Archive for the ‘health’ Category

My First 10k Race

Posted: July 5, 2009 by jgrantmarshall in fitness, health, jogging
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The morning of July 4th, 2009, found me up before 0500 to get ready for my first 10k race, the 36th Annual Butte to Butte!  As my shower head broke off in my hand, I hoped that that wasn’t going to be a sign of things to come, but I still managed a quick wash cloth bath.  I was feeling antsy, so I left the house early to head to the shuttle pick up at 5th & Pearl, near the 5th Street Market in Eugene.  I didn’t see any other racers, yet, so I took a walk around the market and stretched.  When I got back to the car, with about 15 minutes to shuttle departure, I took off my car key from the clicker and left the rest of my keys and wallet in the glove box.  Luckily, as we’ll see later, I had the forethought to take with me my ID and my debit card…

Starting Line, 2009 Butte to Butte 10k

Starting Line, 2009 Butte to Butte 10k

My first ride on an LTD (city) bus up to the starting line was largely unremarkable, except for the group of ladies that sat across from me and were telling everyone how tired they were of running half marathons and how nice it was going to be to only run an itsy-bitsy 10k.  I more or less just wanted them to shut up after that because I still think that 6.2 miles is a respectably long way to run and that they were bragging or showing off or whatever you want to call it.  Maybe sometime I’ll be at a point where I can look down my nose at a 10k, but hopefully I will remember how pompous these 3 sounded.

I made it to the top of the course by about 0645 on the very first shuttle.  I was finally feeling a couple of butterflies in my stomach as I walked past the starting line.  The only people around were the 15-20 other first shuttle riders on the quiet residential street.  I made my way over to a sunny spot near the baseball fields of the Middle School, where I stretched and reflected on the upcoming run.  For whatever reason, I feel there is something special about an early morning stretch and light workout with the first rays of the sun beaming onto my face.  What can I say, I’m a morning person.

My friends showed up on the next shuttle and easily found me at my spot in the sun.  They had yet to pick up their race packets, so we meandered back to get them setup.  We stayed and talked and did the things that manly men do for the next hour to pass the time.  During that time, a co-worker of mine noticed my T-shirt and stopped by to say hi (my work sponsored my race so I felt that it was appropriate to wear their shirt for the race, even though cotton wasn’t a good choice).

With about 20 minutes to go, we split up to line up at the starting line.  The race officials stage the start to group runners of similar speeds.  My friend and I lined up at the front of the 8 minute milers.  The sea of humanity had grown considerably from the first time I had walked by that morning and the street was completely filled from curb to curb with runners of all shapes and sizes.  Classic rock was booming from the PA system and the residential neighborhood was no longer quiet.  Although I had previously run 6.2 miles, my mind was still questioning how I would fare on Donald hill.  The hill opens the race and climbs steadily for the entire first mile.  I had planned on adding some hills to my preparation, but I never managed to get out of my flat land routine.  Even though I had that unknown, what I did know is that I am the strongest I have ever been and the time I have put in to my training will prepare me well for anything I take on.

OK, mind steeled to the task ahead and the gun fires to signal the start of the race… & nothing happens, nobody moves.  Eventually, though, the initial wave reaches my location and the sea of humanity lurches forward, slowly.  My friend and I weaved through other, slower, runners as we started up Donald hill.  (By the way, how appropriate is it that the hill is called Donald hill in the land of the University of Oregon Ducks?  It quacks me up!)  One thing in particular that I will remember about the start of the race is the rhythmic pounding of the thousands of runner’s feet.  Three quarters of the hill felt pretty tame, although more and more runners were slowing down or walking, but the final push did finally get steep.  I made it to the top wondering if that was going to be all and as we turned left, I saw nothing but downhill, so that was indeed all.  The only unknown dragon was slain and it was all down hill from here.  Right?

