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About Zorch

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  • Birthday 06/12/1982

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    Upstate NY
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  1. Zorch

    Play Time is Over.

    So... haven't been great about updating, but here's a bit of an update. ... weight has definitely settled back to something "normal" after vacation - it's been holding at around 188 most mornings, so I think I'm at a stable baseline. Caloric deficits haven't been quite as large as I've been targeting, but have been 300-400 calories on average, so not terrible. And I've been nailing the sleep bit. Workout-wise, I've been hitting them, but fatigue has been an issue; I'm not holding pace as easily as I want on my runs and have been feeling a bit weaker in the gym. Contemplating whether this is because of the deficit or whether I simply need a couple days off to let my body recover. Haven't reached a definitive conclusion on this one yet. I've still been slacking on the thesis work. Bad me! That's about it for now. Work is crazy, and I've been devoting energy there.
  2. Others have already addressed it, but there is absolutely noting wrong with calorie counting. It lends objectivity to the process of weight loss/gain. I'm in the camp that doesn't always do it, but periodically uses it to "calibrate" my sense of how much I should be eating for a specific goal. In fact, I would go so far as to distrust any diet that makes the claim that calories don't matter. Certain diets may make it easier/simpler to maintain a caloric deficit, but in the end there's still a requisite mass/energy balance that you need to achieve. It really depends on what your goal is. Is it strength? Running fast? Aesthetics? Another physical activity? Some combination of the above? There's no one "ideal" weight - different body types are conducive to different activities. I train and eat differently when I'm focusing on strength than when I'm preparing for a half marathon, and there's probably about a 10-15 pound difference in my "all-around fitness" weight and my "I want to run really fast" weight. This number can also change over time with training as you add more muscle and as a result, are leaner at a given body weight than you were in the past.
  3. Pacing yourself is everything. 10 years ago I started at ~275 lbs and my run was also more like a "shuffle" back then. I'm a lot leaner, lighter, and faster now, but the same truth still holds: I sometimes still need to rein in my ego and remind myself that my mind's a lot tougher than my body, and I'm not doing myself any favors by going out too fast. These days, I do speed workouts once a week with a group that includes several elite/semi-elite local runners. I still have to remind myself to swallow my pride and accept the fact that I'm one of the slower people in this group so that I can train at a pace that's right for ME, and helps ME get faster. It's a long-term game, and training intelligently will let you recover faster, avoid injury, and become faster in the long run. Trust me. I was one of those guys shuffling along at 12 minutes a mile 10 years ago. These days I generally race and do interval training at between 6 and 7 minutes a mile. It just takes time. Agree with this. It takes more work to hold the same pace when running on grass/trails and you have to be much more careful where you're placing your feet so that you don't turn an ankle. On the flip side, the uneven surface forces you to run "lighter", which may make you a better technical runner in the long run. The other big thing that trail running does is force you to vary your stride more due to subtle variations in terrain. This has the side effect of making every stride a little different, and can help reduce the tendency for certain types of overuse injuries that can come from hitting the exact same joint the exact same way with every stride.
  4. Zorch

    Play Time is Over.

    Didn't post yesterday, so here's a 2-for-one special: 1. Weight - 190 Wednesday morning, 187.5 this morning. We'll see where it settles out. (I hovering around 190-191 before vacation. Some of the loss will probably be because I'm at a deficit now) 2. Calories - not on target for Wednesday. Both Wednesday and today were going-away parties for co-workers. Yesterday I was doing well until a surprise cake showed up. Ended up at around 3000 calories for the day, which is basically maintenance for a guy my size. Today I managed to keep things to about 2400 calories, which is pretty damn good considering after work was drinks and heavy bar food at the party. I basically downed a protein bar before the gathering, had one drink, and dodged the greasy appetizers. I definitely didn't dodge the alcohol, but the past two days are what I would define as "acceptable exceptions" 3. Sleep - Snagged 7 hours last night despite getting up for a 5:30 AM workout this morning. 4. Wednesday after work I did a speed workout at the track - 6x800m at paces ranging from 6:40 down to 6:15/mile, in hot(but not ludicrously hot) weather, on tired legs. All in all pretty pleased with the performance. Got up this morning and did lower body strength work. Legs were still feeling it, but made it through the workout largely unscathed. 5. Due to the evening events I haven't done a lot on the thesis the previous couple evenings. Will get back to it tonight. 6. Mini-rant: The world doesn't get introverts. After gym workouts Tuesday/Thursday morning, a softball game Tuesday evening, Trivia and a going away party for coworkers on Wednesday(after the track workout), and another going away party tonight, I got flack for not wanting to continue the celebration at a second venue after the main party ended. I've hardly had an ounce of time to myself the past 3 days, and I'm getting pressured even after going to two parties for the same people on consecutive days? Clearly someone doesn't get what it's like to be an introvert. Grr....
  5. Zorch

    Play Time is Over.

