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!"

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Day 27 (Week 4, day 6)

Mr. F is off on a campout this weekend, I'm sure he will check in when he gets back tommorrow.

My knee/leg area feels okay today. I little sore here and there, so I took some preemptive ibuprofen and did some corn icing tonite. Im just hoping these couple of days of rest knocks the soreness out for good!

I havent been diligent bout stretching on the days off, so I need to work on that. I feel pretty good overall though!

Keep on running

Mrs. F

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday weight check (week 4)

Last Friday: 292.1

Today: 287.9

Gain/Loss: -4.2

Goal: 210.0 lbs.

Pounds to lose: 77.9

Comment: It feels great to see that weight loss, and to feel my clothes getting baggy. Despite having a horribly difficult session this morning, this is a good bit of reinforcement to keep moving in the right direction. I did watch my portions this week, but I also allowed myself some sweet indulgences. All in all, I'm pleased. I'm sure my weight loss will slow in the weeks to come, but it feels so good to have lost in a month the same amount as I had been losing over the course of a year (prior to my recent long plateau).

Mrs. F
Last Friday: 179.4

Today: 178.9

Gain/Loss: -0.5

Goal: 150.00

Pounds to lose: 28.9

Comment: It's stort of discouraging that it's slow going, but that's how it goes.

Day 26 (Week 4, training day 3) - Mrs. F

Today was hard -- both physically and mentally. The late night and not getting enough rest had a big impact on my energy leval. I will admit to considering sleeping right on the floor where I was trying to stretch.

I didnt ice(using my standard bags of corn, of course) nearly enough. I think I managed a little at lunch Wed and some last night. I defitnely paid for that today. While it didnt hurt much when I got up, I suspected it might give me trouble. The leg/knee area was hurting already during the first set, although not badly. Im thankful my left seems to have righted itself in that area, so I have hope that the right might just come around someday. It wasnt enough to stop me from doing the workout but it was enough to give me another piece that made it harder. By the last set, it was hurting a good bit and the area was swollen up some. Im really hoping being more diligent with the icing and resting it will help. Sometimes though with being a busy mom, its hard to find time to sit with my leg up and my frozen corn lol.

The sets felt long and hard and I found myself focusing on just getting to the walk segments so I could rest a little. The five minute segments were almost unbearably long. It was plain hard. The good news though is that I did finish it along with Mr. F! Though the difficulty of today makes next week seem almost insurmountable. Good thing Im stubborn :)

Im a little nervous bout the weight check today. I have been less active on the days off(no bike riding) with the leg/knee issue, so I wonder how much that will impact loss/gain. Plus I just feel bigger. Clothes fit the same, so who knows. Its a bit more discouraging than it is with Mr. F. Hes losing at a higher pace, so he can see and feel results quicker. I just dont see it in the mirror or in my clothes. I keep reminding myself, that its a long term weight loss and that a pound a week is sufficient.

Keep on Running
Mrs. F

Day 26 (week 4, day 5)

Our training for Week 4 is finished, but I feel like it just about finished me.

I figured it would be hard, but today was just miserable. We got to bed about an hour late last night due to the craziness of having to get about 3,000 things done before this weekend, so I'm sure that didn't help, but that wasn't my main problem. I wasn't tired this morning.

I decided not to eat anything before running today. That was okay. My sugar levels were fine both before and after.

One of the little kids got into my gear and one of my gloves went missing. It wasn't very cold this morning, but I like keeping my fingers warm. They were frostbitten once, years ago, and have been sensitive to cold since then.

Next, I got ambushed by mosquitos on the way to the car. I got two or three bites right around my ankle on my right foot. They were an annoying distraction as I started the warmup walk.

The first run wasn't too bad. I figured that, if the rest of the session went like it, I would do just fine. That's not how it went, however.

The run seemed fine, as did the first walk. Going into the second run, I could tell that something was wrong with how my left leg was moving. It wasn't bothering me too much, so I kept moving on. The announced halfway point came about where I expected it, but the final two-and-a-half minutes just seemed long. We finished about where we did on Wednesday. I needed some breath, but that was resolved with a few deep breaths.

