How I Went From Couch to 5k, then 5 Miles 10kMiles

In the fall of 2017 I had a roommate. He’s a runner. Like, a serious runner. You know, the kind who goes out for a 5 mile run on one of his rest days? The kind who’s training for a 50 miler? The kind who has to eat 8,000 calories a day to maintain his weight? That kind.

One day (October 27, to be precise) he asked if I’d like to go out for a “recovery run” with him.

“How long?” I asked.

Just 2 miles,” he replied.

“Sure,” I answered, expecting it would suck, but being in relatively decent shape to begin with, why not?

It sucked, that’s why not! Ugh. It was grueling. I managed to maintain an average pace of 8’55”, which I thought was pretty decent.

A couple of days later, I decided to try again, only I would start smaller – say, half a mile. I did .43 miles in 9’10”. Not great! But I was alone and didn’t have my coach kicking me every step of the way.

The next day I did it again. .42 miles at 8’57”.

The next day I did it again. 1.01 miles at 0’03”.

From there I dabbled, going back and forth with a half mile some days, 2 miles the next. I didn’t have a plan, other than “run a mile,” which I did every couple of days. I continued that until June, when I decided I’d just start adding a little each day. Each time I ran, I added .1 or so miles until I hit 3.74 in July (and that day was a hot, sweaty, doozy).

I’d looked at formal plans in the past, and never really had much luck with making them stick. I even tried to go onto the “couch to 5k plan” to see how that would help me, until I realized that 5k is just 3.1 miles, and I was already there, so…

On April 6, 2019, I decided to kick it up a notch and shoot for 5 miles. Again, I decided to just add a little every time I ran. Since I was averaging a run every other day, I’d add .2 miles each time. I went from 3.1, to 3.2, to 3.3, 3.5, 3.7, 3.8, 4.0, 4.2, 4.4, 4.6, and finally 5.0 exactly 30 days later.

Since then, I’ve set 5 miles as my standard, shooting for a run every 2 days. I’ve done four of them so far and today will be my fifth.

Nike may not like it, but in summary, my plan is “just do it.” Add a little bit each day, making slow and steady progress. If you backslide, don’t worry about it! Just get out and do it again. Before you know it, a 5 k run will be just a warmup, and it taking supreme effort will be just a memory.

Update: On Saturday, May 25, 2019 I took the next step and upped my run to 10k. I’ve done it twice and plan on making this a regular workout a 2-3 times a week, work and weather permitting.

Update: On Saturday, June 1, 2019 I took the next step and upped my run to 10 miles.

Slow Carb Modified

In late June, I made some measured modifications to my now-(depending on how you define it) famous slow carb diet practice. 
For starters, I resumed drinking Gatorade during Krav Maga training sessions. I noticed an immediate increase in my mental acuity and energy levels, resulting in better training, both physically and mentally.  I am also allowing myself up to one soda – usually club soda, lemon juice, and stevia – per day. 
Next, I allowed myself one “slip day” (in addition to my cheat day) per week, where I can eat restricted foods (dairy, or grains) provided I do so after a resistance training workout, and I stay within my daily total energy expenditure (so if I have a couple slices of pizza after hitting the gym, and keep the calories sane, I’m okay. 
I’m also skipping breakfast – yes, the most important meal of the day – on most days. Also, I haven’t been eating as many legumes as previously, usually only having them a few days or of the week now. 
Finally, I allow myself some night time carbs. This has usually been a small amount of dark chocolate, but could also be a granola bar. In addition to satisfying any cravings, this had resulted in better quality sleep than melatonin, valerian, or GABA. Again, I make sure to stay within my daily TEE so this is not a bingefest like some Saturdays turn into. 
The results? Not much to report, actually. There has been a modest decrease in weight over the last few weeks, but nothing dramatic. 
Given all of these adjustments, I’m not sure it even qualifies as the slow carb diet even more, but hey! As long as it works, I’m happy. 

Weight tracking June-July 2016
Weight tracking June-July 2016

It's Podcasting time again!

