Three Months of Weight Loss in Less Than Three Minutes

03.29.2013 | 12:49 pm

The main point of today’s post is that I’ve made a video with a time-lapse of my weight loss efforts. Frankly, it’s pretty freaky and disturbing and you may not want to watch it unless you can stand the thought of two-plus minutes of me morphing from a chunky middle-aged balding guy into a somewhat less-chunky middle-aged balding guy.

If you think you can deal with that, read on.

First though, for those of you who haven’t been following along as I’ve tried to lose 25 pounds during the first three months of this year, here’s the quick version.

  1. Adam Schwarz, A complete stranger — but reader of this blog — happened to be the same height and weight as me, and who also wanted to lose the same amount in the same period of time, had a contest with me. The details are here.
  2. I’ve kept track of my weight loss journey over at Beeminder, and in the sidebar of my blog.
  3. Both Adam and I succeeded in hitting our goals early, so we both win the rather nice reward of being much much lighter than before and ready to kick some butt during the upcoming race season. I’ve already set some PRs and netted a couple KOMs I’ve been after forever over at Strava.

But enough jibber jabber. Here’s the video for you to watch…if you dare.


How To Lose Weight While in an All-Week Meeting (Alternate Title: You Too Can Simultaneously Lose Weight and Become Intensely Annoying)

03.27.2013 | 12:50 pm

A Note from Fatty: You all know The Noodle, right? Well she’s on the Specialized home page:


There’s also a cool story to go along with this photo. Read it here.

Congrats, Noodle!

“If I could have one wish in the world,” my daughter said last weekend, “It would be that you would make hamburgers on the grill like you used to.”

The Hammer replied, “And if I had a wish, it would be that we could go to an Italian restaurant.”

Such easy wishes to grant. Except they aren’t. Not when you’re currently obsessing at heretofore unheard-of levels in order to get your weight down from 183 to 158 pounds, in three months.

But my family had it easy, really. After all, while I haven’t  taken The Hammer out to a nice restaurant lately, I did fire up the grill and make burgers for the family — I even ate one myself (but without a bun).

Where I’ve really had to be outrageously obsessed is when I’m at work, where I am routinely sequestered in a conference room for eight solid hours at a time, four days in a row. 

And since this has happened thrice in the past quarter — all while I’ve been trying to drop this weight — I’ve learned a few lessons.

Which I shall now share with you.

Wherein I Make Many Mistakes and Learn Important Things

Just a couple weeks into my diet, I had my first weeklong meeting of the quarter. And these meetings really do go all day, in one conference room, for four straight days. These meetings are intense. They are packed with work that needs doing — to the extent that lunch is usually brought in.

They require a lot of thinking, and a lot of listening, and a lot of expressing of oneself.

They are quite often somewhat confrontational, which adds a moderator job to the person who leads these weeklong meetings (i.e., me).

But I figured I was up to the job. I’d order light off the menu, and would skip desserts. I would stay away from the snacks I had strategically placed all over the table for people to munch on at will.

I would, in short, be good.

And then, in the space of four days, I gained three pounds.

How did this happen? I rationalized.

Toward the end of the first day, as the conversation grew heated, I thought to myself, “I think I’ll just have one handful of the chocolate-covered raisins.”

Which I did.

Which I then followed with another handful. And then I went to the cashews, until they were gone, after which I went to the M&Ms. And in short, I was the very picture of a train wreck.

I made a resolution to be better the next day. But in fact I was worse. My willpower cracked before we even got to lunchtime, and by early afternoon I was eating with a vengeance.

It is not clear at whom this vengeance was aimed.

As I got on the scale the day after this weeklong meeting, I realized that I needed to do things differently the next time I had a meeting like this. So I came up with the following:

  • I cannot be trusted: My overarching insight was that when I am hungry and stressed and there is food around, I cannot be trusted to make a good food-related judgment call. I just can’t. I will break down and start eating with abandon.
  • All decisions must be made early: If I can’t be trusted to make good food decisions when I’m hungry and stressed, I have to make all my food choices ahead of time. 
  • There can be no exceptions: The decisions I make are not subject to revision or adjustment or tweaking or anything else. They are absolute.

