Saturday, June 5, 2010

Running is hard

I had hoped that I would fall in love with running.
I still hate it.
I am in much better shape now. My legs have greater definition and my upper body isn't any fatter. But, I haven't really lost any weight.
Maybe it is because I have ran twice since my 5K. Oh, and I eat a ton of whatever I want. Rootbeer float before bed, I'd hit that.
I am going to try and get back on the wagon. Time has become a huge issue, but I need to get rid of my excuses.
We will see

Sunday, May 16, 2010

5K time

So, last week was my 5k. It was the Susan G. Kohman for the cure race in Salt Lake city, so it was seas and seas of people. My wife and I made it to the almost front of the crowd. we were still surrounded.
I had two goals: under 25 minutes and to run the whole time. Goal; fail.
I am pretty proud of the 28:37 it took me to run the race. I put all I had into that run.
But... I still couldn't run the whole way. With less than a mile left, I felt like my lunds had become stone. So, I walked a bit. Walking felt unnatural after running so long and then another fat guy ran past me.
That is when I started running again and beat that guy to the finish. Basically I sprinted the end.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Put up or shut up on Saturday

Saturday is the breast cancer 5K. This is the one that I am supposed to get under 25.
I ran two miles today. I didn't walk at all and felt pretty good. Hopefully, I can run a fast pace the whole time and get under 25 minutes. I really think if I don't walk that I will get it.
I have had trouble getting all my runs in, but I feel OK. Not where i hoped to be, but not where I was.
I wish I hadn't rolled my ankle stepping on someone playing basketball last week. It is kind of funny, now my good ankle hurts too. Oh well, just keep running.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Getting back on track

So, I run a 29 minute 5k and immediately stop running. I haven't had a solid run for a while.
I ran a 33 minute 5k today. The difference was the sunshine and 75 degree weather. I am not built for heat. I wear my winter coat on the inside and don't care much for hot weather.
The cold on the morning of my first 5k didn't bug me, but the sun on my back just killed me this afternoon.
I ran the first mile easily and felt that I had a good pace. But, the heat got to me on the second and third mile. My insides baked and chose to rebel against their master, me.
I tried to run as much as I could, but obviously it was not enough.
I need to get a running partner that forces me to keep pace. Me being a foot taller than my wife eliminates her as a candidate.
I need a slightly fat, tall runner to push me. Oh well.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Well.... I got my first official 5K out of the way. I ran a lot of it, but faultered a bit at the end.
I finished with a time of 29:07. My goal was under 30 minutes for this one.
I think even at the pace I ran today, if I just run the whole time, I can get under 25 minutes.
The course had a huge downhill and then up. I thought that would hurt me, but I think it helped. I am still pretty big, so gravity gave me a speed advantage on the downhill. I have huge quads from hockey, so the uphill was a not too taxing.
My plan was to run to the 2-mile sign, but I missed it and kept running until I was tired. The end was were I struggled. I wanted to walk, not run. but, I am really competitive and couldn't stand letting people pass me. So, I tried to slug it out.
My first mile was super fast. I was right up with the leaders. If I can keep my pace up, I will be set.

Monday, March 15, 2010


I am working at getting on track.
I have been pretty bad since I moved back to Utah. Cold weather and a heavy work schedule make it tough to run.
But, we have gone a few times to the BYU indoor track.
I ran a full 5K, 16 laps in the indoor track, in 35 minutes. that was with a lot of walking and half of it pushing a stroller with my 6 month old. Part of that I had my two year old riding on the turning wheel. I ran a mile straight at the beginning. That was a shade under ten minutes.
I think my laps were faster when I walked a third and ran two thirds fast.
I need to run my sprints at the end to get my speed up. I think I will be easily under 30 minutes when I can run the whole way. I think I am really close to running the whole thing.
I have 5K fun-run for charity on the 27th of March. My big goal 5K is on May 1st, I think. I have to beat my sister-in-law at that one. I think with my long stride, I have a shot.
I took a drive the other day and mapped out a 5K route near my house. I am going to run that and start making every run a 5K. I know that I am supposed to focus on time and not distance, but it is easier for me to focus on time over distance.
i have my benchmark, lets see it start going down.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Chris Chelios is the man

This guy is the perfect example of what I want running to do for me.

