Hummm

I’ve been meaning to write more often than I have, but I never can seem to get around to it… every couple of days (usually on the drive to and from work) I’ll think of something I want to write about, but by the time I get home, I don’t want to sit down and flesh it out.

Anyway, this one is about my adventures in weight gain and loss. For the first month of marriage, I was holding steady at 191 – which is pretty good for me these days. But by the time summer rolled around, I was up over 20 pounds (!!!) – Emily might be too good of a cook πŸ™‚

Since I had such good results with Body for Life a few years ago, we decided to try that approach. The plan is to finish the 12 week program the week of Thanksgiving – so far it’s going pretty good. We’re eating much better, and getting up nearly every morning to go to the Y before work. I’ve lost about 10 pounds so far, and feel much better. It’s always fun to see muscles showing up in places where there were none before. I actually have hamstrings and delts now!

It’s much easier to stick with the diet and exercise when you have someone else to do it with. And the free days are always fun – I’m at the end of my free day for this week, so I’m feeling pretty sick (Pizza, shakes, Dunkin’ Donuts, etc.) But it really does help keep you on track the rest of the week, when you know you can have all the stuff you’ve been craving. Like birthday cake…

’cause my birthday is coming up in a few days… I officially enter the mid-30s next Sunday. That’s right – the big 3-4. I guess there’s nothing particularly big about 34, other than the number itself.

And the day after that marks two years since I met my wife… our first date was October 23, 2004. Amerigo’s and “Cellular” – not the most romantic date, but you gotta start somewhere πŸ™‚ Hard to believe that this time two years ago we hadn’t even met, and a year ago we just got engaged. Emily is up in Chicago looking at wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses again this year – but this time for her sister who is getting married next year.

As far as other anniversaries to celebrate – last month I crossed the three year point from my last round of chemo… everything’s still looking good. Actually after two years the chance of recurrence is less than 5% for my particular kind, so each year out the odds get better and better. I’ve got a whole ‘nother post to write about what I’ve learned in the past year, but I’ll save that one for later.

Lactic acid is good?

Ran across this article in the NY Times – pretty interesting. I’ve always felt that keeping below the “anaerobic zone” when working out didn’t make any sense – looks like I was right πŸ™‚

Everyone who has even thought about exercising has heard the warnings about lactic acid. It builds up in your muscles. It is what makes your muscles burn. Its buildup is what makes your muscles tire and give out.

Coaches and personal trainers tell athletes and exercisers that they have to learn to work out at just below their “lactic threshold,” that point of diminishing returns when lactic acid starts to accumulate. Some athletes even have blood tests to find their personal lactic thresholds.

But that, it turns out, is all wrong. Lactic acid is actually a fuel, not a caustic waste product. Muscles make it deliberately, producing it from glucose, and they burn it to obtain energy. The reason trained athletes can perform so hard and so long is because their intense training causes their muscles to adapt so they more readily and efficiently absorb lactic acid.

The notion that lactic acid was bad took hold more than a century ago, said George A. Brooks, a professor in the department of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley. It stuck because it seemed to make so much sense.

“It’s one of the classic mistakes in the history of science,” Dr. Brooks said.

Full Article at NY Times (registration may be required)

Losing weight

I keep joking with Emily that we need to just go to the courthouse and get this thing over with. Of course I’m kidding; I want her to have the perfect wedding, and as long as I’m going to be there, it might as well be something I can enjoy too πŸ™‚ One of the nice things about taking a few months to plan a wedding is that it gives me the time and incentive to get into shape.

I’ve lost quite a bit of weight this year, but I lost motivation this summer when I hit the low 190s. When I saw some of the pictures we took Tuesday, I couldn’t believe how fat I looked – the one picture at the bottom of Wednesday’s entry is the only one where I didn’t look disgustingly obese. What’s really scary is that I’m 20 pounds lighter than I was back in January – I can’t imagine how large I looked then. I’ll admit I’m somewhat vain – with that beind said, I refuse to look back at our wedding pictures and only see “fat”. If there’s ever an event to look one’s best, this would be it πŸ™‚

Emily has had a lot of success with Nutrisytem; I thought she looked great before she started using it, but she has lost nearly 20 pounds since then, so it obviously works. I ordered a month’s supply myself, and started this weekend. It’s not the greatest tasting stuff in the world, but it’s palatable, and there’s enough variety to keep it interesting for a while. I can definitely suffer through for the next month or two.

I’m a little concerned with my ability to stick with it considering the holidays are right around the corner. But at least I’m starting from my lowest weight in 2 years, so getting down to the 170s should be doable. I have all the head knowledge I need as far as exercise and diet go, I just need to put it into practice.

One thing that will help – We bought new running shoes a couple of weeks ago, and they make a HUGE difference – I’m running much faster than I normally do, without any shin splints or pronation problems I normally deal with. So the easier it is to run, the longer I run, the more weight I lose, which makes it easier to run, so I can run longer…

Anyway, we’ll just consider getting back to my pre-2001 weight a fringe benefit of the wedding planning πŸ™‚

More Race Results

After a month-long hiatus, I ran another 5K this past weekend. My time was 32:41, only six seconds behind my best time. So hopefully I’ll be able to set a new personal best this weekend… there’s actually three different 5Ks in the area – I suppose I’ll just run the one that’s closest. It looks like there will be 5Ks every weekend for the next couple of months, which is nice – lots to choose from. And a couple of 4 milers – I don’t know if I’m ready for those, but at least it would be a good workout for the 5Ks.

The past two races I’ve always been tailing someone who would stop and walk every now and then, just to start running again as I got close to them. It’s very annoying. But the nice thing is, even though my long distance stamina isn’t up to par, I’m still a pretty fast sprinter. In both cases I was able to pass them just as we approached the finish line. In other words:

Wired News: Altered HIV Attacks Mice Tumors

This falls under the category of “So weird, it’s gotta be true”:

Wired News: Altered HIV Attacks Mice Tumors

Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles have tweaked HIV to create a gene therapy that attacks cancer tumors in mice.

The research is a step forward for the beleaguered field of gene therapy, which has enjoyed isolated successes and suffered repeated setbacks over the past 20 years. But tinkering and fine tuning will be the key to a successful gene therapy, UCLA researchers believe. They published their study in the Feb. 13 issue of Nature Medicine.

Cured: The John Cleland Story

Ran across this article tonight – it’s about the first guy with testicular cancer who was treated with Cisplatin and Dr. Einhorn, who is the guy who discovered it and is still considered the leading expert in TC. Cisplatin is the miracle drug that took TC survival rates from 10% to well over 90%. Once it spread into your blood stream and lymph system, it was only a matter of time. Even in my case, though it was caught early, I probably wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for Cisplatin and the research of Dr. Einhorn.

What’s even more amazing is that John was the first person to be treated with Cisplatin – because all other options had failed. And yet he is still alive and doing well 30 years later. Amazing stuff:

http://www.curetoday.com/currentissue/features/cured/index.html