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!"

Monday, August 31, 2009

Day 1 (Begin Week 1)

The plan is set up so you train three days a week. We chose Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This was the first day. I'm going to number each day, because the days in between are just as important (for resting and for noting how we feel).

My wife and I woke up just after 5 AM. We've decided to run in the morning. She's not a morning person, but we both are exhausted at the end of the day. I've also wanted to get up earlier to get an earlier start at work (to get off earlier), so this was a way to kill two birds with one stone.

I wasn't quite sure I'd even be able to do the full first day routine. I mean, I'm a big guy, I've had shin splint problems before, and I know that jogging/running can be hard on the knees. Let's face it--I'm 300 lbs. I feared those problems would beset me right away.

While picking up shoes yesterday, I picked up a pair of loose shorts. I knew it would be cold in the morning, but figured I would be warm running. That was the case. It was about 45°F when we got up. I wore boxer briefs (over the years I found they help prevent chafing), my new shorts, a long-sleeve athletic shirt, a fleece vest, and a stocking cap. The cap proved useful during our warm-up walk, but I had to take it off soon thereafter.

We ran on a trail near our home (where our early risers would not see us). We drove to the trail, so I carried my wallet, keys, and a cell phone, and I wore a watch. I insisted on the cell phone in case things went badly and my wife needed to call 9-1-1. She was not pleased when I explained why we were taking the phone. My wife took a water bottle. I didn't think to bring one.

Here was the first day routine. Basically, warm up for five minutes and then alternate between jogging and walking for 20 minutes:
  • 5 minute brisk walk (warm-up)
Then, this pattern repeated 8 times:
  • 60 seconds jogging/running
  • 90 seconds walking
So, at the end of the warm-up walk, we immediately started jogging for 60 seconds, reverted to walking, switched back to running, etc. Since each set of walking and running covered two and a half minutes (I did the math before we left), we did four sets outbound on the trail, and four sets returning toward our car. We had handled our warm-up walk the same way: 2.5 minutes out and 2.5 minutes back. During the warmup, I did need to stop to adjust my left shoe twice. It felt a little snug across the top from the laces.

The first bit of running was okay. I used to run to catch the bus from time to time when we lived in the city, so I knew I could sprint short distances. I watched the clock and announced when it was time to switch back to walking. I announced the change to running about 10-15 seconds early, to get ready. The second bit was okay, too, which surprised me. I took off my hat, because I was feeling warm, but my hands were cold. I have some light gloves I should bring with next time.

I wasn't quite recovered by the time we started the third, so I had to try harder to keep running. I found myself checking my watch and hoping to see us close to the next change, only to find the first half just slipping by. I felt the phone, keys, and wallet bouncing in my vest pockets. I didn't like that at all.

At the transition to walking, I thought about asking Mrs. FatManRunning if we should cut it short. Surely the program was written for normal couch potatoes, not obese men like me. She wasn't complaining, so I kept my mouth shut (about the running). I had to focus on catching my breath.

The fourth one was the beginning of a bit of misery. My heart was pounding and I was just beat. I could taste the lactic acid building in the back of my throat. I shortened my stride, and Mrs. FatManRunning pulled a bit ahead. She did that for the rest of our sets today. With this run finished, we turned around and started walking back (we should have walked the 90 seconds before turning around, but it turned out okay).

The fifth and sixth were more of the same, except that I was now sweating profusely. When jogging, the breeze evaporated the sweat and made me cold. When walking, my upper back was almost too hot. My hands were very cold, so I put them in the vest pockets. My walking now was labored, too.

The seventh run and walk were just as hard. Mrs. FatManRunning and I joked about those people who claimed a "runner's high". I said I need a t-shirt that says "I hate endorphins." At least we still had our sense of humor.

We ran and walked our last set, but I'm guessing our "run" would have looked pretty pitiful to any passers-by. We ended right near the lot where we parked--something for which I was thankful. When we got into the car, I just sat there, taking in big, labored breaths. I reclined the seat a bit. Mrs. FatManRunning shared her water with me. The lactic acid taste was strong. I rinsed my mouth and spit, took a mouthful, then gagged, and had spit it out. I felt a wave of nausea. I waited about a minute and took a small drink. Then I reclined the seat a bit and caught my breath.

We were both beat, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be (I had expected joint pain, shin splints, or an ambulance). We drove home, stashed our gear, and I showered for work. The bike ride in was something else--my muscles protested vociferously.

Although I was beat, it felt good to realize that I did it. I completed the first day. I'm so glad I don't need to try this again tomorrow.


  1. i'm ready to watch this!!! i think you can do it!!!... keep on keepin on.

    ps. thanks for stopping by my blog. i totally agree with you, when i lived in nyc i had to take what i could carry, so you just shop more often... totally different from the rest of the U.S....

  2. Happy Running Anniversary. Hope you can get out and run on the 31st!


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