Saturday, September 27, 2008


You might recall that after four months of training, we got to St. Louis, only to have the Lewis & Clark marathon called off due to rain last week, after two previous attempts (2007 & 2006) that went bad after knee injuries.

After stewing about it for a few days, it became apparent that I wasn’t going to be getting to any other marathons. The Chicago marathon was closed. There were two marathons up in the Indianapolis area in the next month, but I’ve got police training then, so no luck there.

In the end, I decided that we needed to have our own marathon: the 1st ever Horace-Brocton marathon. Its 13 miles from my mailbox to Brocton, so if I ran there and back, plus my driveway, I’d be going 26.2 miles—the exact distance needed.

A friend had a can of spray paint that they use to mark the road, so I marked off each mile. It really helps to have those mile markers, so you can tell yourself “just run one more mile.” Then you gut it out for 10-11 minutes, and then tell yourself that again.

On “race” day, I was getting pretty excited about the challenge coming up. After church, I went home and set out containers at miles 2/24, 4/22, 6/20, 8/18, 10/16, and 12/14. Each held a bottle of water, Gatorade, and a couple zip-lock baggies with some toilet paper.

In real marathons, they have porta-potties at aid stations along the route. Since I didn’t have a porta-potty, I had to get creative. I’m not above stepping inside a cornfield (just between us), but I draw the line at using the corn!

I also left several packets of Gu (a 100 calorie sucrose formula used for quick energy) at several key points along the way to help keep my energy levels up. Typically, you take 3 or 4 during a 26.2 mile run.

After warming up and stretching for a few minutes, I started the timer in my watch and hit the road. The watch would help me figure out my pace each mile, so I’d know if I was on track to finish in less than 5 hours.

That’s actually pretty slow for a marathon. Most people finish them between 4 and 4 ½ hours. Really good runners finish in 3 ½ hours. Amazing runners get done in 3 hours, and experts do it in 2 ½ hours. World class runners come in around 2:05 to 2:10.

The first few miles went well and the weather was pretty good. It was partly cloudy and there was a cool breeze. I was doing about a 10:30 pace and thinking that this might be the time I actually made it all the way through one of these things.

At mile 7 the wind really picked up, and I noticed a storm brewing up ahead. The skies got dark and I started seeing the lightning and hearing the thunder. I said a quick prayer for protection. I wasn’t worried about running in the rain, but a million volts could be a big problem.

Around mile 10, the winds got very strong, and I can’t remember ever running into such resistance. It really slowed things down, but I was keeping pretty cool.

At mile 11, my hips really started hurting. No matter how much running I do, or training in the gym, it never seems to help the hip flexors. They just go crazy on long runs. Some people are good at blocking out the pain. I’ll have to talk to them.

Someone also ripped off my container at mile 12. I figured they’d see the mile markers, water and stuff, and leave them alone. Wrong. I guess they needed it for storing stuff. At least they had the courtesy to leave behind a water bottle.

Finally I hit the edge of Brocton, followed by a nice doggy I’d picked up along the way. I reached the halfway mark at 2:24, in front of the bank. Not my fastest half-marathon time—I’d done a 2:15 in the spring, but that was not holding anything back.

This time, I was trying to be conservative, with half the race still to go. The cool thing was that I’d actually run to Brocton, and was half-way through the race. The bummer was that I was only half-way and still had to go home.

Turning around, I cruised back through town and headed back up the Horace-Brocton road. I ran through a few minor sprinkles, but the big storm just kind of went around me. Prayers do get answered.

Mile 14 and 15 came and went, and I was feeling a little cramping in my left thigh. I’d only eaten a half banana a couple hours before the run and should have had a whole one. When you’re low on potassium, the muscles don’t relax as well.

It got a little better after my Gatorade kicked in, but it must have been a sign of things to come, because next, my old nemesis came calling. Over the last two years, I’ve had knee problems in the upper miles.

At mile 16, my Ilio-Tibial Band (ITB) syndrome showed up in full force. I’d faced it in the last long run (20 mile) a couple weeks back when it kicked in at 19.5 miles. So, I’d backed off the training to get it some rest before the race.

