Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bean Dish

Below is a recipe for our bean dish.  We make this about once a week.  This is very easy and filling.  We usually serve with a side of pasta.


1 medium eggplant
3 zucchinis
1 red pepper
1 Can of Chickpeas
1 Can of Kidney Beans
Tomato Sauce

1.  Preheat the oven to 350
2.  Chop the vegetables into cubes
3.  Add beans
4.  Add Tomato sauce
5.  Mix
6.  Bake for 60 minutes


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Running in the Sunshine

This past weekend we had amazing weather.  On Saturday it was 75 and sunny.  Not a cloud in the sky.  The way my running schedule was shaping up, I had planned to do a 7 mile run on this day.  I was planning on heading out after the kids went to bed like I did last weekend.  

Instead after we came inside from being out at the playground, my wife asked me if now would be a good time to go running.  The baby was down for a nap and my boys were watching Curious George calming down from the adventures at the playground.  I went for it. I told her when I would be back and got changed.

Ahh, running in the sun.  It felt so good.  I cannot remember when I last got out there with just shorts and a t-shirt.  The run was not my best run.  I guess I either did not drink enough during the day or lunch was not fully digested.  I went slowly. I put on a nice long mix on the IPOD and decided to make it a nice long slow run.   

The first half was with the sun shining directly on me.  There were times I wanted to cut it short and just do 4, 5, or 6 miles.  I finally felt warmed up after 5.5 miles.  I finished my 7 miles and feel good.

I cannot wait for spring. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Wintertime Blues

What is your goal for winter?  My goals are not to gain more than a few pounds and still heading out for a run consistently.  2 months to go!!!  Maybe the groundhog will not see his shadow.  When it is cold and dark out, my motivation drops a little.  Throw in some precipitation, it drops even more.  
Instead of getting out there and enjoying myself, I find I want to find finish as soon as I can. Instead of extending my runs, I am doing the minimum distance. The later it gets, the harder it is to get out of the house. When I head out after 7, it is dark.  There are also not as many people out enjoying the outside. 

I  find I eat a little worse than normal. Lately, I have been overdoing it with Chocolate chips.  Plus I stopped measuring my cereal. It was fine it I just stuck to one bowl, but there were some mornings, I would pour myself two or three bowls. 

I need to run each of the last days of the month to reach my goal of 21 days and 85 miles.  Its times to shut and get out there one day at a time.

No excuses!!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

I Will Eat it All

My son wanted to make cookies the other day, but he thinks we cannot make them too often because daddy will eat them all.  He must have overheard my wife and I speaking about this and her telling me she doesn’t want me to eat too many.  

It bothers me when I hear my kids say these things, and then I get angry with my wife because I know they probably heard it from her.  I eat very healthy, over 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.  But deep down I know she’s right.  When we make cakes and cookies, I find it very hard to eat a reasonable portion.  I rationalize that since it is home cooked, it must be healthy; a homemade cookie is always better than a prepackaged one.

I need to work on this. I want my kids to know it is OK to eat the occasional treat but not to eat ten cookies at one time.  Two steps forward, one step back.   

Friday, January 25, 2013

My Wife the Cook

For the first time in my marriage, I can proudly call my wife a cook.  Until recently, I had always done the food shopping and the cooking.  I enjoyed searching for new recipes and cooking tips, and filled an entire folder with all kinds of recipes.  But my time was limited, and I often made the same things all the time.   

Well, times sure have changed!  She had already mastered a few simple dishes like her famous beans, vegetables and tomato sauce casserole.  But now she’s started to get adventurous, making whole wheat muffins on a regular basis for the kids to snack on, as well as delicious quinoa and black bean burgers, and tasty felafel balls. She even tried a tofu recipe.      

We have been trying to make as much homemade food as we can and buy less processed foods.  I think this is part of her maternal instinct to provide for the kids.  She is having fun cooking and enjoys finding new recipes to try.  I am very proud of her.