    Day 2: 1. Weight bounced back up to 185. Not surprising. I generally go by 7-day rolling averages when I look at this stuff anyways, so I'm not too concerned 2. Calories still a tad over target, but definitely at a deficit, around 2500. 3. Sleep. Didn't get to bed as early as I would have liked last night, but got 7 hours. 4. Got up early and did my upper body work in the gym. Felt a tad weak, but that may just be from 10 days or so with no strength training and burning a lot of calories(hiking, running). Also had a softball game after work. First at-bat, ripped a low line drive, which the shortstop made a spectacular play on to rob me of a hit. Second at-bat, crappy grounder down the third-base line, which equals an infield single when you have the kind of speed I have. Third at-bat, Blasted a line drive to right-center that went for a double. All in all a mixed bag at the plate, but our team won easily. Good game overall. 5. Nutrition. A little over where I want to be on calories, but still definitely at a deficit - around 2500 calories for the day. No alcohol consumed. I'll take it. 6. No early morning tomorrow(I've got a group track workout after work, followed by a going-away party for a couple coworkers), but it's thesis time now!
  6. Zorch

    Play Time is Over.

    Day 1: 1. WTF. I stepped on the scale this morning, and it read 183. Considering that I was more like 190-191 before my vacation I'm not sure what to make of this, considering that while I was super active I also ate(and drank) a ton. It may be some strange water retention(or lack thereof) issue, or i may be that I was dehydrated, but I'm not sure. At any rate, I'm going to continue tracking daily. 2. Calories are a tad over target, around 2600-2700, but still a deficit. No alcohol consumed. Not terrible for day 1. 3. Training. 5 Miles, kind of crappy pace. Still getting back in the swing of things, legs are still recovering from hiking, rock climbing, etc. Not worried yet. 4. I'm off to do some thesis work. Next few days I'll be searching/reading literature on sample preparation techniques. 5. Need to go to bed early tonight because I'm hitting the gym early tomorrow due to a softball game after work. Note to self: don't suck.
  7. Play Time is Over. It's time to stop screwing around and start acting like an adult on a consistent basis, and kicking ass like I've done before, and I know I'm capable of doing again. Since January of this year I've been... inconsistent at best. I could make a few excuses(psychological recovery from a breakup, work being super busy, overtraining myself into a bit of Achilles tendinitis), but ultimately that's pretty irrelevant to this topic/challenge. The point is, the stuff that sidetracked me in the first half of this year is for all practical purposes behind me, so I need to stop making excuses and start kicking ass again. That's not to say that I've been awful, but I've been performing at a level below what I'm capable of - I've made little/no progress on my thesis, my performance at work has been... good be most people's standards, but below what I know I can do, I've regressed on my running(the tendinitis is a legitimate excuse in this case, but I'm over it now), and my nutrition has been off, such that I'm probably about 8-10 lbs above where I want to be in terms of racing weight - I'm training for a half marathon in October, and each pound is worth a couple seconds per mile, or nearly a half minute in the final time. At any rate, the goals for this challenge are all about discipline. I know what I need to do, I just need to do it, and not come up with ways of sidetracking myself. On the bright side, I just got back from a vacation in Colorado, so I'm mentally recharged and ready to attack this. So, the goals: 1. Track nutrition and control calories: This means tracking calories in, activity, and weight on a daily basis, starting tomorrow morning. The goal here is to drop 1-2 pounds per week; this means somewhere around 2300ish calories per day(I burn 3000 or so depending on activity level; this may increase as I ramp training for my half marathon). I may need to pause my weight loss/refeed after this challenge since I'm still relatively lean and I don't have a ton to lose, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Goal is to drop 4-5 lbs this challenge, and to be accountable by tracking intake and activity on a daily basis. This also means posting here on a daily basis to log and keep myself accountable. 1b. Alcohol only on weekends, or special occasions(e.g. we're having a going away party for one of my coworkers this week) 2. Respect my bedtime. This means no later than 10-10:30 on weeknights, or 9:30-10 if I'm going to try hitting the gym the next morning. The goal is a minimum of 7 hours of sleep every night, preferably closer to 8. Again, posting for accountability. 