Next Attempt

Working from these, I came up with a plan. I would purchase a stock of protein bars and protein shakes, and bring them with me to the meetings. I would have a certain allotment of these per day, and they would be all I would eat. No chips, no cookies, no pizza.

And it worked. I dropped from 163.6 to 160.8 during those four days. 

However, I was working from home during this meeting. The real challenge would come at the weeklong meeting while I was traveling.

Level of Difficulty: 5

Since I would be out of town for this final meeting, I needed to get my stash of protein bars and drinks to the hotel ahead of time. So I just had them shipped there, to my attention. Easy.

The hard part was explaining to my co-workers, “Hey, I won’t be eating any meals  with you guys. At all. It’s not that I’m anti-social, it’s that I am doing my best to get my weight down, and I know that once I’m in a restaurant, I’m not going to order the smart thing.”

“Also,” I continued, “I’m not going to be eating any of the snacks laying around. And if you see me look like I’m about to, I’d appreciate it if you’d smack me upside the head.”

To my surprise, everybody was very cool about it. Thinking back now, there’s no reason anyone wouldn’t be cool about it, but still. 

So with my intentions and plan made public, I had turned the tables on this scenario. Instead of it being difficult to stay on my diet for a week while locked in a conference room, I had made it so it would have been difficult to not stay on my diet.

Except the one time everyone else took off for dinner and I stayed in the conference room, working late. During which I ate half a bag of chocolate-covered pecans.

Still, when I got back from my Sunday – Friday trip, I had dropped a full two pounds. Yes, that’s right. I had lost weight while traveling.


How to Lose 25 Pounds While Seeming Like a Complete Freak and Alienating Everyone Around You, Part 1

03.25.2013 | 1:18 pm

I’d like to tell you a story today. While it’s not a story that is quite over, it seems to be going well for the protagonist. 

But it’s also a cautionary tale.


You see, after a pretty successful race season last summer, I stopped racing. And more or less stopped training, too. But I kept eating as if I were still going full tilt.

By January of this year, I was up to 183 pounds. I took this picture, which I am now showing to you, with apologies.

Then, I started a contest with Adam Schwarz, who had the terrific misfortune of being the same height and weight as me, as well as having a goal of losing the same amount of weight as I.

You can read the details of the contest here, but basically, we each have ’til 3/30 to reach 158 pounds — a 25-pound loss in 90 days. If one of us fails, he has to buy the other a pair of Assos shorts. 

To keep ourselves accountable, we would tweet our weight loss progress daily (I have also kept track of my progress in the sidebar of my blog, as well as on Beeminder).

Wherein I Learn The Axioms of Dieting

There’s nothing quite like a diet to completely focus your attention, at all times, on food. As I took off the pounds — and as I would sometimes stall out and start putting the pounds back on — I began learning the following truths about dieting:

