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!"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day 59 (week 9) - Good, but hard

I'm still in a state of shock. We have only one workout day left before we have officially completed the Couch-to-5k program.

Because of my late night last night, we postponed our run until this evening. It was a very nice one, too. The temp was in the mid-50s and it was overcast, but there was no threat of rain. While there was a breeze when we started out, it was still during the return leg. With it being warmer, I left off my polyester long-john top, and I'm glad I did. With the layers that remained, I was sweating much, especially during the latter half of the run.

The start was hard, as expected. It was the typical resistance during the first five to ten minutes. I just reminded myself that I've run this far before, and reminded myself that we could do this--no problem.

Despite my positive self-talk, the run was stil tough. The first half felt pretty long, but that could have been due to my pace. For the first half of our outbound trip, I was within five meters of Mrs. F. During the second part of that outbound leg, she picked up ground, but she didn't circle back for me once today.

As we crossed the road near the dam, I felt a little boost of encouragement. I knew I was running further than I had run before. Mrs. F was still in sight. I wanted to identify the area on the trail where I turned around on Monday.

Running with the benefit of daylight was wonderful. Instead of just hearing the crunch-crunch-crunch of my footfalls, I could see the miriad of colors. Leaves on the trail, leaves yet in the trees and on the understory. I spotted my first landmark from Monday, then the second. I assessed my place on my playlist, and I kept running. I could see Mrs. F ahead of me--quite a ways, but not too far. I could also see something else in the distance--the road which is 1.66 miles from our starting point. I knew I could not make it to that point and back to our start in the time that remained, but it was heartening to know I was that much closer to a full 5k run. I picked my new turnaround point, where some downed wood was piled next to the trunk of a tree. It was something that would be easy to see when either Mrs. F or I ride back to the trail to measure the distance.

I shouted out to Mrs. F and then turned around. Moving, moving, moving with the crunch-crunch-crunch of the leaves. I looked forward to my good stretch, that point in the run where everything feels fine, but I only got a taste of it today. The difficulty of the run eased a bit, but not for long. It settled in as a long, hard run.

I fought some struggles in my mind, as I wanted to slow down, but all the while I kept going. I thought about taking 15 seconds of walking, but I kept running. I could tell my pace was slower on the return, but not the death-slog that seemed to settle in some days. I found that the slight uphill portions did not intimidate me any longer. [We learned this week that there's actually a 100' elevation change along the length of the trail, but since it is an old rail bed, the grade is very slight.] My favorite song, the last on the running section of my playlist, began. It was a bit earlier than I expected, but, then again, I had run further today. Although my heart lifted with the song, my body still felt heavy, as if rooted to the earth. Instead of increasing my pace, I was happy to simply be moving at a regular cadence.

As I reached one of the driveways that signaled my approach to the final stretch of trail, I turned and ran a few steps backwards, so I could view the trail behind me. I could see Mrs. F. She was still about as far behind me as she was ahead of me when I turned around. She would finish about a minute after me.

The end came into sight. I pushed myself, but could not greatly increase my pace. My song came to an end, but the trail was still ahead of me. While it still faded from my ears, I pushed to start a sprint. I was moving faster now, despite my body's objections, but it was not as fast or natural as some I have experienced. My body wanted to slow, but I insisted that it speed up. My music was over, but the trail was still ahead of me. Now I was sprinting. It was a hard, labored sprint. My body begged to slow, and I felt it trying to do so. "No!" I screamed in my own mind as I pushed to keep the pace up. The music for my cool-down walk had started, but I did not care. I pushed, and pushed, and pushed, until I finally reached the end of the trail. This time, I was somewhat winded.

With a slight bend in the trail near the end, I began walking back toward Mrs. F., but I called out to her before I could see her. Sure enough, about a minute after I had finished, she came to our finish line.

The cool down walk was wonderful. As I got into the car to drive, however, I noticed pain along my right shin. I know that pain. It has a name.

Mrs. F told me that I dropped my hat on a segment of the trail. She had picked it up once, but she lost it again at some point before crossing back over the road again. So, we drove to our parking place by the dam, and then got out and walked to find my hat. As we did so, I counted my walking paces to estimate my distance. We found the hat near where I turned around on Monday. I walked on to the point where I turned around today. It was, using my 5' pace as my scale, between two-tenths and a quarter of a mile beyond the one mile mark. So, my 32 minute run was between 2.4 and 2.5 miles.

As we turned around, I felt pretty good, and I started to run. Mrs. F joined me. We ran the distance back to the road, then walked over to the car, stretched and went home.

It was a good run, but if felt long and hard. Yet I'm so glad I was out there making it happen. Then we even added that short run at the end (after which my shin hurt more, by the way). Yet despite a little bit of discomfort, it was a good run. A very good run for a fat man who is hoping to leave that title, like the leaves on the trail, behind him.

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