I mostly coasted down the other side of the hill and my knees thanked me for it.  I was amazed by all of the people lining the road to cheer on the runners, even up in the hills.  It was fun being able to run straight down the middle of the city streets.  The race officials did a great job of directing traffic and calling out the time as the miles passed by.  I did not stop at any water stations but I did run through the spray of a home owner up on a ladder spraying racers as they went by.  It was around this time when I realized that ALL of my running has been before 0600 and under much cooler conditions.  The sun that I had enjoyed earlier, was frustratingly in my eyes and burning the sweat to my cheeks.  Fortunately for me, it wasn’t too much longer until I was running under the giant roadside trees of downtown Eugene and it felt a bit cooler.  Unfortunately, it was also about here, around about mile 4, where I really wished that I had brought my MP3 player to help me pick up the pace.  The proverbial bear had jumped on and people that I had previously passed were now passing me.  I continually attempted to pick it up but I also kept realizing that I had slowed down only moments later.  Honestly, the last 2 miles are a blur in my mind and each minute a gut check.  I had planned to begin my kick at 11th Avenue, but I found that there just wasn’t going to be enough gas in the tank, so a glorious finish wasn’t in the cards.  Finally, I made it to mile 6, near the 5th Street Market, and was greeted by the sounds of a live band that sounded muffled by the patting of my feet and pounding heart.  For the first time ever during a run, I thought I was going to puke.  Of course, I couldn’t do it back where there were no spectators, no, I was feeling pretty certain to have a cheering crowd for my technicolor yawn.  Now, mixed in with my internal conversation of “Just finish” was added, “Please don’t puke in front of everyone!”  The entire length of Skinner’s Butte Park was lined with spectators.  It amazed me how their energy did transfer to me and I began to sprint.  As the sprint for the finish started, my nausea went away and I was feeling pretty good again.  With about a tenth of a mile to go, I spotted my step-father in the crowd and gave a quick wave before I put the pedal down to the finish.  I was able to blow by a few of those annoying people that passed me at mile 4 and I finished strong across the finish line.  Here is a link to the video of my finish, although there is only about 1 second of me:

My time was 50:27 which is a full 3 minutes faster than my previous PR.  I guess I didn’t need the MP3’s afterall!

After grabbing a half of a banana and a couple glasses of water, I was rejuvenated enough to jog back to the car because I now had to buy a new shower head and needed to hurry because was family coming over to our house for the 4th.

Now, back to my wallet and keys in the LOCKED glove box in the car… Have you caught on to my luck, yet?  Yes, the glove box was locked and my key would not unlock it!  Typically, I would just take the car key, so it is a good thing that I am finally coming to grips with my poor luck and remembered to take my ID and debit card with me for a 6 mile run!  Better safe than sorry, right?

In all, though, it was a great race and I had loads of fun.  Anybody else want to go next year?

Dad is in the Hospital

Posted: December 24, 2008 by jgrantmarshall in family, health
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I got an update that my dad is in the hospital having  surgery for a broken pelvis. He was evidently shoveling snow from his roof when he slipped and fell to the concrete below. It was in the middle of the night, so I’m not sure, at this point, how he was helped to the hospital. Here is a Cedars-Sinai link to some information on broken pelvis’: . In a nutshell, the pelvis is a series of bones forming three rings, two minor and one major and depending on the number of breaks and stability this can be a life threatening event. Again, I don’t have any information whether the fracture is stable or unstable or which or how many of the pelvic rings are broken or if there was any other damage to internal organs.

I’m sure he is in a lot of pain.  Please send prayers or good thoughts his way.

Other Links:

Jogging Recap

Posted: November 10, 2008 by jgrantmarshall in fitness, health, jogging
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In September and October, I focused 3 days per week jogging for my morning workout.  I then posted the results to, which sent the training log entry to Twitter… so, you probably noticed the updates in the right hand column of this blog.

…on to my point…  On mapmyrun, I found an overview of what I’ve done thus far and was somewhat amazed at what I found (click this text to download the PDF).  I found that, including 1 run in August and 1 run today in November, I have run 79.8 miles!

Wow, huh?


Posted: November 10, 2008 by jgrantmarshall in fitness, health, sports
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With the rainy weather starting, I have had to bring my runs inside. The decision was made, not because I am worried about getting wet/cold, but because I don’t want to run without my MP3’s. I know that it probably sounds silly, but it just isn’t the same without my tunes! Well, my next “woe is me” is that I *really* dislike the treadmill now.

So, where does that leave me for working out?

I have known about CrossFit for about 5 months and have even completed a program that Men’s Health ripped off from CrossFit. CrossFit is a high intensity, semi short duration workout that focuses on total body conditioning. OK, my description really sounds crummy, so perhaps an example would be better.

