Tag Archives: running

Why I Hate Running (Yet Do It Anyway)


I fucking hate running.

Some people love running and happily devote hordes of time to it. These crazy bastards on endorphin highs can’t wait to get out on roads and trails to chase their personal bests and FEEL THE BURN. Honestly, good for them. I’m happy for them (even though their speed and relentless enthusiasm makes me stabby at times).

But not me. I’m a big guy, always have been. Even when I lose a bunch of weight I’m still big. Having run four half marathons in my life, I’m prepared to stand out like a sore thumb in a crowd of waifish and highly athletic stick figures that invariably populate these races. Basically, in a sea of gazelles I’m a lumbering water buffalo.

The picture at the top of this post was taken near the halfway mark (about 6.2 miles in), and the photographer managed to capture my facial expression at the EXACT moment I realized I still had nearly 7 more miles to go before finishing. I was tired, sore, my foot hurt, and at the risk of telling you way more than you want to know, the inside of my thighs looked like something out of a B horror movie.

So the million dollar question becomes, why run 13.1 miles if I hate running.

There are a few reasons. First of all, I enjoy doing things I’m not expected to do. Look at me. I’m 5’10”, 255 lbs. Even the kid who handed me my bib number assumed I was picking it up for a friend, and stuttered his way to an embarrassed apology when I said I was running. But I also do it specifically because it’s hard and doesn’t come naturally to me. The mind fuck and head games involved in distance running simultaneously intimidates and intrigues me, and there’s something to be said for overcoming self-imposed limitations and proving yourself.

And yeah, I also do it because I hate going to the gym even more than running, and if I didn’t run I’d weigh 400 lbs. My desk job is very sedentary, my eating habits are mostly terrible, and I’m not one to join CrossFit or some other similar group, so running is really the only healthy thing I do.

But mainly, I do it because Will tells all his friends his daddy runs half marathons.

Is that vain? Yeah, probably. But it’s also the truth. He’s 7 so right now he thinks 13.1 miles is roughly the distance to the moon and back. His eyes go wide when I show him the courses I run, and he thinks it’s the most amazing thing ever. I heard him talking to some friends in school when I was volunteering in his class, telling them his dad runs races and goes really far.

And it made me feel good. I was proud that he was proud of his old man. That means everything to me, and it’s enough to propel my fat ass off the couch and onto the course for a distance I don’t really like driving, nevermind running.

I need my kids to know they have a shot at doing and becoming anything. If they don’t believe that as they grow up, they’ll lose confidence, determination, and hope. And I feel personally showing them it’s possible to reach a pie in the sky goal goes a long way toward bolstering their optimism.

But almost the entire back half of my most recent half-marathon was uphill, and let me tell you, I wanted to quit so badly. I almost did a few times. Right around Mile 8, I realized I was passing a friend’s house. And they were home, so they could’ve given me a ride. I even crossed the street fully prepared to run up to their front door, ask for a Gatorade, and ride back to the starting line in the air-conditioned car.

However, they were out on their porch and they saw me. Mary waved excitedly and Jim shouted his encouragement too. And, much to my dismay at the time, I was guilted into continuing. It’s a good thing, too. Otherwise I never would’ve had this moment at the finish line.

MJ caught the moment I crossed the finish line on video with Will. I won’t lie, it’s a little dusty in here when I watch it.

Posted by The Daddy Files on Sunday, June 14, 2015

Even the best dads only get to feel like true superheroes for a few fleeting moments in life, and running gave me my cape — if only for a few minutes. But it was enough to make all the hills over the course of 13.1 grueling miles completely worth it.

As an added bonus, Will wants to start running with me. We’re going to start with a 5k and go from there. So now I have another reason to keep running — making sure he doesn’t beat me in a race for as long as humanly possible.

And to create more moments like this one.


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Flatout Helps Me Get In Shape

Three months ago I weighed nearly 275 lbs, which is near the heaviest I’ve ever been. I decided two things then and there. First, I signed up┬áto run a half marathon this summer. Second, it was time to start eating better.