Chris Chelios was born Christos Kostas Tselios on January 25, 1962 in Chicago Illinois (thanks wikipedia). He turned 48 years old this year. He skates in the NHL.

This man is a freak of nature. Just as it defies logic that Shaq can be that tall and that thick, Chelios physique is mind boggling. The guy can bench press the team bus and then keep pace with it on his ten-speed bike.

I am 27-years-old and washed up physically. My knees hurt, my ankles hurt and some days, my teeth hurt. How is this guy playing at age 48?

Yes, he kind of washed out with the Red Wings. But, he was then fielding offers from other teams and is now patrolling the blueline for the Atlanta Thrashers. The Thrashers have no ties to Chelios. There is no reason to give the old dog his due, unless he can skate. Obviously, Grandpa can skate.

This guy has spanned generations. He was rocking it with the Canadiens when goalies stood up and wore beadspreads for leg pads. Now, players are rocking carbon fiber twigs that can launch the puck with much less effort and wear pads that way less than a coffe cup (Easton helmet). Heck, not a lot of guys wore helmets when Chelios broke into the league in 1983, the year I was born.

As if this blog wasn't a big enough love letter, let's talk about Chelios with his shirt off. We have all seen it in ESPN the magazine. Bro-nami is ripped. He has huge pecks, giant guns and an eight pack. He is a couple years younger than my dad, but my dad has been rocking the keg since '83. Chelios is on that paddle board in the waves looking like a casting call for a Baywatch remake.

Chelios back in the NHL is redonkulous, period.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I haven't fallen off the wagon, yet

Sorry i missed Thursday, at least the writing.
I got a solid run in. It was short, but i ran pretty hard.
I went and played hockey in Cloudcroft, NM today for two hours. It was fun and I was exhausted after.
I am leaving Alamogordo to take a new job in Utah, but I will continue to train and blog.
I am signed up for a charity fun-run in March in Provo, Utah and a Race for the Cure event in Salt Lake in May.
I am still hoping for a nice 25 minute time in May.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Run Six

I ran today. I think I am getting stronger/fitter.
I ran five minutes straight, rested one. Ran three, rested one, I did that five times and then ran my sprints. I had a 31 minute workout.
I am feeling better and have lost three pounds, even with my binge on my birthday.
I am switching my 5K to the race for the cure in Utah in May. My sister-in-law invited me and my wife to be on her team. It is nice to have family encouraging me.
I am hoping that my speed is improving. I feel faster. I think the sprints at the end have helped. It forces me to take a long and fast stride when I am tired. It keeps my pace up mid run and towards the end.
My legs feel stronger, but my left leg has a tough time warming up and getting in stride. My knee feels stiff and it takes a long time to get in stride. Eventually, it gets going. My warmup could stand to improve. Maybe i should include some lunges and jumps to warm my legs up better.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Run Six postponed

Saturday was my birthday. The big 2-7.
I woke up at 8 a.m., but I didn't run.
My buddy and I went up to Cloudcroft, N.M. and parked at their outdoor ice rink. We strapped on our hockey skates and grabbed our hockey sticks.
We played hockey for about two hours. We passed around and skated some sprints. For the last hour or so we played one on one.
I'm not trying to be cocky, it comes effortlessly, but I skated around my friend 9 million times. We were shooting into this little cone and I kept hitting the outside of it.... no goal.
It was some great birthday exercise. I sweat hard out in the cold and I got to play my favorite sport.
So, I only got two runs in this week. I really feel like I am healthier... well was.
I was feeling pretty good until my birthday. I kind of cheated on my diet. I had a giant hamburger for lunch with fries and a mexican Coke to wash it down (real sugar). My wife made my favorite dinner, her patented enchiladas and Tacquitos. She cooks the chicken overnight in the crock pot with spices and peppers and then adds cream cheese and cream of chicken soup. They are either fried or smothered in green chili sacue and cheese. It is delicious and I eat a ton of it.
Well, their is always a new week.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Run Five