Unfortunately, the inflammation (where the band rubs at the knee joint) made running extremely painful. I toughed it out for a couple more miles, but had to walk every ¼ mile to relieve the pressure.

And in between walks, there wasn’t much running going on either. At one point, I thought I saw a cricket pass me in just three hops. It could have been delirium, though. Finally, I just called it quits at mile 19, with only 7 miles to go.

You see, I’ve already done three marathons where I had to walk through to the finish and didn’t really want to do that again. Besides, my cutie-pie’s 8th birthday party was tonight, and everyone would be arriving in little more than an hour.

So now I’m 0 for 4 marathon attempts. On the plus side, I got 16 pretty good miles before the other shoe dropped and 19 miles if you count the walking. I guess there’s always next year!

But next week, I’ll have the results from week one of Biggest Loser “5.” There’s still time if you want to participate. We’ve got 50 people started, and have a little room left too. Just let me know before Friday, and we’ll get you going!

Friday, September 19, 2008


So we knew it was up in the air. Hurricane Ike had just blasted the Texas coast and was moving northeast as a tropical depression. Forecasters were predicting gale force winds and heavy rains sometime on Sunday. I’d been hoping that the worst of it would hold off until after the marathon.

We’d arrived in the St. Louis area on Saturday afternoon after an interesting 3 hour trip. Usually it’s a little shorter, but when my wife asked me if I brought the map to the hotel, I gave her that “I thought you brought it” look.

After we found our way to St. Charles, we went to the Ameristar Casino Convention Center to pick up the packet. An amazing place, it seems that Las Vegas has found its way to the Midwest. Still, we kept wondering where the boat part of the riverboat was. It looked like a bunch of lights and buildings to us.

A quick dash upstairs to the Convention Center yielded my race packet with the all important race number and the computer chip that somehow tells everyone when you start and when you finish. It kind of reminded me of those ear tags they put on cattle.

We left for more conservative digs over at the Country Inn & Suites. Actually it was pretty pricey too, but I was counting on the fact that there was a hot tub in every room. That and the last time my wife and I had gotten out of town for something, we’d stayed there and had a good time.

After bumming around for awhile, we decided to go out and get some supper. There were quite a few fast food joints, but only two restaurants, the obligatory Denny’s and Country Kitchen. Wanting to save Denny’s for breakfast, we decided to go back to Ameristar to try our luck at the buffet.

If you get over the $21 price (each) to eat, it takes top honors for the best buffet we’ve ever experienced. At that price it should.

They had everything, and I mean everything. I thought I was on a cruise ship. Knowing I had to run the next morning, though, helped me keep things in check. I sampled five different salads (out of the 15 possible), and tried 3 different kinds of pasta (out of the 10 possible).

My potluck and buffet strategy, and it usually works, is to take a little bit of a lot of things. I had a couple entrées, and was particularly impressed with the mandarin chicken & rice (rice is good for carb-loading). The salmon was nice too.

I lucked out and found a banana on top of one of the dessert displays. I think it was a display, but we squeezed it and it was real, so we filched it for in the morning, with a couple of oatmeal cookies—perfect. Now my pre-race breakfast was taken care of, and that made the $21 seem more worthwhile.

We also tried a couple desserts and they were fabulous. They usually are. Again the strategy was to have just a little bit of several different things. The discipline comes in when you push the plate over to the edge of the table where the waitress will grab them on the way by.

You have to do this before you eat everything. The waitress also has to get there and take the plate pretty quickly. Otherwise you pick at it until you’ve actually eaten everything. It worked out. She took the plate early. I gave her a good tip.

Back at the hotel, we tried out the spa. We’ve got to get one of those for home. It was just about the same size as our garden tub—it just had jets in it. I wonder if we can get those retrofitted. This is definitely going on our “need to get after we get out of debt” list.

The alarm was set for 5:00 am but never rang, because I was up before it. Anticipation had gotten me up every hour on the hour at 3:00 and 4:00am. Just before 5:00, I woke up from a dream with my mother, of all things. I had only dreamed about her once, a year after we lost her to a stroke three years ago.

