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 16, 2009

Day 47 (week 7) - a dreadful run

Since the kids are out of school and I have the day off from work, we decided to sleep in a bit and headed out for our run at about 8:15 AM. For me, it was a miserable run.

Getting out of bed and walking through the house, my knee felt mostly okay. I took extra time wrapping it today, being sure to make sure the wrap layers criss-crossed in front of my knee, to help minimize any rotation. I finished dressing, did some stretching, and headed out.

We were already on the trail before I realized that I hadn't started the podcast, so I got it going and noted that we'd be walking a bit further than on a normal day. Other than feeling dead tired and not wanting to run, the first part of the run was not too bad. My legs definately did not want to be up and running, but I reminded myself that more seasoned runners report that the first ten minutes are often miserable. My left knee was feeling okay. I could tell it was more agitated than it had been coming into the week, but I figured it wouldn't be too bad. Unfortunately, I figured wrong today.

My breathing was a bit more labored in the beginning, and it did not seem to settle into a rhythm until about eight minutes in. This is the first day I've had to pay attention to my breathing in a while, and it didn't make me feel more confident about today's run. While my breathing settled down, my fatigue level seemed to increase. I felt pretty good about my pace for the first third of our distance--I almost kept Mrs. F in sight through our turnaround point. As she circled back to meet me, I remember telling her, "I feel dead."

I had really wanted to stop during the first five minutes, but I managed to keep going. Now, as I reached our turnaround point, I found my internal dialogue saying, "Don't stop now. Just get to the half-way point." I kept going.

When I got to the half-way point, my knee was really starting to bother me, and it was affecting my stride. I so much wanted to stop and walk, knowing that I was already thinking about a sports medicine appointment, but my blasted stubbornness would not let me walk. Oh, how I wanted to walk!

Mrs. F circled back a few more times, but I don't really remember them clearly. I was struggling so much just to keep moving, that I could not pay attention that much. Afterwards, she said that she could see me speed up as she approached. I do know that her presence helps me feel like I can make it.

As the moments dragged on, my pace slowed. I watched Mrs. F's footfalls and shortened my stride to match her pacing. That helped for a bit. I tried running more on the fronts of my feet, as I would in a sprint. That definately felt better on my knee, but I could not maintain that for very long. I noticed that my right foot was rolling through each stride, but that my left was landing mostly flat and did not seem to be flexing much at all. It felt like I was trying to run with a peg leg.

At some points, my feet were barely leaving the ground. I could tell because they were scraping the trail as I moved them forward. I so wanted to walk. At one point, I just wanted to let me legs go and I wanted to collapse right on the trail. With everything I had, I concentrated on making sure I was landing with only one foot on the ground. I did not want to walk. I did not want to jog. I wanted to run. I don't know if I was successful at all times, but I have to believe that I was running, no matter how slowly, or how poor my form.

I was about 10m short of the road when the final minute was called--about 10m short of where we were on Wednesday at the same time. Even though I was miserable, I pushed myself to go faster. I abandoned my shorter stride and was determined to ignore my knee, even though I know that doing so could be really bad news. Yet, the faster I went, the better my legs felt. As I reached my sprint, I was at the end of my strength, but I kept going. I wasn't going to end this thing limping to our car. I wasn't going to fall down on the trail. I was going to finish this thing at a full-blow, all-stops-pulled run, and that's what I did. I'm nothing if not stubborn, but, for once, I was going to use that stubbornness to help me rather than to hold me back.

I've had a lot of history of not finishing things. Most often, they were times when I bit off more than I could chew, but I could not see that at the time. All I knew then was that things would get to be too much, and I would just walk away. After years of doing that, it became an unwritten script in my head. I began to expect that I would not finish things. Other than my marriage, which has been going strong for 16+ years (thank God), my mind is full of memories of things I failed to finish. My mind keeps trying to tell me that this will be just another one of those things, and I'm desperate to disprove that internal dialogue! If I'm deliberate in thinking on my past, I can find many things I carried through and finished, but those are not the memories that cloud my mind. The failures--those are the things that have embedded themselves in my thinking. They've shaped how I see myself, and I often fear I'll never be able to get away from them.

In the running discussions I've been frequenting, I've read so many others encouraging people to take a break, or repeat a week as needed. I've resisted that. I think it's because I fear failing--I fear not finishing this program. Yet, in the better parts of my mind, I know that it is not a failure that dictates who we are--it is whether we are willing to get up and try again. Perhaps my biggest fear is not that I will not finish, but that, should I not finish, that I would not have the strength to get up and try again.

This has been a very hard morning for me. I don't know how I can go on, but I must. I keep telling myself that I don't have a choice, but I do. I really do have a choice. I just keep saying that "I don't have a choice" because I'm afraid I won't make the right one. If I take away my choice, I take away failure as being an option. At least, that's the way my twisted mind works right now. I don't have a choice but to give myself no choice.

Do you know how much I want a Ho-Ho (or three) right now?


  1. Sounds like yesterday was difficult all around - it was a rough morning for us, too.

    Bravo to you for not stopping. You CAN do this. You ARE doing it, and it's awesome!


  2. Thanks for the words of encouragement, meredith. I hope tomorrow brings a better day for you.

    Oh, and for the record, I did not have a Ho-Ho.


Curious? Surprised? Have some good tips? Please leave a comment for us here. We especially would love to hear about your successes, or to hear your words of encouragement. Knowing you're out there will help us to keep at it!