Happy Runniversary...

I wasn't planning to write a post about this, but after posting it on Facebook I felt it deserved a more detailed review.  Today (11/1/11) is the 2 year anniversary of the day I dedicated myself to becoming a runner.  I had started the Couch To 5k plan a few times but never got very far into it and never really put my heart into it.  In late October '09 I realized that my weight was getting out of control and my fitness level was just good enough to get me from my couch to the kitchen to get more food.  It was time for a change.  I got a membership to a gym so I could start weight training, I started making healthier food decisions and seeking out information on nutrition, and I restarted the Couch To 5k plan.  This time I wasn't just starting it because people said I should.  This time it was for me, I wanted to be healthier and I wanted to become a runner.  This time it was a complete lifestyle change.

What I know now that I didn't know then is the first time I went for the first workout in the plan I was a runner.  Looking back the first run sounds so easy:

  • Brisk five-minute warm up walk.
  • Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
This nearly killed me!  At the time I was running on the treadmill, I felt it would be the easiest way to manage the intervals and to keep from running too fast or too slow.  Between the warm up walk, the running/walking intervals and a 5 minute cool down I managed a total of 3.3 miles in 52:03; an average pace of 15:46/mile.  I honestly thought I was going to pass out!  I remember while I was taking a shower after the run questioning myself.  If it was that hard would I really ever be able to become a runner?  Maybe I just wasn't cut out for this.  Maybe I should give it up and just go back to sitting on the couch eating burgers, it's easier anyway.

Luckily I did not give up.  I kept pushing through the program, no matter how hard the workouts were.  I still never believed I could do it, I'd get through workout after workout but they were so hard and weren't getting any easier.  Well, at least I didn't think they were getting easier.  But I was dropping weight and pant sizes pretty fast so I didn't quit.  Maybe I wasn't ever going to be able to become a runner, but at least I could lose the weight by sticking with it.  I didn't really feel that I could possibly become a runner until week 5 day 3 of the program.  Run 2 miles without walking.  Are you kidding me??  No human on Earth could possibly manage such a feat, definitely not ME!!  I said I'd stick with it so I had to give it a shot.  I was incredibly intimidated when I got on the treadmill and started my warm up walk.  I did it!!  2 miles at 5 mph without walking!!!  Unbelievable!!

After that I had more confidence, but I still felt I could never be a "real" runner; whatever that means.  I don't even know what I thought it meant at the time.  Well, I made it through the entire program.  I started running 3-4 miles about 4 or 5 times per week after I'd finished.  I was doing pretty good and and gradually increasing the speeds I was running.  On 4/10/10 I had my first 5k.  What are people going to think when this overweight slow guy shows up trying to pretend like I'm a runner?  My low self image of those days was in high gear; would I get laughed at?  I assumed everyone there would be hard core, fast runners.  You know, the skinny, super-fit guys that just "look" like runners.  Them and me, the fat guy.  Hmmm, was this a good idea?

It was the 5k that is run with the Olathe Marathon.  The marathon started about 30 minutes before the 5k, so I showed up just in time to see them taking off.  Wow, marathoners.  I was so impressed by what they were doing and knew I would never be able to do that.  Anyway, they were off doing their thing and I was there waiting and hoping to make it through 3.1 miles without making an ass of myself.  I met a few people while we were waiting that were just like me.  Overweight, just starting as runners or fairly new to it.  I was so happy there were people like me.  I was so enjoying the atmosphere at the event, it was fun and inspiring; I was ready to get this started and prove that I belonged!!  Was that the moment I became a runner in my head?  It was the first time I was anxious about a run in a good way!  Seriously, come on, let's get this started!  It finally started and I took off as fast as I could.  The course ran past my mother-in-law's house so she came out to see me run by and cheer for me, huge help!  32:31 later I came across the finish line, sprinting as fast as I could at the finish!!  I almost fell over, I had no idea I could run that fast!!  I was a runner.

In the time since then I have run:

  • Six 5k's with a PR of 25:01
  • Two 10k's with a PR of 55:03
  • Three Half Marathons with a PR of 2:02:45
  • One Marathon at 4:36:20
  • One duration event of 27 miles
  • Three other events of various less common distances
  • One Duathlon
  • And finally the 50k the day before yesterday at 7:00:28
2 years to go from couch potato to Ultra Marathoner!  I can't believe I did that!  I have grown to love running so much.  It has made so many positive changes in my life.  There are the obvious physical changes, but more importantly are the changes you can't see or quantify.  I have more confidence, I believe I honestly can do anything I put my mind to.  I still feel like if I could accomplish that first 2 mile run I could do anything.

I have come a long way.  The next goal is to improve my performance.  I was doing very well at maintaining my weight training, yoga, etc to maintain my overall fitness, but that pretty well stopped when I broke my foot.  I have tried to get back to it several times but I just haven't managed staying in a groove with it.  Hopefully I can get back to it with the help of my wife holding me accountable.  I also feel that I never got myself retrained for these long distances races.  I've been fighting through them and finishing, but I haven't been doing as well as I'd like because I'm just not physically ready for them.  Over the winter and spring I will build that base back up so I can improve on how I do in the marathon and beyond races.  I have the Brew To Brew 44 mile race on 4/1/12, other than that one I plan to focus on marathons and 50k's until I get some performances I'm happier with.  Once I get to that point (whenever that may be) I will work on getting to a 50 miler and 100k, but those may be better goals for '13 than '12.

It's been an amazing journey the last 2 years and I look forward to seeing what I can do in the future!


  1. Major Congrats!!! What a inspiration!!! Keep on Running. Can't wait to see what in your future!

  2. Thanks, you too!! We've both got our first 50k's under our belts, now it's time to see what we can do now!

  3. Choose the exercises such that it works well for you and try to vary your exercise routine at least once in 2 months. This helps you to practice various abdominal exercise and thus will keep you interested in the workout regime.


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