In the dream, she was helping me calm down before a musical competition of all things, and I’d been having trouble finding my sheet music and the right clothes to wear. Once I was convinced that everything was going to be alright, I woke up. That’s mom, still helping me after all these years.

Dressed and ready, I went downstairs with my wife to check out the weather, since it was tough to tell from the room. The forecasters were right. It was extremely windy and raining cats and dogs.

After chewing on it for awhile, I decided to call it off and go back upstairs. I know Kathy was pretty happy about it. There were a lot of things that factored into the decision.

When you run such a long distance, research shows you can compromise your immune system. Add running in the cold and windy rain for five hours, and there was a good chance to get sick.

It also bothered me that Kathy would have to wait for me in the finish for an unknown length of time—in the rain. The real kicker was the hour I’d have to spend standing in the rain—before the race began. That was too much.

After we got upstairs, I started second-guessing myself. Finally, I told her that we were here, and I was going to give it a try. After all, it’s what I’d been working up to, for all these years.
Like the amazing wife she is, she didn’t say anything. Just opened the door and we went back down. This time, the winds were gale force. I mean it was crazy.

After another few minutes, I was able to let it go, and told her that it was really about the journey to get there and all the training along the way. The race was just one event, and there would be another chance—even if it was my 3rd try there at the Lewis & Clark.

At peace with things, I went back up stairs and we hit the sack for a couple more hours. At 8:00 am we got back up to more wind and rain, and got ready to hit the road.

My wife found out that they started the race, but things were pretty tough on them. We checked out and headed to Denny’s for breakfast, before we started our swim, I mean drive home.

While we were talking, my wife had this funny look on her face and I thought she might be choking, or getting sick. She said “no, I’m listening.”

It turns out that the two guys in the booth next to us were getting carryout, and had people in the race, so she asked them how it was going. He told her they just called it off—they’d actually stopped the race!

Apparently, the wind and rain was so bad, it was causing extreme flooding in the St. Louis area—and the course was right by the river. It got to the point where it was becoming dangerous, so they called it to a halt, stopping everyone at mile 10.

There, at mile marker ten, the runners were waiting (in the rain) for people to come and pick them up. Suddenly, my day was getting brighter. I couldn’t have done it anyway.

So I’ve got to find another one to run this fall. Or, there’s always next year. But now, I’ve got to go run off that buffet!

Monday, September 15, 2008


First a disclaimer: Neither I nor any member of my family is an employee of NBC. Now, I want to tell you one last time to watch the TV premier of this season’s Biggest Loser on Tuesday night.

If you want to see how people lose a lot of weight fast, this is your show. You’ll be amazed and then touched, as you see the contestants tackle a big task—themselves.

It’s like the old saying: “We’ve met the enemy, and he is us.” So true. But this time, these people are doing something about it. You can too. More on that in a minute.

My hope is that it will inspire you to one of the following ways:

1. If you need to lose weight, I hope it will motivate you to get started. If they can do it—you can do it.
2. If you’re already working on it, I hope it will help you stay on course. If they can do it—you can do it.
3. If you’re where you need to be, I hope it will help motivate you to encourage others, especially those participating in the program here this fall. If you can do it—they can do it.

Now the shameless plug. If you’ve been thinking about it for a long time, and you’d be amazed how many people I talk to who’ve been thinking about it for years—this is your chance.


Our community Biggest Loser “5” starts on Friday night, Sept. 19th! You’ve got to pre-register to participate. We can’t take any walk-in’s Friday night because it gets too crazy.

We’ve got to weigh everybody in, and then take off and do the initial fitness assessment. We do the test at the start of the 12 weeks to let you see where you are. Then, we do it again at the end on December 12th, so you can see how far you’ve come.

I have to say, enrollment has been a little slow this time. Last fall, when we announced Biggest Loser “4,” we had 68 people signed up in just 3 weeks. Perhaps other things are going on. Maybe people are just waiting to decide. Either way, the time is now.

Registration is easy, but it has to be done in advance. All you need to do is come in to Tom’s Fitness, fill out the form, pay your entry fee ($50), and show up a little before 6:30 on Friday night.

