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, November 4, 2009

A miserable run (double-whammy)

I was not looking forward to running today at all.  I had a headache most of the day, and by the time I got home from work, about two hours later than I had planned, I was just ready for bed.  My headache was building again, and my left knee was still sore from last Friday's run.  I even tried wearing the too-tight patellar stabilizer during the day today, but I had to take it off at noon because it was just too tight and too uncomfortable.

I should have known better than to let Mrs. F push me to run when my mind and body were telling me it wasn't a good idea.  I know she meant well, but I just should have listened to my body.  My leg wrap/tape combo didn't seem to help much today.  As it turns out, both of my long-sleeve polyester shirts were in the laundry, so I didn't have my two base cold-weather layers.  I had my loose-fitting long-sleeve orange shirt and a windbreaker shell--let's just say I was too bloody cold before the run and immediately thereafter.

As I stated earlier, I did not want to be out running today.  I was grumbling and cursing under my breath because I was tired, uncomfortable, and sore, and because I knew I still had a load of reading to finish for my current class.  I was slow on the warmup walk, and my knee was already aching.  When I started the run, I gave it everything I had though, but I'm guessing it wasn't much.  Mrs. F was still stretching when I got started, but that was fine because I knew she would catch up.  However, as we progressed and I could either hear her coming or see her long shadow coming up behind me from either a car's headlamps or a street light, I pushed myself to go faster.  Honestly, I was not really happy about being out there running and I figured I would at least make it a bit rough on her today.  Not nice, I know, but c'est la vie.  She almost caught up to me a couple of times, and each time I pushed ahead.  I kept the lead through most of the first mile, even though my knee was painful and I could feel the shin splints in my right leg starting to flare up. She got to pull ahead as we neared the one mile mark.  I was fine with that, because I knew I was done.

Today I felt like I did during one of the early weeks of the Couch-to-5k program--I didn't want to be out there, and I wasn't going to kid myself that I'm a runner.  I'm a hugely fat guy who had been out there forcing himself to run for nine weeks, partly motivated by a fear of death and partly motivated by knowing that some people would think that I wouldn't be able to do it.  Yeah, I got through the nine weeks, but who am I trying to kid now? Or, at least, that's how my thinking was going.

When we got to the end, I turned around and told Mrs. F I needed to walk.  Maybe I could have run more if I had not pushed so hard on the way out, but by the way my knee was hurting before I got started, I don't think it's likely that I would have made the two miles anyway.  Upon hearing I was going to walk, Mrs. F decided to run further on before turning around.  Oh, how I envy her! She's really enjoying this, the running.  I've had some good runs, but I can't say I really enjoy it right now, at least not consistantly.

So I started hobbling back.  I yelled and cussed at myself in my mind (and probably out loud, at points). I knew I had run nearly three times as much before.  Heck, I ran about seven and a half miles last week! There was no way I was going to keep walking.

That settled it.  I decided to push myself back to a run.  It didn't last very long, though.  My face and neck were cold and my headache was getting worse.  My left knee was sore with every footfall, but if I tried to adjust my stride so as to spare the knee, it aggravated the shin splints on my right leg.  I tried to put the pain out of mind, and pushed on, but when a burst of burning pain erupted in that right shin, I gave up all hope of running. That was the double-whammy: my sore knee and the shin splints.

I slowed to a walk, but now the walk was painful for both legs.  Having slowed down, I started to become more chilled (it was in the 30s °F).  Including the distance of our warm-up walk, I was still a mile from the car.  Had it not been so cold, I would have sat down on the trail and waited for Mrs. F to come by, and I would have asked her to get the car.

I made it back to our starting point, and back to the car, but I was not a happy camper.  I was now even more tired and sore.  Whatever good I did resting my right leg since Friday was undone--my shin splints are now as sore as they were then.  If I can't get these issues squared away within the next 10 days, I've just flushed my 5k registration fee down the toilet.

I finished the evening icing my legs and reading my coursework.  Because I got off work late and we took our run right away, I didn't eat until late and that has really thrown me off my pattern.  It's now 10:32 PM and I'm not tired, yet I know I need sleep.

I'm not looking forward to facing the scale this week.  I already figure it will be a few steps back.  I'm just tired of it all. I've never been a thin guy.  I'm just so tired!


  1. Hi! I found your blog through reading one of the forums at

    I want to congratulate you and smack you at the same time! Good for you for getting out there and doing it! And smickitty-smack...take it easy on yourself!

