Rolling Right Along

This morning I got out of bed about 4:45 a.m. so I could get ready for my run at 5:30. I meant to get to sleep last night around 8:30, but I’ve been playing Portal 2 and I got distracted for an extra two hours. Luckily, six hours is enough for me. Today’s run went really smoothly.

Tuesday’s run was fine, too. W2D1 of the C25K program didn’t present much of a challenge, but my phone did! I decided to ditch the MP3 player with the faulty headphone jack and use the C25K app that I downloaded instead. Well, I got the Lite version of the app and every time a song changed, the clock would restart. That caused me to do a ten minute warm up walk and alter the interval plan a bit. I ended up running without music. But, I fixed the problem by getting the FULL version of the app and today’s run was as good as could be. In fact, it was so nice that I wanted to run a little further, but I was starting to feel an ache in my shins and I know from experience that pushing an unconditioned body is a bad idea. I’m not going to risk an injury this early in the game and shin splints can take a little while to heal. No way I’m gonna be derailed in the second week.

Other than that, I’m still considering my cross-training workouts. I don’t have to get really serious about that for a while, though, since serious running doesn’t really start until you can run for at least 30 minutes straight. I’m going to start up before I complete the C25K program anyway, but at least I know I have some time to decide on what to do.

I decided to register on the Runner’s World forums this week. The people there are very encouraging and pleasant for the most part. It is an internet forum, after all. There are going to be jerks. haha. But, I can handle it and the discussions are fun and informative. There are sections for everything from beginners to ultra-distance runners, so there really isn’t any reason you shouldn’t get good input from that forum if you need it.

There really isn’t much to say at the moment. Other than contemplating some new running gear, I’m just chugging along until I feel I’m properly conditioned enough to really ramp this up. I am in love with running again, though, and that’s what counts.

Advertisements

One week down. Seventy more to go.

Good lord, seventy?! That seems like forever! Well, they say patience is a virtue. I heard that from the hooker who hangs out down by the laundromat. I guess she was having a slow day. But, as virtuous as I may be, I gotta admit that I’m a bit anxious to run the marathon. I just have to keep cool and not get ahead of myself. I don’t think I could even run a full mile right now without utilizing the run / walk interval training. I have a feeling that if I tried, I might end up staring vacantly at the ceiling of an ambulance as the EMT tries to hide the astonishment on his face as he says, “You know, partner, we joke about this stuff a lot but I didn’t think a heart could actually explode out of a chest like that. Where’s the camera?” So, I have plenty of time to get in marathon shape and I gotta make the most of that so I can not only run the marathon, but do it at a good pace. I’d like to do it in less than 4 hours. Seventy weeks. I think I can pull it off. If that means I’m kidding myself… *shrugs* Fine with me! At least for now.

For the past week I have been following the Couch to 5K program, but I have not done anything else to achieve my fitness goals. I’m still considering what I should do for cross-training. I know I’ll be doing typical calisthenics and, since I currently live in a house with an in-ground pool, I’m going to make as much use of that as possible. Cycling has never really been my thing, but I may bite the bullet and go buy a cheap road bike. Anything that helps strengthen my legs, knees and hips. It is pretty daunting to go from being pretty much sedentary to ambitiously active. I’m afraid that if I push myself too hard, I’ll want to quit. My basic plan is to get into shape gradually, picking up new exercises and such along the way as my energy level goes up. Hopefully it will prevent a big shock to my system. It’s a delicate balance, though, because even though I have seventy weeks to get this done, that time will fly and I need to make sure I’m making the most of my time.

This is what happens when you start working on a big goal like this. You want to be able to do what you’re aiming for immediately! Even though it seems like that energy would turn into tenacity, what it usually does is throws you off your game. It is extremely important to take things one day at a time and push yourself through that day instead of thinking about the next day. If you need to pump yourself up during a workout / run, just picture the ultimate goal in your mind. Do not dwell on what you have to do to get there. It is better to focus on small goals while you’re on the path to the big one. Eventually you look back at the day you started and you’re amazed at what you’ve accomplished. So, there are little rewards along the way that make it all worth while and strengthen your resolve. Just get out there and do it and let what comes naturally happen.

