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, October 12, 2009

Day 43 (week 7) - 25 minutes midst downy flake

Well, it's not as if I can claim that today was my first 25 minute run, since that's what we did last Friday. We can, however, note that it was our first run in the snow. We have a full winter weather advisory in effect here, and are likely to have up to 4" by the end of the day. It started snowing during the pre-dawn hours, and by the time we hit the trail, there was already an inch or more on the grassy areas and on some parts of the trail.

This was also my first morning out in my new moisture-wicking polyester and spandex leggings. Isn't it amazing that a fabric tht was so maligned during the 1970s, polyester, has become a primary component in many modern tech-friendly garments? Even more amazing was that I was able to buy a men's XL garment rather than an XXL one, and that's the first time I've been able to do that in about 14 years!

In the aftermath of the morning run, I feel pretty good. The run itself, however, was difficult for me. The shock of the cold during the first few moments was hard to overcome, and I just could not muster the same sustained pace as I had on Friday. For some reason, when we arrived at the trailhead, I was thinking that we were increasing our run time, so we started our warm-up walk headed the other direction down the trail. When it ended, we reversed directions and began our run.

As has been the case on these longer runs, Mrs. F spent most of the time well ahead of me. Only during the first five minutes or so, while she was warming up, was I able to keep pace with her. My double-wrapped knee held out pretty well until near the end, but I'll touch on that in a bit.

Running in the snow presented some challenges. As someone who wears eyeglasses, the precipitation caused them to become unusable not long into the run. As the glasses cooled, and I exhaled into the low, cold breeze, my breath also fogged them up. I ended up taking them off and carrying them in my hand for the rest of the run.

The second challenge had to do with my feet. There was just enough of the wet, sticky snow on the trail for some of it to end up on the top of my shoes on the toe-end. Of course, some of it melted and got my feet wet. Thankfully, I was wearing the socks the folks at Asiscs sent me, and they seemed to wick away most of the moisture. My toes did not begin to feel really cold until after our run was done.

Even though going the other direction for our warm-up walk meant we ran back that distance before starting along our regular path, I could still tell that I covered much less ground. I was going at a very labored pace much earlier, and the half-way announcement came while I still had much trail left ahead of me. Pushing past the half-way point, the front of my left leg, just above my ankle started to cramp up a bit. I played with my pace and pushed on. It stayed like that until I caught sight of Mrs. F, who doubled back for me after reaching the end of this segment of trail. She did much doubling back this time at my request. I just have a much harder time continuing on when she is completely out of sight.

Although I knew I should probably turn around at that point, I was determined to make it to that end of the trail. I slogged on, eventually reaching it before turning back around. We were probably only half-way back along the trail when the final minute announcement came. Mrs. F was well-ahead of me again, but I wanted to finish strong. Whereas I felt exhausted just seconds before, I suddenly found myself flush with adrenaline. I sped up to a full sprint, feeling myself now running only on the balls of my feet and on my toes. I was surprised by how quickly I caught and overcame her, especially since she was pushing hard, too. I sprinted a distance ahead of her and then had second thoughts about being able to maintain the pace through the whole of the final minute. I slowed my pace again, and she soon came by me. Seconds later, the podcast announced the end of the run. I could have kicked myself. I was afraid I had most of that final minute left, when, in reality, I had sprinted for about 45 seconds. Perhaps next time I'll be able to finish that final minute in a full sprint. The feeling of the run while sprinting is so different from the rest of the run. It almost feels like flying.

As soon as we resumed walking, we realized how far we yet had to go to get back to our car. My decision to start going the other direction today cost us an extra five minutes of running during a cold morning snowfall. We quickly re-donned our hats, and Mrs. F put her gloves back on. I zipped my vest shut. Now that we had slowed, we would lose our heat more quickly. Now I noticed that the toes of my right foot were cold. As we continued along, they began to feel colder. At one point, to help shorten the time it would take us to get back to the car, I sped back to a run for a few moments, and the burst of activity helped me to feel warmer again. I could really feel how breathable the shoes really are, however, as those light, meshed surfaces quickly had me feeling the cold again.

I'm hoping that we get a bit of a thaw before Wednesday morning. If it stays cold, our tracks in the trail will freeze (along with any others who are out and about on it while it it still wet). Having frozen track on the trail would make it much more treacherous than just a coating of snow. I've done some looking at treadmills online, but we're still not sure if we want to take that plunge. Neither of us really likes the idea of running on the road, but that might be our only real option once winter really settles in.

Well, I need to get changed so I may bike to work. I'll soon need to swap my tires out for a set of studded ones I got for my birthday. I should be fine for today, however, as the snow is not sticking much to the roads right now.

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