I got my run in this morning. It was late morning, but definitely better than an afternoon run.
I am finding I can run longer than I could a week ago. My stride feels better and I can keep a good pace. The sprints after the run are always fun.
That was my second run this week. I will probably get a run in tomorrow or Saturday. I don't want to run on Saturday because it is my birthday. Maybe I should run. Aparently, I am not getting any younger.
When I started my run today, the back of my knee hurt a little. It went away after a minute or two. I think it was because I didn't warm up properly. I need to get those dynamic stretches in, but I am always in a hurry.
Well, I am hoping to get a baseline 5k even if I have to walk a lot. Maybe I can do that on Saturday.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Run four

I ran yesterday around noon. Mornings are tough when you work late and have a four month old who doesn't like to sleep.
Running in the morning is way better. You are still a little sleepy and don't notice the first part of the run. By the time you have wiped the crust from your eyes, you are hitting your stride. For me, it is the middle of the run that feels best. i feel like my stride and energy are on the up and up.
I am still having trouble with my diet. I am, however, trying to eat smaller portions. I don't need three hamburgers, two will work. I don't need two bowls of chili, one is fine (if it is filled all the way). Maybe, that is why I haven't seen a lot of weight loss.
I am going to try to jump to four runs next week and up my run/walk ratio. I'll get two more runs this week to experiment.
My sister-in-law did her first 5K of the season in 33 minutes in the rain at Ogden, Ut. I have to be able to run faster than her or I will be embarassed. My machismo would be ruined.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Run 3

This was my last run for the week. I am going to run just three times a week as I ease into my program.
I almost didn't get this one in. I ended up running after work on Saturday night. I was tired from a whole day of everything and it felt like i weighed a million pounds dragging myself out the door.
The percieved weight melted away as I got into the run. With each succeeding stage I felt stronger and faster. I only got 25 minutes because I felt bad about leaving my wife alone with the kids and I was super exhausted.
I haven't gotten good sleep the last couple of nights, things on my mind.
When I got done with the run I felt light headed and sick. I didn't drink enough water during the day and I paid for it after the run.
I need to make sure I am regulating when I eat and drink so that I have enough energy-- no spikes or dips.
Anyway, week one is in the books. I already feel stronger and lighter on my feet. Who would have known exercise makes youi feel healthier?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Run two

I woke up this morning just before my alarm and heard rain outside. I turned off my 8 a.m. alarm and went back to sleep.
At 8:30 a.m. my two-year-old came in and told me she wanted to watch cartoons with me. So, I was up.
I thought to myself 'I can just run tomorrow.' But, around 10:30 I thought the rain had stopped so I threw my shoes on and hit the road.
The rain was still there, just a little softer.
I decided to run to the stop sign a few blocks away. It took me about five minutes to get there, uphill, according to my ipod. I then ran up and down 25th street alternating one minute hard, one minute walk. I finished the run with four 50 yard sprints.
Jason Atkinson, my run guru, told me to run a couple full-speed sprints at the end. If you train to run fast, you will run fast. If youi train slow, you will run slow. So, the sprints teach your body to run faster. The Lord knows I could us a little fast.
I was pretty sore last night, but a good sleep had me feeling ok today.
My wife started a running program too. She started yesterday and has been really sore today. She has been losing a ton of weight since our daughter was born in September. She has been a good example of controlling her calorie intake. That is hard for me. I like to eat. I like to feel full and love fatty food.
That is a bad combination for someone who is banking on weight loss to help his speed out.
If anyone has any tips on curbing appetite or low calorie/high energy food, I am all ears.
I run again on Friday morning. Should be good.

Monday, February 1, 2010

First run

Well, I did it. I got up this morning just a bit before 8 a.m. and went for a run. I don't have a watch, so I kind of guessed at the run walk incriments.
I went to a park near myhome that Jason Atkinson recommended. It was a little muddy thanks to all the rain, but a good place to run.
I am going to have to give it a fail.
Yeah, I'm out of shape, but that wasn't the worst part.
The Worst part was a valueable lesson I learned. Halfway through the run, my morning constitutional came a calling.
Aparently, it is a good idea to take care of that before you start your run. Who knew?
It was a good thing I was in a park that featured the proper facilities and some city workers to stare at me as I walked up to the bathroom.
Once I got that taken care of, my form improved and I felt faster.
I got back in the house after 26 minutes (I need a watch or my ipod to time things better). It wasn't a total failure. I got a runish and I am not dying from soreness, yet.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Getting Started