(Now I just have to make sure I don’t overeat her delicious food!)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Spirit of the Marathon

Last week, I was searching for a running related movie to watch.  I was on HULU and saw Spirit of the Marathon .  I saw this movie a few years ago and I watched it while running on the treadmill.  Since it was free, I had nothing to lose by watching it again.

This movie is about different runners getting ready for the Chicago Marathon.  They all are at different places in their running career.  You have runners trying to qualify for the Boston marathon.  Runners running their first marathon after setting a goal while trying to lose weight.  A runner who decided to take their running to the next level and a guy in his 60’s who has been running marathons for years!!!

At less than 2 hours it was very entertaining and you felt you could relate to each of the runners.  I especially related to the guy who got hurt and could not finish a half marathon during his training for the full marathon.

What running related movies do you recommend?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

30 Minutes to Spare

Last night I had about 2 hours between the time I got home from work and the when I needed to leave to arrive for my class.  Within in that time, I needed to help bathe the kids and get them ready for bed, plus eat something for dinner.  Would I have enough time to go out for a quick run?

Once I finished bathing the kids, I prepared my lunch for the next day while they were getting dressed.  The two youngest went right to sleep and our oldest was happy watching his video to wind down from the day.

I quickly got dressed and decided to change things up.  I grabbed my IPOD and put on my old playlist.  I have not run with music in months.  It was different and fun.  I did my quick 3 mile route and finished fast and strong.

I got home and my beautiful bride had already prepared dinner.  I quickly ate, got cleaned up and dressed and headed back out the door.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


If you have not heard of Dean Karnzes, I suggest you look him up.  He is the ultra ultrarunner.  He has run 50 marathons, in 50 states, in 50 days.  He competes in 100+ mile endurance races and wins.  He also once ran for 24 hours straight on a treadmill.  The reason I bring him up is I just finished two of his books.  Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner and 50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days -- and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance! .  This is a guy who loves running and all things running.

I highly recommend both of these books.  They are easy to read and provided me with some motivation and information about running.  If I was struggling during one of my runs, I would think about how Dean endured running those crazy distances. 

Which books have you read recently to help keep you motivated?

Monday, January 21, 2013

It Must be the Pancakes

On Saturdays, I usually make Chocolate Chip pancakes for the kids.  I finally perfected the recipe. I have added ¼ cup of sugar and ¼ cup of water.  They come out perfect.  I also love eating pancakes.  I could not resist my most recent batch..  I always try one or two when I am preparing them, this time I had five!! They were that good. I was not worried, as I was planning on going for a long run Saturday night after the kids went to bed. 

Long runs on Saturday nights are easier to do. I am with the kids all day and we usually go for long walks and hop from one playground to the next.  My legs are usually pretty warmed up before I get out there.  I was preparing to run 5 miles and then switched to 6 in the middle of the run.  After turning around and was on my way back home, I still felt fresh.  I decided to add a mile and make it an even 7.  Even as I was running uphill to go from mile 5 to mile 6, I was still moving at a fast pace. 

I could have kept going, but 7 miles was enough this time. I did not want to overdue it.  Pancakes are my secret weapon.  What is yours?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Being in Shape has its Benefits

During my journey, one of my reasons for losing weight and keeping it off was so I could be an active father.  I enjoy picking up the kids and running around or having them chase me. They have so much fun. 

The past week, I was taking my oldest son to the library for story time.  We got downstairs and started waiting for the bus.  The bus never showed. I thought we had missed it.  We started to walk to the other bus stop to see if we can pick it up there.  We are lucky, we live near the first stop on the route, and it takes 10 minutes to go around the development we live in.  Instead if we take 3 minutes and walk down the street, we can catch the bus before it turns towards the city. 

As we got the other stop, I noticed other people waiting. This means we did not miss it.  We waited a few more minutes and still no bus. I asked him if he wanted to walk and he said yes.  I put him on my shoulders and we walked the mile uphill to the library.  We even made it with 5 minutes to spare. 