I’m off to enjoy my weekend now.

The Second Day

There really is nothing like a steaming hot shower after a good workout. You never feel cleaner. Right now I simultaneously feel energized and relaxed. I forgot about this feeling. I also realize that I’ve missed this feeling. My legs already feel stronger which makes me feel really good about this whole thing. Now, I understand that a lot of running newbies may not have this feeling after their second run. A lot of you may think more along the lines of “Why, god?! Why me?! Can’t you just end it all now?!” Well, that’s common and you shouldn’t feel bad about that. After all, if you have that feeling, you probably haven’t been very active for a while and your body is angry with you for making it do hard work. Trust me, your body will get over it. What’s important right now is that you get control of your willpower and make sure your body does what you want it to. Your body will throw obstacles at you like aches, pains, fatigue, cramps, shin splints and, if you work hard enough, you might even puke. Well, take heart. That doesn’t last forever. And if you need to dial it back a notch during a workout every now and then, that’s fine. At least you’re working out. You weren’t doing that before! It’s progress no matter how you slice it.

This morning was a very pleasant run. This area got some rain last night which helped to drop the humidity level and cool the air a bit. I’m always a bit amazed to see other people out there before 5 a.m. doing their morning workouts whether it be cycling or running or a nice brisk walk. I gotta tell you, I am not a morning person. I’m doing this because I have to run early to avoid the heat. I suppose their motives may be similar, but it’s still pretty astounding. It’s also sorta reassuring and a little reassurance can’t hurt. I wonder if seeing me out there has the same effect on them. I haven’t seen any looks of terror yet, so at least they don’t think I’m trying to chase them down and mug them. Which is good because I’d imagine pepper spray is not a party in a can.

One thing I have noticed since starting this up again, and I was reminded of this during my 5K training a year ago, is that my body is starting to change the way it does things. No, I’m not talking about the way my muscles feel. That’s all obvious. The human body is truly a wonder. It’s already changing the way my body processes food and water. Unfortunately, that means dealing with some discomfort. Diarrhea and such. Gross, I know, but you need to be expecting this stuff because it is not a problem and you shouldn’t stop because things like this happen. It’s just a sign that your body is acclimating to your new habits and that’s definitely a good thing. It means that after a little while you won’t have such a tough time with your workouts.

One thing I’ve neglected to mention so far is that the first day of my self-imposed marathon training was also the last day I had a cigarette. Now… my struggle may not be so tough because I honestly don’t smoke that much. I would have maybe five cigarettes a day unless I was out at a bar or club having some drinks. At that point, I can blow through a whole pack in a night, no problem. I don’t go out all that much anymore, so recently my smoking has been pretty light. I know I’ll have another cigarette at some point in the future, but everything is fine in moderation and as long as I’m not smoking even a pack a week anymore, I think I’ll be fine. I’m willing to get out there and kick ass during training, but if anyone thinks I won’t have a few drinks and a few cigarettes to unwind now and then… well… those people are, quite clearly, nuts! Yes, it is important to exhibit healthy behavior at times like this, but depriving yourself of things you enjoy will make you hate what you’re trying to do and you will give up. Even in your diet, you can still have a few junk meals each week. Think about that. Every other day you can have something you love for lunch! Hot wings? Pizza? Go for it! It is your reward for all your hard work and perseverance. Don’t go overboard, though. I wouldn’t recommend going out and eating an entire pizza while sucking down a 12 pack of imported beer. That’s pushing it. And, trust me, when you moderate it you will enjoy the moderate amount you get when you allow yourself to have it way more than you ever did before.

I will touch on all of this as this blog goes on, but you can do some of the research for all of this on your own. Google is a great tool and you can find anything you want if you know how to search. I encourage you to do that research because it sinks in better when you find it on your own. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, though. I know I’ve been pretty vague so far and that the reader may not understand how much experience and knowledge I have on these subjects, but I’m trying not to come across condescending¬† Rest assured, I know a great deal about fitness and diet and I learned most of it before the internet was really a household thing way back in my early teens. I’ve only built my knowledge exponentially since then. You also may find it reassuring to hear that I ran 45-50 miles every week for over 10 years before work and life got in the way. That is why I may not seem to empathize with beginners all the time because I already know what to expect and my mind is ready for all of this. I’m doing my best to look at it from the viewpoint of the novice, though, so I hope I do a good job and you can all take what you need from this blog.

