Here's the skinny: I've been near 300 lbs. for years and need to lose weight. I'm married to a wonderful lady, and we have a family. One of our boys often asks if I'll run with him. I've always had to tell him, "No." In August of '09, my wife learned about a couch-to-5k running program, and I agreed to try it with her. This blog chronicles our progress on that training program. I hope I'll soon be able to surprise my son by telling him, "Yes, I'll go running with you!"

Friday, October 9, 2009

Day 40 (week 6) - Two-thirds through!

Today was the final workout day of Week 6. I have mixed feelings about having postponed our run. I certainly did not want to do it this morning, but realized that I like the relative solitude of running the trail in the early morning hours. Also, I think that coming off a night's rest seems to leave me more prepared than trying to run after a full day at work, like I did today. That said, it was nice, however, that my muscles were already a bit more limber and warmed up from being active during the day. I guess there are benefits and drawbacks to running at any time of the day.

For today, at least, it was really nice to be running during the warmest part of the day. Forty-nine degrees may not seem warm to you, but it sure beat 25°F this morning. Since most of our trail lies on an east-west trail, I swapped my fleece had for a ball cap and grabbed my sunglasses. I figured it would be bright, with the sun low in the southwestern sky.

After noting how miserable my first set was on Wednesday, another runner told me that the first 10 or so minutes of any run may feel like that. Armed with that knowledge, I set out to begin today's run.

The pain in my knee had decreased to a dull ache, but I decided to wrap it anyway. I wraped it and pulled the brace on, just as I did on Wednesday. I did not stretch as much today, in part because I had already been up and was active, but also because I knew a friend was coming in from out of town and I felt hurried to get this workout done. The walk was okay. As we had driven over, I had noticed numerous people using the trail. I just hoped that none of our kids' classmates (or their parents) would see us and potentially expose our secret plan. The podcast announced the run--the only run of this day--and we began. We were to run for 25 minutes. I know we did 20 last Friday, but 25 just seemed like such a long time. From the onset, it was pretty clear to me that I would be running the full length of our segment of trail, from the point where we started walking, to the end at the park in town, and then back to where the car was parked--all without stopping or walking. That would be a big change. I've grown used to spots along the trail where we had transitioned during our intervals. Today, however, there would be no stopping.

That's not to say there would be no change of pace. I started out strong, but was sure to hold back a bit, so I would have energy to get me through to the end. Mrs. F began to pull ahead after the first minute or so, and she kept that lead the entire time, even circling back a couple of times to run along and past me again before moving on ahead again. That was fine. She had to run this at her pace, and I needed to run it at mine. Earlier, I felt a little discouraged by the thought--it even crossed my mind this evening--but I reminded myself that Marie is running 110 lbs lighter than am I, and that likely accounts for our difference in pacing.

The first portion was really tough. The same nagging self-doubts came to mind, and I found myself wanting to quit. "No one would blame you," the tried to tell me, "they'll know that you tried!" I really had to fight so as not to give in today. On the way out, we came up behind two walkers. I found myself wanting to slow to a walk, so as not to pass them. I'm not sure if it was embrassment about myself--someone of my size daring to run--or if it was that I did not want to embarass them by passing them. Mrs. F was ahead and went around with a smile and a wave. The walkers waved back. I, too, went around. Was it really possible that I was actually running fast enough that I had to pass someone? I guess so.

Before we got to the 10 minute mark, we had reached the end of the trail and we turned around. Mrs. F had already reached the end and had turned toward me, so when she got to where I was, she turned again and finished that segment with me before we both turned and she was off again. Confusing? Perhaps for the reader. For me, it was nice--a reminder that, though we could not run at the same speed, she was in this with me. In the first few moments of the return run, we passed by the walkers again, this time coming at them head-on. I can't be sure if it was a trick of my eyes, but it seemed as if the one lady smiled as we passed--almost as if she was glad to see us out there and working at it.

Mrs. F pulled further ahead on this stretch. By the time the half-way point was announced, she was well ahead. Soon, she was so far ahead that I could not see her, and it stayed that way until about five minutes from the end of the run. My pace had become dreadfully slow at some points. I almost slowed to walking, too, but kept pushing on. I swung my arms more deliberately and tried to pick up my feet more with each step. Suddenly, I might get 20m of a good boost, only to slow back down again. Another announcement told me that we had only about six minutes left. I wondered if Mrs. F had made it to the road and whether or not she crossed it.

Five minutes: now my body was ready to stop completely. I had to force myself just to continue slogging on. I was past the point where we started running now, so I knew the end of the trail was coming soon.

Approximately four minutes: I was relieved to see Mrs. F running towards me. She seemed to be moving at the same pace at which she started, and that seemed amazing to me. Knowing I would run to the end of the trail if I kept on ahead, I turned and ran back the other way as she caught up to me. Soon she was ahead again, but this time she pulled ahead much faster. When she reached the point whereabout we started our run originally, I called for her to turn again, and she reversed and headed toward me. As she neared, I turned as well.

A few more paces down the trail, and the final minute was announced. I pushed as hard as I could, but she still gained on me and overcame me. I grunted aloud as I strained to finish that final minute strong. I pushed. My body protested. I pushed some more. Finally, I heard the words I so wanted to hear, announcing that the run was over. I cried out, "Yes!" as I ran further on with my arms in the air. I allowed myslef to slow to a walk and I staggered from side to side. I took some deep breaths and slowed some more. I had done it--we had done it. We completed 25 minutes of running!

Including our warm-up walk, I covered about two miles during the 30 minute session. Mrs. F, who doubled back a few times, likely completed two and a half miles. While nowhere near stellar performances, they were stellar to us, and we both were pleased with the outcome. The main point is that we ran for 25 minutes without stopping or walking. I guess that's a really good thing, too, since that's what's on the schedule for all of next week!

Today's session also marks our completion of two-thirds of the Couch to 5k program. I could not have imagined that I would ever make it this far. This has been an amazing journey. Thanks for taking it with me!

Listening to the podcast announcement for the other days' runs, I noticed I was feeling a bit better at the 10 minute mark. It's not that I was any less tired--in fact, my legs were already feeling somewhat fatigued--but I did not have the despairing desire to quit that beset me at the onset. There was something about this that felt good--getting past the first ten minutes, and having that bit of confidence well up that said, "I can finish this." It seemed to be the same good feeling I had experienced on other days, but it was not as strong today.

As we reached the half-way point, I was even more tired, and I had to concentrate a bit more on my breathing. My pace slowed greatly.


  1. Way to go! I'm going later this morning. Waiting for the SNOW to melt :-)
    Can you believe that we are done with runs with walking intervals? It's all running from here on out!

  2. You're excited by that ("all running from here on out")? I guess I'm still getting there... lol

  3. The exclamation point wasn't really because of excitement. I think it was more- "I can't believe it! I not a runner. Why is there no more walking?"


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