Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My First Race for 2013

I ran my first 5K last weekend (4/6/2013).  It wasn't my first 5K total.  I've run several of them in the past.  But it was my first since restarting my training this year.  This was the Bentonville running festival and it has a 5K race, and also a half marathon.  One nice thing about living in Bentonville is that, being the home of Wal-Mart, we are a little spoiled by how well-run events are.  Not only that, but we end up with some pretty impressive guests at events.  This is a good example.  When I went to pick  up my race shirt, number and timing chip for the race on Friday, Bill Rodgers was there signing books and taking pictures with people.  He was also the keynote speaker at the pre-race pasta dinner but I didn't go to that.  He's the most famous marathoner ever, so that is pretty nifty.

Endomondo Tracker

I used it as my week 5, run 3 run (Run 20 minutes, no walk periods).  That would roughly be 2 miles for most people, but I'm not that fast. :) 

So it's probably about a mile an a half.  I didn't quite finish the entire 20 minutes with no walks.  I did roughly 13 minutes on the first leg and then had to take a walk break for about 3-4 minutes.  Then I did another 8 minute stretch. 

"But wait," I hear you say.  "A 5K is 3.1 miles.  What happened to the rest of it?"

Well... I staggered through that as well.  Mostly running.  Some walking.  My time came in at 41:53.7.  My best race to date was 32:37:5, and that was running the entire distance.  So I don't feel too bad about this result. 

In terms of results, I finished 20th for men 45-49.  That sounds pretty good... except that was out of 22.  Hmm...

Overall I was 490th out of 621.  That sounds a little better! :)

 It doesn't really matter of course.  I'm not in this to compete. 

Yes, OK, somewhere in the back of my mind I had this fantasy about running the entire thing.  But I didn't really expect that to happen.  I'm not there yet.  I did hope to finish my 20 minutes with no walks, but I'm not there yet either.  So I'm repeating it this week.  I know week 6 is only going to be harder and I'm not ready for it.

I've got to start dropping some pounds soon because I think that's what is holding me back more than anything.  I'm currently 15 pounds heavier than when I was running at this time last year.  That's not going to work.  I need to start dropping some.  I'm trying to eat better and I'm getting to the point in the 5K training where I should start burning off more pounds.  But for weeks I've been hovering around the same 270 pounds on the scale.  I'm hoping that starts changing soon.

The good news is that I'm ahead of where I have been in the past for this time of year.  Usually I get serious about doing Couch to 5K more towards the summer.  That's not a bad thing, but it means by the time I finish the program, most of the races are already over with because it is getting too cold for them.  By starting early this year, I'll finish earlier and be working on 10K training during the summer time instead.  I'd like to run at least one 5K per month and get in at least one 10K race this year, and continue on from that and be ready to run a hal

Friday, April 5, 2013

Mixed Results

I've gotten behind on posting, but I have definitely been doing my runs, or at least... attempting to.

Here is where I'm at currently on the training program:

4 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
5 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog two miles (or 20 minutes) with no walking.

I post both weeks because I ended up spending an extra week on the 4th stage.  I just haven't felt comfortable with my progress this time.  This is driving me crazy because I normally can push myself to finish a stage even if my body is screaming at me to stop.  But for some of my runs I just haven't had the stamina to finish.

I've had really inconsistent results lately.  I'll be able to complete the distance one day, and then the next workout is harder.  It's driving me crazy.

I realized a few weeks back that I was making a big mistake because I was running in the wrong shoes.  My brother got me some running shoes for Christmas and they are great shoes (Brooks Ghost), but they are not made for over pronators.  I normally run in shoes that are specifically made for stability.  My calves have really been hurting during and after runs and I realized that this was probably at least part of the cause.

My new running shoes.  Aren't they spiffy?

My last pair of shoes was a pair of Asics Gel Kayano 17's, which I loved, but are getting pretty worn out.  So, I went and got some more.  Now they are Gel Kayano 19, and apparently a lot more flashy.  These are the black and "lightning blue" color.  LOL I like that.  Lightning blue.... makes me feel all fast an everything.  I'm um.... not even a little fast.  But that's OK.  It means I am going slow enough that everyone can check out my cool shoes!