When I was 50 pounds heavier there was no way I could have done this.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Anyone Can Run a 10k

As I mentioned yesterday, I am running a 10k.  I found out a few of my co-workers or their spouses are also running in it.  As we were discussing, one of our other co-workers asks why we are running the kiddy race.  We should be doing the full or at least half marathon as anyone can run a 10k.

There is nothing to be ashamed about running a 10k or even a 5k.  Same goes with how fast you run. Maybe anyone can run a 10k, but not anyone can run a 10k way and stay injured free or is able to walk the next day or even go running the next day.  It takes training to do it safe and correctly.

Non Runners just don’t get it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My First Race!!

I just signed up for my first race, a 10k in early March.  Since it is in the city that I work in every day, I am already familiar with the streets and locations.  I should have no problem with the distance as I do this about once a week. The course is hilly, but I run on hills every day around my hometown.  I hope to finish anywhere from 50-60 minutes depending on how I am feeling that day. 

The only thing I am really worried about is the weather since I absolutely hate running in the cold and rain.  Since I signed up for the race, I am obligated to run regardless of what Mother Nature sends my way. 

All in all, I am very excited for my first race.  Of course, I will be Running Without A Watch!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Breakfast. Yes Or No?

I just read this item on yahoo by menshealth that seems to be an advertisement for the authors book rather than an informative article.  This guy says how a 16 hour fast is great for your body. No Breakfast.  Forget that breakfast is the most important part of the day.
I know for a fact that eating breakfast keeps me from over eating during the day.  I have my bowl of cereal in the morning to keep me full until I have a mid-morning snack.  If I do not eat breakfast, I cannot think, I cannot concentrate and I start to get very hungry.
I also do not believe in working out without anything in my system.  When I was exercising in the morning, I used to eat a banana before going for a run. Then I would come back, shower and get dressed.  Afterwards, I would sit down for breakfast.
This article just strikes me as another gimmick diet that will appeal to the person who is overweight and always running late.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Rain Stopped!

Finally, the rain stopped.  It stopped about a half day earlier than originally predicted.  I didn’t think would make it out there until Friday, but I got out there Thursday night.  I ran 3 miles on the loop near my house.  It was still wet and if the conditions did not seem safe to continue, I would not be too far from home. 

It was tough at first.  I was not able to get out for a walk at all during the week, so it was 3 straight days of no running or walking.  By the time Thursday came around, my legs were itching to get out there. I could feel it. 

Next on Friday, I went out for a 4 mile run.  This was one tougher. It seems to be, that whenever I take an extended rest period, the second day back into running is always the worst.  Maybe, my legs are recovering from the previous days run? 

Finally, on Saturday night,, I got out there for a 4 mile run once the kids went to bed.  This was a good run. I was able to go fast at certain times and I finished feeling strong.  The forecast for the next week is clear and warming up. I am still on track for 21 days and 85 miles.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Getting Back Out There

Since I have not been able to run the past few days due to weather, I know I will have to take it slow. To make it even worse, I have not even been able to get any walks in this week because it has rained the entire day.  My plan is to get out today and do a 3 mile run and then on Saturday do a 4 mile run. I will take off Sunday do to scheduling.   It is important to go slow.  My legs feel rusty.  It is cold out; it will take longer for them to warm up. I do not want to get injured.   Also the ground may be wet. I do not want to slip.

Then starting the following week, I will most likely do a combo of 4 and 5 mile runs Monday through Thursday.  My goals for the month are still achievable.  While I have only run 4 days for a total of 16 miles this month, with a lot of effort, I can still reach 85 miles over 20 day.  This is important; the 10k I am running in is in early march.    The few day layoffs has hurt more mentally rather than physically.  

What is your plan after a layoff?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Still Raining

So far, it has been two days and it is still raining.  The wind is unbelievable  I thought I was going to get out there.  I even thought it was going to be fun.  Running in the rain.  I imagined I would be laughing like a madman the entire time.  The sun peeked out. 