After a few years of regularly co-hosting a podcast (Fresh Ubuntu, and Pocket Sized Podcast), I’ve partnered with my friend and colleague Adam Bell to record and publish Blurring the Lines! On the show, we will take about our experiences with business, as well as our personal lines, and how they blur in the 21st century. We also will have interviews with interesting guests on how the lines between their business and personal lives blur, how they maintain separation, and how they embrace the intersection. Give us a listen, and subscribe! Right now!

The "Peter Diet?" No, it's the Slow Carb Diet

Recently, likely thanks to my weekly Saturday Binge Day posts on Facebook, several of my friends have been saying “I want to know more about that diet,” and also “I’m doing the same diet you are” or “my friend is doing the same diet you are.” My response? Yes/no.
Yes, you want to know more about it. No, you and your friends are not doing the same diet I am.
Continue reading “The "Peter Diet?" No, it's the Slow Carb Diet”

The Twelve Days of Krav Maga

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Twelve practice knives
Eleven decks of cards
Ten rounds of Bas
Nine focus mitts
Eight yellow guns
Seven tombstone pads
Six kick shields
Five decks of cards
Four boxing gloves
Three gum shields
Two shin guards
A brace for my bad right?knee.

Low Carb Diet – Round 3

In the last week of May, 2012 I started a low carb diet. This is not my first attempt at such a thing, as I successfully lost 45 pounds following a program called Medifast in 2008, and I experimented with the slow carb diet for a couple of months in 2011. While I am not necessarily looking to lose weight this time around, I do want more energy and would like to tone up some. Since moving to Boston, I have increased my regular exercise regime to where I am doing some form of exercise pretty much every day, whether it is yoga, martial arts, or cycling.
However, I was feeling quite exhausted on occasion, most likely as a result of not yet changing my diet.
I have not adopted a formal diet this time, preferring instead to “trust my gut” and see what happens. While I am not counting calories, I am consciously choosing to intake fewer carbohydrates, which is difficult for me, as I miss my popcorn and potatoes. However, I have noticed that after eating a big meal, by skipping the potatoes with dinner, I do not feel “stuffed” to the point of needing a wheelchair to leave the dinner table. Rather, I feel comfortably satisfied.
I am allowing myself to eat all of the protein that I want, whether it is beef, fish, poultry, etc., does not matter. I am also increasing my daily intake of vegetables. So far, the resulting diet has been rather similar to the slow carb diet, minus the weekly “binge day,” and allowing for some occasional, albeit small, doses of carbs, e.g., a slice or two of Ezekiel bread every few days.
For the first week, my energy levels definitely dropped, which is to be expected when you first start something like this. However, now that I am in the second week, they seem to be coming back. I don’t know if my weight has changed yet, as I will have to wait until returning to Vermont, where my scale is, but I do seem to be getting a little more muscle definition already.

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I Try to Get Out, But They Keep Pulling Me Back In!

While my weight doesn’t appear to have moved outside the range that it was in while I was actively on the Slow Carb Diet. However, I seem to have less energy these last several days that I’ve been eating more freely, so I’m considering doing it again.
Wonderful. I’m feeling about as flip-floppy as a politician during election season.

Slow Carb Diet Fail

I believe I’ve given it a fair shot. After being on the slow carb diet for 7 of the last 8 weeks, I haven’t seen enough change to hold my attention. It’s a bit disappointing, for sure, but not the end of the world by any stretch.
Weight Over Time

Oh well. It’s certainly been fun. Binge days have been an interesting high and low, but I think I’m going to focus on other things for a while.
UPDATE: Just for comparison, here’s the progress I made on Medifast in 2008. I wonder if slow carb would have been more effective had I more weight to lose, or if Medifast would be effective on me again now.
Medifast diet progress from 2008
Update: If you are interested in trying the Slow Carb Diet, despite my failure, I encourage you, and please let me know. If you need recipe ideas, check out http://slowcarbcook.blogspot.com.