My legs have been hurting a little less since I got these, so that's good.  But I've still been having problems. 

Most of the time when my legs are killing me, it is when I run on the treadmill.  I hate running on treadmill compared to outside.  I think I've mentioned that before :) .  I did figure out part of what the problem was.  The Couch to 5k program has periods of running alternated with periods of walking (at least up to the midway point).  On the road/track this isn't a problem.  But on treadmill, you have to decrease the speed of the belt.  I've noticed that when I go from running (about 5.5-5.8 pace) to walking (3.5 pace), it puts a lot of stress on my calves as I deal with the belt speed change.  So, what I've started doing is hopping onto the (non-moving) sides of the treadmill when i switch the speed, and then hop back on once the belt has adjusted.  I think this is helping some.  But I still hate running on treadmill. 

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to some consistently warmer temperatures.  We keep having 60 to high 70 degree days that are wonderful, and then sinking back to the 30s for days on end.  I guess I need to suck it up and run in the 30's, but it is no fun.

OK enough bellyaching.  Now to document the actual runs.

First of all, after my last blog post where I made my distance, I had a couple of runs where I either didn't make my distance, or I just forgot to post them. So, I was running but there is no record of it.  Doesn't really matter.  As I said, I spent some extra time on week 4.  So, the week of 3/17-3/23 looks pretty bad on my exercise calendar, but there really were runs.  They were just on treadmill and I forgot to log them on my endomondo.  And it's been long enough now that I don't recall exactly what the details of the runs were.  They were just week 4 runs.

So, rather than make something up... I'll leave them buried in the recesses of my memory, and move on! :)

For the week of 3/24 to 3/30, I had 3 runs.  Each of them were for week 4 of the program.  Two of the runs were on treadmill, so I won't post an endomondo link for them.  There's nothing to really see.  The third run was on road.  Here it is.

This course is over by some friend's house.  It's technically not their neighborhood, but one right next to them.  I like to run there because the entire neighborhood is one big loop and the distance around is almost exactly 1 mile, so it gives me a pretty good visual cue on my distance.  You can basically see on the tracker that I started from their house on my 5 minute warmup walk, did my run around the other neighborhood and then walked back to their house (albeit the really long way).  It was a good run because I made my distance!

OK and that brings us to this week.  I ran outside on Sunday.  Here is the link for that run. It was a very nice run.  It was back at the trail from the Bentonville dog park. 

I talked about this trail a few posts back.  It makes a great running trail and it's close to my house, which is nice.

Here are some nice pictures from the trail:

These pictures are both sides of a stream that zigzags back and forth.  There are several bridges on the trail that cross over this stream.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, this trail also runs by the sewage treatment plant.  In case you thought I was joking about that in my prior post.  I took some pictures of it as well.  I had time to take pictures because it just happened to be at the end point of my run for today.  Aren't I lucky!

The second two would be kind of pretty if you couldn't tell that the runoff was actually coming from the plant.  And yes... that is the same stream from the previous pictures.  Isn't that a lovely thought.

Fortunately you can only actually smell the plant when you get pretty close to it.  So it isn't too bad. 

My plan at this point is to make my last week 5 run this saturday at the Bentonville Running Festival.

They have multiple events:  a half marathon, a 5k, and a fun run.  Since week 5 run 3 is a 20 minute (approx 2 mile) run, my thought is I might as well do it in a race.  It will give me extra incentive to finish it.  And who knows, maybe it will push me through the full 5k.  I'm not counting on that! :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


My Scheduled Workouts For This Week:

4 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 3 minutes
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Jog 5 minutes
  • Walk 2-1/2 minutes
  • Jog  3 minutes
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Jog 5 minutes
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 3 minutes
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Jog 5 minutes
  • Walk 2-1/2 minutes
  • Jog  3 minutes
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Jog 5 minutes
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 3 minutes
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Jog 5 minutes
  • Walk 2-1/2 minutes
  • Jog  3 minutes
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Jog 5 minutes

Alright, so if you saw my posting for Sunday, you know that I completely failed to run my Week 4, run 1 workout then.  Today, I redeemed myself and pushed through to complete it.