I’m usually here between 9 and 1 pm, and then again after 5pm. It might take a little time for me to get free in the afternoons, because I’m usually teaching or training people, but come and find me and we’ll get it done.

You can be a member here, at the YMCA, Curves, work, home, or wherever. You just have to have a place to work out. If you’re wanting to workout at home, you’ll need a treadmill or exercise bike, and some basic workout equipment.

We’ll meet every Friday night from 6:30-7:30pm for the weigh-in, workout, and to learn what you’re supposed to do the following week. I won’t be putting your weight in the paper—just how much you’ve lost after a month, two months, and then at the end.

This is the last chance I have to tell you about Biggest Loser “5” so get moving. Make a decision. Take some action. You can get what you want—a new you. I’ve seen it too many times to believe that you’re the only one who can’t do it.

All you have to do is start. Then you just need to show up. Then you just need to keep trying. We’ll fill in the gaps and give you what you need to know to be successful. You’ll learn that you can do it, and a lot more about yourself along the way.

Being part of a group will help a lot. Seeing other people do it will help you believe that you can do it too. It also pushes you. When you see them keep going, you’ll decide to keep going too.

Think of it. A new you. How does that sound to you? Lighter, stronger, faster. New clothes. It’s so doable. You just have to do it. So, finally, here are my top 10 reasons for you to get started with us in Biggest Loser “5”:

1. You’ll feel better.
2. You’ll look better (not that it’s all about looks, but this will affect the way you feel about yourself, helping you do #1).
3. You’ll lower your risk or heart disease, diabetes, and a whole slew of other things (which also helps with #1).
4. You’ll secretly enjoy getting “that look” when you come down the hall with just your underwear on (make sure you’re in your house).
5. You’ll be able to run and play with your kids (or grandkids) without having to stop to catch your breath or worry about CPR.
6. You’ll have more energy to do more things and will be physically able to do them.
7. You’ll be more confident (see #4).
8. You’ll be more content (see #5).
9. You’ll be able to bend over and tie your shoes (you’d be surprised how many people tell me this one).
10. You’ll be able to get back up off the toilet without having to use your hands to help you up (this was priceless—a little lady in her 60’s told me this about 2 weeks after starting working out. She wasn’t in Biggest Loser, but it was still pretty cool).

Like I said last week, let’s do this together! Get in here ASAP so I can put you on the list. See you Friday!

Thursday, September 11, 2008



If you’ve watched it in the past, you’re probably all set to tune in next Tuesday night for the new season of “The Biggest Loser” on NBC. If you’re not a regular viewer of the TV show, I want to encourage you to watch the show on the 16th.

You’re going to see some amazing things. Like the courage these participants have, putting it all out there on national TV for all to see—and there will be a lot to see. These are big people.

They’ve let things go for years. Most of them are morbidly obese—overweight to the point they have life threatening consequences. Even walking will be difficult for them when they get started. But they’ll do more than walk.

When you see how hard they work, especially as big as they are, it takes away all our excuses. Sure, they’re living on a ranch and don’t have to go to work—exercise is their job. So they have lots of time on their hands. But the things they’ll do will amaze you—and themselves.

They’ll start realizing that they can do things they thought were impossible. They’ll start seeing themselves in a new and different light. It gives them hope, maybe for the first time ever.

I remember the first season, thinking that this was going to be a show that made fun of fat people, and I didn’t want any part of it. When I watched the show, though, I was really surprised.

Sure, they build up the drama, and do the TV thing, and the winner gets $250,000 which helps, but everyone’s treated with respect and dignity, just like we want to do here at home. And when you see the transformations, it’s just amazing.

That’s why I like for our people here to watch the show. It helps to see someone else going through the battle. If they can do it, maybe you can do it too.

Maybe that’s another reason the groups do so well here. Everyone’s in the same boat and we all have to paddle if we’re going to make it.


You won’t have to be a member at Tom’s. You can belong to the YMCA, Curves, a gym at work, or even work out at home if you have the right equipment. Some like to work out here. You just have to be able to work out somewhere.

You’ll have to be willing to work out twice a day, six days a week. That’s right—twice a day. Now it’s not as bad as you might think.