When I got off the bus, the rain stopped, but the wind was picking up.  As I was crossing the street, it nearly blew me out of the crosswalk.  When I started to walk into the building, it looked like the tree in front of the building was going to come down,

That sealed my decision,  I was not going to make it out there.  I was not looking to get injured.  A few days off will not affect me, but getting hurt will.

How do you cope with days of inclement weather?

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Rain Rain Go Away

Rain rain, go away, come again another day, so I CAN GO RUNNING!!!   The weather forecast for the next 4 days is lots of rain, wind and a chance of snow.  These are not ideal conditions to go out for a run. 

I pushed myself on Saturday and Sunday by running for 5 miles each because of the upcoming forecast.  Both of these runs were completed during a break in the weather.  Hopefully, the rain and wind will let up one of the days so I can get out there.  I have not had a 4 day layoff since February of last year.  I am not looking to go for a long run, just 3 miles.  I will do my loop near my house in case the weather starts to get worse while I am out there.  Sometimes, on days like this, just getting out there is important. 

If I am unable to make it out there, I will get some cooking done.  There is banana bread and granola that needs to be made. 

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Enjoy Yourself

Recently at work we did a team building day.  Rather than go into the office, we toured the city in and then went out to eat.  As you all can imagine, when a group goes out, especially a group of co-workers, the most important decision is where to eat.  Luckily, we started discussing restaurants a few days before, so I had an idea of the type of food we were going to eat.   

The issue was not the food, but the type of food.  I have not eaten white bread, regular potatoes or a dessert in a long time.  I am all for treating and enjoying yourself when you go out to eat.  I especially like ordering meals that I do not make at home.   I had onion soup for an appetizer with a half of a loaf of bread.  Next, for my main dish, I got grilled chicken that was served with french fries.   One of my colleagues ordered a baked potato with his dish that he did not want.  Since it was plain, I had that too.  For dessert, I got some kind of chocolate soufflĂ© with ice cream on the side.  

The food was delicious and I have no regrets about indulging a bit.  The last time was a about two months ago at another team function.  I stand by my word…as long as they are the exception and not the rule, there is nothing wrong with going out to eat.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Just in Time

The forecast for this weekend called for a lot of rain.  Sure enough, when we woke up Saturday morning it was pouring outside and there were huge puddles everywhere.   After we ate breakfast though, the clouds started to clear, and it looked like there was going to be a nice break in the weather.  

My kids kept asking if we could go outside.  The whole family went out.   As we were out, the sun came out and started to warm and dry things out.  My wife and I had a catch with the Frisbee, while our oldest had a blast pushing his baby sister on the swing.   Our other son was happy blowing his bubbles and then chasing them down.  We were out for about an hour.  Although I knew that the rain would return, and that this would have been a great time to go running, family comes first. 

During lunch it started to rain again very hard, and I wondered if there was going to be another chance to go running.  This was important, as I took off Thursday and Friday of last week from running.  Fortunately, after the second heavy rain of the day the sun came back out.  It was a perfect time; everyone was fed, the baby was napping and the boys were happy watching a movie.   

When I go running and the forecast is calling for rain or it is wet out, I wear an old pair of running shoes. This way if the shoes get messed up, it is not that big of deal.  I wanted to go out and run six miles, but I kept looking at the sky and decided to cut it short, settling on five miles.  Once I got home, I started stretching and then the rain started.  I made it home just in time. 

How do you cope with rainy days?

Friday, January 04, 2013

Used Books

I love to read.  I love to read about running and fitness.  The other day, I was in the center of the city and went to one of my favorite used bookstore.  I love this place.  They have books that are sometimes 30-40 years old.  I love to see how the information regarding health and fitness has changed or not changed over the years. 

I picked up 4 books for a about $1 - $2 each.  Since I enjoyed Aerobics by Kenneth Cooper, I picked up two other books by him; The New Aerobics and  Aerobics for Women.  I also got too running books;  Marathon, the Ultimate Training Guide by Hal Higdon and Running & Being.  The Total Experience by Dr. George Sheehan.