It wasn't fast.  But I did it.

My body still said no.  I just didn't listen.

I've mentioned this before but I use a training app for my phone called C25KPro.  It tells me when to walk, when to run, and most importantly, when I'm done.  I noticed today that they did a particularly mean thing with it.  The woman's voice that tells you want to do makes a point of saying "Ready? Run!" at the beginning of each running phase.

"Ready?  No I'm not ready!"

I was especially not ready when I had run my first 5 minute run today.  You know why I wasn't ready?  Because the program is changing the game on me.  Up till now, the runs have all been followed by walks of the same length, or more.

The first week: Run 60 seconds, then walk 90 seconds.
The second week: Run 90 seconds, then walk 90 seconds
The third week: Run 90 seconds, then walk 90 seconds, then run 3 minutes, then walk 3 minutes
The fourth week: Run 3 minutes, then walk 90 seconds, then run 5 minutes, then walk 2.5 minutes

I see what you did there!  You cheated me out of half my walking phases!

Yeah, it did.  There is a reason for that.  It's preparing me for next week when I have a full 20 minute run with no stops.  It's "easing" me into it by making me work harder than I realize I am.

But I'm onto them.  My body is not fooled.  It hurts!

I know full well that the walking phases are smaller.  Because when that voice comes over my phone and say's "Ready?" I am not.

And I tell her I'm not.  Sometimes I even yell out, "No!"  But while I'm telling that I'm not ready, my feet have already started moving.  Traitors.

Today, I managed to keep them moving, even though I didn't want to.  I'll take it.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Body Say's "NO!"

My scheduled workouts for this week

4 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 3 minutes
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Jog 5 minutes
  • Walk 2-1/2 minutes
  • Jog  3 minutes
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Jog 5 minutes
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 3 minutes
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Jog 5 minutes
  • Walk 2-1/2 minutes
  • Jog  3 minutes
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Jog 5 minutes
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:
  • Jog 3 minutes
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Jog 5 minutes
  • Walk 2-1/2 minutes
  • Jog  3 minutes
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Jog 5 minutes

That is what I was supposed to run today (run 1).  It didn't quite work out that way.

My run today was sort of like this sketch from Little Britain.  Only the computer didn't say no. My body did.

It is cold and rainy out, so I went to the gym to do my run on treadmill.  I did my 3 minute run, and I was about 4 minutes through my 5 minute run and my body just shut down on me.  My calves felt like they were balloons about to break. 

I can normally push myself through this, but today it just didn't work. 

Now... I could have just skipped this blog entry.  There is still plenty of time to get my 3 runs in for the week, and in fact, that is exactly what I plan to do.  I will repeat tonight's run on Tuesday, and then run Thursday and Saturday to catch up.  However, I think it is important to note that there will be times when it just doesn't go.  I know this from experience.

So, since there is nothing really to do about it than move forward, I've come up with a list of takeaways:
  • There will be days when your body just won't cooperate with your plans.
  • If you are doing a structured program like Couch To 5K, with weekly workout schedules:
    • Plan for these situations.  Make sure to start working out early in the week, so you can handle some setbacks along the way and still meet your weekly goals.
    • If you have a situation that keeps you from hitting a weekly goal, don't get discouraged!  Things do happen in life and there will be times when you have a setback.  You can repeat a week on the program.  This is true if you have an injury obviously, but sometimes your body may just not be ready to go to the next level.  That's OK!  The key is to keep moving.
I'm not happy about the workout not going well.  But it happens.  Perhaps it was my body telling me I was pushing too hard.  Sure, I could have pushed past it, and there are times when I certainly should.  But that can also result in injuries.  So, sometimes it pays to listen when your body say's "NO!"

Friday, March 15th, 2013 - Week 3, Run 3

My Running Plan for this week (This is workout #3)

3Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 90 seconds
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Jog 3 minutes
  • Walk three minutes
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 90 seconds
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Jog 3 minutes
  • Walk three minutes
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 90 seconds
  • Walk 90 seconds
  • Jog 3 minutes
  • Walk three minutes

Click here for the Endomondo Tracker for this run.