The first workout is simple. Walk a mile in the morning every day. Twenty minutes. That’s 3.0 mph on a treadmill. I’ve never met anyone in at least basic health that couldn’t do that within their first week. Most people do that the first day. If you think it might be difficult, get started walking now.

If you want to lose as much as possible, as quickly as possible, that extra easy workout in the morning makes all the difference. It gets the metabolism moving, and gives you a calorie burning edge, all day.

Later in the day, you’ll do your 2nd workout—which is a much more demanding workout. It can be at noon, after work in the afternoon or at night and will take around 45 minutes.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, you’ll be building muscle and getting stronger. This will speed your metabolism up and make you a fat burner.

On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, you’ll be doing cardio for your heart and lungs. It will burn lots of calories, and will help you build your endurance.

Each week, we’ll be teaching you how to do more and more things, and giving you new challenges. This helps increase the intensity, and helps you keep losing weight.

As you get stronger, you’ll be noticing that you’re also losing inches—and your clothing will start fitting loosely. It’s very common to have people drop several clothing sizes during the 12 weeks. What a problem to have!

I’ll be giving the group an initial fitness assessment that first day, and then some initial direction on how to get moving that first week. Everyone will also get materials that will help them start thinking about how to start eating right, along with some homework assignments.


Signups are this week and next. The first night is Friday the 19th at 6:30 pm. You have to be signed up in advance (before 9/19), because it’s crazy on that first night.

It costs $50 to participate for 12 weeks and 13 meetings. I did the math—it works out to about $3.85 a meeting. That’s about the price of a quarter-pounder and fries, which is pretty tasty, but won’t help you get what you want. Being in the Biggest Loser “5” will.

You’ll learn everything you need to know about how to get this done. You’ll also be surrounded by a group where everyone’s trying to accomplish the same thing.

You’ll also have me motivating you—and pushing you. I’m not as good looking as Bob or Jillian, but we get the job done. Perhaps most important, you’ll be accountable, having to report in every week.

You won’t have to bear almost all, on national TV. I won’t be putting your weight in the paper, but I will be reporting results every 4 weeks. We’ll also have a picture of the weekly winners and their weight loss each week in the paper.

So there you have it. The ball is in your court. What are you going to do about it? Watch the show on TV. But don’t just watch the show. Realize that you can do this too. Right here, right now. It’s your time!

Saturday, September 06, 2008


It’s that time of year again. The leaves will be turning soon. A cooler breeze is in the air. And on TV, a week from Tuesday, we’ll be seeing Biggest Loser “Families.”

It’s that time of year here at home too. After a break for the summer, we’re ready to get back in the saddle with our local version of The Biggest Loser. Last year was pretty cool as we had the opportunity to work with local people, just like you and me, in Biggest Loser “2”, “3”, and “4.”

The programs kept growing, with more than 150 people participating, 68 of which started Biggest Loser “4.” About 60%, or more than half, finished each contest.

It seemed like each group inspired the next one, because the results kept getting better and better. Steve Johnson, Jr. had owned the previous record from 2006 in Biggest Loser “1” with a weight loss of 44 lbs.

He won Biggest Loser “2” last fall with a very respectable 38.8 lbs. Then in Biggest Loser “3” things exploded. Chris Redmon set a new record, losing 56.5 lbs in 12 weeks, but still came in third place!

Since the winners are determined by total percentage of weight loss, Bill Lewis took 2nd place with a 52.5 lbs, and Joe Stidham stole 1st place, losing 49.5 lbs, both with a higher percentage of weight loss.

Then in Biggest Loser “4” last Spring, Josh Rigdon raised the bar by losing an amazing 57.6 lbs, followed by Bill Lewis losing another 40.6 lbs. By then, Steve and Joe had reached their long term goals, joining the 100 lb club, and Bill and Chris were not far behind.

The women were pretty impressive too, even with a couple of disadvantages going into it. Guys have more testosterone, enabling them to push harder, building more muscle, in turn burning more calories. The hormone structure in women is different, making it quite a bit harder.