During the next walk, I noticed my left leg seeming a bit off. As we started the third run, it was clear that I was almost running with a limp. I felt stiff around my left knee and I could feel the impacts in my left hip. My right leg felt fine. I watched my feet to see if the left was angled differently than the right (it was not). I concentrated on my posture and looked ahead on the trail. I let my mind monitor my footfalls. Was I landing more flat-footed on my left? Not that I could tell. As I landed with my right foot, everything felt smooth. What was going on? Then I noticed a small stone in my right shoe.

When I slowed for the next walk, it was clear that the left leg had problems. It seemed stiffer, almost as if it did not want to bend at the knee. The walk was far too short, and starting the final run was very hard. Yes, I would characterize it as running with a limp. My left leg didn't seem to be bending and compressing as much on each stride as was happening with my right leg. Each landing seemed to be transferring the impact up my tiba, through my knee, up my femur, and into my hip. I deliberately focused on bending that knee and kicking back. I told Mrs. F about my discomfort.

"Do you want to walk the rest of the way?" she asked.

"Not a chance," I replied. The one thing I knew for certain was that I did not want to repeat this week.

It wasn't the duration of the final run that nearly did me in, but the discomfort of running with my left leg as it was. Despite the discomfort, when I heard the announcement of the final minute on the podcast, I pushed as hard as I could. I sped my pace and shortened my stride. I concentrated on the motion of the left leg. While my strides were pitifully short, the motion felt better (albeit strained), and I found myself catching up to Mrs. F.

When the run was over, I was afraid my left leg would lock, and that I would need to drag it back to the car. Thankfully, it did not, and we finished our cool-down walk about a minute short of the car.

Getting up the three steps into the house was difficult and painful. I loathe getting up now that I've been sitting, but I must get in to work. Week 4 is finished. I just hope my leg will be a little better as we go into Week 5.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Day 25 (week 4, day 4)

Well, tomorrow is a big day--the final workout of Week 4. Mentally, I'm still a little bummed that we're not yet at the halfway point, but I'm adjusting. I can tell my legs have been getting a workout, but they have no particular aches or pains to mention. My lower back is a little sore, but I think that's due to having a crummy chair in my office (which replaced a broken chair a couple of weeks ago).

We made some good, homemade soup yesterday. We had it for dinner, and I'm glad there was some left for lunch today. I'm tired today, but I can't put a finger on why. I got a good amount of sleep, and my sugar levels are good. I had a mild cough on a couple of mornings this week, but it cleared up as the day moved on. Yesterday, I coughed a little bit throughout the day, starting mostly after our run. Today, I feel like a cough is waiting behind every breath. With H1N1 going around, I'm watching for a fever and any other symptoms, but otherwise am looking at the cough as a nuissance.

I got to leave a bit early today so I can watch our boys at a cross country meet. Our eldest son is going to letter this year (his freshman year!) and has already broken a team record. He's out to beat his own best time again this afternoon, hoping to come in below 18:55. Our other runner wanted to show me one of his ribbons last night. Seventeenth place out of a field of 50 or more is not bad at all for someone who didn't join until three weeks after practices started. I wish I had been able to run like that when I was a kid.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I just want to take a moment to thank those who have opted to follow this blog. I think it's pretty cool, and Mrs. F and I appreciate the sense of support it brings. Seeing that list of followers really reminds us that someone else is watching us, and I believe it helps keep us accountable.


[On a related note, it appears that the Followers list is broken today (9/23/09). I reported it to Google, only to find that others were reporting the same issue. I hope they fix it soon.]

Day 24 (week 4, day 3) - Mrs. F

I had been icing my leg/knee area and I took ibuprofen right before I went to bed last night. So this morning, my leg actually felt pretty good, a little twinge here or there. So I was encouraged that I might be able to complete todays training. My left leg was good, so no worries there.

