If I could replay the event I would also like to do so without having a 1.6 mile event before hand due to my poor parking decision.   Asking a few more questions before I registered would have helped me out a lot, there.

I think the official times and results are to be posted in the coming days so I’ll get to see exactly where I finished up.  I’m guessing it won’t be pretty, but… hey… it’s a start!

Weight Loss & Fitness Pursuit – Day Four

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Posted on 15th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in Health & Fitness


It’s day four of my born-again active ways with the continued goal of putting down a nice base to build on for the coming weeks of physical activity.  As I wrote earlier, I have registered for this Sunday’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run in University Circle and have altered this weeks plan a little bit to accommodate that event.  Natalie and I both felt pretty strong and surprisingly pain free after three days of training.  As a result, I decided to work extra hard today and take tomorrow and Saturday off before the event to recharge.  Any muscle soreness or stiffness from today will be long gone after two days off.

Together we repeated the first three days workout schedule and felt more confident doing so.  After we were complete with our workout, I went back outside and did some additional running.  Since we jog our neighborhood route, I decided I would like to push it up and train a little harder on shorter runs.  There’s a stretch from our house to the next subdivision intersection that is almost exactly a tenth of a mile and I was running that at what I felt was about 85% of my top end distance running speed.  I did 8 of those (based on 4 quarters, just like in football conditioning) and was pretty gassed afterwords.  I let myself rest while walking it off and then ended up in the circle in front of our house doing some short 75% sprints, some backpedaling and some shuffling to begin to work some of the muscles in my legs that haven’t seen much stimulation in some time.

The workout went well.  It was hot and I pushed it for longer than I had in the previous three days… I put out some serious sweat in the process.  Now it’s two days off before a 5K on Sunday.  I’m excited!  It feels good to finally get back to being active.  I’m not sure what took me so long to wake up and realize that a 60 – 65 hour a week, oatmeal brain producing, life wasting job wasn’t the right main ingredient in my life’s recipe.  But if I didn’t have regrets, I guess I wouldn’t be human.

Registered For Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run This Sunday!

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Posted on 15th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in Day to Day Goodies | Health & Fitness

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Good morning!  So, I’ve decided to do it.  I’ve registered for this Sunday’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run in University Circle.  The cost is $16 (including a small registration fee) and it’s being put on by Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital with Aetna as one of the prime sponsors.  I fully intend to take advantage of the fact that it is a run/walk because there’s no way I can run 3.1 miles from start to finish.  I hope to get a great look at just how horribly out of shape I am in and finishing in the middle of the pack would be a victory, I think.

3.1 miles… wow.  Thinking about it, I’m not sure if I have completed 3 miles since my high school football days – honestly.  When I was in college I was in great shape because I was at the rec center every opportunity I got but, even then, I was only running a mile at the beginning of my workout and a mile at the end.  I’m going to need every bit of energy I can muster.  And, actually, my biggest challenge of all might just be getting there.  The event is at 8:30 in the morning on a Sunday, with check in and packet pick up starting at 7:00.  It’s about a 35 minute drive up there and I have no idea where to park.  So I’ll likely be leaving at around 6:30 am … on a Sunday.  Those hours just don’t exist for me so I hope I can pull it off (the event AND getting up in the morning… or maybe those should be the other way around).

Since I’ve signed up for this, I’ve decided that I want to take note of working out before hand.  I don’t think I want to work out on Saturday at all and I probably will end up counting Sunday’s activities towards this week’s goal of 5 days.  So I will probably manufacture two days off.  Right now I’m thinking of taking today off, then working out tomorrow and taking Saturday off.  We’ll see how Natalie feels… she could encourage me one way or another.  For instance I could go real hard working out, today, and then take Friday and Saturday off to recharge – I’m flexible, here.

