Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Less than $3000 to reach my goal!

Fundraising for HFD is going well. As of tonight I'm more than 1/3 of the way to my goal of $4500! Woohoo!

Less than $3000 left to reach my goal... I'm working on Drink for Discovery II this week and I should have news of a date soon. This year I'm working on getting breweries from around the US to be represented.

Any breweries you want to see represented? Leave a comment and I'll see what I can do!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Eating Healthy, Working Out and Losing Weight

For the past few months I've been on a mission:
  • Eat healthier
  • Work out
  • Lose weight
When I started with HFD last year I had hoped to lose weight. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Sure, I was exercising more and getting in better shape, but I was not paying attention to what I ate. After I stopped hiking with HFD last year I started to gain weight. I wasn't as active, but I didn't change how much I ate and drank. Things were getting ugly, I wasn't fitting in my clothes and I hit 210 lbs! I knew something had to change, but I wasn't sure exactly how to go about it.

A few years ago I lost more than 10 lbs on Body for Life. As Steph would say, I was an animal at that time. Working out 6 days a week, eating 6 meals a day and being completely obsessive about sticking to the plan. I can't do that today. With my work schedule and travel, trying to follow a plan like Body for Life just wasn't going to work for me. So I had to find another way.

I decided it was time to find a personal trainer to help get me on the right path. I got in touch with Jerry Collett, we met during HFD last year and I always liked the way he pushed me during our group hikes to work a little bit harder. In December we started meeting twice a week and I joined a gym so I could work in 3 - 4 more workouts every week. I also joined MyFoodDiary.com to keep track of my how many calories I ate in a day vs. how many calories I expended to help me get a better grasp on how my eating choices affect my weight.

Its been almost 3 months now since I started and it hasn't been easy. I've been trying to eat more often with smaller portions. When I work from home, this is pretty easy, on the road its not. Making good food choices when I am traveling with work is very difficult, especially when I am running to a meeting or to catch a flight. So I have learned to carry food in my backpack when traveling. Usually I have a couple of Clif bars or Lara bars stuffed into my bag for mid-day snacks or, in the worst case, a replacement for a meal. I always avoid the "food" they offer on flights since it is often extremely high in fat and carbs. Airport food isn't much better, though some airports are better than others.

So where do I stand now? As I mentioned, when I started down this pathway I was 210 lbs. At 5'7", that puts my body mass index (BMI) at 32.9, in the obese range. Egads! Now I'm down to 192 lbs with a BMI of 30.1. I was wearing jeans with a 40" waist and they were getting uncomfortable. Now I'm down to a 36" waist — something I haven't worn since early 2002! — with a lot of room, the 34" waist jeans are not too far away. I'm also in a push-up competition with my friend Sandy and some of the HFD team. A few weeks ago I could barely knock out 10 push-ups with bad form. Now I'm up to 30 push-ups and working toward my goal of 100 push-ups in a single set. I'm lifting more weight than I ever have before, hiking faster and longer and generally feeling in much better shape than ever!

I still have a long way to go to my goal of 175 lbs, but I am continuing to lose weight, gain muscle mass and head toward my target.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Hike For Discovery - Second Group Hike

This morning was our second group hike of the season at Kennesaw Mountain , one of the best places to train on hills near Atlanta. This is also one of the coldest days this winter, the thermometer in my car was hovering around 24 degrees F with strong winds, making the wind chill feel like 10 - 15 degrees F! I thought I was prepared with my layers of clothes, gloves, hat and wicking long underwear, but it was absolutely bone chilling out there until we started up the mountain.

I was asked to be toward the front of the pack to make sure people knew how far to go on the hike before turning around. We decided to head across to Little Kennesaw Mountain, about 3.5 miles round trip. Once we got on the trail I warmed up quickly, even becoming warm enough to unzip my jacket and take off my gloves at one point. Today was my quickest ascent of Kennesaw ever! I was ecstatic a few weeks ago to get up the mile trail from the visitor's center to the top of the mountain in 24 minutes, last year I was hiking it in 30+ minutes. This morning I got to the top in 21 minutes! I was quite surprised since I had Lucy slow me down to make a deposit on the side of the trail!

Once I got to the top and started downhill again I was getting cold quickly. By the time the group reached the top of Little Kennesaw, I was quite cold again. It was then that we began to notice water vapor from our breath or sweat coming through my hat was forming ice! The mouthpiece on my hydration bladder also had ice forming on it. Clearly its time to get back on the trail and head home. What does frostbite feel like, anyway? ;-)

I'm not sure what possessed me to go hike in the cold twice this weekend — I did Kennesaw in the cold yesterday, too — but it was fun to get out to Kennesaw when there were so few other people on the trail. I'm sure we'll be back to Kennesaw again many times over the next few months, but I sure hope the weather turns warmer sometime soon!

Hike for Discovery 2007

The New Year is here and that means another season of Hike for Discovery! Last year, Steph and I spent more than three months training for a hike into the Grand Canyon with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) in memory of Steph’s father, Mitchell Levine. Through lots of hard work, and miles upon miles on the trails of Georgia, we surpassed our goal to raise $8,000 for LLS. Last year, we raised over $9,500 from friends, family and strangers to help fight blood cancers!

In June, I’ll be hiking with the Hike for Discovery (HFD) team in Yosemite National Park. This year, I’m serving as a mentor with HFD helping the team to train for hikes in Yosemite and the Grand Canyon — while raising money for LLS to fund research and patient services.

Did you know?

  • In 2006, an estimated 785,829 Americans were living with blood cancers.
  • Leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer among children and young adults under the age of 20.
  • Every five minutes, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer.
  • Every 10 minutes, someone dies from a blood cancer.
  • The Society awards about $58 million annually in research grants to find a cure for, or control of, blood cancers.
  • LLS has invested $483 million since 1954 into research that has significantly improved survival rates for thousands
This year, I’m hiking for our team’s Honored Hero, Elijah Cox. Elijah is 8 years old and was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2004. Like most children, Elijah enjoys riding bikes, playing basketball, matchbox cars, video games, swimming and music. Every dollar I raise helps LLS find treatments and cures for blood cancers like leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and Hodgkin’s disease. Donations also go to support families, like Elijah’s, through information hotlines, support groups and the Trish Greene Back to School Program for Children with Cancer. This program helps increase communication among health care professionals, parents, patients and school personnel to assure youngsters a smooth transition from active treatment back to school.

The Society’s work is far from over! While I’m training, you can help me reach my goal of raising $4,500 by donating to my Hike for Discovery. Your 100% tax-deductible contribution will bring those cures a step closer and help LLS continue to provide patient services to Elijah and his family. Many companies match employees’ charitable donations, if yours does, please apply for the matching donation to help me reach my goal even quicker!

I sincerely appreciate your support of my Hike for Discovery and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.