Monday, June 7, 2010

A weekend in Wisconsin

It had all the markings of a huge weight gain weekend. We flew in to see my brother-in-law graduate high school (go Alex!), and for Rachelle to drive down to Florida and help her family move in to their new home. Of course during the weekend, I'd have to navigate a graduation party, family plans for dinner and desert out on multiple days, and the swan song for the family Tabat in their Wisconsin abode. 

Unlike the rest of the union, Wisconsin is a state that has only 3 food groups: Meat, Dairy, and Beer. This I am sure sounds offensive and stereotypical, but trust me I've spent enough time there over the past few years to confirm these findings. The meat food group is mostly what you'd expect, except that it's about 80% comprised of the sausage food group. The dairy group includes milk, but mostly centers around cheese and it's misshapen relative, the cheese curd. Finally, there's the beer group which one imagines to be a diverse group, but is made mostly of Millers and Lienie's. 

As you can see, with these wide and sundry food choices, Wisconsin is usually trouble for me as I just adore most anything from those 3 food groups (though I'm only so-so on sausage). Thankfully, this was no ordinary weekend. While Friday didn't go as planned and we wound up eating pizza at 10 PM thanks to a delayed flight, Saturday was quite a day. 

In a weekend of big events, my favorite was the Stop the cycle of CVS (cyclic vomiting syndrome) 5k we participated in as a family. It was a first for us to all compete together, and we had a blast. For Rach's father, brother, and sister it was a first ever race. For her mom, it was just her second, and her first in the new running shoes we all chipped in for as a mothers day gift. The race was held along a river in Frame Park of Waukesha, Wisconsin. The course was mostly flat and was two loops around the the section of the river encompassed by the park.

I've run several races along rivers in the past, and I've learned they're mostly the exact opposite of what you'd think they'd be. Instead of being breezy and cool from the proximity of the water, they've all tended to be humid and oppressive, which sort of takes the charm away from running near the water. Between the travel and the food the night before, and the heat and humidity; the race conditions were not conducive to running at my very best. 

Which I guess is why I put up only my 3rd best race ever. 

The sun was hot, I was sweaty and tired, but all the running training is starting to pay off. I was able to run about 75-80% of the race, and took only occasional walking breaks. I did the full first half mile before stopping, and even with a minute or so of walking I still ended the first mile at 12:30 on the dot. I slowed from there, and had to walk more as the race went on, but I am thrilled with my effort. Especially because I think both of my previous races where I'd been faster were shorter than advertised.

My official time for the event was 40:11. My GPS said 41:16 but I started it before I crossed the line and stopped after I'd finished. I'm still not convinced that thing works 100% as advertised as it had me doing 3.18 miles instead of 3.11. In addition to my success, Rachelle's dad nearly did a sub 30 min 5k on his first run, and Rachelle's mom was only a few minutes behind him. Rach's brother and sister did the walk portion so their times weren't recorded, but they were doing pretty well when I passed them on my 2nd loop of the course.

Our big winner was of course Rach who not only got 3rd for her age group but she finished 6th overall among women. She was thrilled, and was more than happy to wear her medal into the custard stand follow the race where I got lunch and everyone else had desert. Desert is big in Wisconsin, but especially the Tabats. Looking at the treats on the menu before you look at the meal runs in their family. And yet they're all in good shape. Must be all that sausage keeping them healthy.

The rest of the weekend is a blur of eating and drinking, but I managed to work up a sweat a fw more times along the way. At the graduation party, a basketball game broke out. While I managed to fail miserably from outside of 5 feet, I ran enough that I had to change my clothes before we hit the bar. At the bar, I admit to having 2 Bud Light Golden Wheat, but I also worked up a sweat dancing with my lovely wife and the rest of the gals. 

This morning we finished loading the moving truck before the graduation party, and I discovered my true value to my in-laws: manual labor. Being the biggest guy, I was the primary lifter of all things heavy and awkward. And again, when we were done I'd worked up quite a sweat. I don't do a lot of lifting as cross training, but I can certainly see the benefits. 

As I write this safe and sound back in Boston, it occurs to me that gaining 2 very temporary pounds isn't something to get worked up over. I spent a great weekend with part of my family and helped them head on to the next phase of their life; with my in-laws now having no children in the nest. A nest that has conveniently moved to Florida now that it's empty. 

Coincidence? I think not.


- 315 this morning. Almost exactly what I expected.

- Rach is gone until Sunday night and without a goal, who knows what I'd wind up eating or how much I'd wind up not working out. So, I'm setting a big goal for a weeks time: 310 pounds.

- The interview with Tyler Wright seems to have been well received. Traffic was way up, and I got some nice comments from folks who read it. I hope you'll consider donating to Team Tyler. I have and I can't wait to see how the rest of his training and the race itself goes.


  1. I am hooked on your blog! You remind me of my older brother. You really should consider adding some weight lifting/strength stuff to your already packed working out schedule- muscle burns more calories than fat so even while you are "resting' your metabolism is working at a higher rate.

  2. Congrats on the solid finish of your race! What a good feeling to know your training is showing benefits! Keep up the good work! Stay on course this week, you can do it. Make some mini food and exercise goals to help you make your weight-loss goal for the week, and make them soon so you don't have any excuses.

  3. Anonymous #1 - Thanks for the kind words! Rachelle has lifting and core work on the schedule but I've been skipping that out of the insane fear that I would somehow build enough muscle to stop losing weight. I'd been thinking about starting them though, and your post is pushing me over the edge on that. Thanks again for reading!

    Anonymous #2 - Thanks. My mini food goals are to stay within my points, and do it with healthy foods. My exercise goals are laid out in this weeks part of the plan Rach has worked out. I think I'm going to upload the plan for folks to see. I don't follow it exactly; by that I mean I often switch the days I'm doing things so that I don't do the same things back to back too often.

    Barb - Thanks, and I know what you mean. I considered McDonalds for dinner tonight. Didn't but almost. And the weather here today was great!

  4. Great Job Ben! I've been away from writing and reading the blogs for a while, got some catching up to do.