Daytona 500 Challenge

Final thoughts on the Daytona 500KM challenge, and an adjustment on my Lenten commitment

In just a few minutes, the green flag will drop for the Great American Race, the Daytona 500. Way back in November, before the winter winds blew, I set a goal for myself to walk 500km between the end of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season, and the start of the 2015 season. Here is the final look at my grid

.daytonaAs you can see, it is a good thing I forced myself to get up on Friday morning and go to the gym. I was feeling low that morning, and ended up taking a sick day from work, but it did put me over 500km. I decided to shut it down for the weekend, but I hope to be back and better than ever at the gym tomorrow.

Since starting the challenge, I lost a total of 12.6 pounds. That included the time over the holidays, when I used my challenge as a way to keep myself going to the gym. I used my nephew’s basement treadmill over Christmas, and visited the fitness center in my hotel in New Orleans. I had some days were I went to the gym multiple times to keep pace. I increased my walking pace to 3.8 miles per hour, from the 3.5 where I started. I feel better than I have in years.

Lenten Update

For lent I had said that I would avoid all snacking, or all eating between meals. My wife noticed that I have been eating more at dinner than I usually would, and she thinks I may be over compensating for how hungry I am as a result of not spreading my eating out during the day. So, I am altering that commitment. Instead of not eating between meals at all, I am going to just eliminate 3 snacks from my list: nuts, popcorn and granola bars.

I am not doing this to alter my diet. This is about self-sacrifice for the season, and self-denial. I will instead only eat fresh vegetables or fruit for snacks (all other snacks I have already essentially eliminated from my diet anyway).

Well, it is about 11 minutes to the drop of the green flag, so I am off. Hope you all have a great race day

Boogity, Boogity, Boogity, Let’s go racin’

Week 51 weigh-in and reaching 500km

Today is weigh-in day. The scale shows me at 231.6 pounds. That is a 0.8 pound GAIN since last week. My total weight loss is now 113.4 pounds or 32.9% of my weight.

This morning I crossed the 500km goal for my Daytona 500km challenge. Here is my updated chart

daytonaThere are still 2 days to go on the challenge, and I do intend to get walks in on both days. That should put me at just under 515km for the challenge. I will write more about the challenge on Sunday.

I am disappointed this morning. I know that 0.8 pounds is not much to gain, but I was hoping that it would be in the other direction. With my lenten elimination of snacking, and my renewed emphasis on tracking my food, I am confident that things will continue to go well. But, that doesn’t change the disappointment I feel today.

The good news is that I won’t be EATING my disappointment. 🙂


Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the season of Lent for Christians. The season is a time of atonement and self-denial that precedes the celebration of Easter. Traditionally Christians will “give things up” for Lent as a way to increase their self-discipline and make some kind of improvement in their lives.

Some years ago I stopped giving things up for Lent. Instead, I decided to focus on doing something positive, something that would benefit myself in terms of improvement, and things that would make the lives of those around me better. For this season of Lent I plan to do some of that, but also I am going to give something up.

I have decided that I am giving up snacking between meals for Lent. Ideally all of my between meal snacking is fruit or fresh vegetables, but lately some things like nuts and granola bars have snuck into my routine. For the next 46 days, I am going to stick to 3 meals a day, without snaking. There will be two days of exception to this – the day of the Daytona 500, and St. Patrick’s Day. Other than those 2 days, I won’t be snacking.

During this season I also plan to do some positive things. I have a boat load of blog posts that are floating in my head, and I plan to get many of them written, polished and published.

My Daytona 500km challenge ends this Sunday, and I intend to keep on walking. During Lent there are 46 days. Including Easter that is 47. During this time I am going to walk 250km (about 155 miles). Also, I am going to set myself to walking 6,000 steps each day that are not part of the 250km.

I have some other things I’ll be doing, but I don’t want to talk about them here.

I am excited and nervous about these goals. The hardest for me will be to keep from snacking. But, I know that if I set my mind to it, and I have this blog and the public commitment that goes along with it, that I can prevail.

What are you doing for Lent? Are you giving anything up? Are you adding something healthy to your routine? Are you making the world a little better for those around you?

Week 50, and updates on challenges

I am 2 weeks away from the first anniversary of the start of my Journey toward better health. i am already working on a couple of blog posts to commemorate that day, so stay tuned. Today I am posting my weigh-in for week 50, the close out of the 1,000 step challenge and an updated on the Daytona 500km challenge.


This morning I weighed in at 230.8 pounds. That is a 1.6 pound drop from last week. My total weight loss is now 114.2 pounds, or 33.1% of my original body weight.

This past week we traveled to New Orleans. While there I walked, and walked, then walked some more. I also did a fair amount of eating and drinking. With the beignets at Cafe Dumonde, the chocolate dessert at the restaurant on Bourbon Street, and the Hurricanes at several watering holes, I might have lost more. But it was so worth it!

For the week ahead there is Valentine’s day. My wife and I do not go out on that day, and because she’s been away I have decided to make dinner here at home. I’ll tell you all about it afterward.

Also in the past week I didn’t track my food in Weight Watchers, so I will be back on that train starting today.

The 1,000 Step Challenge

Fellow blogger, Rachael, put out a challenge to walk 1,000 steps per day more than my usual for a month. That challenge ended yesterday. For the 31 days, my goal was to walk 5,000 steps a day, up from my average of 3,350 for the weeks before the challenge began. Here is my final chart for that challenge:

stepsI was very successful in this challenge! My average was definitely boosted by the 31,236 steps last Sunday (that isn’t a typo, I walked over 3 miles between lighthouses before 10:00am, then walked all day long in New Orleans). I also added multiple laps each day at work, as my schedule permitted. During the 31 days of the challenge I lost 10.6 pounds! As you can see from the chart above I walked over 238,000 steps, and more than doubled my daily steps. And, with the exception of one day, all of that walking was in addition to the Daytona 500km challenge below. (Last Friday in New Orleans, I used Runkeeper to track some of my walking in the French Quarter. Because my phone is also my pedometer, approximately 9.800 were double counted for that day only).