Not much to really say about this run.  It was originally supposed to be on Thursday, but I ended up moving it to Friday due to scheduling conflicts (translated: I didn't get to it.  (translated: I was a slacker)).

But I guess going out and doing a run on Friday evening is also a sign of commitment, or maybe that I should be committed.  One of those two.

At any rate, the run is done and in the books.  No particular philosophical thoughts apart from "Why am I out on the running track on Friday night?"

Up till now it's been fairly easy but that all kind of stops next week.  Some 5 minute runs will be tossed into the mix and I get to start dreading my first true distance runs (Week 5, run 3 is a 2 mile run, or 20 minutes.  I'm slow so I won't make it quite 2 miles).

That's all for now.  I'm actually posting this on Sunday, March 17th, and about to go out for my Week 4, run 1.

Oh that's a great follow-up.  I went and ran Friday night, and now I'll be going and running on St. Patrick's day.  Think of me when you are drinking your green beer.  The only consolation I'll have is that I don't like beer.  I think I'd rather run.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Another combo post (translated: I was a slacker and didn't do my blog on Saturday)

My Current Couch To 5K workout schedule

3 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)

Saturday Run Results (Couch To 5K - Week 3, Run 1):
My Run
My Walk after the run

Tuesday Run Results (Couch To 5K - Week 3, Run 2):
My Run

So this is another combo posting for two runs.

The good news:  I actually did my run on Saturday, and again on Tuesday.

The bad news:  It's now Wednesday and I'm just getting around to my blog for Saturday and Tuesday.

OK Yes, I am a slacker.  I should have already posted these.  But you know what?  I'd much rather be a slacker about doing my blog than be a slacker about doing my run.  So I'll take that.

Saturday Run

Here in Northwest Arkansas, we are fortunate to have a really good park system, with extensive trails connected to them.  They have been working for the past 10 years to connect all the parks trails together so that you can literally go from park to park, with very few road crossings.  It's pretty cool and the result is a great network of walking/jogging/bike riding trails.

I ran on my favorite trail today. It is a great trail that is close to my house.  It starts at the "Bark Park" (a park specifically for dogs and their owners), out into some nice forest area with some off-road bike trails, past the Crystal Bridges Museum, and into downtown Bentonville.  It also goes by the Bentonville sewage treatment facility.  That part isn't exactly a highlight of the run.  But it gives me extra motivation to run faster when I pass it!  The wooded area makes up for it in scenery, with a pretty stream that passes over the trail in several areas.  Also, around the Crystal Bridges Museum is the Compton Gardens, with a lot of pretty flowers and plants.  All in all, it's a very nice place to run.

I like running this trail for a few reasons, but perhaps the biggest is that it is part of the course for the Bentonville Running Festival Half Marathon. That race will be coming up at the beginning of April.  This trail features what is probably the most difficult portion of the race course - a fairly difficult uphill climb.  It is hard to walk up, much less run.

I'm not exactly ready for the half marathon this year, but it is definitely a goal to run it next year.  This year I am going to run the 5K portion of the event.  At this point, even that will be a stretch.  That's OK.

I didn't get to the museum on this run.  I didn't even get to the sewage treatment plant (yay!).  I did get far enough to see the bridge that leads to it off in the distance.  That works for me!

It was nice to be on the course.  It helps see how far I've come, and how far I have to go.

Today's run wasn't exactly easy.  I'm used to running on a track, where I have a pretty good idea how far I've gone.  I track my progress on Couch To 5K by time, rather than distance.  But I am pretty good at judging my pace and knowing when I'm coming close to the end of a phase.  Running on the trails is a little harder.  I don't know how long I've gone at any point in time.  Yes, I've got my endomondo program that let's me know I've crossed a mile.  That will help me when I'm running longer distances.  Right now it doesn't tell me much.  My entire workout is only 2 miles roughly.

The part that is a bit easier as I go along is that the number of sets decreases.  Week one was 8 running phases and 8 walking phases (not counting the 5 minute warm up and cool down walk).  This week is only 4 runs and 4 walks.  It seems like it's over very quickly.  But of course the runs are harder.

