C25K – completed

Who’s the man? ME! I’m the man! WOOOOOOOO! Tonight I ran my first 5km in ~33 minutes (Garmin was out of power again, grr). Fucking get in! Here’s the money shot immediately afterwards:-


I started on the 17th April and 10.5 week’s later I finished; I repeated W5 after failing my first attempt at W5D3, and ran W9 for time not distance. I actually did it. Amazing. This was one of my new-year-resolution goals :).

Well chuffed.

Not the fattest guy in the room

I’ve got a new game, it’s called “Look! That guy’s bigger than me!” :D.

There are not many guys in the UK who are 30-stone/420lb+ and the chance of seeing them out and about is slim. It was rare that I would ever see someone bigger than me, making me the biggest person in the room, everywhere I went. But not any more! I’m still a fat bastard but I’m no longer the fattest bastard ‚Äî haha.

A few months ago I wrote about My Three Chapters and I can feel myself closing in on the first goal. “Not being the fattest” is a part of it; so is buying clothes from standard retailers; running in the park; enjoying catching my reflection or having my photo taken; comfortably sitting in a train seat. By no means is this the finish line, but my quality of life has markedly improved. It feels great.

OK – so In this pic I am the biggest in the room ;). This is a shot of the team I work with at the moment (I’m leading the development of their flagship product). I thought I’d share/show-off because the company was featured on the 37signals blog last week, which is cool.


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In case you’re not sure, I’m the tall, slim chap in the back row.

W9D2 in the can

Rawr! I feel great: I’m showered, fed and feeling the post-workout burn.

Tonight’s run was around my usual lap. My Garmin was out of power, but using my previous runs I calculated it was about 2.75 miles in 30 minutes, which is around the same pace as Monday’s run although it felt much harder tonight (I’m really happy I pushed myself hard to finish). One more run left!

Applications for the Bath Half Marathon open in a few weeks (the event will be March 13th 2011). Can I go from 3 miles to 13 miles in 8 months? I think we’re going find out :).

Delivering Happiness


A couple of months ago Zappos sent my a review copy of Tony Hsieh’s new book, not because I’m some superstar blogger or influencer, but because they’re cool. I applied online and 48hrs later two free copies of the book arrived on my doorstep in the UK. Being over here I haven’t had the opportunity to experience the “legendary Zappos customer service” – until then.

I read a fair bit about personal development, lifestyle design and happiness. A lot of these books are “howto” in nature; Delivering Happiness is more about The Zappos Story than a manifesto. If you’ve ever been curious about how they started out and grew, or how Tony got started in his business life, then this book is for you. There is a big-picture idea/mission about happiness towards the end, but for me this was more about the story ‚Äî I don’t think there was anything new that I haven’t read in the other “howto” books.

Worth a read, but not a must-have.

Weigh-in #40 + C25K update

Peak: 435 lb
Previous: 314.2lb
Current: 308.2b
Loss this week: 0.2lb
Total Loss: 126.8lb

It’s a loss. I think I was dehydrated in my weigh-in last week, the following day I was heavier by a couple of pounds; still, it averages out nicely over 2 weeks.

C25K is going ok, I’ve sort-of completed week 8. W8D1 was fine; W8D2 was bad (blew up after 17 minutes); and I skipped W8D3. I was having a long-weekend back in Bath and didn’t fit my run in until Monday; seeing as though it was a new week I decided to skip ahead to W9D1. This was a different route to my normal circuit so I was interested to see what the pace would be like over a more straight-forward course: turns out it was similar to my “good run” W8D1 which made me happy. I’m not sure why I’m struggling sometimes, but when I’ve had 2+ days off I run better (well rested/fuelled?). W9D1 went ok though and I ran 4.5km in 30 minutes :); I could have run another 500m for sure.

It’s very cool to be in the final week of the program.

Update: added a photo I took of myself:-


This is the first time in ages that I’ve liked a picture of myself. It’s also the first time I’ve thought that I look like a different person. I love seeing before/after shots where people look totally different; this is the first one of me where I’m starting to see that in myself. For a comparison: http://arichlife.me/2010/02/a-progress-picture/

C25K W8D1

Wow! This was much better than my last run.

W7D3 sucked hard: I tried to up my speed but had to stop after 18-minutes; when I got home my Garmin then told me I hadn’t run any faster than the previous run. Ugh! This evening I went back to my previous “heart rate method”, whereby I try and keep my HR below 170 and I did my 28 minutes / 2.6 miles pretty easily.

