July 2010 - Posts

Old and Fat -or- why the ZMan needs to stop snacking

One would think that being able to run 50 miles would also mean being fit, thin and healthy - well lets check off just the 1st one there.

Last doctor checkup I was very happy to find after 4 years of running my 'good' cholesterol was finally reflecting my active lifestyle. However I was not so happy to discover the bad cholesterol had gone up and was over 200. Time to dig out my previous results I think. I will refrain from a spreadsheet as there's not quite enough numbers

          Total (under 200)    LDL[bad] (<130)   HDL[good] (>40)     Triglycerides (<150)
09/2000           193                    128                      34                              153
01/2003           180                    116                      35                              141
03/2006           184                    126                      37                              102
03/2009           211                    137                      47                              134

(I started running in March 2005 and hit marathon distance in May 2006)

03/2011 will be my next checkup and I really don't want to be on drugs - I'm seeing too many of my friends starting to take them because of health issues. Thankfully I'm not seeing anything yet but its probably best to be defensive here since I've really never bothered to much.

Weight wise I've mostly hovered around the 220-225 for as long as I can remember. I used to be real skinny (160??) till I went to university and discovered that I could eat whenever I liked and drink beer.

Running didn't have the effect on my weight I wanted it to which is a major disappointment to me. With a little bit of cutting back on sodas when I was at Microsoft I managed to lose a few pounds and then in 2006 when I was marathon training I managed to cut out snacking for a while and got under 210.

Fast forward to 50 mile training in the last year. Even with running 5 times a week and increasing my distances a lot there was no significant change. Then I went to England for Christmas and ate too much. In the past a few lbs of chip, bacon, turkey and chocolate fat would just disappear in January but not this time. In fact I suspect I may have run my 50 miler a pound or 2 over my heaviest.

After the 50 miler - back to 3 runs a week with shorter distances, several vacations with good food and in the blink of an eye I'm over 230. I'm pretty boring and predictable in my eating and we dont eat out often so I dont think there's been any major changes other than the trips.

And here we are today... I weighed in just over 235 and in the last couple of weeks I've been getting some leg issues when I run so, dear body, I'm taking the hint. As fast as I increase my working out my body gets older and slows down and now I'm at the point where running alone isn't even maintaining. Damn this getting old sucks.

To be honest, I know where most of my problem is - I snack too much. I'm home all day and its pretty easy for me to grab stuff that's not good for me and eat way too much of it. It's not just chocolate I have no will power over. I can happily eat a whole bag of goldfish in a day convincing myself that since they are baked they are not so bad (840 calories, 30g fat). I know I need to eat more fruit snack. Odd thing is I actually enjoy fruit - I just prefer good old refined sugar more ;-)

Several of my friends have been using http://sparkpeople.com to track their intake so J convinced me to sign up there. It will hopefully let me know where I'm going wrong. I am already so embarrassed by yesterdays snack total of 1275 calories (550 of those were my once a week beer night so lets amortize that out eh?) that I've not got up and eaten anything this morning for fear I will have to admit it to the internet. Thankfully some of those snacks were finishing up bad leftovers from a weekend party and there is no more of that left. Unlike most people I respond well to shame and guilt so feel free to force me to publicly tell you my weight at any time.

I've often thought the 'Shame/blackmail' diet would work for a certain percentage of people. It works like this: You sign up and give me $1000 and let me take unflattering photographs of you in your underwear. If you lose the required weight I return 80% of the money to you along with the original pictures. If you don't lose the weight I start spending the money and sending you pictures of all the cool stuff I do with it. When the money runs out I put your bad photo on the internet for strangers to mock. Actually that would probably only work for me - maybe I should get J to take a horrible picture of me tonight as a threat.

I need to do something other than running too so we decided to go with last years cool thing and do 100 push ups for starters. I often wonder how many of my friends ever finished that program because though I remember the initial bragging I dont remember anyone bragging about doing 100 and I promise that when I do it you will all know about it!

The plan is to get down to 200lb for my double marathon in November because seriously nobody should be carrying the equivalent of a small child when they run 50+ miles. Then 180lb by my doctor checkup in March in the hope that will also help out the cholesterol. 180 (well 178) would just about scrape me into a 'normal' BMI too. Plus I'd be able to fit into my prom dress.... oh is that TMI?

Posted 29 July 2010 09:01 AM by zman | 5 comment(s)
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Saving money with Alaska Air

I'm a fan of Alaska Air (other than their useless customer support but that's a problem with most CS these days) for most of my flying. In general my opinion of airlines is that they are all in a race to $0 fares with everything else charged in fees so at best Alaska seem to be the best of a bad bunch. But I recently found a feature that means it will be hard for me to use other airlines unless there's a real bargain.