This is my column from the Alamogordo Daily News
By Derek Stell
Sports Writer

Jason Atkinson is a runner. In addition to being the Alamogordo Tigers Boys soccer and track coach, he is a world-class duathlete.
He rides a bike and runs on an elite level. He was a runner for UTEP in his college days. He now runs for fun, or at least for the fun of running faster than other people.
I admire Jason, but I couldn’t be further away in my fitness level.
I sit at a desk and type, or take notes at sporting events while sitting. That is what I do, all day and every day. I recently topped the scales at 285 pounds (I’m 6-foot-3, but that is still way too much).
I have always been on the chunky side, but I could move well. I played lots of sports for fun in college and played hockey for my school’s club team.
Now, I don’t feel the same way. I feel sluggish and my agility is not there. I notice it when I play with my daughters. I don’t move as fast and I get tired easier. I don’t care how much I weigh or if I am considered “fat,” but I don’t feel healthy.
Thus, my latest great idea. I am going to become a runner.
I have never enjoyed running. It usually leads to aches and pains. I also tend to get a little bored over distances. I used to run sprints for hockey, but never anything over a mile.
Since I have never had any training, i decided to go to someone who trains and trains other people for a living. Coach Atkinson was more than happy to help.
I’m not going to lie, he overwhelmed me a little bit.
I told him my idea and he immediately told me I need a goal. I told him I wanted to run a 5K in 25 minutes. He said that we needed to find a race then.
He took me to his office and got on the computer to find a race. There were a lot of races in El Paso and Las Cruces. I narrowed it down to an autism awareness 5K on May 1, but I might switch that out for an earlier run.
Atkinson then began to explain to me everything from how my training should work to proper running technique to what kind of shoes to wear. He is a wealth of information on running.
“This is my life,” Atkinson said as he overwhelmed me again.
Well, I want fitness to be a part of my life too, so I am going to do this. Three months from now, I am going to run a 5K race.
Where do I start?
Atkinson had some recommendations for people like me coming off a period of inactivity.
“If you look at a seven-day week, you would start off three days a week of very easy aerobic running where the heart rate is between 100 and 120 beats per minute,” he said. “You can measure that by stopping after 10 minutes of running and checking it by the finger method. Count it for 15 seconds and multiply by four.
“If they can, to increase the aerobic capacity, (beginners should) add some cross training. Whether it is on the indoor stationary bike or eliptical trainer. Because you are able to increase that aerobic capacity without pounding on the legs. It reduces injury.”
Injury is the biggest thing that will derail training, and it is a big risk for people just starting out. Tendonitis, planter fascitis and a lot of other problems can come from overexerting yourself.
Atkinson said to warmup properly doing some dynamic stretches. This will get your heart rate up before you run and help loosen your muscles.
It was also recommended by Atkinson to focus on the time spent running and not the distance. For me, he said to run for one minute and walk the next five times, then run two minutes and walk two, then for sets of run one walk one. This would give me a half hour run where I could keep my technique up.
Technique is important. Atkinson said to keep your head up, avoid swinging your arms across your body (everything should be straight forward and backward) and don’t take such a long stride that you hit your heel first when you take a step.
“Any time there is a heel strike, that drops your hips and stops your momentum,” Atkinson said.
The wear pattern on the bottom of your shoe will tell you if you have too much heel strike. It can also tell you what kind of running shoe you need. If your shoe wears out on the inside, you may need a stability shoe. Good shoes can help with the over-use injuries and make you run more comfortable.
I tried to get into running once before and got some pretty nice shoes. I hope they aren’t too worn out. They have made just walking around better.
After all that, Atkinson preached consistency. He recommended setting small goals that will help me achieve my large goal of a 25 minute 5K by the end of April.
He also said to set realistic goals. He used the acronym S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based).
So I have my goal. I have some sneakers. I am going to try to run in the morning (Atkinson recommended that, even though I am not a morning person). And I have a place to run, Alamogordo. Jason did recommend running on grass because it is softer than the road and easier on your body.
I start Monday. I’ll have a long way to go, espeicially I’ve been eating Hostess Donettes (270 calories per four doughnuts, I had like 15) the whole time I have been writing all of this.
You can follow my progress at, and I will be writing a follow-up column with Atkinson’s help as I progress.

Contact Derek Stell at