I deliberatly took it slow and really made sure to stretch well this morning. The first two running sets were great! They both felt good and I was very pleased that my leg while a little sore seemed to be holding out. The last two runing sets were hard. My leg started hurting more(not enough that I felt the need to stop though) and I just felt like I had no energy.

I tried to get to bed early but even though I hit the sack at 945 pm, I couldnt fall asleep til well after 10 pm. So Im sure that affected the running too. The last set by far was the hardest. Mr. F voiced being ready to quit and I encouraged him to push on. I figured by that point, we only had at least 4 minutes left. I distinctly remember thinking at one point that we had to be at least halfway through the five minute set. Mr. F said that the podcast doesnt tell you that. I interpreted that to mean that it hadnt yet voiced the halfway point. Boy was I surprised when shortly thereafter he announced the 1 minute left warning! Mr. F during that last minute push seemed to have more energy left than I did. But I did my best to give some additional effort and push thru the last minute.

I was relieved to find my knee/leg area, while in some pain, not nearly as much as Monday's workout put on it. So I plan to continue my corn icing, ibuprofen and definite rest on days off. I do miss my bike rides though! Since the left leg has gotten a lot better, Im hoping its just simple muscle strain on the right. So I will continue what worked thus. far.

Im still amazed that I have been able to continue for 4 weeks~! I could barely run a lap in gym class and I just did a combined total of 16 minutes!!!

Keep on running
Mrs. F

My brain woke up

I was so excited this morning to think we had made it to the half-way point. While sitting at my desk and getting ready to grab a cup of coffee, however, I suddenly realized I was wrong--we reach the half-way point only after Week 4 is completed and we are half-way into Week 5.

I'm glad that little revelation didn't hit me at the start of our final run this morning. That might have done me in. That's part of the mental battle. I had best re-check any figures passed to this administration by its intelligence agency. ;)

I wonder, could it have been my subconscious mind trying to set me up for a failure? Naughty subconscious! Naughty!

Day 24 (week 4, day 3) - (Not) The Half-way Point

Well, it wasn't the half-way point for my weight loss, but it was the half-way point for our couch to 5k running program today. Today was the second workout for Week 4. [The half-way point is actually next week on Wednesday. So much for clear-thinking after a run.]

I psyched myself up for it to be hard today, and it was, but mostly toward the end. The warm-up walk felt fine. I had to stop at one point to get something out of my shoe. It was one of those sharp, annoying little things that seemed to move around and poke me only every few footfalls, but I definitely did not want something like that under foot during the running segments. We paused about 30 seconds for me to rectify the situation (I had Mrs. F help keep me stable so I would not set my foot down onto the trail) and then we were off again. My knee was still a bit sore this morning when I go up, and I could feel an occasional twinge of pain while I walked. I figured I'd find out pretty quick whether it would inhibit my run.

The first run felt fine. I didn't push too hard, and I noticed the everything felt about right. I concentrated on my breathing. It was cooler again this morning, around 50° F--definitely not the coldest we've had so far, but noticeable, especially with the damp air (current humidity in town as I write this is 91%). I wore my light fleece gloves this morning, and started out with a light fleece hat. Three minutes was no problem today. I can almost say it ended a bit too soon.

The recovery period was short (90 seconds) but just fine overall. I was thinking about my knee and the rest of my legs. Though it was bothering me a bit when I got up, and I noticed it during the warm-up walk, it wasn't bothering me during the run.

The first five minute walking segment just seemed long. I wasn't pushing too hard, but I wasn't letting myself drag. It seemed we went further during our first two runs, as there was little trail left before our turnaround point. It was hard, but good.

We slowed for out next walking segment, went a little way, and turned around. I was glad to be walking, and the two-and-a-half minutes was short, but welcome. My body felt fine during the run, but became hot as soon as we slowed to a walk. I took off my hat and stuffed it into my shorts pocket.