Each evening, I go to to see what the following day’s workout will be. A new workout is posted each day.  The next morning, I follow the prescribed workout and “scale” or modify the workout, as needed.  So far, I have only modified workouts due to not having the correct equipment and not because I could not do the prescribed workout.  In various workouts last week, I found myself doing over 50 pullups and running over 10 MPH.  I’m already impressing myself after only 1 week and can’t wait to see where I am at the end of December.  I plan on sticking with CrossFit for 6 weeks, 5 days a week, and then evaluating how I feel.

I am Iron Man.  🙂

The BIG 5-0

Posted: September 16, 2008 by jgrantmarshall in fitness, health
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I hit another milestone today.

No, I didn’t turn 50 years old…  The title gave it away, didn’t it?  

Yes, I have now lost 50 pounds since my heaviest point, weighing in at 226 last November!  I was 176 this morning, even after creamy green chile enchiladas and carrot cake at my Mom’s house last night.  It has taken 2 weeks to lose .3 of a pound because I have been purposefully adding calories back in to my diet.  

I am now at a place where I can be comfortable with my health and weight.  I am definitely going to continue to run and lift and eat properly, but I think a change that I will make will be that I am going to eat when I’m hungry and be very careful about not eating when I am not hungry.  It sounds easy, but I struggle with it at each meal.  Plain and simple, I enjoy eating.  I have found in the past couple of weeks, though, that if I dish out a reasonable portion but make myself wait a couple of minutes after I inhale it, I do tend to be full.  More succintly… I need to take a moment before going for a second helping.

Following this model, I still hope to lose some more belly fat, but it won’t be the major focus that it has been.  I think of this as a transition period, where I will learn the balance necessary to maintain my prize and to also relax a bit and enjoy the benefits.

I will try to quietly lead by example to show those in my circle of influence the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, yet try not to be so pushy that eyeballs roll the moment I leave the room.  

Feel free to ask me if you have questions about how I lost 50 pounds, as you can tell by looking at my blog, I am not shy with the juicy details!

Jogging Update

Posted: August 25, 2008 by jgrantmarshall in fitness, health, jogging
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This morning I re-ran my first “Outside Jog”, which is 3.4 miles.

I felt good the whole time and had no knee pain.  I felt so good that I made a conscious effort to pick up the pace.  Nothing crazy fast, just faster than slow.

It is a relief to be knee pain free because, as strange as it sounds, I enjoy jogging now and felt a little lost without it.  Today’s run wasn’t the first one since my recovery, but it has been probably the farthest.

Part of my recovery, can be attributed to my new running shoes, as was suggested by my many internet-based running friends.  I tried nearly every brand on at the store, fully expecting to purchase Nike because they traditionally fit me best and I feel an obligation since I live in Oregon, but… I purchased Asics.  The fit was dead on and the gel made me feel like I was running on a cloud!  At least compared to my old NB’s…  I may now have a new favorite brand.

Power of 10 Workout

Posted: August 22, 2008 by jgrantmarshall in fitness, health
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My Step-Brother recently was up for a visit (before the backpacking trip, so not so recently, I suppose).  We jogged “Pre’s Trail” and talked fitness in so doing.  He told me that he has been using the “Power of 10 Workout” ( and felt it worked pretty well.

You know me… yep, I googled it the other day.  The gist, if you didn’t follow the link above or google it yourself, is that you lift a weight slowly up for 10 seconds and then lower it slowly for 10 seconds.  This is done without stopping and you should lift a weight that can be lifted 6-8 times before fatigue.  The weight lifted is normally less than you would typically lift.

As I thought about this, it occurred to me that, with my recent knee pain issues, perhaps lifting less weight in a slow, controlled manner would be a good thing for me, too.

I used the Power of 10 for my lower body workout this morning.  Results?  Finding the optimal weight is going to take a couple rounds.  Half of the exercises were really difficult but the other half were easy and I ended up doing more than 6-8.  Beyond that, though, my legs were rubbery all day and calves are sore now, so it definitely did something.

I am planning to continue this for the next couple of months.  Hopefully, I will have good news to report back about the Power of 10 soon!