Still, Cheryl Redmon lost 36.4 lbs back in Biggest Loser “3” and in Biggest Loser “2”, Shirley Fiscus lost 30.4 lbs. Many other women lost between 20-30 lbs, and several participated in several sessions, losing over 40 lbs total.

I’ve still got quite a few gals working out, that are asking me when the next contest starts. They’ve learned that they need that extra push and accountability to help them get to that next level—primarily on the food side of things.

They’ve got the workouts covered—trust me—I’m hammering them. It’s the daily keeping track of food, and the weekly weigh-ins that make the difference. And sometimes, people slack a little bit on the workout side.

Remember, in the contest, people are expected to workout twice a day. It can be as simple as walking a mile in the morning (20 minutes), with the “real” workouts coming at lunch or in the afternoons or evenings.

The early workouts are designed to get your body burning calories early, so you can really get after it later. It’s O.K. with me if they don’t do it but it’s proven that people lose more weight when they do this, than when they don’t.

For those people that want to lose as much weight as they can, as fast as they can, that other workout really matters. In the end, you have to do what you can do.

Like I keep telling them, the weight loss numbers they put up on the TV show aren’t normal—those people live apart on a ranch, don’t work (except for exercise), and don’t have to take care of their kids.

Even our “winners” numbers aren’t normal. They are exceptional people that have pushed themselves beyond what most people will do, and beyond what even they can sustain for more than 12 weeks.

At some point, everyone has to back off, and fall into a more reasonable routine. The trick is to make the routine still meaningful and productive.

Unfortunately, I see people slipping into mediocrity in their workouts all too often. Instead of continuing to try to find ways to progress, or push themselves, they start getting comfortable.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you can already do it, your body has no reason to change! You can walk several miles a day and not lose weight. Sure, there are health benefits, but weight loss takes more than that.

You have to burn more calories, and your body will get very good at doing the least amount of work for the least amount of effort. That’s why you need to continue to shake things up.

In the end, if you can sustain a 1-2 lb a week weight loss, you’ll get what you want. Even if you need to lose 100 lbs, you can do it comfortably in a year.

Another way of looking at it is “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.” I’m not sure where I got that one, but it’s true. If you’re not happy with things, you’ve got to change some things.

That brings me squarely back to the topic of this article: “Biggest Loser “5.” We’re starting two weeks from Friday on September 19th. If you’ve been thinking about it, this is your chance.

You don’t have to settle for second best in your diet, in your exercise, or in your life. I’m living proof that you can be in the best shape of your life now (I’m 46). All you have to do is make a decision that this is your time for you.

Time is going to pass, whatever you do. A year will go by. Where will you be? What will you be? Will you be what you want to be? You can be.

It will be $50 to participate in the 12 week contest and you won’t have to be a member at my gym—you can workout anywhere you want. The prize will be $500, plus whatever we can drum up from a generous sponsor (anyone?). We’ll meet each Friday night from 6:30-7:30 for a weekly weigh-in and a progressively harder workout.

We’ll be talking about proper nutrition, and perhaps most important, holding you accountable. I won’t be putting your weights in the paper—only your weight loss, which could be substantial. Come on. Let’s do this together!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


If you read last week’s article, you might remember I was telling you about my marathon training. After a pretty successful 18 mile weekend run, I had a pretty messed up 14 miler, due in part to wearing the wrong shoes!

This was the toughest week yet, with 4 runs on the schedule: a 5 miler, a 10 miler, another 5 miler, and then the big one—20 miles on the weekend—for a total of 40 miles. This sounds pretty impressive to me until I remember that real runners often rack that many miles up every week.

For me it was what we’d been working up toward, as preparation for the big one, 26.2 miles in 3 weeks. There was another wrinkle. I was down by St. Louis all week for some police training.

It took some finagling, since I normally work out on Mon, Wed, and Fri, and do cardio on the other days (just like I recommend). I keep it scheduled, so the routine itself keeps me making progress.

I ended up doing both the first 5 mile run and my workout when I got free on Monday afternoon, since I was going to be tied up all day and night on Tuesday, which became a rest day. Sometimes you have to make adjustments (just ask a chiropractor).