3. Work on the damn thesis. If there's one thing I've sucked at over the past few months, it's this. The simple rule is this: Minimum of 1 hour of work on the thesis (or PE Exam preparation, if I decide to do that again) in the evening prior to doing computer games or other nonproductive activity, goal of 2 hours per day minimum on weeks, and 10 hours total per week. Again, posting for accountability. 4. Do the training. This means ~3x/week lifting, ~4x/week running. May modify as time goes by, but my general M.O. is not to schedule off days, but to let them sort of happen organically if something comes up(i.e. having to stay late at work, social events, etc.). This also means I may end up training more in the morning when I know I have conflicts. Once again, posting for accountability. 5. Get my "What I want my life to look like, and how I'm going to achieve that" list/objectives in writing. I think I know the answers to this for the most part, but I really need to make it concrete to remind myself what I'm working on, and to begin setting my sights on what I want to do past my thesis. 6. Keep my house clean. The whole "act like an adult" thing, you know. This means at least one "check" per week, with basic vacuuming/mopping/dusting/kitchen cleaning should there be a need.
  8. This. Coffee is fine. Too much caffeine(particularly late in the day) isn't great because it can disrupt sleep patterns, etc. Loading coffee up with cream/sugar/bulletproof whatever is basically all the same - it adds calories. So long as those calories are factored into your overall nutritional plan, that's fine - but please don't think that substituting butter/coconut oil for cream and sugar is going to work some kind of magic. It's certainly not going to help you lose weight. Also, this. I grind my own coffee in the morning before I go to work. It's great, and I love it black. The free pre-ground crap they have at the office? REALLY hard to take that without some kind of cream and/or sweetener. Good beans, properly ground, with good water go a long way.
  9. Ugh. Sometimes life just messes with you. As of midweek, everything seemed to be pretty under control - work looked to be settling down, felt pretty good about where I was physically, and so on and so forth. Then stuff happened. I tweaked my Achilles(or I think it's my Achilles - it's a little high for an Achilles issue, and a little low for a calf) during Wednesday's track workout. Thursday it was really bothering me, Friday was a little better, today it's feeling well enough that I'll hopefully test it with some light work. Anyhow, that meant no running Thursday/Friday, and strength training(and a little elliptical work, since the Achilles seems okay with that). Needless to say this had me stressed and in a lousy mood the last couple days. And of course, work. It seemed to be settling down, only to come in Friday morning and everything had changed and we're back in the middle of crisis mode. Which means I'm about to shower and go into work on this Saturday morning. And have a high-pressure lunch meeting with some fairly high-ranking folks today. On a Saturday. This is starting to piss me off, as the main thing currently preventing me from leading the kind of life I want to lead has been the ridiculousness of work. And the ridiculousness has become accepted as "normal" rather than the exception. Ugh Ugh Ugh. Anyhow... I'm going to go to work. Achilles is feeling better, so I'm going to hopefully test it later today with some light work. If it cooperates, I'll be a much happier person. If not, I'll gut it out through Wednesday anyways. Of course, taking 5 days off before a race isn't a good way to run a fast time, but... hell. We'll see what happens.
  10. Climbing Fuji is awesome. Even cooler if you're brave enough to start during the night and make it up top for the sunrise. It's a definite bucket list item. On that note - if you're hiking Fuji - beware the traffic jams near the top, and also beware the way the temperature tends to drop and the wind picks up in the last few hundred feet! The first time I climbed Fuji, the conditions probably went from 55-60 degrees (F) with a light breeze, to 40 degrees with a 40 mph at the summit. Did I mention I was wearing nothing but a long-sleeved T-shirt and jeans? And that I spent 2-3 hours waiting for the rest of my group to arrive after that? I may have spent 1000 yen each on multiple bowls of ramen in a semi-effective attempt to ward off impending hypothermia. More relevant to the topic at hand - I spent about a year and a half living in Shizuoka prefecture(2010-2011) - so if anyone is in that neck of the woods I may be able to throw out a few ideas.