For the last few weeks my virtual partner has been set on 11-minute/mile pace. I can do the first mile in that comfortably but thereafter I have been slowing down. Today the Garmin told me I was kicking his ass after the first mile and it seemed to stay that way for the whole run: it showed that I was something like 45-seconds ahead at the end. I’m wondering if it was some sort of malfunction because it didn’t feel like I was running faster, I certainly didn’t try to run faster, but all the other numbers it reported look consistent with my other runs.

I’m taking it with a pinch of salt and we’ll see what the other runs this week are like, but woohoo! Even if the speed was whack I cranked out W8D1’s 28-minutes and I am now 5 runs away from graduating C25K. Who’d thought it!

Weigh-in #39

Peak: 435 lb
Previous: 314.2lb
Current: 308.4b
Loss this week: 5.8lb
Total Loss: 126.6lb

Wow, where did that come from? My diet has been good-but-not-great and my exercise has just been C25K runs: I wasn’t expecting a big loss. I’m still sticking with the vegetarianism and it’s still going easy; I need to expand my vege cooking skills a little now that vegetable curry is starting to get boring, but everything else is going great.

C25K week 8 is done. I struggled with the last run but now that there are no intervals there’s not much point repeating a specific week, as it’s all the same thing until the finish line. I’m confident that in 2-week’s time I’ll be able to complete the program and run for 30-minutes, but I doubt that it will be 5km in distance. Who cares though? I’m going to get there eventually and being able to run for 30-minutes will be a huge achievement for me in itself.

Getting really close to saying goodbye to the 300s now. Weeeee!

Weigh-in #38: Nice

Peak: 435 lb
Previous: 317.2lb
Current: 314.2b
Loss this week: 3lb
Total Loss: 120.8lb

Hurray! At some point recently I’ve crossed over the halfway stage: I don’t think I’m going to lose another 120lb. I want to reach 217 for the craic, for the “I lost half my bodyweight” bragging rights, and perhaps 199 for similar reasons, but I’m now definitely on the home straight: I have less to lose than I already have. That makes me feel good.

It looks like I’m going to miss my 279lb by 16th August target though: I have 10 weeks to lose 34.3lb. My recent average has been more like 2.5lb/week. I’m happy enough with that, so long as I hit 279 by September 13th (+14 weeks, 2.45lb average) which will coincide my 1-year anniversary with my sub-20-stone one.

I’m a vegetarian (but am I a vegan?)

I’ve been wanting to cut meat out of my diet for a while; one of my 2010 resolutions was “eat vegetarian 2 days/week for 6 months“. A couple of weeks ago I decided to try being a week-day vegetarian and the experiment was an instant hit: I didn’t miss meat at all and when I did eat a chicken on the weekend I was disappointed with myself; It was the disappoint that we feel when we eat a big piece of chocolate cake, it tastes nice and we’re happy for a while, but then we forget about that fleeting pleasure and regret the decision. Now that I’m more aware of what I eat, that regret comes on much faster than it used to, in many cases it arrives even before I’ve eaten or bought the cake. Now that I have this new self-control, becoming a vegetarian feels achievable, and if it’s something I can do, then why not do it?

I still haven’t spent much time debating the morality of killing animals for food, but my gut feeling is that it is kinda wrong. Animals eating animals might be a natural part of life, but Lions don’t fly to the moon, write poetry or build computers: we’re smarter than they are and live in a higher level of consciousness. I need to build up my arguments, but I think not killing animals when we don’t have to is a Good Thing. So for now, I’m a vegetarian just because.

As I start to adjust to this new diet I’m realising that it’s almost exactly the same process as changing your diet to lose weight. I need to learn new recipes, new takeaway options, learn more about nutrition sources, find out what my staple dishes are going to be and get some “backup/emergency” options ‚Äî all this I did for my weight-loss diet and am now doing for my vegetarian diet. It’s much easier this time though, as I’ve already acquired the “I eat for sustenance not for fun” mindset. It’s surprisingly easy, which is making me think how far I could take my diet changes.

Dropping meat is sort-of an application of the Pareto Principal to my moral hangups: 80% of my beef is with killing animals for food; 20% is about other animal products like wearing leather or eating dairy. I get good moral-value for my money with vegetarianism, but going vegan and renouncing all animal products will cost me a lot (what a ball-ache!) for a much smaller amount of superiority. I’m (probably) not going to build a log cabin and go all Walden on you, so for me there is a line. (And fuck PETA, with a big stick: they’re assholes no matter what!) But still, I wonder how far I can take my diet, as a matter of principal and discipline.

Vegetarian today, ultra-strict raw vegan tomorrow? We’ll see.