  • The scale rules your life. I am currently weighing myself every day. I do this because if I weigh myself only weekly, I am vigilant about my diet only when the next weigh-in approaches, and say to myself immediately after a weigh-in, “Well, now I have a little time to goof off before buckling down and getting serious about food again.” When I weigh myself every day, I never get to say that.
  • If you don’t want to weigh yourself, you absolutely must weigh yourself. Some days, I wake up thinking, “I just don’t want to weigh myself today.” On those days, it’s absolutely critical that I weigh myself. Because if I don’t want to weigh myself, it’s because I know I’ve done something that is going to show up on the scale. Which is to say, I’ve never led an error-free day on my diet and then not wanted to weigh myself. When I have screwed up, diet-wise, however, I rarely want to see what the consequences look like, because I generally have a pretty good idea that they won’t be good. And only by stepping on the scale and seeing the “effect” part of the whole cause-and-effect of cheating on your diet have I started to get better at not cheating. Or at least at not cheating as severely and often.
  • Scales are evil. Sometimes you’re doing everything right and you still don’t lose much weight. Or any weight. Or sometimes you even gain weight. This is because bathroom scales are evil, spiteful, hateful things that don’t take your feelings into account at all. That said, I’ve found that scales don’t hold a grudge forever. If I continue to hold my line, diet-wise, the scale will eventually — begrudgingly — yield up some positive results.
  • Your weight doesn’t always tell you how well you’re doing. No matter how hard you exercise, sometimes you don’t lose weight. And I’ve found in fact that sometimes if you exercise hard enough, your weight will spike sharply upward for the next few days. This is because of inflammation and water retention after a hard workout, and it will slope off after a couple days, revealing how much you’ve actually lost while it looked like you were gaining.
  • Backsliding isn’t worth it. I’ve discovered that when I abandon my diet for a day and eat whatever I want, it takes about four days for me to claw my way back to where I was before I lost control. That’s a lot of time and effort spent on getting to where I was…instead of on moving forward.
  • Backsliding is occasionally totally worth it. Nobody’s perfect. Once in a while I discombobulate and eat everything in the fridge, and then I go to the neighbor’s house and eat everything in their fridge too. And then I apologize and give them some money and advise them to improve the security of their premises. But here’s the thing: as I am eating, I know I’m screwing up and sabotaging myself, and I don’t care. I just want to eat. No, “want” is the wrong word. When I lose my dieting willpower, I lose it entirely. I don’t want to eat, I simply am eating. I must eat. There is nothing in the world but eating. Eventually I come back to my senses, and then assess the damage I have done, both to myself and to those around me (“Sorry I ate your hand”).
  • If you ever meet an expert, you will find you are dieting wrong. A couple of days ago, I tweeted what I considered (and continue to consider) to be a self evident truth: “There’s nothing quite as effective as a diet for making all your waking thoughts center around food.” Immediately a number of Very Smart Experts on diet jumped in, telling me what a bad job I must be doing on my diet. But you know what? Those people don’t know the way my mind works, they don’t know the way I publicly hold my feet to the fire in order to keep myself honest, they don’t know me. And they don’t know you, either. Experts generally love to share their expertise. But that doesn’t mean they are right. 
  • Your diet is super-interesting…to you. And you only. I wasn’t kidding when I said that my diet has consumed all my thinking. And I am afraid that I have subjected The Hammer to relentless speculation on my weight loss so far, why the working parts of my diet work, why the non-working parts have failed, my current trajectory of weight loss, colorful and protracted descriptions of my hunger, and much much more. Lucky her! Except I’ve noticed that her eyes have started glossing over when I talk about my diet chronicles. Which is…always

The Most Important Axioms of Dieting

You know what, though? That’s all the small stuff. Here are the real things I’ve learned. The things I’m hoping I can use to actually keep most of this weight off.

  1. Your diet probably works. My diet — lots of protein and fat via egg whites and avocados — is strange, but it works great for me. I don’t get tired of it, I’m very healthy, and it’s easy. But other diets would work, too. Really, any reasonably well-thought-out regimen would probably work…if you stick to it. It’s when you start slacking on diets that you stop losing weight. 
  2. When you screw up, don’t abandon the day. Sometimes you’re going to mess up. Fine, whatever. Just get back to it. Limit the damage of the day instead of saying, “I’ll start fresh tomorrow.” 
  3. When your diet isn’t working, there’s a reason. Sometimes you’re just going to plateau for a few days, sometimes your weight is going to spike because of inflammation, and sometimes your diet might stop working because you’ve stopped doing it right. This happened to me at one point during this diet. I had gone from occasionally putting yolks in my eggs to always putting yolks in my eggs. And more cheese. And I was snarfing a spoonful of peanut butter — which was supposed to be my safety net for when I was going to otherwise completely lose it — several times per day. Astonishingly (not), I was no longer losing weight. When I cut the yolks and peanut butter out — that is, when I started following the original rules of the diet — I started losing again.