  11. Ho-hum. Work was... insane, as anticipated. Intern started today, so I spent much of the day showing him the ropes and working on administrative things to get him started. There was also a good chunk of drama(unrelated to the intern), but I won't go into detail here. Suffice it to say, today was one of those days that took 2-3 days worth of energy. After work, 5.2 miles, 7:27/mile. Didn't feel great - legs were still pretty dead from the beating I gave them on Sunday. Tomorrow's going to be an upper body day though, so my legs will get some time to recover. I've also laid out my general plan for the next week: Plan for the next 7 days: Tuesday: Upper body strength Wednesday: Track(speed workout) Thursday: Running - moderate pace Friday: Lower Body strength Saturday: Tempo or speed work Sunday: Easy running, possibly upper body strength Monday: Rest and preparation Tuesday: Go hard or go home!
  12. I might have been more annoyed about it, but I would have been 4th in my age group, so I wasn't missing out on anything. Such is life. On that note - If we want to go on about things I'm mad about - 3 of the last 4 races I've been in, I've been #4 in my age group. Ugh. At least in this case it serves as motivation - I'm getting to the point where I'm REALLY close to being seriously competitive within my age group in everything except really large races. Probably need another 15-20 seconds/mile to be reliably in that territory at this point. Realistically I think I can get there by the end of the summer.
  13. Hi, my name is Zorch and I have a problem. I claim I'm going to quit, but I keep on signing up for races. So, this weekend was supposed to be a normal-ish weekend. Nope. Friday I decided to sign up for another 5k(in this case, a local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event, so it's for a good cause!). Anyhow... Saturday was... meh. Half day at work. Did some upper body strength work in the afternoon. Still felt pretty mediocre - core was still hurting from Thursday's softball practice. All in all I was in a pretty crappy mood... Sunday was race day... again? I felt kind of lousy at the starting line(again) - it was 40 degrees with a 15 mph wind, and my hamstring was protesting, but off we went. Half a mile in: 3:10. "Damn it Zorch. No one cares that you have more raw horsepower than the rest of this field. Cool your jets." So resisted my urge to chase the early speedsters and settled in. I proceeded to tick off the first 2 miles about 4-5 seconds/mile slower than last week. Then we turned onto the home stretch, straight into the teeth of a 15 mph headwind. Except where last week, I ran a dying 7-minute mile 3, this week I focused, gritted my teeth, and just started picking people off, running the 3rd mile in 6:35. Of course, the timing strip at the finish failed to pick me up, so my time wasn't "official" for the purposes of the race results, but it was a PR anyways. Officially only by a few seconds, but the course was actually a touch longer than last week. And perhaps more importantly, for the first time ever in a road race, I clocked an average pace in the 6:30's(6:38 by the watch). Yay! Of course, I'm still trying to hit 6:35 over 3.5 miles about 10 days from now. That's going to have to come from fresh legs, the kitchen, and raw blood and guts. We'll see. And today was just one of those days - I somehow just had a semi-infinite energy reserve today, so I uhh... ran another 3 miles "easy" (low 8's pace) afterwards. Then I went to the gym for leg day. Then I mowed the lawn. Because someone flipped the "Beast Mode" switch while I wasn't looking, it seems? As for the next week, we're still in crisis mode - and I've got a summer intern starting tomorrow - smart kid, but zero experience. Hopefully this will be an opportunity to teach a young engineer-in-training about what we do, and give him a really good opportunity/learning experience.
  14. Agreed. I tend to stash some protein bars in my desk at work in the event I get stuck working late(or for weekends). I've also occasionally leveraged them when I was trying to gain muscle, as a protein-rich snack in between meals. They're not a mainstay of my diet, but when you have 5-10 minutes to eat, may not have access to cooking facilities, and want a semi-balanced ratio of protein/fat/carbs, they may very well be the best option. Downing a protein bar halfway between breakfast/lunch or lunch/dinner also isn't going to be a distraction at the office.
  15. Congrats on the Marathon! The thought of doing a full marathon plus a 50k just a few weeks apart boggles my mind - that's really impressive! Also, I love the emphasis on stretching/yoga/restorative activity. Take care of yourself and stay healthy through all that mileage!
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