The next run was suprisingly good. The first minute or so didn't feel quite right, but then it all seemed to come together. Each footfall felt right. I didn't think of my arms or my legs. My eyes were fixed ahead of me on the trail, and I just began to think "I could keep going" when the voice told me to walk.

That all changed when I slowed. Everything ached, and I needed more breath. I was simply tired, and I wondered anew why I as bothering with something so crazy as a running program. This 90 second rest was way too short for me.

As the final run was announced, there was a mix of hope and dread. After all, it was the final run of the day, but then again, it was another run. The voice said to push it, especially in the last minute. Well, I was pushing it, but I'm not sure anyone would have noticed. It was definately the toughest of the day, mentally and physically. I wanted to quit, and said as much aloud, but Mrs. F was there to tell me to keep going. The lower part of each calf was sore, and that extended into the upper calf on my right leg. On my left, I could clearly feel each impact in my left knee and in my left hip socket--not to the point of pain, but enough to make me think about my nearly 300 lb. frame crashing down on my feet with each footfall. Had the last mibute announcement not come when it did, I might have pulled off my headphones and started walking anyway.

With that announcement, I pushed even more. To take my mind off my strain, I tried to count my steps, but found that my counting was not keeping in pace with my footfalls. [I don't like the final bit of music on the podcast for that running segment, so that probably does not help. I wondered if he programed it that way to sound like an audible walll--something to be overcome--but I know some really enjoy that style.] Thankfully, the end found us before we met the Reaper, and it came quicker than we expected. Mrs. F noted that, while we seemed to be a bit further on our way out, we ended our run at about the same place today.

That left only the cooldown walk. Am I the only one who, at this stage in the program, thinks it would be more accurately describes as "a cooldown stagger"? Those first few steps after slowing were misery. My knees felt like they wanted to lock up when I straightened them with each step, until I allowed my feet to angle out slightly. Yet despite it feeling horrible, we got back to the car precisely at the end of the podcast, so that meant we shaved a couple of minutes off our cooldown walk (it ended a minute or two before we got to the car on Monday if my memory serves me correctly).

I need to end this abruptly as I am already going to be late for work. One of the kids needed some final homework help this morning, and so my designated blogging time went away. I'm wondering how things will be on Friday and if my weight will have changed. I'm also starting to get apprehensive about next week, because I have a camping trip scheduled for the weekend that will include a lot of walking. Tomorrow will have trouble enough of its own, so I'll try to put it out of mind for now.

We're half-way through our nine week program. We're almost half-way through our nine week program. I could not have imagined making it this far.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day 23

My leg/knee area feels somewhat better today. Its still giving me grief but not the same leval of pain as workout day. I find myself really hoping this is just a simple muscle strain and not some "rest your leg for 2 weeks deal". Its weird but I really want to keep the forward momentum going. Part of it is the fear of stopping and never starting again. Part of it is not wanting to hold Mr. F back and not wanting to delay the completion of the program as a whole.

Ive been icing with frozen bags of corn. I know it sounds really funny but hey we were out of ice and corn can be refrozen lol! That has seemed to help. I iced both knee/leg areas last evening, again at lunch today and then some this evening. Now my left leg is feeling pretty good but my right is still touchy. I plan to get the corn bag out again tonite, take some ibuprofen right before bed and try to run tommorrow.

If the workout gives me a lot of pain, Ill just walk the rest of it, while Mr. F completes the set. Im really hoping and praying that my icing and trying to rest it helped! If it gives me some pain,(Im planning on really really slow) then Ill likely run thru it and ice and ibuprofen afterwards.

Keep on running

Mrs. F

Day 23 (week 4, day 2)

Well, I came home after a meeting last night to find Mrs. F lying in bed with bags of frozen corn placed on each leg just below the knee. She's been popping Ibuprofen every six hours and has been icing (corning?) that area of her legs regularly to try and reduce any inflamation. She's hoping she'll be able to complete tomorrow morning's workout.