One thing that was interesting on the run.  After I finished the run, and the cooldown walk, I was still quite a ways out on the trail.  So, I decided to take a rest for a few minutes and sat down on a park bench.  I paused my endomondo tracking while i rested.  But, when I got back up, I went to start endomondo back up again and somehow i accidently ended my workout.

I had a momentary panic when this happened, because i wasn't sure if it actually recorded my run.

That made me a little sad.  I like having that record of my achievement, little as it is.  It's something I can point to and say, "Hey I did something right today!"

As you can see from the above postings, my workout was actually recorded still.  I simply started up a new, walking workout for my walk back to my car.  So I got two workouts! :)

But it's interesting how much I was dependent on that.  I have had times before when I thought my workout was being tracked and for some reason it didn't.  I hate it when that happens!  But you know what?  The run still happened.  I got just as much of a workout without the tracker as I did with it.  I don't need the tracker to prove I worked out.  But it sure feels nice to have it.

Tuesday Run

This is a picture of people flying using wingsuits.  It looks fun doesn't it.  The wind whooshing around you as you zoom across the sky!  Sounds like a blast to me (literally), but it isn't much fun when I'm trying to run.  That's what Tuesday was like.  Incidentally, if you would like to fly with a wingsuit, these guys are willing to help you.  Perhaps I'll do that one day.  In the meantime, I hope they don't mind me using their picture.

Did I mention that this is March?  You know, the month when kids fly kites?  You know why they do that right?  It's because there is a lot of wind in March.  That was certainly true of my run on Tuesday.  So, it kind of felt like I was one of those guys in a wingsuit.  But, I wasn't.  That was just me huffing and puffing around the track. 

The thing about a track is that it is a big loop.  So, at some point in your run, you will be running into the wind.  As you build up endurance, that's not necessarily a bad thing.  After all, as I mentioned before, I'm training based on time for my Couch To 5K routine, not distance.  If I'm running into the wind and not making much progress on distance, it doesn't matter.  I still ran for 3 minutes.

But the thing is, in March, not only it very windy.  It's also very cold!  It wasn't a very cold day, but the wind made it feel cold.  It only felt cold when I was running against the wind.  Because I was on a track, that was approximately half the time.

I say approximately.  It felt like more than half the time.

You see, the week 3 workout for Couch To 5K is a 90 second run, followed by a 90 second walk, followed by a 3 minute run, followed by a 3 minute walk.  Then, rinse and repeat. 

So I started on the side of the track that was with the wind at about the halfway mark on the track, doing my 5 minute warm up walk.  This was a mistake.  For me, a 5 minute walk is a little over a quarter of a mile.  This means, I walked around the track once and was headed into the turn for my second lap when the first run phase kicked in.  In other words, that put me running into the wind.

So, I ran for 90 seconds, and the voice comes over my phone, saying "great job, start walking."

Where was this?  Of course, just headed in to the curve on the other side.  Sooo... my walking side (the already easy part) was going with the wind.  90 Seconds later, my second run kicks in... into the wind again.  Not that it really matters, as the second run is for 3 minutes.  That's a little over a full lap on the track.  So, I'm getting both a run with the wind and against it, no matter what.

Fun, fun!

It probably doesn't sound like I like running much does it?  I do actually.

I know from past experience, that there will be a point where I will actually like running into the wind.  As it gets into the summer months, I will even prefer running into the wind more than running with it.  The wind will become my friend, because it will become my air conditioner!  It gets pretty hot here in the summertime.  And while the wind at your back makes you run faster, it also causes you to feel the heat in a big way.  You are running faster, so that's harder work.  On top of that, you can't feel any wind because it's all at your back.  Running into the wind feels much nicer.  It's terrible on run times, but it feels refreshing.

That day will come.  But it is not today.  In my head I picture Aragorn in "Lord of the Rings", as he leads the forces outside the gates of Mordor. (Yeah OK I use a lot of LOTR references...)

"There will come a day when we like running into the wind!  It will refresh us, and allow us to run long and free!  But it is NOT THIS DAY!"