I like to book early - I'm a planner like that and it usually means the cheapest prices. But there's nothing worse than booking early and 6 months later finding out there is a sale and you missed it. I've been told that many airlines will give you the cheaper price if you call them. But you know what that involves? Talking to a human, probably one at less than minimum wage, or one with a sales commission in mind. Thanks but no thanks. My thoughts are that the airline knows this. Other airlines have a change fee. So it might cost you $50 a ticket to change it - not worth it for a $15 sale discount.

But Alaska allow you to do the whole thing online for free here https://www.alaskaair.com/booking/ssl/garr/GuaranteedAirfare.aspx. Its so simply I can't believe that a team of managers and business people had anything to do with it. You type in your name and booking number and if there is a cheaper price than you paid they put the difference in your wallet. Sadly its the Alaska air wallet not cash but it lasts a year so I will have no trouble using it. Even better you can keep trying. I have some California tickets for later this year that were originally $291 each. I've price matched twice and got $31 and today another $11.

Now I never need to worry about early booking. All I need now is for them to do this automatically whenever they do a sale... but I guess if they did that everyone would get the discount and they would probably not be able to afford it any more. Probably better if only me and a few of my close friends know about it.

How do you top 50 miles in one day?

52.4 in 2 days.

Its been a while since I qualified for Marathon Maniacs by running 3 in 3 months so its about time I graduated to the next level of insane. Running a 50 miler doesn't count because this is a club based around running lots of marathons. But if I can run 50 miles on one day surely 2 marathons in 2 days can't be so hard eh? Well that's my current logic and though I don't expect many of you to follow it that's going to be my plan for November.

As you can see from the crazy list 2 marathon in 2 days will take me from 1 star (bronze) right to 4 star (iridium). I think on top of the 50k training run and the 50 mile race a double marathon will be fine end to a my running year.

My legs seem mostly recovered from the 50 miler. Still some tweaks when I try to run fast which has got annoying but otherwise everything is working well. My training will have to ramp up to teach my legs how to run very tired the day after a race but I did several double runs in the build up to the 50 miler. As part of the training I intend to do a double half too which will be fun.

So Ghost of Seattle Nov 27th, followed by the real Seattle Marathon on the 28th is the goal. Then in December I rest (and eat).

Community Charity work

A couple of weeks ago inspired by George and Chris's efforts I asked everyone some questions about writing a book and got a ton of good feedback. Man everyone was so nice... its always a boost to the ego that even though I let http://thezbuffer.com die a death a few years ago that so many folk still care enough to comment and email.

So while I've not made a decision I have to say you encouraged me to really think about it again. Watch this space in a week or so when I'll go over some ideas I have.

Some other feedback:

  1. Honestly I didn't mean to demean other authors, but I got the impression I probably did. Everyone has work they do for reasons other than money - lets call them our community charity projects. I've probably spent more time in the xna, and prior to that the msdn, forums than any of the authors have spent on a book and nobody paid me a penny. Its helped me get a few jobs for sure but the $ per hour is probably less than any author ever got. So yes I know you didn't write a book for money - you did it for the same reasons as I have blogged, answered questions and spoken at user groups. I understand why you did it, you do it and why you will continue to do it.
    The post was really more about *me*. Writing is not something that I do 'for fun' so it feels like a job and for that I want what seems to be a fair compensation. Fame and reputation are not enough when I feel like I already have a fair amount of that. The feeling of 'I wrote a book' is something I get and probably the reason its always at the back of my mind. I guess its just not as big a goal of mine as it is for others - that's fine everyone has different goals.
    Additionally my experience with some of the publishers makes me feel that there is a certain amount of exploitation going on and I don't like how that feels. I've also seen how books are rushed to market, often by no name authors with release date and buzz words being more important than technical correctness. Books become a risk management strategy for the publisher who has to make a profit so I understand that to. I just don't like it!
  2. Several folk suggested I go all web 2.0 publishing and either offer content for free, ad based or payment based. Right now I feel like I do plenty of free community work - ask my girlfriend who is not above pointing out when the forums are more important than her. Ad based sites are great but really the $$ are enough to cover your hosting, a few books and maybe a new hard drive once in a while. At peak I was lucky to clear $500 a year in ads and amazon associates on the ZBuffer. As for payment based content - that either means a commerce system and hackers/paypal woes, a DRM system and annoyed users or me trusting people to pay and sorry but I have little faith in the majority of the internet there. So while I love my blogging and one day I hope to find some time to update the ZBuffer once again that will continue to be what I consider my community charity work along with the forums. I can do this as and when I like without a commitment and without paying customers at my throat . It does get me an MVP award with a few benefits and the reputation to get jobs and most importantly I love doing it. So sorry - web content isn't going to happen. At least not just web content...
Things are a bit busy this week and next but whatever I decide to do there will be a post summarizing the questions (so if you have not given feedback then feel free to comment) and probably some more questions about how I might be able to make this work and stay happy.

 Oh and for those who have read this far someone sent me this link - a very inspiring read for wannbe authors http://www.randsinrepose.com/archives/2010/06/28/how_to_write_a_book.html

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