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, November 23, 2009

My first true solo run

If you've been following this blog for a while, you know that Mrs. F has done some runs on her own, but I've not.  Sure, we've had some workouts where we ran separately along the trail, because her pace was (and still is) faster than mine, but we were always doing it together.  Even on that one day where I asked her to drive the car so I could get in an extra mile, we started together and we were still out there together.  This afternoon, though, the craziness overtook me.  I got off work a bit early, put on my running duds, and headed out into the cool afternoon and the light drizzle.  Oh, and I left my knee wrap off.  My knee has been feeling good since our first 5k on just over a week ago.

We recently drove a route through our neighborhood out to one of the dirt country roads that connects back up to the Luce Line Trail.  We noted the one mile point, but also drove it a bit further in the hope of finding a good route for a possible 5k in town (we'd like to organize one as a fundraiser for the local cross country team and for a charity).  That's the direction I decided to head today.

Overall, it was a great route.  The smell of manure from the farm along the way wasn't pleasant, but it's just part of life this far out. Besides, to me it beats breathing in car exhaust all day.  I didn't do any real warmups, so I just started out slow.  There was part of me that was a bit nervous about running in the neighborhood, but I told that part of me to shut up.  I'm FatManRunning and I'm out taking action to become more fit and healthy.  Where's the shame in that?

Pavement gave way to a dirt road about six tenths of a mile into the run.  I finally found a surface that I like better than running on the trail.  Perhaps it was because of the rain we've had, but the road surface was soft.  It wasn't so wet as to be slimy or muddy.  It was just soft.

I had already kicked it up a bit after the first three tenths of a mile, and I really let myself play with my pacing once I was on that dirt surface.  I tried long, slow strides. I tried short quick ones. My left knee felt great, and so did my right shin.  If anything, my right knee felt a little strain, but that eased over time.

When I hit the one mile mark, I thought about turning around. After all, I was planning on just an easy two miles, since I'd only run once (for more than a few minutes) since the race.  Yet when I hit that point on the road, I was feeling really good.  I knew that if I ran to an intersection less than a mile ahead, my return run would push me up over three miles.  I suddenly wanted to go the distance, but I hesitated a bit since I have a 5k coming up on Thursday.  I definately did not want to hurt myself before our next formal run.

I decided to go for it. I figured that I could always turn around earlier if I started feeling fatigued or experienced any pain, and I could always walk home if I needed to do so.

So, on I ran.  I made it to that intersection and made my u-turn. I was still feeling pretty good.  On the next stretch, for nearly the next mile, my body was just doing it for me.  When I tried to think about my stride, it was if my body was telling me, "I've got this.  You go do something else." That was an amazing feeling.  I didn't worry about my knee or shin.  Everything felt good.

As that next mile passed, I did start to notice some fatigue in my legs, and I started to notice my right shin getting a little tender, so I did slow myself down to allow myself to adjust.  I started preparing myself for the final three tenths of a mile, through the neighborhood again.  I figured it would be hard.  I decided I would not sprint the final distance, because I did not want to risk injury.  My playlist told me that I was passing the 43 minute mark, so my pace seemed slower than it had been at the 5k.  I felt good about that, however, since this was supposed to be an easy run.

While that last portion of my run took some effort, I finally may have experienced a bit of that "runner's high" so many have experienced.  Yes, it was hard, but I was feeling just fine.  In fact, I probably could have run for another twenty minutes (if my body would have accepted the beating).  As I got to the house, I slowed myself to a walk for the final few yards.  Unlike other times during my training, and after the first race, where the end of the run left me drained and stuggling even to walk, I found my pace long and even, and accompanied by a really good feeling about overing the about 3.3 miles.  When I got inside, I was tired, but not the I-need-to-collapse-in-my-chair type of tired that normally hits me after exertion.  It was that good tired--tired from exertion, but not exhausted.  My right shin was definately a little sore, but not too bad. I ran for 50 minutes without taking a rest, and I felt like I could have run for another 20 minutes or more! I just told Mrs. F that we might need to ditch One-hour Runner and take on the Gateway to 8k challenge instead.  For now, I'll just be glad I had a great run, and I'll try not to get the cart before the horse.

It was still fairly early (I had gone in and gotten out early today), so I managed to trim my hair and take a shower before dinner.  What a wonderful afternoon! As I write this now, my right shin is still  a bit tender, but my left knee shows no sign of discomfort. Apart from dealing withe some teenage drama this evening, it turned out to be a very nice one.

The school load is slightly lighter this week, so I should be able to catch up on some reading, and everyone at my place of employment has the day after Thanksgiving off, so that should let me get some work done before the weekend. Of course, since I will have the day off, Mrs. F and I may try to catch a few bargains on that Friday morning, but we'll just need to make sure we are not out too long.

Today, for the first time, I really enjoyed running, and even imagined it as something I might do regularly for the enjoyment of it.  There's a small city 17 miles west of us along the trail.  I've got a bit of an itch to try running there someday!


  1. That is awesome! Keep up the great work! I love the feeling of being able to just keep going :-) Good luck on your run during Thanksgiving!

  2. That is so great! Good for you getting out there and doing it on your own, for yourself!


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!