There weren’t any nice trails or tracks or anything down where I was so I ended up tracing out a 5 mile loop from the hotel in the car. That way, I’d know where I was going.

It was kind of nice, running some new territory and seeing some new faces go by. Then I headed down to the local Gold’s Gym and hit the weights for 30 minutes.

When I travel, I always make it a point to find out where you can work out. If there’s no place to work out, I’ll do pushups, crunches, and body squats in the room. There’s always a way to get it done.

Tuesday was a rest day, due to the training all day and that evening, so Wednesday I had the big mid-week run—10 miles. I traced out a different route, using part of the course I’d run on Monday, but going in a different direction.

It was exciting, knowing I’d be in newer, more difficult territory, especially since I wouldn’t have access to water on a regular basis. To counter that, I took a bottle of water with me, and took a drink every 20 minutes or so and threw it away when I got to Lowes.

Then, it was just 4 miles back to the hotel, and a 20 minute stop in the Jacuzzi down by the pool. I took some heat from my wife for that.

There were also a couple of long hills that I knew would be a challenge. It went really well—better than I expected. Apparently, the 14 mile shoes debacle from the previous week had actually helped me out, because I was stronger.

That’s a principle I’ve noticed here in the gym. If you ever have a bad workout, don’t worry too much about it. Your body doesn’t really know the difference. It just knows it was hard, and that’s where all the gains come from.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re running, lifting weights, or just in life. If things are easy, there’s not much reason to change. When things get tough though, look out, because change is on the way—it has to.

The next day, Thursday, was going to be like Monday. I had both a 5 mile run, and my workout to fit in. So, after work, I went to the gym. Ready for something different, I ran a mile on the treadmill and then hit the weights—20 pull-ups and 15 shoulder push-presses, a pretty lethal combination.

Then I ran the 2nd mile and then did the pull-ups and push-presses again. Then the 3rd mile, more pull-ups and push-presses, 4th mile and weights, and then finally, I ran the 5th mile, and a ¼ mile walk to cool down. It was pretty cool, since I’d never done that before.

That’s another principle that works for several reasons. Exercise regularly—on a planned schedule, but change things up when you do. It’s good for your mind, since it’s fresh and exciting, and often times, a challenge.

It’s also good for your body. Do the same thing, over and over, and your body has no reason to change—it can already do it. That’s why I like to shake things up.

When I’m training people, I’ll often have them run ¼ or ½ mile, and then do some exercises in the weight room, going back and forth. It really gets you in shape. It also helps you keep the weight off, cause it burns tons of calories and has a wicked long after burn.

Friday was a rest day, since I finished the school and was traveling home. Then Saturday was more training at the police academy. That brings me to Sunday, and the long weekend run—20 miles.

It’s funny how your mind works. I’d decided to run at 4pm, when the sun started going lower in the sky. I’d be running into the sun for awhile, but then turning around and going the other way—giving me a break, and keeping me from getting burnt.

After spraying on a ton of sun-block, I hit the road. It went pretty well for the first 10 miles. I was running a 2.5 mile loop that took me home for a drink every 25-30 minutes. At mile 7.5, I had to take a bathroom break (that’s the good thing about the loop that takes you home).

After mile 10, I had some cramping going on. Don’t know why. Just know I didn’t like it. Having to slow to about a walk, it finally went away after about a mile. Perhaps I was dehydrated. I’d had my potassium with a banana earlier. Oh well.

At mile 15, things started slowing down. It’s funny, but I remembered the long 18 miler a few weeks ago being easier. It always seems to work that way. You have a good one, then a not so good one.

The real trouble hit me at mile 19.5 when my right knee started developing the same old ITB syndrome that I’d fought through the previous year. Yikes. That wasn’t good. I tried to run through it for a little while, but ended up walking the last half mile home.

That didn’t bode well for the marathon, coming up in three weeks, since this is exactly the same thing that happened last year. It was the same knee, on the last long run of training, three weeks out.

I remember hoping last year that the 3 week taper before the race would give it enough time to heal, and it kind of did—until mile 17 during the marathon. So now, there is a big question mark. Will it or won’t it? Here we go again.