But staying on your diet is easy — relatively — when you’re at home. When you’re traveling or stuck at a conference or a week-long meeting, it’s not so easy. 

Last week, though, I managed to drop two pounds in six days while traveling. Which is what I’ll talk about in my next post.

Warning: It’s not pretty.

Fatty Vs The Hammer: A Thought Experiment

03.20.2013 | 6:34 am

The Hammer and I are almost ridiculously happy together. We love planning things out together. And talking with each other. And training together. 

We even love going to races together. 

But when we go to races, we’re never racing against each other. Partially because that’s just not what married couples do

But what if we…you know…did?

I’m not saying we would ever go and actually just race against each other to see whom of us is faster. Because of marital harmony and stuff, as heretofore mentioned. But also because there aren’t many races where it would be a legitimate competition.

Like in the race we did last weekend, for example. If I’d have run a half marathon, The Hammer would have beaten me by a huge margin. Similarly, in bike races, I’m a little faster than she — although her recent Leadville 100 finishing times are faster than all but four of my finishing times.

But what if we were to do a race where the bike portion and the run portion were balanced out, and maybe a randomizing third event (like maybe a swim?) neither of us is good at were thrown in? 

And suppose, unlike when we last tried doing a long-distance triathalon, we were both really fit and fast?

And further suppose, unlike when we last tried doing a long-distance triathalon, we agreed that if and when The Hammer caught me on the run, she would just keep on going to see how much faster she is than I?

And even further suppose that unlike in a full Ironman, we were to do a half Ironman, thereby taking away the (some might say) out-of-proportion advantage given to cyclists?

Between The Hammer and me, who would win?

You must admit, it’s an interesting thought experiment. You know, the kind of thought experiment a loving couple might discuss, just for fun. And perhaps it might even become the prevalent topic of conversation between that loving couple. And it’s even conceivable that the loving couple might engage in quite spirited debate on this topic.

But, you know, it’s not something we would actually do.

Why It’s a Bad Idea to Have Connected Friends

So, having had a number of spirited conversations with The Hammer, I took it upon myself to check and see if it was too late to register for the inaugural St. George Half Ironman (it used to be an Ironman but was generally acknowledged to be too difficult of a course, which makes both The Hammer and me feel kind of awesome that we both did it).

Not that I was going to register us for it if registration were still open. I was merely curious.

Imagine my relief to find it was sold out. “Oh well, that’s that,” I thought.

And then — for no reason at all — I emailed my friend Yuri Hauswald, who just happens to be the Brand Specialist for GU Energy Labs, which just happens to be a sponsor of the St. George Half Ironman. (Check out the inspiring thing Yuri is doing right this second: working with a blind super-athlete as a team in a six-hour enduro in New Zealand)

“I don’t suppose you’d be interested in having The Hammer and me race as part of Team Gu in the St. George Half Ironman, right?” I asked, expecting a quick and decisive “No.”

“Magic will be happening in less than an hour,” replied Yuri. And he was right. Before I could come up with a plausible excuse, The Hammer and I were registered.

(And also, two giant boxes full of Gu products arrived, which the two of us have begun training with. More on those soon.)

Suddenly, the hypothetical was real. The Hammer and I are racing in a Half Ironman. 

Against each other.

Here’s my (absolutely and completely impartial) analysis of what the day will bring. 

The Swim

The morning starts with a — and I just checked this to make sure of the distance — 1.2 mile swim. This is the part that both The Hammer and I dread the very most. Neither of us is a trained, strong swimmer.

That said, this leg of the race is incredibly strategic.

First of all, we don’t start at the same time. Thanks to the fact that we are of different genders and have a last name that starts with “N” we start six minutes apart:


Of course, this race is timed by chip, so theoretically it doesn’t matter who starts when.

