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, October 17, 2009

Day 48 (week 7) - not much rest today

Today started with a noble idea: getting up early and getting our household shopping out of the way before we lost most of the day. Unfortunately, between taking the time to plan our menu and Mrs. F's efforts to ready some of the kids to come with us, it was past 9:30 AM before we headed out. It became a long day. By the time we got home, it was time to start prepping dinner. As of this writing, the little ones have been fed, but the rest of us have about another 20 minutes before dinner is ready.

We're trying to buy better foods, especially more veggies. We're going to try replacing mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower, but cauliflower heads are currently $3.50 each. The cost of mashed cauliflower cannot compare with the cost of mashed potatoes. That's just one example. Eating healthier just costs more than gobs of potatoes and pasta.

For us, that's going to be one of the biggest challenges. Mrs. F and I pride ourselves at being quite thrifty--we make a lot from scratch--but budget dollars are a major limitation for us. We've already trimmed the fat from our budget, so we have few options to help us buy the foods that will help us trim the fat from our waists.

My knee held out pretty well today. It still is a bit achy, though. Checking just a few moments ago, I'm running a low grade fever and I have sore throat. So much for isolating the sick ones to keep the rest of us healthy.

Anyway, I need to go and check the oven. Have a good night, all.

Day 48- Mrs. F

I woke up feeling okay. Muscles a tad bit sore but overall they felt fine. I had a day of errands to do, so my fleeting thought of an extra workout today was gone.

I ended up out a good bit of the day-- shopping for our household. I noticed this evening now that my right knee feels funky. It hurts a little bit on the inside of the knee. Im hoping it just needs some rest, so Ill take it easy tommorrow.

Keep on running
Mrs. F

Friday, October 16, 2009

Day 47 - back from the doctor

Well, the visit to the sports medicine doctor was helpful, even if the prognosis wasn't entirely black and white. She doesn't like the range of motion (the lack thereof) I have in my hips. She feels that the most likely cause of my pain is a weakness in the muscles that help keep the knee cap tracking properly. Years of walking with my legs splayed wide made my glutes stronger than the balancing muscles, and that is the likely cause of the pain. She dismissed cartilege issues as being a possibility, becuase she noted that the pain is actually above the joint line.

So, what do sports medicine doctors prescribe most often? Therapy...and a specific knee brace. Yes, I'll need to get in to two therapy sessions a week. We'll start with a gait analysis, and then move into flexibility and strengthening exercises. If that doesn't help moderate the pain over the next few weeks, then we'll consider an MRI. This is a knee I injured 23+/- years ago, and I had orthroscopic surgery on it at that time. If it was actually clicking or locking while I was running, she'd push for the MRI now. We both agreed that we can cross that bridge if the therapy does not help.

My new knee brace will be a patellar stabilizer. She wants to keep the patella (knee cap) from sliding too far to the outside. I say "will be" because the largest one they had in the little clinic I visited today was too small. When they visit their main clinic on Monday, they'll drop one in the mail for me. I'm going to ice and rest my knee over the weekend, and I plan to run on Monday with my double wrap in place. I'm relieved that she didn't put any restrictions on my training.

So, that news was good, and I'm pleased to have lost a few more pounds this week. Now if I could only do something about our uber-screaming, furniture-climbing, fast-walking infant!

Friday weight check (week 7)

Last Friday: 286.5

Today: 283.3

Gain/Loss: -3.2

Goal: 210.0 lbs.

Cumulative loss: 17.1 lbs.

Pounds to lose: 73.2

Comment: I really didn't expect to lose much this week. I had a couple of bad meals (i.e., my portions were too large or I had seconds), and I snacked a little heavy on some days. I'm glad to see the progress, though. I guess when you are as big as I am, every little bit of exercise burns more calories.

Mrs. F
Last Friday: 176.3

Today: 179.2

Gain/Loss: +2.9

Goal: 150.00

Cumulative loss: 3.6 lbs.

Pounds to lose: 29.2

Comment: I skipped a lot of meals. Who'd think that would cause me to gain weight? I probably have some extra water weight right now, too (ladies, you'll undertsand).

Day 47 Week 7, Day 5 -- Mrs. F

I thought it was going to be a good relatively easy run today -- NOT! I got extra sleep since we were running later. The weather was warmer and it was a fairly nice day out. I felt good and ready to run. I was not prepared for how hard and miserable todays run would be.

I really cannot pinpoint any specific factor that gave me aha, thats why it was hard today. I did do some extra exercise yesterday ( I biked 5.8 miles yesterday) but I didnt seem sore or overtired by that. It wasnt overly cold, temps in the low 40s, not bad at all. I went to bed around 10 and got up 745. My baby was only up once, so not a bad night of sleep either. ITs sorta puzzling to me.