I will let you know how these turned out.  Check out a used book store near you to pick up some motivating books on the cheap.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Letter From my Wife

My wife wanted to share some thoughts with our upcoming anniversary approaching.  I would not have been as successful with Running Without A Watch if she was not board.  Thank you and I love you.

Dear Jay,

With our anniversary approaching I took a few quiet minutes the other day to look through our wedding album.  I can’t believe how young we look, like kids really.  Although you were at the heaviest weight of your life, I was so smitten that I never realized you were overweight.  It wasn’t until you dropped about 35 pounds that I even noticed how different you looked!  

We ate out a lot, but of course that’s what you do when you’re dating.  And although we didn’t keep a lot of junk food in the house, we didn’t exactly eat healthy.  Portions were way to big, processed food was in abundance in the freezer, and there were barely any fruits and vegetables in the crisper. 
Well times have certainly changed.  You have made yourself very comfortable in the kitchen, always chopping, cooking, and baking delicious favorites, or trying out a new recipe for the first time.  You have made cooking fun for our kids, and even inspired me to try my hand at some easy dishes (something we both never believed would happen!)

And although you have enjoyed running since before we even met, you have really come into your own during this past year of Running Without a Watch.  I truly admire your passion and dedication to your daily blogs.  By sharing your personal journey toward a healthier way of living, you are not only helping others to make positive changes, but have helped yourself to reach an inner peace that you might not have otherwise found.  Looking forward to the next chapter. 
Your Loving wife and biggest fan

How supportive is your spouse or significant other during your journey?

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Goodbye 2012. Hello 2013.

A new year.  A new beginning.  Before we can set new goals, we need to reflect on the previous year.  I ran 939 miles over 238 days in 2012.  When 2012 started, I did not have any expectations.  I just wanted to get out there and run.  Maybe train for a full or half marathon.

Instead, I evolved as a runner.  As much as I was enjoying Running Without a Watch, I was still focused on time.  I really wanted to break 40 minutes for 5 miles.  I finally just started focusing on getting out there and having fun.  Over the summer, I made it out for long runs of 7 and 8 miles.  I even did 13 miles in a weekend, with a combo of a Saturday night and Sunday morning run.  I cut back on my running with music significantly throughout the year and over the summer I gave it up completely.  I was just getting bored.  I even stopped my IPOD in the middle of a run and never looked back. 

I have achieved a nice running balance in my life with running.  Instead of trying to get out there  every day, my goal is at least 20 days a month. On the days I do not go for a run, I spend my time getting things cooked or chopped around the house and having a date night with my wife.  Now instead of focusing on distance, I am very happy if I only have time to get out there for a short run.

I have also become more relaxed with my diet.  I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables during the week.  I try to eat homemade as much as I can.  I still go for whole wheat first, but if all we have is white, I will eat it.  I gave up caffeine towards the end of the year and I am loving every minute of it.  I am able to treat myself when I want to and not get carried away.

For 2013, I want to run 1000 miles over 250 days.  This is about 85 miles over 21 days.  It is feasible,  I will also have days off during the month, to help avoid burnout.  I am planning on running my first race, It will be a 10k in early March..  I am very excited.  I want to try to cook a new recipe each month,. I also hope to finish my book sometimes this year.

How was your year 2012 and what do you have planned for 2013?

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

December Stats

For the month of December, I ran 83.9 miles over 21 days.  My goals for the month were to run 85 miles over 20 days.  I  reached the day goal but fell short of the total mileage goal for the month.  December started slow;  I ran 6 days out of the first 11 days.  This was due to a combination of rain, cold and laziness. 

Once the weather got cleared up and I got acclimated to running in the cold, I found it easier to get back out there.  I finished the month running 15 of the final 20 days.  I also planned to have two long runs of 6 and 7 miles.  I made out twice for 6 miles run.  No 7 miler during this month.

My goals for January are 90 miles over 22 days and one long run of 7 miles.

How was your December and what do you have planned for January? 

Stay tuned for tomorrow for my 2012 year recap, plus my outlook for 2013.