Weight Loss & Fitness Pursuit – Day Three

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Posted on 14th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in Health & Fitness


Yesterday was a Wednesday – usually my golf league night – but Natalie and I continued to feel strong as our initial onset of soreness is wearing off quickly.  So we continued to try to build our new active habits by working out, again.  We repeated the same workout schedule as we are trying to lay down a decent base and, again, just kick start our systems and get over mental hurdles.  The admittedly short jog around the neighborhood isn’t really getting physically easier, for us, but the mental block of doing it is pretty much history.  Push-ups and sit-ups don’t feel anywhere near as strenuous as they did on day one although we are not yet extending the number of reps that we are doing of them.  Arm curls, lateral raises and one-arm shoulder presses don’t seem to fatigue us so rapidly either.  After our base week we’ll definitely be looking to up the reps and sets to keep things progressing.

I did some searching last night on found Ohio Runner, a website that includes a calendar or running events in Ohio. I was hoping to find something around Cleveland in a few weeks … something I could use to measure progress maybe.  I found a 5K event in Cleveland, this Sunday (July 18) called the “Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run“.  It’s a charity event for the children’s hospital and it’s classified as a run/walk.  It doesn’t look like a very competitive event and I’m strongly considering signing up for it to give me a firm snap shot of just how out of shape I am.  Also, even though it doesn’t appear to be a competitive event, there’s still nothing like an event where there are others around you to challenge you and get the juices flowing.  It could be beneficial to me so I’m seriously thinking about it.  If I do sign up, I probably would alter the plan for the rest of the week so I can rest up for it.

Weight Loss & Fitness Pursuit – Day One & Two

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Posted on 13th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in Health & Fitness


Yesterday and today became day one and two of my weight loss and fitness pursuit as I am getting started on what is likely a long journey.  Together, Natalie and I will tackle this challenge head on and without pills, powders or gimmicks – just good old fashioned hard work and smarter eating.  As I mentioned on Sunday, we’re not weighing in this week or doing anything critical, we are simply getting started and making sure we strongly build what we view as the most important habit in our quest – being active on a continual basis.  This weeks goal is 5 days of activity before seeing where we stand.  The workout schedule is simple – jog parts of the neighborhood, come back and hit some sit-ups and push-ups, then head to the basement to work the arms and shoulders with weights.  Eventually, we’ll add to that mix but these exercises hit the majority of the muscles that we need to wake up.

Yesterday (Monday), we jogged for about half a mile… walked a bit and then jogged another half a mile or so.  While some muscles were sore, it was mostly our cardiovascular weakness that limited us on day one.  We were simply out of gas and breathing very hard.  My allergy and exercise induced asthma was held in check, but I simply needed to slow it down to a walk to catch my breath.  We broke a pretty good sweat, too.  We waited until the evening after Natalie got home from work but it was still very humid and about 80 degrees.

After we ran we went inside for some sit-ups and push-ups and quickly found that we lacked the ability to do very many of either exercise.  We each managed a couple of sets of just 15 sit ups/crunches (yikes!) and, similarly, completed fewer push-ups than I thought as well.  I did two sets of push-ups – one at 15 and one at 10.  That’s just embarrassing, but that’s what it is.  Natalie did 1 set of 15 from her knees but felt she could maybe do a few more.

Downstairs, Natalie used small free weights (10 lb I think) for arm curls and lateral arm raises, while I used our short olympic lifting bar to curl with.  Yes, that’s right, we own a weight bench… one that has obviously not been used much of late.  We had it in our apartment and so purchased the short bar (some call this a women’s bar, I guess?) because of a lack of space for the standard bar.  These bars weigh about 33 pounds.  I curled with 12.5 pounds on each side of the bar, so I was lifting 58 lbs.  That’s not a ton but I think that’s the only weight lifting amount that I could work right now that is remotely respectable.  I finished up by using 25 pound free weights to do one-arm shoulder presses with.

We repeated the same exercise schedule, today (Tuesday), only we jogged a bit further than we did yesterday.  While Natalie was working, I grabbed a couple of pedometer apps for my iPhone and went walking to see what type of courses we were going to be looking at in our neighborhood.  The streets we utilized on Monday ended up being almost exactly a mile.  I added a short section that leads away from our development and that short section adds almost exactly a quarter mile and that was the path we jogged, today.  We ended up jogging about two-thirds of a mile before taking a break to walk and catch our breath.  We then finished by jogging the remaining quarter mile stretch back to the house.