Until next time. *tips hat*

…And So It Begins

Every journey begins with the first step. Alright, that tired clich√© is out of the way now, so let’s move on. This morning I went for the first run in my “training” for the marathon in 2013. Due to the insomnia I mentioned in my first entry, I was able to run at 4:30 a.m. which is ideal when you live in Florida during the summer and the only time the weather is cool enough to run is in the last few hours before sunrise. I think it went pretty well.

For the beginners who may be reading this blog, here’s some helpful information. If you’ve been thinking of starting up running and you’ve been investigating how to get started on the internet, you have probably come across the C25K program. If not… well… there’s the link. As I’ve said, I used to run quite a bit, but then life kept me from it for a long time before I trained for my 5K race last year. Being a former long-distance runner, I was skeptical of the C25K plan because it almost seemed too easy. Well… let me tell you… this is exactly what you want. You don’t realize how out of shape you are until you start doing this program and figure out just how challenging it can be to run for 60 seconds without stopping. On the other hand, it is a very well designed program that conditions your body gradually for long-distance running. If you follow it closely and pay attention to your body (pains, aches, etc), this will give you everything you need to get in basic running shape that will take you far beyond a 5K run should you chose to go for a longer distance. I recommend it 100%. In fact, Week 1, Day 1 is what I did this morning and I will be following this program until I complete it. After that I will go back into my old training routine from years ago since I’ll be in the proper shape to do so. More on that later.

According to the MapMyRun app I have on my Android, my workout carried me 2 miles with the C25K interval training method. I don’t think that’s too bad for a run / walk combo. Although, it did take me 30 minutes to do that, so obviously I’m not setting any land speed records. If you’re interested in the MapMyRun apps, they’re available for Android and iPhone and you can find them through the link I provided. This morning was the first time I’ve used it, but it seems to do the trick pretty nicely. I’ll report any problems I might come across.

So… it’s a start. Nothing amazing to report, but I got out there and did it and that’s more than I have been doing for the past year. I do feel energized and I cannot wait until my next training day.

I already have the basic gear I need to start running so there will be no entry about going out and buying all the stuff I need to run, but I’ll tell you this. Tech clothing is a godsend. For the novice, what that means is clothing made out of synthetic fabric which breathes really well and wicks moisture away from the skin. I used to think running in a t-shirt was just fine, but it’s not. The difference is unreal and I can’t imagine running in cotton anymore. The same goes for socks. Go get some DryMax or Balega running socks. You’ll save yourself a ton of pain due to blisters and such. Lastly, the shoes are important. Don’t just go to a sporting goods store and pick up some Reebok running shoes just because it’s a trusted name. Go to a REAL running shop and get your gait analyzed and let the people there help you pick the proper shoe for your stride. It makes all the difference in the world and it helps prevent knee, hip and shin pains which can knock you out of training for a week or two which is not the kind of setback you want to experience. A lot of people do not start running again if they get injured in the beginning and can’t run for an extended period of time. Don’t let something as simple as shin splints due to bad shoes stop you from doing this. Spend the $100 or so and get the proper shoes from people who know what they’re doing. You’ll be glad you did.

I guess that’s it for today. I’m still not in the groove with this blogging thing yet, so bear with me. I’ll figure out the flow of it all soon enough. haha. Either that or you’ll just get bored and stop reading. Good thing I’m not doing this for fame!

Discontent

Okay. I have no idea how to get the ball rolling here, so I’m just going to start putting a bunch of words in this box and hope to hell they convey the message I’m trying to… uh… convey? *sigh* Crap. Well, it’s off to a rocky start, but if you can tolerate me stumbling through the commencement of this overly-ambitious blog project like a drunk woman with a broken high-heel, you shouldn’t have much trouble following along with my future entries.

In the simplest terms… this is a running blog.

I’m leaving that line a little space because it is the down and dirty of what this is really all about. However, my intentions are a bit more ambitious than just keeping you all up to date on how far I ran on a given day or what kind of gear I’m using. I will include that, too, but there’s more to it. I’ll tell you a little about myself and then I’ll get to the freakin’ point because I’m sure I’ve already been rambling a bit and you may be twitching a little in your seat.