In reality, though, by having The Hammer six minutes ahead of me when the race starts, I have an excellent carrot. If I can manage to pull up even to her and say “Hi honey!” we both know that I am in fact actually saying, “I’m six minutes ahead of you now.”

In the past, there’s been a reasonably good chance that I would catch The Hammer before the swim leg even finished; thanks to the miracle of a wetsuit and stronger arms I’ve been able to compensate for my total lack of form and haul myself through the water more quickly through the water.

But The Hammer’s been in the pool several times per week this past winter, training using the much-acclaimedTotal Immersion swim method. She’s fixed some important problems with her technique and I now fear that my brute force advantage has been nullified.

Meanwhile, for your information, I have not been in the pool even one single time. I should probably fix that.

The Bike

The Hammer and I have identical bikes we’ll be riding for this race: the Specialized Shiv. We both have been training using these bikes, and while neither of us could be called an expert on them, we’ve both gotten better. 

In terms of raw power, I have the advantage, and that matters in time trials. But on a hilly course, power-to-weight ratios come into play. And this is definitely a hilly course — 2552 feet of climbing over 56 miles:


Both The Hammer and I are good climbers. But — and I say this in a reasonable facsimile of humility — I am a better climber. 

It’s almost certain that I will put some time on The Hammer during the bike leg of this race. The question is, will I put enough time on her? Because following the ride comes…

The Run

The central question in the “Fatty Vs The Hammer” race is, “how much time will Fatty lose to The Hammer in the run?” The easy answer is, “A lot,” but that’s not very specific.

The Hammer is in fantastic running condition right now — she’s light and she’s training for an upcoming marathon and she just ran a personal best for the course in last week’s half-marathon.

She’s faster on a flat course, and she’s much faster on the climbs. And this course is climby:


She is going to crush me on this leg. As in, it’s entirely possible she’ll be two minutes per mile faster than I am. And maybe more if I am reduced to walking the climbs, which is likely.

Which means that even if I manage to put half an hour on The Hammer in the rest of the race, she could beat me at the line.

And the thing is, this is an out-and-back course, so at some point we’ll see each other and then she’ll know exactly what the gap between us is…and what it will take to close that gap.

I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but The Hammer is somewhat competitive. If at the point she sees me there’s even a remote chance that she could catch me, she will catch me.

And then she will blow me a kiss and keep on going.

Your Thoughts

Personally, I think there’s a 52% chance that I will be the victor in this contest, provided I manage to not go so hard on the bike that I have entirely discombobulated by the time I have to start running.

But I’ve been part of a relay team in a half iron-distance race before, and I was pretty much unable to even walk after the ride. I can easily imagine being in a similar state in this race. In which case The Hammer may win simply by being able to complete.

That said, I am a somewhat competitive person myself and do not intend for that to happen.

Please, by all means, please feel to speculate yourself on what the outcome of this race will be. 

Hey, it’s just a friendly thought experiment. Right?

The Best Five Miles Ever

03.18.2013 | 5:27 am

A Note from Fatty: A big thanks to those of you who have bought copies of Susan’s book, The Forgotten Gift. And an even bigger thanks to those of you who have left a review of the book. I’ve been really happy to see that the appeal of the book goes way beyond the teenager market I had originally talked about — adults are loving it too. 

If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, please do. You can find it available in paperback, as well as in Kindle and Nook formats.

I’m not even going to try to disguise this post. Plain and simple, this one’s all about how proud I am of my 17-year-old son, Brice. Brice is a gifted kid. Extraordinarily smart (he was the top student in his gifted student class back in sixth grade). A great sense of humor. Good at pretty much everything he tries.

He also battles severe depression, which would have been bad enough on its own, but pretty much wiped him out for a few years as his mom’s cancer got really bad and then took her life.

I don’t want to go into the bad times he’s had, though. Not in this post. What I want to do is write about a few awesome things that have happened lately.


The University of Utah has a great program, called TeenScope, Brice participated in. And it did amazing things for him — in fact, I’d say it’s no exaggeration to say that the program saved his life.