I had been feeling fine all day today, but shortly after I got home, I developed a pain in/below my right knee. I don't know if I twisted it in the kitchen getting ready for supper, or if I strained it at work today walking to the remote office and taking the stairs up and down. So, here I sit, with a bag of frozen corn on my right leg. We're a funny sight, the two of us, positioned across the room from each other, each with our own laptops, and each with a bag of corn on a leg.

I'm just hoping I turned it funny and that tonight's rest will clear it up. I've been looking forward to making another go of it tomorow.

If Mrs. F does have problems tomorrow, she's talked about taking the rest of the week off, or going back and repeating Week 3. I sure hope she doesn't feel the need to do that, however, because I'm not sure I can do this without her. If she does decide to take a break, or a repeat, I'd want to press on because I don't want to lose my forward momentum, but at the same time I would not want to leave Mrs. F without a partner and I'm not sure I could handle both workouts in the same day.

I'm going to hope and pray that Mrs. F's legs don't bother her tomorrow--for her sake and my own. I'm also hoping that my leg will be fine. Only the morning will tell. If the kids are done with their chores by 7:30 PM, we'll watch a family movie together, and be in bed by 9 PM.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pondering the weather

We had a chance of rain today for the first time in a while. Our home area has seen draught conditions most of this year, so our running efforts so far have been dry. I'm wondering what we should do if it does rain (or snow!) on one of our running mornings. Do we just run in rain gear? Do we just run in regular clothes and allow ourselves to get wet? Going to a gym isn't an option for us right now, and we don't have a treadmill at home.

Does anyone run in the rain? If you have experience running in the rain, any tips you can provide will be much appreciated.

Week 4, Day 1 - Mrs. F

Today wasnt as "hard" as I expected. Don't get me wrong, it certainely was not easy by any means and I had to work at completing it. The first few weeks were "hard", the kind of hard that I expected I might just die. My chest burned and it was difficult to imagine doing this for 8 more weeks!!! Todays workout was more challenging. I'm not sure if its my endurance thats gotten better or I'm winning more of the mental battle. It does feel good to say we have made it to week 4!!!

Looking ahead week 4 didnt feel as scary as week 3 did to me. But I will admit week 5 still scares the pants off me!!!

Bodywise was harder for me. The area below my knee, I believe, its tendons, really gave me trouble today. By the end of the workout, I was whimpering a bit, cause it hurt. Its not the knee itself, so Im still wondering if its just muscle strain. Im going to try more stretching and see if that makes any more difference. And the sideaches -- by the 3rd set -- my side was aching. I told myself though that if my son can run thru a sideache, so can I. Im a bit stubborn,which I think helps in working my way through this program. Im determined that Im going to do this!!

Im very encouraged getting this far. It gives me hope that I can complete this and that I can become a runner. After all, I doubled the minutes I ran from last week. Thats really a big deal if you think about it!

Keep on running,
Mrs. F

Day 22 (week 4, day1)

I just got done with W4D1. It was hard. Mrs. F and I were just discussing how our first day was hard in a different way (in the "I think I'm going to die and can't believe I'm doing this" sort of way). Today was hard, too, but it was different: it was intense.

I was really surprised that I got through the whole thing. Coming into the weekend, I dreaded this morning, but as I got up this morning it was pretty simple: I was going to try it, and either I would finish it or I wouldn't. I did downloaded the podcast [Thanks, again, to Sherry for pointing me to the MP3 links!] and used it for the first time this morning. At some points, it was nice, but I missed the watch at other points. There were a few times I wanted to check our time, to see how far we were. Perhaps it was better that we didn't know, though. On the final five minute run, I was surprised that the "last minute" announcement came as early as it did. Of course, I was feeling pretty good during that part of the routine.

Week 4 Routine

  • 5 minute brisk walk (warm-up)

Then, this pattern:

  • Jog 3 minutes
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Jog 5 minutes
  • Walk 2-1/2 minutes
  • Jog 3 minutes
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Jog 5 minutes

We added a five minute cool-down walk to match what was in the podcast.

