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, September 11, 2009

Day 12 (week 2, day 5)

Week two of our secret plan is complete!

With my obligatory "Yippie!" out of the way, I felt that it was a terrible morning.

It didn't start that way. The Asics socks felt great--a pair of Kayano II quarter-high. As I had hoped, they made my feet even more comfortbale in my running shoes. When I took my shoes off when I returned home, it felt as if I wasn't wearing anything on my feet. We got out a few minutes earlier today--it has been easier to get up and get moving in the mornings, at least--and the first running segment felt pretty good. The ache below my right knee was mostly gone, but my left felt more like my right had earlier in the week. I wasn't too winded after the first running segment, and the recovery walk left me ready for the second set.

The second wasn't too bad, either, though I noticed that I was landing a few less footfalls during our 90 second running segments. I caught most of my breath before the start of the third--I had enough spare wind to exchange a few words with Mrs. F, but that next segment was tough. I was plodding my way through and felt like I was dragging my body along by strength of will, and my strength of will was weakening with each step. We finished that running segment well short of the crossroad--perhaps by 40 meters (I'm trying to be deliberate about using metric for running distances)--so I could tell we were both slower today.

The next walking segment didn't feel long enough, and my legs did not want to respond when I saw the second had tick over on the illuminated dial. I sped up, and for a brief moment I thought it was all going to get better, I wasn't thinking about my footfalls (other than my count) and I was just able to look ahead on the trail and focus on my breathing. I don't know how long that lasted, but it wasn't long enough. My body cried out, "FULL STOP", but I kept moving. However, my stride was shortening and I just felt like dead weight. When we resumed walking, I pulled in a series of deliberately long, deep breaths. By the time that two minutes had elapsed, I didn't want to run again. I just wanted to walk back to the car and console myself by saying that "I tried"--which is, you know, a lot more than some people choose to do.

I started running, or jogging, or whatever other word you might use for my forces succession of lumbering strides. I felt like I could barely keep my legs moving. I felt like I was part of the earth and that my feet simply wanted to stop and take root. Mrs. F was ahead of me by at least 20 meters by now. I so wanted to stop!!!

The mark passed and the segment ended, but I kept running about 10 seconds longer, in part to catch up to Mrs. F, and in part because I felt like I hadn't run like I should have on that segment. She circled back, we aligned, and we walked back to our starting point.

At that point, I was conflicted. I was relieved that I completed the second week, but I felt like I'd be utterly unable to complete week three. I stretched the backs of my calves a bit, then sat in the car. I asked Mrs. F if we should consider repeating the Week 2 routine next week. I don't remember how she answered.

I'm at the point where it's hard--really hard--and I'd just rather go back to the way things were before. I just want to be comfortable, and able to relax. If I get up early in the morning, I want to be able to sit in my chair, sip some coffee, and review my favorite websites. I don't like the fact that my right shin is sore, that it's a strain to go up the three steps to the kitchen door, or that my legs are sore now when I bike.

Yet I know that quitting isn't an option for me. Well, it is, I guess, if I were to accept health complications and an early death as a reasonable alternative. Yes, I really believe it's that serious (and I know that Mrs. F considers it morbid, but this is my reality).

Let try to look at this from the other side. My blood sugar levels are the best they've been in years. I'm no longer so fatigued at work that I need to struggle to stay awake during the afternoons. I've lost five pounds (I'll find out later today if I've lost any more or if I've gained any back). I'm spending time with my wife. I'm increasing the odds I'll be around long enough to see all of my kids get through high school. I already look a bit better (my pants are a bit looser, my shirts don't fill out quite as much at the middle, and I don't look like I've been fighting to stay awake for hours).

That's all good, but this is really hard. This is probably the hardest thing I've ever done!

I'm looking forward to tomorrow and Sunday--days without running. We're going to try to do a few stretches on each of the mornings, but that's about all. We're also planning to get to bed early and, if the kids allow it, sleep in a little late.

If I can make it through next week, we'll be one third of the way there. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of looking up next week's routine already. Frankly, it scares me (and the longest running segment is only three minutes!).

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