We’re a little sore, but not really as sore as we thought we would be.  This is encouraging because we had hoped to have some muscle beneath the extra insulation we’ve both added over the past bit.  We figure it will be easier to get quicker gains in cardio and muscle endurance than it will be to get our muscle strength or power up.

So far so good.  Two days up and two days down.  Looking forward to the rest of the week to see where this heads.

Take care all.

Weight Loss & Fitness Pursuit – At The Starting Line

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Posted on 12th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in Health & Fitness


Okay everyone, here goes.  Time to get active.  Looking back in the past few weeks I can honestly say that it’s truly disgusting how inactive I have been.  I’ve been so busy, and yet so inactive at the same time.  Well, no more.  Today, I jog.  I haven’t jogged since I was on the treadmill in the winter.  I’ve walked on that treadmill on an incline a lot … lots of good that did me.  I can’t walk from one side of the basketball arena to the other without breaking a sweat and having to catch my breath – ridiculous!

My wife Natalie and I are both embarking on this pursuit together.  For me, this is a personal goal of weight loss, health benefits directly related to that weight loss, and to find great increases in physical fitness.  Natalie is also interested in those things but has another motivating factor – she wants to lose weight for her sister’s wedding which is scheduled for October 16th.  There’s dress sizes and appearances in pictures involved with the approach of that event so all of a sudden we now have two people who, together, have heightened motivation that has been missing for a little while.

Today is simple – get out and jog in the neighborhood.  We don’t want to over-do it we just want to be active today and leave ourselves in a position to be active tomorrow, too.  My goal for us is to go from being consistently inactive to being physically active 5 or maybe 6 days a week.  That means trying to eliminate any days where she or I are sore enough or run down enough to where we decide we need a day off before we even get through a week.  I want to start off strong, even if that means doing less at the beginning.

We’re essentially doing a base week, this week.  We are not weighing ourselves or concentrating on any one area.  We just want to kick start our cardiovascular system and our muscles and see how we react.  Are we sore?  Are we digging into the fridge for extra meals or snacks and what are we eating if/when we do that?  Do we need to switch up exercises because of fatigue or to keep up interest.  We’re just getting started, that’s all.  Nothing critical should happen this week.

Today’s Workout Schedule:

  • Jog the neighborhood we’re familiar with – conservatively – whatever feels right, is right
  • Sit-ups – three sets of whatever starts to strain the muscles… maybe 15 to 20 per set
  • Push-ups – two sets of whatever gets us fatigued… guessing 15
  • Arm curls (biceps and upper arm muscles firing)
  • Lateral arm raises (deltoids and outer shoulder muscles firing)

Later guys and gals.

Time To Lose Weight & Get Fit

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Posted on 11th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in Health & Fitness


I have got to lose some weight and get myself fit!  For the past 6 to 7 years I allowed a worthless desk job to run my life that included almost nothing but a desk, a computer, long and fluctuating hours, plenty of tasty food, a car ride to and from work (35 minutes each way) and a Wednesday evening round of golf.  I have packed on the pounds and clearly am far – FAR – out of shape as recent activities have shown me vividly.  It is time for me to get smart and put my weight and physical fitness center stage and at the top of the priority list.

Sometimes realizing you need to make changes in areas like this hits you like a ton of bricks and completely out of the blue.   Two weeks ago, if you had asked me about my current weight, I would have said that I needed to shed some and that I’ll get around to it sometime.  Last week I was recording video of  the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, OH, and the ensuing King City Classic Basketball Tournament in downtown Cleveland, OH.  Things went pretty well but I caught myself sweating more than I thought I normally would have and the events were all indoors.  I also found myself having to catch my breath after quickly walking from where the events were to where people with media credentials (which I was fortunate to have) could interview players participating in the camp and the tournament.  Never was any walk much more than 100-200 yards and never more than one or two flights of stairs were involved.  Even though I’ll never try to suggest that I was in top fitness when I was younger or that I was some great athlete, I know what I’ve been able to do in the not-so-distant past and that’s just ridiculous.

So it’s time for this guy to get up off his butt and get moving.  We’ll start tomorrow with a jog and go from there.