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 30, 2009

Day 61 - We did it!

Well, it's official. After completing our run about 6 PM this evening, Mrs. F and I officially completed the Couch-to-5k training program. We're going to keep our secret a little longer (about two weeks) so we can surprise our kids when we run in the Chaska Turkey Trot on November 14.

Today's run was hard, but good. I managed to keep pace with Mrs. F through the first nine minutes of our run. In fact, as I tried keeping up with and alongside of her, I could sense her speeding up, so I would speed up some more. I let her start to pull ahead after that first bit of time, however, because I knew I would not be able to sustain the pace for the duration of the run.

Still, even though I let her pull ahead, she was not ahead by much. When we broached the one mile mark, she was ahead of me by about 30 seconds. I ran on, enjoying, as best I could, the scenery. It was starting to rain and even sleet a little bit as we began, so I left my glasses in the car. Moving into that next segment of leaf-covered trail, I had to be extremely cautious. I'm nearsighted (I don't see things at a distance well without glasses), so it was very hard to spot small branches on the trail among the leaves until I was nearly on top of them. The large ones gave me no trouble--we had some pretty significant wind gusts later in the day, and it cut at us as we ran. I'm glad I wore my nylon windbreaker shell today.

The halfway point in my playlist arrived, but I was still 20 to 30 meters short of the turnaround point I referenced on Wednesday. I yelled out to Mrs. F that we had hit the halfway point, but neither she nor I turned around. I continued on to my chosen spot, and then turned around.

Back across the road I went. My legs were tired and I could feel the muscle strain in my glutes, especially on the right side. I pushed onward. I kept hoping for a breakthrough to that state where the run is easy and all seems well with the world. If it came today, it was subdued. I had a segment where my stride didn't feel as labored, but my breathing just seemed a little off. I pushed through it.

From the road, someone in a pickup truck honked, and I think they waved. So it seems someone caught me in the act of running. A few moments later, as I continued down the trail, I saw some movement ahead of me. Then, quickly and quietly, a large doe came up from a low bottom near the lake, across the trail, and up the embankment and across the road. She crossed, perhaps twenty feet in front of me. My eyes scanned the terrain around me, looking for others. If they were there, I could not see them. On I ran.

Upon reaching the point where I let Mrs. F start to pull ahead on the way out, I really felt the fatigue hit me. My right shin had started to hurt a little earlier, and not it was a persistant nuissance. My left knee was holding out okay, but it was a bit uncomfortable as well. I pushed on.

As songs on my playlist changed, I refernced them against some of the notable points on the trail--a bench here, a side trail there, a paved driveway, a gravel driveway. It was clear that I was going to run out of music before I ran out of trail. That meant my pace was not as good today as it was on Wednesday, but I quickly let that thought go. I was, after all, running for time and not for distance.

Sure enough, the final song, my favorite one, began at a point I recognized as far too early. Still, I pushed on. At this point, I knew my body was tired and that it wanted to give up, but I vetoed that option. I turned and looked behind me. Mrs. F was there, about as far back from me as she had been when I turned around. No matter how fast or how far either of us had gone, we both were pretty consistant and maintained a steady pace relative to each other.

As the final song of my run ended, I pushed myself to increase my pace. I knew I could not sprint, but I could push myself just a bit more. My cool-down music started. On I ran. It, too, finished, so I quickly restarted it and ran on. Just before the end of the trail, I turned right along a paved trail into a park. I ran along its distance a ways, and then turned around, convinced to run back toward Mrs. F.

As I reached the trail, I saw her coming some distance away, but not too far. "I'm gonna keep running," was all I said as I turned right, and ran past the end of the trail and across the street. There I turned to the right, and began running back toward the car.

I don't know why I did it. It's not as if I was short on time. It's not as if I had this overwhelming urge to run, either. I was definately tired, but whereas, on many of our training days, my body was desperate to stop when I hit that virtual finish line, this time I did not feel the need to stop immediately. Perhaps it's because I did not sprint. In any case, I ran on.

I ran, and turned, and ran some more. I suddenly pictured Forrest Gump as he began his years-long run. Yet, on I ran. At one point, I turned to look over my shoulder and startled myself to find Mrs. F right there. She caught up to me and was only a little more than an arms-length away. Together we ran the rest of the way to the car. It was no super-human achievement, only 3/10 of a mile, or a sliver more, but the fact remains that I ran a distance I was not required to run.  The extra time totalled seven minutes beyond my already 31 minute playlist.

All in all, then, if my estimate of my trail distance from Wednesday was accurate, I ran 2.8 miles today. Without any doubt, I clearly ran at least 2.7. I might be ready for that 5k in two weeks after all.

My right shin is definately sore, but I remembered to ice it this evening. Mrs. F and I have talked about taking an extra two days off going into next week (skipping Monday) so that I don't further inflame those shin splints, but all that is a worry for another day. Tonight, right now, I'm just glad to be able to say that I made it through--we made it through--we completed the Couch-to-5k running program!


  1. Congratulations to you both!!!!! This huge, I know b/c I had hope to be there today too, but it was not meant to be for me yet. But take it from me, don't let too many days pass before you continue to run. I hope to start week 7 on Mon. I am so happy for you guys!!!!

  2. Congratulations! You did it. No way in the world could you have looked ahead 9 weeks and seen how much you would accomplish.
    You did it! If you're hurting, go ahead and skip running, but if, after doing some good controlled stretches for the next couple of days, you feel good, go and do some slow running. If your shins are still bothering you, take a good vigorous walk while Mrs. F runs. You'll keep your muscles strong and not have to worry about the jarring impact.

  3. Just wanted to say congrats to you both! I ended up finding this blog somewhat randomely, but I wanted to let you know that you've both inspired me so much I'm starting my own C25K program tomorrow morning. :) Keep up the amazing work!

  4. Lindsey -- Thanks so much for stopping by. We love hearing stories of everyones journeys! Please stop back and let us know how you are coming along. Congratulations on taking the first step and deciding to do it!

  5. CONGRATULATIONS!! YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!! And look at you running through sleet and cold...looking like the people we use to call crazy...and here you are. Keep running you two, keep running.

  6. Congratulations!
    I am very happy for all you both have accomplished.
    And we are even more happy for the inspiration you give us.
    I wish to you new challenges to come, I wish that the 5km become increasingly easy to be runned, and all the best for the your family.

    Ah Do not stop posting, ok?
    I ended my week 7 yesterday and I also want to share my joy of "graduated" when this happens.

    Best wishes!


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