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.
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
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!