I began running immediately and although it was (and still is) slow going, my half marathon is this weekend and I think I’m at least to the point where I can finish one. No small feat for someone who was completely out of shape and without training in March. But as anyone trying to lose weight knows all too well, exercise will only take you so far. The rest of it — and my biggest struggle — is in healthy eating.

You see, I’m obsessed with carbs.

I will eat an entire box of pasta in one sitting. Kraft mac & cheese? Yes please! And bread? Well don’t get me started on bread. If I could eat bread all day every day exclusively, I would. Unfortunately, that kind of exorbitant carb intake does nothing to help with weight loss.

So how does a carb fanatic all but give up bread? The answer is Flatout.

Simply put, whenever I wanted a sandwich I would use Flatout wraps instead. Specifically, I used the Flatout Hungry Girl Foldits because they have fewer carbs, calories, and yet still retain plenty of protein and — most importantly — taste.

I can’t stress how important that last one is to me, because as much as I want to lose weight, I won’t sacrifice taste. Thankfully, with Flatout, I don’t have to worry about that because everything from the traditional white Foldits to the whole wheat with flax tastes really, really good.

Now prior experiments with Flatout have already proven they’re a great, low carb and low calorie substitute for burger buns and pizza dough, so that was a no-brainer. This time around, I asked my wife to come up with things I don’t usually eat or haven’t tried, that I could rely on as I continue to try and lose weight. At first she didn’t want to do it because I’m so picky, but eventually she agreed to it. And I’m glad she did because look what she concocted.


First of all, I’m 35 years old and I’ve never tried avocado. I know, I’m sad. But now that I have, I’m never going back.

MJ took a Flatout Hungry Girl whole wheat Foldit and lined it with hummus. Then she put some grilled chicken topped with avocado, along with some lettuce. The balsamic glaze drizzled on top was the perfect kicker and I ended up absolutely loving this, which means I just added a healthy and delicious lunch meal to my healthy eating arsenal.


This one I was truly shocked by, mainly because I didn’t think I liked tomatoes.

This is so simple and so delicious, I had all three of these when MJ made them (even though I swore I’d hate them and she wasted her time). All it is is taking some Flatout Foldit Classic White sliders and jazzing them up a bit. She put a thin layer of basil pesto on first, then a slice of beefsteak tomato, followed by a hefty slice of mozzarella. Boom. That’s it.

But despite the simplicity of the recipe, this was a game-changer for me. I love them and they’re tasty as hell. So instead of me having a fatty chicken salad sandwich with white bread, now I have a much healthier (and just as delicious) option that’s completely simple to make.

As you all know (or should know, dammit!), June means Father’s Day. But it also doubles as Men’s Health Month, which means trimming down on the fat content, carbs, and upping your fiber is advisable. And the thing you might not realize (because I sure didn’t) is that it’s relatively easy to do.

Instead of a breakfast sandwich from a fast food place, put some eggs, bacon, and peppers into a Flatout Foldit and you’ve got an early morning kick starter. Lunch between conference calls? Wrap that turkey or ham up in a Flatout Foldit on the go. And when you get home for dinner, try putting that burger in a Foldit as well. Same great taste, but you’re giving your body a break.

To get you started, here’s a coupon from the good folks at Flatout to save money while you’re saving calories and carbs.

And remember, the best Father’s Day present is the gift of longevity, so eat right and do your part to make sure you stick around to be with your family as long as possible.

***I was compensated for this post but, as always, all opinions are 100% my own.

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Running for My Marriage

Photo by Christine Hochkeppel
Photo by Christine Hochkeppel

Getting through 13.1 miles is a challenge in and of itself. Getting through 13.1 miles in a February race on Cape Cod complete with soaking and torrential rains, wind gusts topping 25 MPH, and temps below 40 degrees? A whole different ballgame.

Some people use music to pass the time and keep them invigorated. That doesn’t work so well for me as I’ve found my times suffer and I get even more bored. Others use newfangled GPS technology to upload the course map and track every second of their run so they know exactly how far they’ve run and in what time. I used to do this, but found if I was getting behind I’d get discouraged and then say “screw it.” So that was out too.