It just was hard. I took my sons watch with me today and that made it harder in some regards. I forced myself to not look at it for the first time until I reached the trail end to turn around. So i ran 1/2 mile to 7/10 of a mile in around 7 minutes. Not too shabby! I really felt like I was slogging thru it all. Just had to keep myself moving. At one point when I had turned back with Mr. F and hit the trail end again, I found myself walking 3 steps. AACK! I had to quickly get myself moving again. I had slowed down to be with Mr. F at his pace and my body responds with okay if you are going too slow, might as well walk.

Mr. F was particularly struggling today so I made some extra efforts to double back and encourage him. I noticed that as I turned running back to him, his pace quickened and he was moving a bit faster then.

The watch was helpful in the latter half of the run. It was more encouraging to see the halfway point and to look and figure out that I had 8 or 5 minutes left.

My breathing was okay today but I was running a much slower pace. I had no energy at the end to sprint with Mr. F . So I just continued on my slow and steady pace and finished up the workout. I felt okay in the last five minutes and the end but it wasnt until that point that any of the running felt good at all. I was thinking today and I thought I "liked" running, who am I kidding?

I am encourage though that Mr. F and I did it! We completed 7 weeks of running and that is no small feat. In the last 8 days we have done 100 minutes of running -- who knew we could do this? Im still amazed that I can run 25 minutes straight, miserable or not~!

Keep on running
Mrs. F

Day 47 (week 7) - a dreadful run

Since the kids are out of school and I have the day off from work, we decided to sleep in a bit and headed out for our run at about 8:15 AM. For me, it was a miserable run.

Getting out of bed and walking through the house, my knee felt mostly okay. I took extra time wrapping it today, being sure to make sure the wrap layers criss-crossed in front of my knee, to help minimize any rotation. I finished dressing, did some stretching, and headed out.

We were already on the trail before I realized that I hadn't started the podcast, so I got it going and noted that we'd be walking a bit further than on a normal day. Other than feeling dead tired and not wanting to run, the first part of the run was not too bad. My legs definately did not want to be up and running, but I reminded myself that more seasoned runners report that the first ten minutes are often miserable. My left knee was feeling okay. I could tell it was more agitated than it had been coming into the week, but I figured it wouldn't be too bad. Unfortunately, I figured wrong today.

My breathing was a bit more labored in the beginning, and it did not seem to settle into a rhythm until about eight minutes in. This is the first day I've had to pay attention to my breathing in a while, and it didn't make me feel more confident about today's run. While my breathing settled down, my fatigue level seemed to increase. I felt pretty good about my pace for the first third of our distance--I almost kept Mrs. F in sight through our turnaround point. As she circled back to meet me, I remember telling her, "I feel dead."

I had really wanted to stop during the first five minutes, but I managed to keep going. Now, as I reached our turnaround point, I found my internal dialogue saying, "Don't stop now. Just get to the half-way point." I kept going.

When I got to the half-way point, my knee was really starting to bother me, and it was affecting my stride. I so much wanted to stop and walk, knowing that I was already thinking about a sports medicine appointment, but my blasted stubbornness would not let me walk. Oh, how I wanted to walk!

Mrs. F circled back a few more times, but I don't really remember them clearly. I was struggling so much just to keep moving, that I could not pay attention that much. Afterwards, she said that she could see me speed up as she approached. I do know that her presence helps me feel like I can make it.

As the moments dragged on, my pace slowed. I watched Mrs. F's footfalls and shortened my stride to match her pacing. That helped for a bit. I tried running more on the fronts of my feet, as I would in a sprint. That definately felt better on my knee, but I could not maintain that for very long. I noticed that my right foot was rolling through each stride, but that my left was landing mostly flat and did not seem to be flexing much at all. It felt like I was trying to run with a peg leg.

At some points, my feet were barely leaving the ground. I could tell because they were scraping the trail as I moved them forward. I so wanted to walk. At one point, I just wanted to let me legs go and I wanted to collapse right on the trail. With everything I had, I concentrated on making sure I was landing with only one foot on the ground. I did not want to walk. I did not want to jog. I wanted to run. I don't know if I was successful at all times, but I have to believe that I was running, no matter how slowly, or how poor my form.

I was about 10m short of the road when the final minute was called--about 10m short of where we were on Wednesday at the same time. Even though I was miserable, I pushed myself to go faster. I abandoned my shorter stride and was determined to ignore my knee, even though I know that doing so could be really bad news. Yet, the faster I went, the better my legs felt. As I reached my sprint, I was at the end of my strength, but I kept going. I wasn't going to end this thing limping to our car. I wasn't going to fall down on the trail. I was going to finish this thing at a full-blow, all-stops-pulled run, and that's what I did. I'm nothing if not stubborn, but, for once, I was going to use that stubbornness to help me rather than to hold me back.