It’s also the program my insurance company, Cigna, actively battled me on covering. While they eventually paid for part of it, several thousand dollars are now my responsibility — it’s my hope that royalties from Susan’s book will help meet that.

Following that program, Brice started coming back to us — I don’t even know how to describe it better than that. He even started going back to regular school, and is now back in school full time.

And that’s not all.

Academic Decathlon

A couple weeks ago, Brice did something he hasn’t done in — quite literally — years. He — on his own — joined an extracurricular program at school, called Academic Decathlon (AcaDec). Essentially, this is competitive test-taking, which may not sound all that exciting to you unless you happen to be really good at taking tests.

Which Brice is.

The thing is, though, Brice joined the school’s AcaDec team pretty late in the year, and didn’t have time to read the books and essays that were the subject of this year’s essays and tests.

So he talked with some of his teammates, getting the best sense of the topics he could, and traveled with the team to the state competition.

When he came home, he told us all about the essay assigned: compare a particular Russian short story (which he hadn’t read, and the name of which I can’t remember) to the novel Dr. Zhivago (which he also hadn’t read).

“I totally had to bluff it,” he told the family, saying that he turned it into an essay comparing thematic scope potential of short stories to what is possible in novels, and what each is best suited for.

“Hey, don’t worry about it,” I started, wanting to let him know that to me it wasn’t important that he didn’t do well; it was great that he had simply tried.

Brice interrupted me by saying, “I took first place.”

And in fact, Brice was an important reason his team will now be participating in AcaDec online Nationals. 

He and I have agreed we will each read Dr. Zhivago  by then.

The Big Race

Getting back into his academic groove is only part of the story, though. Around the beginning of the year, Brice also agreed to train with me to run a five-mile race in Moab.

We started by running 2.5 miles, inching up to our longest run before the race itself: 4.25 miles last week.

An then, last weekend, we had the race itself. Brice and I would be running five miles together; The Hammer would be running the half marathon. Here’s the group of us together, sharing a moment as we waited for our respective turns at the port-a-potties:


And yes, Brice really is half a foot taller than The Hammer and I (Susan’s dad and grandfather were both 6′4″).

The Hammer went to get on a bus to the half-marathon starting line; Brice and I found ourselves at the end of the line for the bus to the five-mile starting line (same course, just eight miles further down the canyon). 

As it turned out, the last bus didn’t quite have room for us, so we — along with a half-dozen other runners — were put on a van. 

It was a very exciting ride:


Even as riders on the very last bus, we arrived at the starting line with almost an hour to kill. “Show me your awesome running pose,” I said. 


Brice is way too obliging.

We sat on a big rock, watching all the people mill around, with most everyone waiting for a turn at a port-a-potty:


I swear, races are 90% toilet-related.

The Start

At 9:20am, ten minutes before the race began, we ditched our coats and joined everyone else in a short walk down the canyon road to the starting line:


It was a good way to get ready for a race to begin — standing around for a long time at a starting line just makes me anxious, which in turn makes me need to pee (yes, more toilet-related observations. See?).

We got to the starting line just a couple minutes before the race began, and settled in where we figured we belonged: right in the middle of the pack.


“Are you nervous?” I asked Brice.

“A little,” he said. “Mostly, I just want to get started.”

“Show me your ‘very nervous’ face anyway,” I said.


Like I said, Brice is way too accommodating.

The starting gun went off precisely on time (this race has been run annually for more than thirty years; they know exactly what they’re doing), and we began. Brilliantly, I had set my camera to take rapid-fire shots, figuring that at least once in a while I’d capture Brice in the frame. And I was right:


And I even managed to capture the two of us together in a selfie. Of the fifteen shots I took while holding the camera pointing in our general direction, this was the best of them:


I need to learn not to hold my mouth open in that position when I’m concentrating. I think it may look a little bit silly.

The Rules

Honestly, I didn’t care even a tiny bit about how fast we went or whether we walked half of the course, or whatever. The fact that my son was outside, doing something with me, was a massive victory, and we both knew it.

