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, July 17, 2010

I still can't believe this is possible

Well, it wasn't the best week as far as consistency goes--I missed one run and ate too much one day [Dang you office donuts! Dang you!]--but still got my long run in today.  That's what I can't believe--that I'm able to run these distances of five miles or more.

Today's run was pleasant overall, save for the final three-fourths of a mile, which was tough.  Mrs. F and I started with a half-mile warm-up walk, and then began our runs out toward the Luce Line Trail, headed west.  She pulled away from me early on, but that was fine.  She was working on seven miles, and I was just hoping to complete five.  The way I figured it, she'd catch up to me near the end of my run, since we both were doing an out-and-back route.

Mrs. F was carrying her Garmin, so I only had a watch with me.  From my earlier long run on this stretch, I knew approximately where the 2.5 mile point was (though it would only be 2.0 today, since we walked the first half-mile), and I hoped to go beyond that point through the next segment of the trail.  Also knowing that my last five mile time was 82 minutes, I planned to run just a little longer, shooting for a full 90 minutes.

At about the one mile mark, things started to feel pretty good.  Breathing was easy and my stride was slow but steady. Unfortunately, that's when the lens popped out of my prescription sunglasses.  I stopped and stepped back a few steps to pick up the lens, slipping it into my pocket before hanging the sunglasses from the sternum strap of my CamelBak. It took me a little time to find my stride again, but I settled in quite nicely.  It was early, just around 7 AM, but the air was already muggy and the sun demonstrated its power by baking against my back.  Along with my ball cap today, I wore a bandanna over my head and hanging over my neck and ears.  I wore it to help keep the bugs off me, but I was glad that it also was keeping the sun off the back of my neck.

The trail moved by quickly.  In the wooded areas, the angle of the sun left long shadows from the trees along the north side, providing some shade.  Of course, the shade was not without cost--clouds of gnats and mosquitoes waited in ambush.  As I passed through the clouds of bugs, I breathed in through my nose and out through my mouth, to keep myself from getting an unwanted snack.  Mrs. F reports no problems with bugs on the trail, but I must be slow enough for them to lock on.  Still, my bandanna did its job, and kept me from swatting at bugs on my neck and in my ears.  There was one persistent deer fly, however, that kept buzzing my head--more of a nuisance than anything.

Timing was right.  I crossed the first crossroad and still had time before my arbitrary turnaround at the 45 minute mark.  I moved onward at a higher pace, wanting to reach some notable feature to aid my mapping when I returned home.  I reached the next cross street at the 45 minute mark, allowing for a good turnaround point.

The next mile and a half was just amazing.  It's as if my legs were telling me "we know what to do" and I let myself speed up.  I don't know how fast I was moving, but my pace and stride were more similar to those final stretches where I try to kick things up a notch.  My stride was longer, and smooth, and the trail was just flying by me.  The slight breeze was in my face since the turnaround, and it felt wonderful.  I don't know what pace I logged on that stretch, but I know I finished the return trip five minutes faster than the outgoing trip.

Now, as I approached the final mile, things got tough.  It was uphill, and it brought me back out onto a gravel road in full sun.  I felt myself slow to that familiar slog, and I looked ahead at the three inclines that remained ahead of me.  [I just realized that I made that five minute improvement going uphill on the return when I had been going downhill on the outbound trip.]

Mrs. F caught up to me when we had about three-fourths of a mile left.  She was still going faster than me, and I felt myself slowing, but as she ran alongside she said I was running a 14:30mm pace. How fast was I going just before?

The final quarter of a mile was tough.  Though I intended to do a full 90 minutes, I opted to end at 5.5 miles.  Mrs F told me that the road where I turned around was 2.75 miles from our starting point, so I knew how far I had gone.  I kept moving, and finished in 1:24:37.  I squeezed in that extra half mile in an extra two minutes, so I knew my pace was better: just under 15:23.  On the outbound half, my pace was 16:22mm, though, and only 14:24mm on the return.  And that was an uphill return!

It was a really good run! Now I just need to make sure I'm running three times a week.


  1. That is so awesome! A year ago, did you ever conceive that you'd be running more than 5 miles?!

  2. Nicely done! Mr...your mileage growth is impressive...Keep it up!

  3. A year ago I wasn't sure I would be able to complete a 5k!


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