Daytona 500km challenge

After today there are only 9 days until the green flag for the Daytona 500. My goal was to walk 500km between the end of last season, and the start of this season. Here is my recent progress:

daytonaLately I have been walking 6.0km / day at the gym. If I keep that up for the remaining 9 days, my total will end up being 520km for the challenge. I will say more about all the things that happened to me, and that I accomplished during this challenge when it ends next Sunday.

That’s it for me today. How are you doing on your challenges? Where are you on your fitness goals? It’s never too late to start, and it is never a bad day to rededicate yourself to success.

Update on my challenges, and a few thoughts

My next weigh-in is still a couple of days off, but I thought I’d give an update on my current challenges, and my thoughts on my activity level of late.

For the Daytona 500km challenge, here is my recent chart:

daytonaLately I have been doing 6.0km on each visit to the gym. The snow storm here over the weekend kept me away for a day, so I spent the next two doing some extra work. Then I realized that was unnecessary. On my current pace I need only to average 4.6km / day for the rest of the 18 days (after today). This weekend my wife and I are traveling and we plan to do plenty of walking so I should have no problem keeping that pace. This morning I was back to my 59 minute, 6.0km workout

The snow storm kept me from the gym for a day, but look what it did to my steps!

stepsThe storm hit on February 1, so that day and the day after I was digging out. We ended up with almost 17 inches of snow, so part of my strategy was to go out and run the snow blower multiple times over the two days. Because I was feeling good, I also ran it on the side walks of my two neighbors, and a few houses across the street. By the time I made the 6 or 7 passes up and down my driveway, and then repeated that whole process 6 or 7 times, I ended up with over 8,700 steps.

Monday (February 2), was more of the same. Because I was mostly dug out, I also went to the gym that day and did some extra walking in the parking lot after my workout.

I know I’ve used these words here before, but I will again… What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time I hadn’t started my journey yet.  We had a few significant snow storms, and running my snow blower took all the effort I had. And, I only did exactly what was required for my driveway and sidewalk. The effort to wrestle the machine through larger snow piles left me with a sore back for weeks. This year I look forward to being out and handling the snow, I go the extra mile to do neighbors’ walks, and my back doesn’t hurt. All that in one year.

Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t like snow. But my hatred of large snow falls is mitigated some by my renewed spirit of fitness.

Both challenges will be coming to an end soon. I have a few ideas floating around on what to do next. I really like being up every morning at the gym, and doing the treadmill gets my metabolism working hard. I am thinking of also working in some upper body stuff, possibly with weights. I will keep you posted on that.

How are you doing on your fitness goals? It’s never too late to renew them, and to get back to work. After you read this, get up and take a walk for 10 minutes. Then come back and tell me how you are feeling!

Week 48 – A modest loss

It’s weigh-in day!

Today I tipped the scale at 234.0 pounds. That is a 0.4 pound loss for the week. My total weight loss is now an even, 111.0 pound, or 32.2% of my original weight.

For the month of January I lost 8.8 pounds, and updated my monthly weight loss bar graph on my progress page.

This past week I was very diligent on my measuring and tracking. And, with the exception of Sedentary Saturday, I hit the gym hard as well as keeping up on my challenges (update is below). If anything held me back from losing more it would probably be the homemade pizza that my wife made for my birthday, and the 3 (small) pieces of cake I had over the course of the weekend and early week. All that is behind me now, and I still lost weight for the week, so I have no complaint.

The Daytona 500km Challenge

After today there are 23 days left in this challenge. To date I have walked 392.6km, which leaves 107.4 to go. I have a short trip coming up next weekend, which might make me miss one day of walking, but I am confident that I’ll still make the goal.Here is my recent chart

daytonaThe extra 1,000 Step Challenge

Fellow blogger Rachael, has challenged her readers to walk an additional 1,000 steps per day. Here is my latest chart for that challenge

stepsNone of the walking I do for the Daytona 500 challenge counts towards this challenge. When I started, my goal was 5,000 steps per day. Further, I set a goal to have not more than 3 days where I missed the mark. I’ve already used those up, so now I have to stay on top of things for the remaining days of the challenge. It is a 31 day challenge, and ends on February 12.

Challenge updates

I wanted to take a few minutes to update you all on the two challenges I am presently on, and to fess up about what I am now calling Sedentary Saturday.

First, the Daytona 500km challenge. Here is my latest chart:

daytonaI am on pace to end up with 508km by the end. I have a weekend trip coming up next week, and I might miss a day, so I am sticking to my 6.0km per day. As some of you know, I am watching Dexter episodes while I am on the treadmill. This morning I finished season 7, so I have only 12 episodes left. After that I’ll be on to another series to keep me occupied.

You will note that on Saturday, January 24th, I didn’t go to the gym. I wrote about that being a day of rest. Well, you haven’t seen the fullness of my resting until you see my step challenge:

stepsThat isn’t a typo. In addition to not going to the gym on Saturday, my total walking for the day was only 592 steps. Honestly, I think some of that was my phone giving me step credits when I picked it up to send a text message, because I honestly don’t think I walked 592 steps. It was a very lazy day indeed. Sunday I got to the gym, but fell short on the extra 5,000 steps

With the new work week I am back on track for both challenges. Today I had a smattering of meetings, so I didn’t get my afternoon laps in, but I still did manage 5,900 steps.

How are you doing on your challenges?