“A year ago, would you have guessed you’d be out here today, doing this?” I asked.

“No way,” Brice said.

“You should be massively proud of how far you’ve come,” I said. “I am.”

“I’m proud of both of us,” said Brice. “We’re doing awesome.”

And he was right. We finished our first mile in under nine minutes, a pace faster than we had ever run in training.

“We haven’t run this far before,” I said, “So let’s be sure we agree the same rules apply during this race as did during training: either of us can declare a walking break at any time and we don’t have to give a reason. The walking break can go as long as necessary. Whoever starts the walking break also declares when it ends. Our objective isn’t to win anything, it’s to do this together.”

“Yep,” said Brice. But he continued going faster.


Our second mile was faster than our second — 8:19, I think. Maybe it was because of the adrenaline that comes with racing. Or maybe it was because of the drummers that famously play for the duration of the race, their booming drums echoing across the canyon:


“This is an amazing day,” Brice told me as we hit the halfway mark and came out of the canyon.

Price to Pay

Anyone who knows anything about adrenaline-fueled racing knows that it doesn’t last. As we crossed the three-mile sign, we slowed to a walk for break. In under a minute, though, we were back to running:


How did he get to be so tall and skinny? 

We took one more break at the four mile mark, after which I asked Brice to slow down a bit during the final mile. He was dropping me. 


Finish Line

With a half mile left to go, I looked ahead and could see the finish line banner. “We’re going to do it,” I said. 

“And we’re going to finish faster than Lisa’s projected time (47 minutes) for us,” Brice answered. And he was right:


46:34 by the clock, with corrected chip time of 46:15 for Brice:


And a similar placing for me:


And medals for both of us:


The Part I Didn’t Tell Him

“That was fun,” Brice told me, which was pretty much the most awesome thing I’ve ever heard in my whole life. 

“Let’s keep doing this,” I said. “Maybe even work up to a downhill half marathon this autumn.” He agreed we should. We started talking about doing  the Mt. Nebo half this Fall.

Then we walked into the post-race feed zone, which is really well stocked at this race. Cookies, chips, ice cream bars, chocolate milk, more chips, candy. Brice got some of everything. 


“You didn’t tell me about this part,” Brice said. “This is the best part of the race, by far.”

Which made me feel a little bit bummed about the sad little cup of water I had gotten for myself on the way through.

Stupid diet.

The Hammer

Brice and I walked back to the car, changed, and came back to the race venue to wait for The Hammer to finish. While we did, Brice went through the feed zone again (I figured we were within our rights, since I had gotten nothing at all on the way through).

Then we went to wait at the finish line. As we stood there I told Brice that The Hammer’s previous best on this course was a 1:45, so we started craning our necks, looking for her orange, black and white jersey at 1:40.

She came hauling through at 1:43, setting a personal best for this course, and a top-ten finish for her category: 


I got a picture of her with Estella, a woman we’ve become friends with, even though we never see her anywhere except for at races.


She’s not even from the same county as us, but we’ve run into her at this race twice, at the Ogden marathon, and at the Boston marathon. She and The Hammer run very similar times, and both have husbands considerably slower than they are.

And then a picture of the three of us, now post-race, taken by the guy guarding the feed zone (whom I could tell was getting ready to turn Brice and me away as we approached):


Heading Home

As we started home, Brice conked out immediately and slept for the duration of the three hour drive. Like most teenagers, he has an infinite capacity for sleep. 

As we drove home, I thought a little bit about what we had done: a five-mile race. We had built it up in our minds to be something big, but when it came down to it, the race itself had lasted just over three-quarters of an hour. 

A lot of the time, after a race I’ll feel a little let down, thinking to myself, “That’s it? That’s all there was to it? It seemed like such a big deal before I did it, and now it’s just something I’ve done.”

I guess races are as meaningful as you make them. And this time, what we did still seems huge. I don’t think that’s going to change.

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