I've had a lot of history of not finishing things. Most often, they were times when I bit off more than I could chew, but I could not see that at the time. All I knew then was that things would get to be too much, and I would just walk away. After years of doing that, it became an unwritten script in my head. I began to expect that I would not finish things. Other than my marriage, which has been going strong for 16+ years (thank God), my mind is full of memories of things I failed to finish. My mind keeps trying to tell me that this will be just another one of those things, and I'm desperate to disprove that internal dialogue! If I'm deliberate in thinking on my past, I can find many things I carried through and finished, but those are not the memories that cloud my mind. The failures--those are the things that have embedded themselves in my thinking. They've shaped how I see myself, and I often fear I'll never be able to get away from them.

In the running discussions I've been frequenting, I've read so many others encouraging people to take a break, or repeat a week as needed. I've resisted that. I think it's because I fear failing--I fear not finishing this program. Yet, in the better parts of my mind, I know that it is not a failure that dictates who we are--it is whether we are willing to get up and try again. Perhaps my biggest fear is not that I will not finish, but that, should I not finish, that I would not have the strength to get up and try again.

This has been a very hard morning for me. I don't know how I can go on, but I must. I keep telling myself that I don't have a choice, but I do. I really do have a choice. I just keep saying that "I don't have a choice" because I'm afraid I won't make the right one. If I take away my choice, I take away failure as being an option. At least, that's the way my twisted mind works right now. I don't have a choice but to give myself no choice.

Do you know how much I want a Ho-Ho (or three) right now?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 46 - late entry - the bad knee

Well, I picked up my textbooks. When I got back home and went to sit down in my chair, my jeans gripped a bit as I bent to sit, and I got a flash of pain in the knee. I'm going to see what it's like in the morning, but am pretty sure I'm going to try to see the sports medicine practitioner at the local clinic tomorrow, if they have any same day openings.

I've been doing a bit more reading on running (mostly links from, and some reading on running-related injuries. I could not pigeonhole my particular symptom, but I did note many admonitions for new runners not to ignore pain--something seasoned marathon runners and other endurance runners often mention that they do. Those endurance runners can do it because they are more attuned to themselves, and are already working with their bodies in good condition. Someone like myself, on the other hand, a newbie, shouldn't risk it.

Mrs. F asked if I wanted to postpone our run to Saturday. My preference is to still give it a try tomorrow, so long as the knee is feeling pretty good when I get up and when wrapped. If anything, we might postpone until later in the day. I already know that we won't be out until closer to 7:30 AM, since there's no time press to get the kids off to school or me to work in the morning.

Aside from NSAIDs (like Ibuprofen), ice, and rest, what else can help a sore knee? Or does the answer really depend on the specific nature of the problem (e.g., tendinitis, worn cartilage)?

Day 46 (week 7) - drained

I had requested today and tomorrow off, coinciding with a couple of days off in our school system. Originally, I had plans for these days, but circumstances changed. While it started out as a nice, slow morning (even though I had to tie up some loose ends at work), I gradually developed a headache that just won't let go, and I'm finding myself with very little energy. I'm feeling drained. I'm hoping this is not the beginning of a cold--or worse.

Our eldest son came down with a fever last night. It's low grade, but has been rising. He's spent most of the day in his room, and we made him eat his meals apart from us, to keep from sharing. Our boy who was sick most of this week is finally well, and the other two who were showing some symptoms seem to be okay. Once something gets into the house, it usually makes the rounds. We're just working really hard to keep that from being the case this time.

My knee is sore again today. It's as if I pushed back the clock and am back where it was starting to get tolerable again. I'll double-wrap it in the morning. Mrs. F took a bike ride this afternoon and checked the distance on our primary segment of trail. Sure enough, it's a one mile segment, so we end up covering 2 miles with the return trip. She's also done some scouting ahead. If we also utilize the segment of trail we left when it got too dark, we'd have a 3.4 mile route, end to end. That would give us some room for a warm-up walk and yet leave us 5,000m for our runs. I'm sure it will be a while before we get to that level of endurance, but the day will come.

Right now, we're both scratching our heads about dinner, since the day slipped away. I need to sneak out and buy some graduate textbooks tonight, as I'm back in class again as of Monday. Otherwise, I hope to get to bed early and get some rest. I'm going to get up now, take some Sudafed to clear my sinuses, and some Ibuprofen for my headache. We'll see what the morning brings.

Day 46- Mrs. F

I have no persisting injuries to report -- woohoo!~

Im pretty sure though that the scale will not be kind to me tommorrow. I feel bigger and the at home scale has not been kind either. Sigh ... I really need to be more diligent in eating every meal. Too often I skip breakfast in lieu of coffee. If my typical fare for breakfast isnt available, Ill skip more often than eat something Im not fond of.

I have this crazy desire to get out and run today on the rest day. I think Im going to answer that with a short bike ride. I want to measure our route that we are running anyway and my bike computer will measure the distance.

I had some yummy salad for lunch full of lots of veggies. We watched the biggest loser and Mr. F said he couldnt quite buy mac/cheese and hot dogs after watching that! I wish the healthy good food wasnt so pricey!

Keep on running,
Mrs. F

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 45 (Week 7, Day 3) - Mrs. F

Despite feeling down and tired earlier, I was ready to run this afternoon. It was a bit challenging trying to figure out how to cook dinner and workout and all the fun that accompanies all that. I started cutting potatoes, not knowing exactly what time Mr. F would get home. I figured that even if I didnt have time to cook before our workout, at least the prepwork would be done.

When I checked the temp earlier in the day, it said 41 degrees with 34 degree windchill temp. I was expecting it to feel much colder than it did. Mondays workout, I almost felt too hot with my layering, so I went with one less layer today. I elected to ditch the 3/4 quarter sleeve cotton shirt. That worked out great, I was plenty warm and not too chilled in the beginning.

I tend to walk slower than Mr. F for our warmup walk. I figure its okay, since I speed up my pace when I run. So I trailed behind him a bit as we started. I started out with a stocking cap and leather gloves. It wasnt more than 3 or 4 minutes that I ditched the gloves. The hat quickly followed.

The beginning and middle of the run felt great! I had a little pain going down my right leg. It disapeared about as quickly as it appeared. At points I could just feel the difference in my stride. My feet hit the ground lighter as I was able to speed up the pace. Other times I definitely felt the slog of the run. My feet felt heavy and like I was shuffling the leaves along the trail. I reached the end of the trail, turned around and met mr F again. I then reran the way to the end of the trail and took the street to a side path and ran back to our orginal trail. This allowed Mr. F to get further along on the trail before I caught up to him again.

I had attempted to borrow a watch from my son and promptly left it in the car. I wanted it with to give me a better idea of how to pace myself. Its hard when you hit that wall, not knowing then how much time you have left.I suppose it could be worse too, if you check the watch and find you have 24 of the 25 minutes left -- lol!

The end of the run, roughly about the last 8 or 10 minutes were hard. I started developing a minor sideache in the right, thus my pace slowed. And as I slowed, it increased my desire to walk. I did keep plugging away but the mental battle was much harder at that point. I tried to concentrate on taking slow deep breaths( kinda impossible when you are already breathing hard). The side ache would come and go as I tried to work my way thru the trail. As I neared a corner in our trail, I heard Mr. F whistle. So I turned around and ran back to him at that point. So we were running together for a little while. I pulled ahead and tried to find my stride again. Once I reached our beginning point of the trail and turned around and headed back to Mr. F .

I should know by this point that I cant do things as Mr. F does. Today reminded me of the time in college when I tried to study as Mr. F does. He can just go to class and listen and get A's on the tests. Well to make a long story short, it didnt work and I majorly failed. I learned the hard way, that I need to actually study! Well today I tried to sprint with Mr. F during the last minute. He has a wicked fast sprint!!! I may run faster during the workout but I cannot keep up with him during the last minute sprint. I did try today and kept pace with him for 20 seconds and then I thought I might just die right there on the trail. I forced myself to keep running but my side was killing me and I could barely breathe! I can speed up at the end. I tend to be more strong and steady and slowly increasing my pace rather than a major jump in speed to a sprint. This is good to know about oneself.

No problems with shin splints as I thought might be starting last time. Leg muscles are sore as are my shoulders and arms. They are sore like I just had a good workout, kind of sore.

I am still amazed that I can run for 25 minutes and that I made it thru 7 weeks of this!

Keep on running
Mrs. F

Day 45 (week 7) - evening run

It has been one crazy evening! I got off work about 4:30 PM, an hour later than I had hoped. Getting home, I took in the quick news from the home front, including the updates on the sick ones, got changed, and managed to get out the door at just about 5 PM.

After our run, we stopped at the local grocery store and grabbed a couple of items, only to realize that neither of us had our cards with us (I only carry my license when I run). As we headed out the door, we realized that we needed to get our eldest son to the area high school for pep band. So, I dropped Mrs. F. at home, drove our son to the high school. When he came out to the car, he had my wallet with him, so I headed back to the grocery store after dropping him off. I picked up the items we set aside on our earlier visit, grabbed some bags of softener salt, and headed home.

As soon as I got through the door, Mrs. F informed me that our eldest son had called--pep band had been cancelled. So, back into the car I went; back to the local high school where I picked up our son and took him home. When I got home, I set about trying to unclog the kitchen sink, and I took over finishing off supper. With everything going on around here, I'm just amazed that we get out and run at all, morning or evening.

Okay, now that I got today's melodrama out of the way, let me get to reviewing today's run. It seems that the afternoon runs have been a little easier, at least as far as my legs being ready for them. Perhaps it's being more awake, or just the fact that I've been up and moving and that my body is warm. Even so, the first eight or so minutes of the run were hard. Almost immediately upon setting out I was fighting my internal dialogue that just wanted me to take a pass and go home. After all, I had already put in a full day of work... If you've ever tried to do something really hard, or something after a busy day, you probably know how that internal dialogue progresses.

So, I managed to tell that other part of me to "Sit on it!" and I kept going. I wrapped my leg a little differently today, since it had been bothering me less, and it seemed to be adequate when we began. Right off the bat, I was much happier with my pace today. Mrs. F was still able to pull ahead of me, but I didn't feel like I was fighting just to move at a decent pace, at least at the onset.

The first eight minutes were probably the hardest of the day, at least as far as the mental battle is concerned. After about the eight minute mark (I was listening to the podcast, so the time is just a guess--it might have been a little earlier or a little later), it was still hard, but it felt better. It was the one stretch where I got to relax a bit, mentally and perhaps physically. I remember looking to the lake, at the leaves on the ground, and at the trail ahead of me. Mrs. F was now way ahead, but it didn't bother me so much right then--I was running and all was good with the world.

We were back to our regular segment of trail today, so I was excited that I got to the far end and a good distance back before I heard the half-way point announced. It felt much more like last Friday (W6D3). Mrs. F had turned around and looped back to me once, and when we reached the end of the trail she took off to the side to make a loop through the park while I turned around and started back.

The half-way point came and went. I could tell it was getting a bit harder, and my left knee was starting to hurt, but I was still feeling pretty good.

Over the next few minutes, I really started to feel fatigue in my legs and my left really started to give me some grief. I concetrated on my stride. I was able to do a little to minimize the strain, but it was simply clear that the way I wrapped it was woefuly inadequate. I soon found myself fighting not to slip into that limping jog I had experienced two weeks ago. My pace slowed even more. I whistled and waved to Mrs. F so that she would loop back again. We were getting close to the point in the trail where I typically lose sight of her on the return, and that's a point that is always tough for me.

Her presence helped, but I was slogging so much that I was barely lifting my feet as I lurched forward in each stride. I asked her if I was even still running--it's almost as if my feet wanted to switch to walking, but my legs kept pushing them too far ahead--and she said that I was. I concentrated on lifting my feet more, and I forced myself to kick my heels further back. My pace improved slightly. I knew that our starting end of the trail would soon appear. While I was amazed that I had gone so far without hearing the final minute warning (we did not double back together today as we had done on Friday), I was also getting desperate to hear that final minute announcement.

It came right as we hit our starting point. Mrs. F was only a few steps ahead of me here, and we both quickened our pace a bit. After counting out approximately 15 seconds in my head, I pushed into a sprint--not as fast or free as the one I experienced on Monday, but a sprint all the same. I was tyring to hold a bit back, because I wanted to finish the last minute without slowing down. I picked a spot on the trail ahead of me and made it my finish line. As I reached it, there was no announcement, so I picked another spot ahead of me, and tried to push even more. As I reached it, the announcement came, my arms shot into the air, and I annouced the end to Mrs. F.

I knew I had pulled ahead of her, but I did not realize by how much until I turned around. She was, perhaps 10-15 meters behind me, her hand on her side, obviously from a side ache. I had pulled ahead of her, and I had finished the final minute in a sprint!

Our cool-down walk was slightly abbreviated, because we got back to our car before the time was up, but we were both happy with having finished another 25 minute run. As we began our drive home, we realized that we had run more than 75 minutes in less than a week (Friday through Wednesday)! That's just so amazing!

Because of the sickness going through the house and some other considerations, my plans for the weekend were cancelled. That means Mrs. F and I will be running together again on Friday morning. Since I will have the day off, we're planning to go out about an hour later, perhaps 6:30 AM, to benefit from the pending sunrise. I'll be back to wrapping my knee the other way, and I'm just glad I didn't seem to make it much worse (in how it feels now, a few hours later) with what I tried today.

I may never be able to run a seven minute mile, but I'm out there, being active, and working to lose a lot of weight. I hope that running becomes easier as my weight does go down, but I also hope that I'll have the perseverance required to get me that far. Weight check will be Friday morning, and I'm hoping to see a fair loss (perhaps a couple of pounds).

Well, that's it for now. We're going to sit down together and watch Heroes, and then, perhaps a little Eureka. Apart from that, I have a date with an ice pack and perhaps a cool bath.

A down day - Mrs. F

I'm feeling rather down today. Im not sure if its that I havent worked out yet, lack of sleep or stresses of life. Most likely, a comibination of all the factors is the culprit.

At around 2 am, we had a hamster cagebreak. So we were looking for some baby hamsters and the momma. Thankfully by morning, all but one have been found. That definitely impacted my sleep though.

And a busy plate of activities for yesterday has left me drained as well.

Im hoping todays workout will perk up my mood and encourage my spirits some.

Keep on running
Mrs. F

Day 45 - morning (pre-workout)

As noted last night, we'll be running late today. I'm just taking a moment to post a bit of news on the clothing front. This morning, I grabbed a pair of trousers I picked up a couple of years ago that didn't fit me at the time. I found them at a bargain price, and grabbed them thinking that I could use them as motivation toward losing some weight. Well, as time has shown, they did not serve to be much of a motivation. The size of those pants: 42.

When I started this program, I could comfortably wear pants with a 46" waist. I could wear some 44s below my belly, on my hips, but they were not very comfortable. Today, I looked at the tag in those trousers and said, "What the heck." After all, I noted that they had a stretchy expansion panel on the side. The worst that could happen was that I would need to grab another pair of pants, and that my hopes would have been diminished.

As it turns out, the pants slid on without any trouble. There was no binding in the legs, the seat felt fine, and the clasp closed on my waist. I checked the expansion panels. To my surprise, the were pulling a bit but still had plenty of give. I really have dropped 4" from my waist!

Feeling good about the trousers, I reached in and grabbed a mock turtleneck that I typically only wear under a sweater. I pulled it on and noticed that it actually hung off my shoulders and was not stretched tight around my chest and abdomen. What a feeling!

So, I'm headed off to work in my "new" outfit. I'm longing for the day when I'll be able to wear trousers in the 30s again (even 38 would be fine), because that means I'll finally be able to go into any store and be able to find my size in just about every style. That will be a grand day.

So, for now, it's off to work and then on to running this afternoon. I think I'm going to have a little extra spring in my step today.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day 44 - update and plans for Day 45

Our flu-stricken son won't be getting any medications. He was sent home with typical instructions of rest and fluids, despite the risk to our special needs child (not to mention the fact that our clinic sent us there specifically so he could get treated with Tamiflu). Well, we'll do the best we can with what we have.

I also need to be in to work early (i.e., before 7 AM) tomorrow, so we are postponing our Wednesday run until later in the day--likely sometime in the evening after our eldest son returns from cross country practice, since our eldest daughter is going on a trip with one of her friends.

There was good news on the cross country front: our eldest son qualified as an all-conference runner by placing in the top ten runners at tonight's conference meet. What was really exciting, however, was that two of his teammates (the same ones with which he had a near photo finish at an earlier meet) also placed in the top ten. The team did a fantastic job, and ranked as the second place team in the conference. Some of the boys were disappointed, however, because they missed taking the first place spot by two points! Had any two of their first five runners (the ones used for scoring) moved ahead just one position (or had one runner moved up two positions), they would have been the first place team. I'm pretty sure the guys who will be back next year will remember that lesson. Even so, they all ran a great race!

Day 44 (week 7) - dull ache and family illness

It's still hard to believe we're in Week 7. Overall, I feel pretty good, other than my left knee. It has gone from being something that pained me when walking, rising, or sitting to being a steady, dull ache.

That's not the main issue in the house, today, however. We had one boy come down with mild cold or flu symptoms last week, and he has fully recovered. Another son, however, started to get ill on Sunday and has steadily gotten worse. His fever has topped 103°F, has no appetite, and is lethargic. We called the local clinic, but they referred us to the emergency room. Mrs. F is headed there with him now. She's also taking along our special needs toddler, who just started developing a fever, but has a history of going from healthy to extremely ill in a matter of hours. We're hoping that both will be given Tamiflu, but we have no guarantees.

If kids are still sick as we approach Thursday, I will cancel my plans for the weekend. That may allow Mrs. F and me to run together on Friday, but even that will depend on how well everyone is around here.

Day 44 - Mrs. F

I'm feeling pretty drained today. I really hope Im not getting sick. A couple of the kids are down with fevers and flu-like symptoms.

Body is doing okay, although my lower back is giving me trouble this morning. Muscles feel okay and the shin split on the left leg feels fine right now.

Its harder for me to get excited to run in the cold weather. I really dont enjoy being cold. Its harder to get moving and going, even though I know once IM running, ill feel warm.

I am still on the hunt for a treadmill. The plan is to run outside as long as possible until the snow/ice/weather forces us indoors. Then, we are hoping to have found a treadmill that will be able to continue our workouts.

It was exciting yesterday to go into our local pharmacy and talk with our pharmacist. She is doing the couch to 5k, after being inspired by our doing this as well as another worker there. I love seeing the effects stretching far beyond our circle of people! I am still amazed that indeed in 7 weeks, I can run 25 minutes.

Looking forward to my sons conference meet this evening. I changed my bet to him, that if he beats his personal best (18:55) I will run 2 minutes with him. And if he beats it by 30 seconds or more, I will run 5!

Keep on running
Mrs. F

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day 43 Week 7 Day 1 (Mrs. F)

I was tired, it was cold, it was snowing and I did not want to get up and run today. In the past, days like today would have been the ones where I put it off until another day. And then keep putting it off until the habit was firmly dead. Im pleased to say with Mr. F's help, I did not put off todays run!

I could feel the effects of too little sleep and too much junk food from this weekend. So it was hard to start and hard to get moving. For the first five minutes, the desire to walk was really really strong! It took every once of willpower I had to not walk and to deliberatly up my pace. If I run too slowly, it increases my desire to walk. So I need to be at a reasonable pace. And Im not running very fast by far but I need to be moving.This morning, I just didnt have the energy to get moving.

Slowly I increased my pace and the run was better. Still hard but better. Mr. F's announcement that we were more than halfway really surprised me. The first part had drug on so slowly that I figured I had tons of running yet to do.

I spent some time doubling back, per Mr. F's request. I would run ahead of him aways and then turn around, run back toward him and when I reached him, turn back the direction he was going. So I may have covered a bit more distance this way and it encouraged Mr. F -- a win win.

When Mr. F announced the last minute, I was super surprised. Since we had started further along the trail, we were nowhere near the same distance point we normally are at this juncture. So I sped up steadily. Mr. F whizzed on by me (he has a wicked sprint) and then slowed down again. So since i had kept my increased pace steady I was able to finish ahead of him still.

All in all a good run. I have a bit of shin splints starting on my left leg and my muscles are sore. But Im just going to try and take it easy on the rest days and let my body recooperate.

Keep on running
Mrs. F

Day 43 (week 7) - 25 minutes midst downy flake

Well, it's not as if I can claim that today was my first 25 minute run, since that's what we did last Friday. We can, however, note that it was our first run in the snow. We have a full winter weather advisory in effect here, and are likely to have up to 4" by the end of the day. It started snowing during the pre-dawn hours, and by the time we hit the trail, there was already an inch or more on the grassy areas and on some parts of the trail.

This was also my first morning out in my new moisture-wicking polyester and spandex leggings. Isn't it amazing that a fabric tht was so maligned during the 1970s, polyester, has become a primary component in many modern tech-friendly garments? Even more amazing was that I was able to buy a men's XL garment rather than an XXL one, and that's the first time I've been able to do that in about 14 years!

In the aftermath of the morning run, I feel pretty good. The run itself, however, was difficult for me. The shock of the cold during the first few moments was hard to overcome, and I just could not muster the same sustained pace as I had on Friday. For some reason, when we arrived at the trailhead, I was thinking that we were increasing our run time, so we started our warm-up walk headed the other direction down the trail. When it ended, we reversed directions and began our run.

As has been the case on these longer runs, Mrs. F spent most of the time well ahead of me. Only during the first five minutes or so, while she was warming up, was I able to keep pace with her. My double-wrapped knee held out pretty well until near the end, but I'll touch on that in a bit.

Running in the snow presented some challenges. As someone who wears eyeglasses, the precipitation caused them to become unusable not long into the run. As the glasses cooled, and I exhaled into the low, cold breeze, my breath also fogged them up. I ended up taking them off and carrying them in my hand for the rest of the run.

The second challenge had to do with my feet. There was just enough of the wet, sticky snow on the trail for some of it to end up on the top of my shoes on the toe-end. Of course, some of it melted and got my feet wet. Thankfully, I was wearing the socks the folks at Asiscs sent me, and they seemed to wick away most of the moisture. My toes did not begin to feel really cold until after our run was done.

Even though going the other direction for our warm-up walk meant we ran back that distance before starting along our regular path, I could still tell that I covered much less ground. I was going at a very labored pace much earlier, and the half-way announcement came while I still had much trail left ahead of me. Pushing past the half-way point, the front of my left leg, just above my ankle started to cramp up a bit. I played with my pace and pushed on. It stayed like that until I caught sight of Mrs. F, who doubled back for me after reaching the end of this segment of trail. She did much doubling back this time at my request. I just have a much harder time continuing on when she is completely out of sight.

Although I knew I should probably turn around at that point, I was determined to make it to that end of the trail. I slogged on, eventually reaching it before turning back around. We were probably only half-way back along the trail when the final minute announcement came. Mrs. F was well-ahead of me again, but I wanted to finish strong. Whereas I felt exhausted just seconds before, I suddenly found myself flush with adrenaline. I sped up to a full sprint, feeling myself now running only on the balls of my feet and on my toes. I was surprised by how quickly I caught and overcame her, especially since she was pushing hard, too. I sprinted a distance ahead of her and then had second thoughts about being able to maintain the pace through the whole of the final minute. I slowed my pace again, and she soon came by me. Seconds later, the podcast announced the end of the run. I could have kicked myself. I was afraid I had most of that final minute left, when, in reality, I had sprinted for about 45 seconds. Perhaps next time I'll be able to finish that final minute in a full sprint. The feeling of the run while sprinting is so different from the rest of the run. It almost feels like flying.

As soon as we resumed walking, we realized how far we yet had to go to get back to our car. My decision to start going the other direction today cost us an extra five minutes of running during a cold morning snowfall. We quickly re-donned our hats, and Mrs. F put her gloves back on. I zipped my vest shut. Now that we had slowed, we would lose our heat more quickly. Now I noticed that the toes of my right foot were cold. As we continued along, they began to feel colder. At one point, to help shorten the time it would take us to get back to the car, I sped back to a run for a few moments, and the burst of activity helped me to feel warmer again. I could really feel how breathable the shoes really are, however, as those light, meshed surfaces quickly had me feeling the cold again.

I'm hoping that we get a bit of a thaw before Wednesday morning. If it stays cold, our tracks in the trail will freeze (along with any others who are out and about on it while it it still wet). Having frozen track on the trail would make it much more treacherous than just a coating of snow. I've done some looking at treadmills online, but we're still not sure if we want to take that plunge. Neither of us really likes the idea of running on the road, but that might be our only real option once winter really settles in.

Well, I need to get changed so I may bike to work. I'll soon need to swap my tires out for a set of studded ones I got for my birthday. I should be fine for today, however, as the snow is not sticking much to the roads right now.

Day 43 - Waking

Well, it's snowing right now. I have a few moment to type before I run this morning because my sugar levels were too low this morning--I was feeling hypoglycemic. I toasted a piece of bread and slathered some peanut butter on it, and took it down with some water. I'm hoping that bit in my stomach won't make for a tough run this morning.

I'll be back later to post after our run in the snow.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day 42 - Getting ready for Week 7

I'll echo what Mrs. F wrote. While it was great to catch up with an old friend, I'm feeling the impact of shorter nights of rest, too. My left knee still hints at the trouble I had over the past couple of weeks, but it's not too bad. I'll still wrap it in the morning, just to play it safe.

The forecast for tonight and into the morning is actually for the first winter storm of the season. We're expecting up to 1"-2" of snow by morning, and perhaps 3" by the afternoon. We're still planning to run outside. I picked up a set of wicking compression leggings this afternoon, to help keep my legs warmer. I'm hoping that warmer legs will translate to a little less muscle strain as we run. Anyway, here is the plan for this week:

Week 7
  • 5 minute warm-up walk
  • 25 minute run
That's it. Basically, from here on out it's run, run, run.

Things are a little too crazy here for me to write any more right now. We'll see what the morning brings.

Day 42 (Mrs. F)

Im tired. Late nights with company in town are fast catching up to me. No real pain just some minor muscle aches. Im hoping to hit bed early tonite. Its really easy to increase your sleep debt and really hard to get caught back up!

I still cannot believe that I have completed 6 full weeks of this program. I hated running and now I find myself "wanting" to run. How crazy is that! I find myself telling anyone and everyone who will listen to my story. Im excited and i love sharing how this really has changed my outlook on running.

Its even more amazing to me that I have inspired others to start this journey. I couldnt even have dreamed of that occuring from something I started.

This will be the first week that Mr. F and I will be running apart on one day. He will be out of town on Friday, so we will both complete our workout on our own. The good part is its a timed run rather than intervals, so it shouldnt be hard to keep track of time with a borrowed watch. Although it just seems harder to accomplish on my own.

Week 7, here I come~
Keep on running,
Mrs. F