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, June 26, 2010

The FatMan Runneth

It's been a month since my last run, and that one was only a mile.  At the end of it, I felt deflated and defeated. It seemed that all the progress I made last fall under the Couch-to-5k program had been undone. I wondered if I could ever get active again, despite all the encouraging comments I received here.

Well, over the past month, Mrs. F has been walking a fine line between encouraging me and nagging me about running.  There's always been a reason not to run (e.g., up too late, need to get in to work early, headache, too hot, too many mosquitos, general malaise), so when she asked again last night, I was ready to blow it off again.  "After all," I reasoned, "I need to finish my final paper, and I really need some sleep because it's been a long week at work and a stressful week at home.

To my surprise, when I woke at six o'clock this morning, I found myself waking up our eldest son to watch the kids so that Marie and I could go running.  I guess I just took action this morning before I could think my way out of it.

It's been hot and humid lately, so I was pleased to find it in the low- to mid-60s when we left.  The air was thick with mosture--fog clung close to the earth.  It's my first summer run, so I wasn't sure what to wear.  I went with a pair of compression boxer briefs and a pair of swim trunks for shorts, and a light tech shirt for on top.  Knowing that I hoped to go more than a mile today, I grabbed a toy I picked up over the intervening months--a CamelBak resevoir--and took it along.

Remembering my last run, and the fact that I started out way too fast, I told Mrs. F that I wanted to pace at about 14 or 15 as we set out.  My route was entirely new today, as I've never run along the roads in town before. I'm starting to think that Biggest Loser has done a lot for altering people's perspectives.  Somehow, seeing that show available every week acclimates those "normal" or "healthy" body types to seeing a fat guy like me out there trying to make a difference.  Well, that, at least, was how I rationalized things.  I guess it (though I don't watch it regularly) has made me feel more comfortable about being seen as a fat guy trying to make a change.

The first half-mile was just what I expected--grinding against the machine.  My body and mind were asking "Why?" and they weren't interested in my reasoned and logical responses. Mrs. F started ticking off milage, but I asked her not to do so--it was too early in the run.  I didn't want to give my mind more fuel for fighting me. We began on an uphill stretch.  When she did announce that we finished the first half-mile, I was still fighting to call the shots in my body.  I wasn't as sore as I was on my last run, but I was still working to regulate my breath and to keep my arms relaxed.  At that point, I determined that I had to try for two miles.

Mrs. F was being kind.  She stuck close, and even ran backwards so she could stay with me.  Perhaps three-fourths of a mile in, I told her to go ahead and take a loop through a subdivision while I continued ahead and to the right.  I knew she wouldn't have a problem catching back up to me, and I didn't feel right holding her back.

She made her turn and I set my face on making it the two or three blocks to my next turn.  Somewhere on that stretch, things settled in a bit.  When I made the turn, I had to head down a fairly steep grade for about a block, and I let my stride lengthen as I tried to relax further.  Coming up the next hill wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

I made it back to the street where we were to rendezvous, and I looked for signs of Mrs. F.  Part of me wondered if she had completed her loop, cut across, and gotten ahead of me.  I quickly set it out of my mind as I began to notice something.

My body remembered.

Yes, after six months puncuated by only a single mile of running, my body remembered how to run and it found its stride. I didn't have a runner's high, and it's not as if it didn't require any effort.  It's just that everything felt fine.  I was happy with my pace, I had no aches or pains, and my breathing was not labored.

Soon after, Mrs. F caught up to me and informed me of our distance.  I don't know if she thought I'd want to turn around or not.  I found myself thinking about running home.  After all, two miles was a big improvement over last time.  Yet everything seemed right, so I decided to keep going for as long as I could.

We ran along the lake front promenade, and I enjoyed the chilled breeze that came off the water.  We ran by one of the parks we like, and past the home of some friends.  We soon approached the trailhead where we had done much of our Couch-to-5k running, and Mrs. F told me that I had already gone about 2.1 miles.  That's when the craziness hit me.  Rather than turning around, turning a corner, and heading home, I decided to trace my path back home.  I decided to run more than four miles.

Now, I know that overdoing it when getting back into something is a real risk.  Everything today, however, felt fine.

Of course, after turning around, we were headed uphill again.  A couple of blocks later, I hit what I'll describe as my wall.  The funny thing is that I remembered the feeling from my first 5k race, and I think it happened at about the same point. I reminded myself that my body does what I tell it to do, and that, if I were careful not to push my pace too much, I should be able to finish the four.

Things evened out again.  They didn't seem as perfect as they had before, but I still knew I could go on.  My next mental test came when we came to a point where I could turn left and make a straight shot to near our house, or continue on a block and then turn right to finish re-tracing our path.  I decided to remind my body who was in charge, so I pressed on. I told Mrs. F of my plan to run to four.

The next turn brought a long, gradual downhill segment, and I enjoyed it, even though I knew what was ahead.  That steep downhill I enjoyed on the way out was now a challenge to be faced.

I remembered advice someone had given me about hills--to shorten my stride, lean into them a bit, and to swing my arms more.  It was certainly a challenge, but I made it to the top.  When we turned west, however, I saw that the next half mile (or more) was a long, gradual climb.  I slowed again to regulate my breathing, but kept myself moving along as best I could.  Not wanting to disappoint myself, I told Mrs. F that I would run to 4.1, just to make sure the mapped route didn't come up under four.  She told me as we hit four, and I told her I would run to 4.1.  Seeing a stopsign and T-stop ahead, marking our final turn toward home, I decided to forego 4.1 and to run right up to the stopsign.  As Mrs. F and I came up to the final street before the stop, we sped up.  Her ability to sprint has really improved in the past six months! We both finished that last segment on a sub-8:00 pace--not too shabby for a FatMan who just ran over four miles.

The final tally for me: 4.24 miles in just over 1:10.  That turned out to be a 16:50mm pace.  I won't complain about that, since it was my first run in a month, my first run over a mile in more than six months, and my longest run ever.

Perhaps a new day is dawning...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Weight Check 6/25/10


Last Friday: 280.6 lbs.

Today: 280.2 lbs.

Gain/Loss: -.4 lbs.

Goal: 210.0 lbs.

Cumulative: 19.8 lbs.

Pounds to lose: 70.2

Comment: This was an extremely stressful week on many fronts. My head is caught in too many things to even think about exercising. I'm not getting enough rest, so it makes it hard to get up early in the morning to run.

Mrs. F
Last Friday: 158.5 lbs.

Today: 155.4 lbs.

Gain/Loss: - 3.1 lbs.

Goal: 150.0 lbs.

Cumulative: 27.4 lbs.

Pounds to lose: 5.4

Comment: I was really jazzed to see how much i lost this week. It was an extremely stressful week and I ate way less. For once, stress worked to my benefit!!! I was really busy and didnt get in any runs in at all this week. Im sure that next week will be a much smaller loss but im enjoying this one!