"One day, we will revel in its cool breezes.  We will laugh as we run triumphantly into the wind!  But it is NOT THIS DAY!"

No.  It is not this day.  This day it is miserable.  I don't like it.  It isn't refreshing.  It's cold.  When I get home, I will start coughing during my after-workout stretch and won't be able to stop for what seems like hours. It sucks.


You know what?  I still did it.  I didn't stop running just because it was cold and nasty.  I still did my run.  So now, Aragorn's voice pops in my head again...

"There may come a day, when we will be defeated by a little thing like cold wind on a March day.  When we will forsake our dreams, and give up on our goals, because we are buffeted by the winds!  But it is NOT THIS DAY!

No.  Not this day.  Today, I ran even though it wasn't fun.  Thursday, I will run whether it is fun or not.  And next week.  And the week after that.  I'm not going to stop because of the wind.  Nor will I stop because my age is creeping up there.  I won't even stop because I've taken off the same pounds and put them back on, time after time.

I have been down that road.  There is nothing to see there.  I've quit because of even lesser things.  Not this time.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Spring is coming!

Couch To 5K Training - Week 2, Workout 3

2 Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Here's the link to my Endomondo Tracker for today's workout.

This was my first run outside since Week 1, Day 1.  The temperature here has been up and down quite a bit.  Last week we had snow sticking to the ground.  Not much, but some.  This week, we have temperatures in the 20s in the morning, and 60s in the afternoon.  That seems like quite a range to me.  Maybe it's not so unusual.

The bottom line is that I've been running on treadmill a lot lately.  I don't like running on a treadmill.  I especially don't like running on one enough to get used to it.  There are several reasons for this:
  • It's even more boring than running on a track.
  • It kind of forces a different running style than you would use on pavement.  Body positioning is different, etc.
  • Potential injury due to falls.  I guess my running technique is more like a stagger, because it isn't uncommon for me to step off the belt by accident.
  • I don't understand how these machines can be trusted to accurately determine running pace, duration, etc., when they are seemingly unable to calculate a correct calorie burn rate.  Try different machines, and you'll likely get different calories burned totals for the same workout.  If I can't trust it for that, why should I trust it for the other?
The biggest reason for me though is that I feel like I'm running on training wheels.  When I do get back outside after running on the treadmill for a while, it seems harder to me than running the same time on the treadmill was.

Even my outside runs don't change elevation much.  There are some very hilly trails for running around where I live, but I don't generally train on them much.  I will need to start that soon.  For right now, I stick to pretty flat surfaces.  So, that's not the issue.

I think it's primarily speed.  On a treadmill, you typically run at the same pace.  In my case, I try to run at a steady 5.8 pace, and walk at about 3.5.  I don't know why I put "about 3.5" because it's exactly 3.5.  It's a treadmill.  Approximate paces aren't really it's thing.  Assuming you trust them, that is.

When I run outside though, I don't have anything forcing me to run at a certain pace.  So I would imagine my pace is a bit ragged.  Sometimes fast, and sometimes slow.   The wind is a bit of a factor too I suppose.  The nice thing about this plan is that I am not running a set distance.  I'm running a set time.  So it doesn't really matter if I run with the wind (faster), or against it (slower).  I'm running for the same set time.  Running into the wind just provides some air conditioning.

Today, it was nice outside and I was able to run "in the elements".  I was tempted to say "au naturale," but that um... means something different.  I'm not ready to cross that bridge yet, though interestingly enough, there are a number of nude races around the country.  http://www.nuderuns.com/CalendarMain.html

If you have the.... guts... to do this... more power to you!  I'll stick with my shorts and t-shirts, thanks.  It does actually bring an interesting question to my mind though.  When you run in a race for nudists, do you get a t-shirt?  From looking at the calendar, the answer is usually "Yes."  Seems a bit like hypocrisy to me, but whatever.

OK, I'm way off course here.  It really doesn't take much to take me off course, in case you hadn't noticed.

Where was I?

Oh yes!  Today's workout.

