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

Monday, May 24, 2010

15 Minute Mile

Saturday morning, Mrs. F convinced me to go for a run.  It was my first run in close to six months. The treadmill we bought has a belt-slippage problem, so it hasn't been used.  We know what needs to be done to test it so we can get warranty service, but until the last week or two, I've been tied up with my grad studies and have not been available to help Mrs. F complete the test.

It was only one mile.  I likely could have held on for more, but I spent most of the first half mile trying to get control of my breathing, and I was ready to be done before we even hit the half mile mark.  On the way back, Mrs. F had to jog in place to stick with me at times, and she asked me if I wanted to walk some.  Stubborn as I am, if I was out for a run, I was out for a run. I slogged through the entire mile, and Mrs. F's Garmin Foreruner told her that I had completed it at a 15 minute mile pace. Not bad for a fat old dog who has been sitting in his room reading books and writing papers for what seems like forever.

Actually, she said I started at an 11 minute mile pace, and slowed from there.  When I get my stamina back, I might even surprise myself.

Okay, it wasn't just agreeing to go with her on the run, either.  I don't remember what bargain we struck the night before, but when I asked her to do something, she replied, "Only if you agree to run with me in the morning." I need to watch what I agree to when I'm tired.  ;-)

Speaking of bargains, Marie has been trying to bait me back into the health and fitness thing (I've not even ridden my bike to work since we hit a particularly cold stretch this winter).  She offered that, if I can get to my goal weight, I can get a motorcycle.  At first, I thought she was kidding, but she's made the offer numerous times over the past couple of months.  Before some of you go off on how dangerous motorcycles can be, let me just say that I'm aware of the risks of riding an open-air vehicle at highway speeds.  Had I gotten a motorcycle when I was in my 20s, I would have been afraid for me.  As I am today, I'm much less inclined to be reckless--there's no one I want to impress, and I have plenty of reasons why I want to stay injury free (not the least of which is knowing that one good accident would mean that the motorcycle woiuld go bye-bye).

At first, the thought of a motorcycle really didn't motivate me at all.  As the weeks have worn on, however, that little voice in the back of my head is saying, "Why not? You can do that." Perhaps I can.

I didn't weigh on Friday, but I did weigh at home on Saturday morning: 285.6.  Thankfully, I've held at this plateau without losing too much ground.

It's not that my first run in a while went off without a hitch.  I don't know if it is just starting again after so long, or the run coming so soon after all that time carrying our gear up in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, but I really had some discomfort in the time after the run.  Of course, my legs were starting to feel like Jello when I finished, but I really feel the strain in my quads.  Then there was the back pain.  On Saturday evening, Mrs. F and I made four batches of Hudson Bay Bread, and that left me standing and bending (for the lower oven) a lot.  By the time we were done, I was too sore to stand.

Hudson Bay Bread, by the way, is definitely not a low-calorie food.  It's basically ground oats, brown sugar, butter, honey,  and molasses.  We make some varieties with nuts and dried fruit as well.  It was one of the foods we took with us to the Boundary Waters on our canoe trip, and since we signed up for snack at our church fellowship for the weekend after we returned, we thought it would be a fun treat to share with others.

Taking time to follow this rabbit trail, I'll admit that making it re-awakened some of my entrepreneurial leanings.  We figured that, if it was well received, we could look into renting some food-grade kitchen space to make a few batches for samples and sale.  I know someone who has a website through which he sells camping gear (aimed primarily at canoe trekkers), and I've seen a number of inquiries online from people who have searched for places to buy Hudson Bay Bread, so I thought it might be a good fit.  Getting ready for this canoe trip also had me working on a design for a lightweight, packable, wood-burning stove, but that has not gone past the drawing stage (though I do have a friend who is a design engineer working up the sketches in AutoCAD). Thus, I've obviously had some time beyond my studies, but allocating time is always easier when you enjoy what you're doing.

When I first completed the Couch-to-5k program, I can't say I really enjoyed running.  There were a few runs that felt great, but it never became the butter to my bread as it seems to have become for Mrs. F.  She'll be the first to admit that it hasn't been easy for her by any means, but running did seem to "click" for her (I'll let her post as to whether or not I characterized that correctly).  Of course, it probably helps that, since she was able to stick with it better than was I, she's seen a bit more of a return on her labor: she's looking great.  It might not make sense to most of you, but while I'm glad for her success, it also makes me feel worse about my inability to keep going.  I try to focus on the former (being happy for her success) without dwelling too much on the latter.  She's able to run with another friend in town now, and she's talking about 10k races, half-marathons, and even mini-triathalons.  All the while, I was just realizing how much my mind really is a one-track mind: when I got into running, that's all I cared about.  When school started up again, that's all I could do.  As our BWCA trip got closer, it was the only thing on my mind.  Now that the trip is over, school is nearly done, and a motorcycle is being dangled in front of me, my mind might be realigning to return to running/fitness as its focus-du-jour.

Now, if I could only remember to brush my teeth every day...


  1. You can do it!! What a great prize you will get in the end :)

  2. I need to remember that the real prize will be being healthy and living long enough to enjoy my family and any stuff we might have.

  3. I was just wondering about you guys the other day, thinking that I hadn't read an update in a while. Glad that Mrs F has continued on her trek after C25K and that you may be getting back on the bandwagon. Some times you just need to put things on hold for a bit--I'm like you--I can't concentrate on more than one thing at once. If you get in a groove with running, maybe it will become more like brushing your teeth and not so much a chore to fit in every day.

    PS--I finished C25K, completed a half marathon, and STILL don't love running. Sometimes you just do what you have to do to stay fit and healthy.

  4. I haven't been around for a while. It is hard after C25K. You wonder, now what? I too started running again on a regular basis and trying to hit the gym with hubby. But I have many of the same things going on in my head. My first goal weight that I want to reach is still more than my hubby weighs and he feels he is over weight at 162. So going with to the gym poses it's own challenges.

    I am glad you are back to running and go Mrs. F! I see a bike in your future.


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