Considering the horrendous weather conditions, I took a different path. I had no iPod. I had no cell phone playing music or virtual trainer telling me how far I’ve run every few minutes. I knew with all the rain making things miserable, I had to think of something truly meaningful to keep my legs pumping. So I did.

I put it in my head that if I didn’t finish this race, my marriage wouldn’t last.

MJ and I have been stressed to the max lately. This pregnancy has been far from smooth and it seems we’re constantly sweating test result after test result. That kind of unrelenting stress takes a toll on even the best marriages, and ours has been no exception. And after it culminated in a blow-up on Friday night, suddenly the race became more important than ever. With more pressure than ever.

You might be thinking this is silly. I don’t blame you. I guess in a way it is. After all, even if I won the damn race (I didn’t…I really didn’t) that wouldn’t suddenly fix everything. But somewhere between Mile 4 and 5 we began the stretch of the race along the ocean. The winds began whipping into a frenzy, the temperature fell, and the rain began beating down relentlessly. The coastal roads were partially flooded which means huge puddles were unavoidable, and slightly wet feet became absolutely doused with water. From that point on it was like running in a puddle, with my shoes making that suction-ey, squishy sound as water leaks out with every step.

But worse than that was my socks. When you get to the point you can wring water out of them, socks tend to bunch up as you move. The long and short of it is I felt like I was running on knots of rope, which caused half-dollar sized blisters on both feet. Every step was painful. Every. Single. One.

And I still had more than half the race left.

All I could think about was quitting. I didn’t want to be out there anymore. I was being tossed around like a rag doll by the wind, I was miserable, cold and tired. Hell, a shit ton of people didn’t even come out to run and a bunch more quit mid-race, so no one would blame me for giving up in tough conditions. It’s no big deal. It’s just a race. It’s…

A perfect metaphor for my marriage.

MJ has had to go through so much the last few years. And she’s still going through it. Don’t get me wrong, we both are. But in the end, she has to physically endure the miscarriages, the losses, and the multiple D&C procedures. Compared to that hell on Earth, if I couldn’t finish a race with some wind, rain and cold then what does that say about me? What does it say about my devotion?

After all, I signed up for the race. I knew it was being held in New England in February and that I’d have to weather certain challenges. If I wasn’t up for those difficulties, I shouldn’t have vowed to do it. But I did sign up for it because I do want it. Because I know that just past all the hardships is a payoff that’s wonderful beyond measure. And the suffering and pain is an endurance test — and a tough one at that — but the juice is worth the squeeze. If you can hack it.

I didn’t get there quickly. In fact, I placed 2,187th out of 2,368 runners. And it was a full 20 minutes slower than my first half marathon last June. But none of that mattered when I saw MJ and Will at the finish line. Because I did finish. I finished when I was hurt, when Nature and everything else was working against me, and when I didn’t think I had anything left. I finished because I said I would, and sometimes perseverance and promises are more important than anything else.

But most of all, I finished for her. Because she’s my life and despite all the fucked up bullshit, we’ll always go to the mat for each other. All the way to the finish line.

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Marital Exercises in Futility

They say the key to a happy, healthy marriage is finding common ground, finding mutually enjoyable activities and enjoying time spent with one another.

Apparently “they” haven’t spent much time around me and MJ.

We are both very proud, very stubborn people. We also have zero common interests outside of our family and friends. Seriously, we’re opposites in almost every way. She likes the beach, I like the mountains. She craves summer, I love the snow. I’m a people person who thrives in groups, she’s an introvert who gets anxious at parties.

In fact, I can count our attempts to do things together on one hand, and none of them ended well:

  • Bowling: When we were dating we decided to go bowling one night. Going into the last frame I was losing by a pin. And since I’m just a liiiiiiittle bit competitive, I did what any well-adjusted, red-blooded, competitive male would do in that situation — I threw a goddamn fit and kicked the ball return apparatus, causing such a scene that we had to leave without finishing the game. So technically, I didn’t lose.
  • Mini-Golf: Different sport, same result as bowling.
  • Super Mario Brothers for the Wii: A new version of a classic game we both love means there’s no way things can go wrong, right? Nope. The simultaneous play feature meant we affected each other’s character. Which is to say MJ kept jumping on my fucking head and knocking me off cliffs to my imminent death. It didn’t take more than 30 minutes before we were Googling divorce attorneys. You can read about that one in more detail here.
And that’s it. That’s the list. No joke.
Now as most of you know, after more than six months of running my ass off, my weight loss and exercise efforts have sufficiently guilted MJ into doing the same. The only problem is she hates running. I mean, HATES it! But to her credit, she’s been hitting the streets and the treadmill fairly religiously for the last few weeks.