    I was 214lbs when I tried running and was plagued with problems and injuries. When I actually paid attention to what my body was telling me, I stopped running for about 9 months, lost some weight solely by calorie restriction, began walking and THEN running. Forty pounds less to smack into the pavement--my knees are thanking me.

    Slow down. Increasing your miles or speed beyond what your body can handle will cause shin splints, knee problems and other injuries (been there, done that). It's a lot of pounding on your knees and ankles. If you're committed to running, take a little more time to get there so that when you do, you're body will be thanking you and not calling you miserable names behind your back.

    Good luck with your journey! I know what a tough slog it is.

  2. I'm sorry you were in so much pain. Maybe you can see a doctor this week and find out what you should be doing to take care of shin splints and see if you can be ready for next Saturday.

    I know this has been a tough week, but please don't let a hard week completely derail your progress. You don't have to be a "fat man". Don't let that picture define you.

    Everyone has awful runs from time to time. Do what you need to do to to heal, but don't quit. Maybe biking or walking will be what you need to do for now. And you don't have to be a "runner". You've already proved that you can do a 5k distance.

  3. It is completely understandable that you are in a funk. You are sick and you have an injured leg. Give yourself a break. But you have to remember that you have come way too far to backtrack to where you started. It was just a week ago that you were on top of the world. Don't let emotions dictate your choices. Take some time, get some sleep, get well and then get back on track. You will be mad at yourself if you don't.

  4. One of the things I have struggled with is, after having a good run, I feel like I should always be able to perform at that level. I've learned that's just not realistic. If I can do a given course at a given speed, my brain tells me that I've achieved a certain level of fitness/skill, and therefore if I can't do that again the very next time, I've failed. The fact of the matter is that we have good days and bad - and we have good runs and bad. I am such a morning runner I've finally concluded - if I'm not running by 2:00PM - I don't even try. It's just too frustrating. And unfortunately, it takes those experiences and hard times to figure out what works best for each of us.

    And it DEFINITELY isn't fun running in pain. In fact, pain can be a signal NOT to run. And pain rarely resolves itself on its own. Something needs to change, even if just temporarily, to get things better. Have you pursued resolution to your pain by doing more than going to your regular doctor? If you'd like to get ideas on other options and ways runners address injuries let me know in email. (I'm not a medical professional or selling anything. It's one thing for people to post questions on a bulletin board asking for input. It's another for a blog commenter to start asking questions.) My "hobby" focus area in running is injuries, treatment, Physical Therapy, etc.

  5. I've seen the sports practitioner for my left knee. The shin splints are recent. I'm supposed to be doing therapy twice per week, but have not gotten in at the local PT center yet. I may shoot you a message for recommendations on those shin splints. I'm pretty sure I have them only in my right because I'm landing differently on my right vs. my left (likely due to my sore left knee and my wrap on it).

  6. Take it easy with the shin splints, seriously. I saw a doctor (two, actually) yesterday and I'm now grounded for a full month. I can't do anything high impact and/or that causes me any pain. Right now, just walking hurts.

    So, take it easy. Ice and Advil after walking/running/anything that aggravates the shin splints. If you're out and they start to hurt, walk instead of run. If they still hurt, stop completely. If rest, ice, and Advil don't help, see a sports med doc.

    I worked out for two weeks after the pain started because I thought it was something else. Now, I have no idea how long it will be before I can run, again, but I expect it will be 2010 before I'm hitting the pavement.

    I know you don't want to stop, but if you don't take care of yourself, you will have to completely stop while you heal.

    Take care,


  7. There are lots of theories on the shin split issue. And you do have to be careful it's not a stress fracture. Although I haven't had shin splints in a long time, when I did get them, I had a routine that worked very well for me. I'm not saying it will work for everyone, but you might have a look at an article I wrote with the regimen I've used.

    Good luck.......and keep running. :-)


  8. As a software developer I spend long days sitting at a desk for work. I haven't had to deal with shin splints in a couple years but I found something that helped me stretch, strengthen and use my shin muscles while sitting at my desk. While your sitting at your desk using both feet try to spell out the alphabet with your toes. You are only moving your feet from the ankle down, the legs shouldn't move at all. You can do this with your heels remaining on the floor, or for a little more difficulty and some core work added in raise your feet off the ground. When I was suffering from shin splints I could barely get through the alphabet with my shins burning at the end. After some time doing this my shin splints eased. Now I can easily make it a couple times through the alphabet with very little burning in my shin muscles and I have not experienced shin splints in some time.

  9. Jon, I'll tray the alphabet game. I had been doing that to stretch my ankles from time to time already (I learned that from my eldes son, who runs cross country). We'll see if it makes a difference.


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