It was definately hard, but I'm surprised that it went so well and was relatively pain free. We deliberately kept our pace down in the beginng, since we knew the five minute sets would be hard. The first three minutes was much easier than I expected, and the 90 second recovery period was, surprisingly, long enough. A couple of times during the first five minute set, I wished I had a watch to check our progress (today was our first day without one), but there was an announced half-way point and we both finished it pretty well.

The following recovery period, two-and-a-half minutes, was adequate, but I would have enjoyed a longer one.

The next three minute run seemed long, but I made it through. It was the only point where I found my legs hesitating at the start of the run. I found myself counting steps, and I got a bit discouraged when it didn't end where I expected it to end. My mental math miscalculated my paces for the three minutes by a full third, however, so by the time I figured that out we came to the end of that run.

The next walking segment seemed really short, if only mentally--I had enough breath, and the music that came on during this time was a style I really liked. I was feeling better, but I don't know if that was the music, the running, or just being pleased that I made it that far. The good feeling carried over into the last run, and it allowed me to give more than I thought that I could give. I lengthened my stride--Mrs. F could tell I was moving faster, but she was being stubborn and wouldn't let me overtake her by more than a half-step--and I felt more like I was running than jogging. My shoes and my legs took the impacts well. My legs told me they were tired, but also told me that I could keep going. When the last minute announcement came, I gave everything I could (short of a full-blown sprint). The end came faster than I expected. I was exstatic that I finished!

I had a good burn in my calves after the final set, but no shin pain and I wasn't desperate for breath. During the final walk before the last 5 minute run, I started to feel pretty good. Of course, having some music helped (I can gett pretty involved in music and can let it transport me emotionally). That good feeling continued into the last run. My wife and I both pushed it during that last segment, especially the final minute, but she really sore when she finished (just below the knees again, to the inside--tendons?). After that final run (and I felt like I was really running this time), we also completed the 5 minute cool-down walk that is in the podcast but not officially part of the program. That means we walked for a total of 18 minutes and ran/jogged for 16 minutes!

Last week, having had a good Monday, I thought the other two days would go just as well, but the other two days were harder. So, I won't hold any misconceptions about the rest of the week. I'm sure they will be hard, but today proved that I can do it.

We'll see how the week progresses. I was the "bad" one yesterday who helped the boys make cookies! Thankfully, I kept my intake to a minimum. I'm going to take some into the office today, and I'll have one with coffee.

It's been just over an hour since we got back. I've had breakfast and am gearing up for my ride into work. My calves still have a bit of a burn, as I sit here, but not bad. I feel good for having gotten through the day's routine, and am just amazed by how much we've accompished so far.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 21 (getting ready for Week 4)

Well, this is our final day of rest before we begin Week 4. It looks like it will be a tough routine, for me, but I'll give it my best. I downloaded the Week 4 podcast that Robert Ullery recorded to let us go without a watch ( He took some techno music, recorded a brief introduction, and then announces each transition. The only problem is that my MP3 player does not support the file format he used (M4A), so we're checking in with someone else on the program who may already have converted it to MP3 format.

Week 4 Routine

  • 5 minute brisk walk (warm-up)

Then, this pattern:

  • Jog 3 minutes
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Jog 5 minutes
  • Walk 2-1/2 minutes
  • Jog 3 minutes
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Jog 5 minutes

This week, the pattern omits a final walking segment. I don't know why they did that, other than to keep the total time nearer to 20 minutes. Had they kept the final walk segment, it would split evenly into two sets (jog 3min, walk 90s, jog 5min, walk 2.5min). We'll probably add that final walk segment anyway, since we know we'll need to cool down, and since our trail use means we need to turn around at the half-way point. By adding the walk at the end, we can turn around before the pattern starts to repeat itself (the 3min jog).

UPDATE (8:33 PM by FatManRunning)

Thanks go out to Sherry, who let me know about the link to the MP3 podcasts that I missed when looking at earlier. Here's the link if anyone wants it: