Here's the skinny: I've been near 300 lbs. for years and need to lose weight. I'm married to a wonderful lady, and we have a family. One of our boys often asks if I'll run with him. I've always had to tell him, "No." In August of '09, my wife learned about a couch-to-5k running program, and I agreed to try it with her. This blog chronicles our progress on that training program. I hope I'll soon be able to surprise my son by telling him, "Yes, I'll go running with you!"

Friday, November 27, 2009

Post Thanksgiving Day and Pushups

Well, today was the day after Thanksgiving, and I'm thankful that I had the day off.  We woke up early--4 AM--to get in some Black Friday shopping today.  It's the first time we've done it in a number of years.  We knocked off a bunch of our gift shopping during the year through clearance purchases and our regular monitoring of bargain websites, so we didn't have a hard and fast list for the day.  The way we approached it was with a number of door-buster items noted, but we'd be fine if we didn't get any of them.  We figured it was some time together, for Marie and me.

Overall, that went well.  We got plenty of walking in, and got some good deals.  We were home before lunch, and the kids had kept the house in decent shape, so we decided we'd all go out to the budget theater to see G-Force.  It was a fun film!

The later afternoon had me feeling exhausted.  I couldn't concentrate enough on my reading to get my final chapters done, and I ended up falling asleep in my chair.  The rest of the evenign went well, too. I don't have any aches or pains from yesterday's race, and that's a good thing!

Right now, it's going on 9:30 PM, and everyone is already in bed, including Mrs. F.  I stayed up a bit later to get my pushups in.  It's W2D2 for me,  I did a total of 53 pushups tonight, in five sets (10-12-9-9-13).  The final set (13) was the minimum required for that set, but I really had to strain to finish it, so I'm happy with that set.  My next workout will put me 1/3 through this six week program.  The earlier sets tonight were surprisingly easy.  The fourth was tough, but not horrible.  The final one really required some fighting to get through it.  Instead of collapsing near the end, I paused in my up position a couple of times (after the ninth and twelfth), and was able to finish them all.  I'm waiting to be able to see some of the benefits in my chest; some benefit is already visible in my shoulders (deltoids).

Anyway, I'm going to take this opporunity to get to bed early.  I'm glad tomorrow is a Saturday and work free.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Tagalong and this weeks catchup!

It got busy towards the end of the week and blogging took a back seat. I did get out and run on tuesday evening. I ran a slow 2 miles. That was a tough run for me. Not eating well, not having anything but coffee to drink and extra life stress took a big hit on me. Im just glad I was able to persevere and get out there anyway.

I decided, to do the weight check yesterday(Wed), mostly so I dont have to deal with it on Friday. Mr. F and I plan to get some time out shopping on Black Friday. Although after seeing the results of the scale, I may yet see if Friday offers me any better numbers. It was bad, like train wreck kind of bad. I gained 1.9 lbs!! I have not been tracking this week at all-- big mistake. Second factor is lack of sleep. Both Sunday and Monday, I was up until almost 1 am. Add in drinking more diet soda, less water. And the final straw was the stress of the week. I was so discouraged with everything last night, that I was ready to give up. Not so much on the running, but on the trying to lose weight.

Thankfully, some sleep last night and a good race today gave me a different perspective. I elected that Thanksgiving was not going to be the day to get back on track. Although,Im pleased to report that I couldnt finish my plate for dinner or dessert. Last year I would have eaten that and more. So baby steps. Tommorrow, I plan to start tracking again in my daily plate. Its far too easy to eyeball it and say you are counting. When in reality, you are not.

Wrapping up the week was our Turkey Tagalong. I wasnt sure what to expect. After all, I was up late making pumpkin pies and strawberry jello. I got into a disagreement with Mr. F and the kids werent cooperating either. All that the night before the race wasnt very helpful. I got up this morning, feeling rested somewhat but sore. I was a bit worried, since the sides of my legs were hurting. I thought well IM going to get out there anyway. Im really glad I did. I had an excellent race. The 3 big hills were tough but not unconquerable. There were not a lot of runners but the bulk of the pack took off fairly quickly. I kept reminding myself that i wasnt here to beat so and so. I was here for me. I was here to beat my own time and not worry bout passing that runner up ahead.

That being said, I did pick out someone ahead and work on running. Sort of like, there is my goal person. It just helped me keep moving, although I wasnt speeding up really. This race was far more informal, so I have no idea where I placed in the group of runners. It wasnt chip timed, they just used a stopwatch. My time though was 34:48!!!!! That is a full 40 seconds faster than my first 5k. I was extremely proud of myself. It really was a fun race. Im already making plans for our entire family to run/walk next year. I figure those that dont like to run, can walk with the stroller and littles!

My son took 2nd place. He missed first by one second. A 40 yr old marathon runner beat him! He ran with a 20:07 and beat his cross country coach who placed 3rd! It was fun seeing some of his teammates running today as well.

All in all, an okay week. Im glad I got out and ran a 5k today. I need to start a change jar to support my 5k running habit! Ive gotten bit by the running bug.

Keep on running,

Mrs. F

Turkey Tagalong - Completed

Well, we finished our second 5k today.  The course had a number of large hills, but it was not quite like the roller coaster we experienced a couple of weeks ago at our first race.  It was, at the same time, a bit more fun and a little more intimidating to be running with people we know and people who know us.  A number of runners from the cross country team were there, as well as the coach and his wife. We also saw someone from our church, and a number of other somewhat familiar faces from around town.

For me, the first mile was the worst.  Between having done my pushups last night, being up late, and it being very cold this morning (at or below the freezing point), the first mile was simply misery.  From being up early this morning and working our our turkey and other preparations, my back was already sore before we left. Needless to say, my lower back and pelvis were sore by the time I got up the first hill.

This was an inaugural run.  We weren't quite sure how many to expect, but there was a good turnout! As before, I didn't finish last (though I was the last runner), and I didn't place on an ambulance.  Time keeping was a lot less formal here.  They timed me at 42:23, which is 10 seconds slower than my first race, but I'm starting to wonder if our numbers at Chaska were accurate.  I definately finished ahead of my prior pace based on my playlist.  Going by my playlist (which was easy for the Turkey Trot, since it switched to a new song right as I crossed the finish line), I actually finished that prior race in 42:53.  I finshed 15-30 second earlier today, according to my playlist.

Either way, I have no complaints.  Given my weight, my age, and my status as a newbie, I'm pleased with my numbers.  Our son placed second overall.  He was passed in the final seconds by a 40-year old marathon runner. Our son didn't have enough reserves to push any harder at that point.  Mrs. F definately improved her time, but I'll let her tell you about that later.

Apart from the start, the hardest part of this run was in the final few tenths of a mile.  The route had us running toward the finish line area, only to find out that we needed to go by (it was on an intersecting street) and run another block up before turning, running a couple of blocks down, and then rounding our way back to the finish. I had already started pushing it once the finish line was in sight, so it was hard to pace down and keep on running.  I still had enough in reserve to sprint to the finish, though, and that felt pretty good.

I allowed myself to run faster down the hills today.  I relaxed a bit and let my stride stretch out. I watched for any pain in my knees, but none came.  I found returning to a regular stride after a downhill was tough.  Going immediately into an uphill, however, was even tougher.  I did agitate my right shin quite a bit during the race, but my left knee held well. Overall, it was a good race.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Race tomorrow, second thoughts, and pushups

Well, it's official.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and we will be running our second 5k in as many weeks.  Right now, as it is already two hours past when I wanted to be in bed, with a turkey that is still too frozen to dress and get in the oven (we traditionally sear the bird and then turn down for a long, slow roast), I'm wondering why were were so crazy as to sign up for a race on Thanksgiving morning.

Only our eldest son will be running with us tomorrow.  The rest will stay at home, the younger ones in the care of the remaining elder ones.  The race is early, so they'll spend a good chunk of our absent time eating breakfast and playing.  We'll be back before they'll have a chance to get too antsy.

I started Week Two of the One Hundred Pushups Challenge tonight.  My sets were 9-11-8-8-(min. 11).  I collapsed during my 10th pushup during the final set, but after a few quick breaths, I got up and did three more, so I'll count that as 12. That means I did 48 pushups tonight.  That's amazing considering the fact that I only managed six (6) during the pre-program exhaustion test.

We did preliminary weigh-ins today, just in case the clinic is closed on Friday, and it looks like I'm up a pound.  I'll really need to watch myself tomorrow.

Good night, all, and Happy Thanksgiving!

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!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

One hundred pushups - Week 1 completed

I just finished the final day of my first week of the One Hundred Pushups challenge.  I did 42 in total between all my sets, with a maximum of 10 in my final set.  I had forgotten just how much I can dislike pushups!

I did not get out running this weekend.  Our kitchen sink broke--leaking cracks in both basins--so I lost some hours yesterday dealing with a run to Menards and the other shopping we needed to get done while we were in Hutchinson.  Then my grad school work ate the rest of my day, as well as most of today.  I just finished my paper for this week about an hour ago, but I decided to take a zero on the preceding week's paper.  I had gotten permission to turn it in late, but I just did not have the time to write it while I was simply struggling to get the current assignments done.  Technically, I don't even have all of the reading done for this week.  My essay was on one specific text, so the other book was only general reading for the week.  That puts me at a six chapter deficit going into this week, and, althought in includes the Thanksgiving holiday, we have no break from class.  That's one of the things I really despise about this college's online courses.  The on-campus classes get breaks for holidays, but the online classes don't.

I had really wanted to run, but just could not set aside any more time. Had the sink not given out, I would have had time for the run.

Mrs. F is going to be doing a little extra work this week.  She's going to be emptying our bedroom so we can paint it.  One of the stops we made on Saturday was to pick out a new mattress, as ours is the only one in the house that has not been replaced recently. In fact, we've had ours for over 13 years--and it shows! We also opted to get our first ever new bedroom set. You didn't think we'd paint just for a mattress, do you? If we manage to get everything other than the bed out of the room (and the closet) by next weekend, it can be painted. Of course, I'm likely to be tied up with homework, but the prof did promise a lighter courseload this week.

Oh, well.  I need to get moving. I need to send an email message out to the other Scout families about a change in our meeting location for this week.  That was a set of phone calls I was supposed to make this afternoon--another thing left undone due to my schoolwork. [Sigh.]

OHR - Day 3 Mrs. F

I took a different route today. I started walking from home and then running. The nice part about starting from home is you have to keep going until you get back home. You cant cheat if you get tired lol!

The different route gave me some different scenery and was a nice change of pace. The weather wasnt as nice as yesterday but still not bad. Mostly cloudy with a little bit of wind.

Neither of my sons could find their watch, so I really dont have an idea of time. I know though for distance, I did about a 5k. Mr. F and I had mapped out this other route with the car. It was about 1.6 out and 1.6 back. So I know I got a good 3 miles in. The first part of the run just felt slow and heavy. It took a good ten minutes to find my stride. After that, it was still challenging but I picked up my pace a bit.
I even had enough steam to sprint up a hill near my house!!!

I tried on some goal pants that tucked away for a couple of years now. I actually got into a pair of size 12's! I still cant wear that size in all clothing -- I have a ways to go for that yet. Im very excited though to be able to get into the start of that size!!!

Keep on running
Mrs. F