I live about halfway down the gulf coast of Florida. My name is Kevin. I’m 32. I weigh close to 200 lbs and I’m only 5’7″. (Ladies, I’m going to have to ask you to either refrain from drooling or at least get a tissue.) As you can see, I do not have a runner’s physique. Why? Because I am not a runner. Or, should I say, not currently a runner. I was once. In fact, I used to run a lot. My story is pretty common among erstwhile runners. I got a job, didn’t have time to run anymore, fell out of shape, tried to start again, realized it was hard and said “screw that!” and never got back into it. Then, in the spring of 2010, I trained for a 5K race which I did run… but that was pretty much the last time I ran any distance at all. Alright, let’s cut to the chase.

I decided to write this blog for a lot of reasons. The first reason being that I’d like to give something to the beginners out there. I know how hard it is to get started and, though there are many links on the internet with the word “beginner” in them, I’ve never seen one that was really for the novice runner. Or, at least, nothing really in-depth. Also, it seems that all those links lead to tips from seasoned runners who use a bunch of running jargon that someone new to the game may not understand. Well, I want to help with that and I feel that I can since I do have experience here, but I’m also currently facing the same concerns that a running virgin would face. Basically, I’m hoping that this blog will give a beginner everything they need to know in order to get out there and start doing it since I will be going through the same thing.

There is another side to this, however, which I believe is the most important part. Not to get all dramatic, but I am not satisfied with my life. That is not to say I’m unhappy, because I am, indeed, a generally happy person. What it does mean is that I’m sick of things the way they are and I know that something has to change. The world we live in today doesn’t allow us much control. A worldwide economy on the brink of collapse. Politicians going crazier than ever. Record-breaking unemployment numbers on a global scale… of which I am a victim. And, trust me, it’s not for lack of trying. I’ve applied for every position I could find, from working in an office to cleaning the toilets in those offices. With things the way they are right now, there’s no room for pride. I have not had a decent income since everything went to hell and I had to shut down my freelance web design venture. It’s tough out there, kids. I feel for anyone who may be going through this.

With all that to deal with, I’ve slipped into an incredibly jaded state-of-mind and I know that’s not healthy. It’s okay to be a little jaded, but I’ve descended into pure, unrefined apathy… hence the title of this blog. It’s all a growing experience, I suppose. I have learned a thing or two through it all. I’ve always known that a position in life is not tied to the position you hold with a company. I know that money is not indicative of a person’s worth. However, with a next-to-nothing income and the constant judgment people pass on the unemployed, I have become very intimate with those concepts. Of course, there’s that little voice in the back of my head that yells at me when I sit on my butt doing nothing for too long and it has recently found itself a megaphone. It keeps me up at night (insomnia) and makes me feel bad about not having anything to do with my time. What am I to do?

Run a marathon.

That’s right! If you read this blog you will witness the long, backbreaking road that a fat guy has to walk… er… run in order to complete a marathon. I figure that if I can do it, anyone can. Well… anyone who doesn’t have some permanent injury / disability which makes it physically impossible.

The point is, I am embarking on this endeavor to prove to myself that I can still do something productive with my time even if employers and judgmental jackasses don’t believe I can. The way I see it, if I reach that 26.2 mile mark, I will never doubt myself again. Or maybe I will. Who knows, right? But it’s worth a shot and I’m going to take it.

My plan is to run the Gasparilla Distance Classic Half-Marathon next spring (about 9 months from now) and the ING Miami Marathon in January of 2013 (assuming the Mayans were wrong). That gives me approximately 18 months to reach my goal. Others have done it in half that time, so I’m optimistic I can do this and it gives me time to do things safely and build better strength and speed before I hit the starting line. My training starts tomorrow and I have not run at all in the past year. I really am starting from scratch.

Well, that’s enough from me for now. If you’ve read through all this, I hope you’ve taken something from it and, if you are interested in getting out there for a run, I hope the entries following this one can help you out. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about any of the content in this blog. I’ll be more than happy to give any answers I can.

Here goes nothin’!