But when I looked over her times and distances recently, I noticed her times have plateaued. In some cases she even got slower. I asked her how much she was running versus walking, and she got that pursed-lipped look on her face which translates to “I’m not gonna say because you’ll just give me shit for it.” Which I did. But instead of giving her advice and preaching at her, I suddenly had an idea.

Why not run together?

On the surface it certainly seems like a win-win. We spend time together, we exercise together, we get healthier together. MJ agreed to it, I was pumped and before we knew it we were hitting the road. And then the shit hit the fan.

It started out well enough. The weather was fairly cool and we started running at a reasonable pace for MJ. The two of us decked out in our running gear, living the yuppie suburban dream side by side one Asics-clad step at a time. The plan was to get MJ used to staggered workouts which will increase the amount of time she runs and keeps walking to a minimum. I mapped out a 3.5-mile course and planned the first run for 5 minutes, thinking that was a more than reasonable time.

And that’s when I realized MJ and I have very different ideas about “reasonable.”

She made it through the first 5 minutes, but did not appreciate my “30-second kick” rule, in which I sprint the final 30 seconds of each run phase. When we slowed to a walk I told her how proud I was of her. But instead of a high-five, I got the stink-eye and a fairly unappreciative and terse “thanks.” Thirty seconds before the 2.5-minute walking period was up, I gave her notice to start running again. And judging by the severely bitchy look on her face, that was not what she was used to.

“Are you fucking serious right now?” she said.

I was taken aback, but determined to stay positive. And, I can’t lie, I liked knowing I was under her skin a little.

“C’mon baby, this is great. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, I’m exercising with the woman I love — let’s do this shit hon! Let’s kick it up a –“

“I hate you right now. I hate everything about you.”

That was all in the first 10 minutes. The final 10 minutes were — well, considerably more agitated.

“Alright baby, last half mile. We’re gonna do a 4-minute stretch and keep a good pace so we can finish strong. You ready?”

“No I’m not ready. We’re walking.”

“We’re not walking. You’re doing great. You’re KILLING your old time right now. So if we push even a little bit harder we can really destroy your time.”

“I want to destroy you. I hate your face.”

“If you’d shut your mouth and stop your bitching you’d be able to save your breath. Now let’s GO!”

“You’ve taken your last breath. Because I’m gonna kill you. Because I fucking hate everything about you.”

“You’re so hot when you’re pissy. Now run wussbag, because now we’re doing a 45-second sprint!”

“I’m gonna rip your dick off while you sleep.”

Yup. You read that right. By the end of our run she was threatening to Bobbit-ize me. I, of course, thought it was all foreplay. I mean c’mon — endorphin rush from the exercise, gettin’ sweaty together. That should end in sex every. single. time. Without question.

However, my wife has the uncanny ability to only process one single emotion at a time. So while I pick fights just to make up, MJ has absolutely zero understanding of that notion. Seriously. If she’s mad, she’s mad. There’s no room for any other emotion. Which means while her threat of castration morphed into some kind of twisted sexual advance in my mind, all she was thinking about was truly robbing me of my manhood.

Needless to say the slap on her ass followed by me running like hell away from her down the street towards the finish line did nothing to further my chances of sex in 2012. And as you can see from the picture above, not even my pancake and bacon mea culpa could satisfy her.

But on the flip side, she knocked about 8 minutes off her time!

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The FatSlap Conclusion & A Half Marathon

I don’t usually toot my own horn, so this feels a little odd and foreign to me. Like Lebron James winning a championship. But we have some loose ends to tie up around these parts and while I don’t say it often — I’m proud of myself dammit.

I know I’m guilty of letting the FatSlap updates slide around here, but it’s not because I abandoned it. In fact, I won the last two rounds! I don’t have the final pictures of Alex and Dave because those lazy bastards haven’t gotten them to me yet, so I’ll give you my final stats. Or better yet, they say a picture’s worth a thousand words. So here you go:

Before: 281 lbs After: 224 lbs

















Total Weight Loss: 57 lbs!
















When the dust settled, I lost a total of 57 lbs. From 281 lbs on Jan. 1 to 224 lbs now. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not there yet because I still have 25 lbs to go — but I’m pretty proud of myself. I made a commitment to tracking everything I ate, eating less, eating smart, and exercising. I ran in the freezing cold, snow and through the predawn blackness. I ran on the treadmill, basically lived on the elliptical machine, and even lifted a few weights. I pushed through injuries, did a lot of research, surrounded myself with people in a similar position and fed off the enthusiasm and support from everyone — especially MJ and Will.

But most of all I ran.

Perhaps the best thing about this experience was falling in love with running again. I did cross-country in high school and loved it, even getting down to a 5:55 mile at one point. Not nearly the fastest time, but I was always built for comfort and not speed. What I lacked in quickness I made up for in endurance. Which is why I nearly quit in January when I couldn’t even run a half-mile without keeling over and nearly passing out.

But I stubbornly kept at it. Each time I ran a little farther and a little faster. One mile, two miles and finally up to a 5k distance. It was slow and ugly, but that’s kinda my thing. And by March a funny thing happened — I stopped dreading morning runs. Instead, I began looking forward to them. Needing them even. You could almost say I craved them. And as my distances began creeping up even higher, a very strange and mystifying thought occurred to me.

“Could I possibly run a half marathon?”

Running 13.1 miles all at once seemed crazy. It might as well have been the moon. It was MJ who told me I could do it. Insisted I could do it. And then demanded I do it. If not for her unwavering confidence in me, I’m not sure I would’ve signed up for the Old Sandwich Road Race in Plymouth. But I did. Less than 5 months removed from weighing a whopping 281 lbs and not being able to drag my fat ass up the stairs, I ran the race and hoped for a best-case scenario time of 2 hours and 20 minutes.

I ran it in 2:14:13 instead.

I finished in 176th place. Usually I’d scoff at receiving a medal for finishing 176 out of 220 and want to punch anyone who was bragging about it. But not this time. This time I’m just immensely proud of myself for setting a goal and following through.

It is not easy to run a half marathon — especially for a fat guy with shin splints and bad knees. But I did it.

I did it for MJ because she picked up so much extra slack during the last five months while I went to the gym and for long runs. Even though she would NEVER admit that I was so fat she became less physically attracted to me, I know that’s the truth of the matter. She could barely get her arms around me before, and now — well, let’s just say this weight loss has been good in more ways than one!

I did this for my son. I didn’t want Will to have a fat dad who can’t do anything physical. It’s not fair to him that I got out of breath playing simple games and couldn’t chase him around the yard for more than a few minutes at a time without having a heart attack. As an added bonus, Will is paying attention to what he eats and asking if certain foods are healthy. He also recently asked me if he could run with me when he gets older. I nearly broke down in tears I was so happy to hear that from him.

But most of all, I did this for me.

I joked a lot about being the funny fat guy, but I always hated it. I hated being fat. I hated being unhealthy and grotesque. They say fat is beautiful and we should all just be ourselves — screw that. I didn’t want to be fat anymore because it’s not a healthy situation, so I did something about it.

And now I just feel…better. In every respect. I feel full of energy because I’m exercising and eating right. But more importantly, I feel confident for the first time in years. I know I’m still a big guy and I have more work to do, but I don’t mind looking in the mirror these days. And I can fit into all my own clothes — clothes that don’t involve XXL on the tag anymore. Shirts that button around my neck. Pants that actually close around my waist. It’s nice to wear garments that don’t double as Xerox copy machine covers.

I’m not giving out advice because who the fuck am I? All I’ll say is it’s never too late to get started and have success. You just have to really, truly want it and be willing to sacrifice to get it. But let me tell you, when you work for months and get to literally cross the finish line and complete a goal you thought was impossible — it’s all worth it.

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