Today kind of hurt.  I haven't been stretching properly after my runs and today, my calves let me know about it.  They didn't hurt so much as they just felt like they were so pumped up that they were going to explode.  I'm going to have to work on doing my stretches properly.  Also, I need to work on doing exercises to loosen up my joints before i run.

That's all I've got for today.  No really deep thoughts.  Just doing what I set out to do.  I guess that's good enough. :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Motivation to Run

Week 2, Workout 2 of my Couch To 5K Training for 2013 (trumpets sounding, etc.).

I ran on treadmill again today.  I have been setting it to 5.8 for my running times, and 3.5 for the walks.

It's a bit of an improvement on my pace in years past, when I usually went with 5.5 for runs.

Every little bit counts right?

My total distance for each of my workouts so far has been almost exactly 2 miles.  The only difference is the runs I've done on the track, because I have the additional walk to get there.

Oddly, it was a little harder today.  It seems like, having run the same distance two days ago, that shouldn't be the case.  Hey, I pushed a little on Sunday.  Today, well it's just the same routine!  And it is.

Some day's are just harder than others.  It is harder to find the motivation to do the things I need to do.  And running is one of those things that it is hard to get excited about sometimes.  The reasons are pretty obvious.

It is the same with anyone starting something like this.  We've all got busy lives.  There is always something going on, something going wrong, something breaking.  It is overwhelming!

Starting an exercise program is kind of like adding one more layer to a house of cards.  You know that sooner or later there will be one card too much, and sooner or later it will crash.  For me this always came sooner than later, because I'm terrible at building with cards.  Come to think of it, they make a pretty crappy building material.  I guess they are good for analogies for exactly the same reason.  Well, OK I'm off track.

Yes, it is hard to start an exercise routine.  Because yes, it is just one more thing.  But hey, I'm in Week 2.  That means I have already "started."  So, it should be a piece of cake now.  I got up, and got moving!  So nothing but blue skies ahead now!

So.... why is it still so hard to get motivated sometimes?

I think I've found part of the answer:

You don't need motivation to do things you don't consider "optional"

Think about it.  You don't need motivation to eat.  You eat because your body say's, "Feed Me!"  Sure, if you don't eat for a long time, you will die.  And that certainly is "motivation."  Most of us don't really approach that point before feeding ourselves though.  We know we need to eat, and our stomachs say "no better time than the present!"

Besides, eating is fun.  Eating is satisfying.  It is kinda nice that something we have to do, also turns out to be something we want to do.  That doesn't happen often in life.

It certainly doesn't happen with running.  Oh sure, we like the things that come from running.  We like to be more fit.  We like to beat other people in a race.  At least, other people like that.  I think I'd like that.  One day I hope to find out.

But when it comes to "liking" running itself?  No, not really.  I picked up running for a variety of reasons, as can be seen from previous posts.  But in large part, it is simply practical.  I run because I don't know of any other exercise that will give my body the bang for the buck that running does.  It's not overly time consuming.  It doesn't require a huge investment.  It doesn't really matter how good at it I am. 

I hear that people learn to love running over time.  I hope that's true.  There are certainly days that I like it more than others.

In terms of being required, well, running isn't.  I don't have to run.  If I miss a day, I can make it up another day.  It's no big deal. It's primarily a solitary sport.  So, if I miss, who's going to notice?

The thing is, nobody ever misses a meal on Tuesday and say's, "That's OK.  I'll just eat something on Friday!"  Sure, I skip a meal sometimes, but my body is pretty quick to remind me that I did and that it demands satisfaction.  If I don't listen, it will keep pressing the point.  It is pretty relentless on that.

Running isn't mandatory then, in and of itself.  Food is.  It can be treated as mandatory though.  I can decide, "I'm going to run every day that I schedule it.  I don't care what comes up.  I'm going to find a way."

This isn't a new revelation for me.  It probably isn't one for anyone reading this either.  I knew this last year.  So why didn't I stick with it then?  The answer... I just lost that edge.  I started out treating it as mandatory, but at some point, it becomes easier to slack off once.

It always starts with "once".

I'll skip my run this one time.  I'll run tomorrow instead.  Tomorrow, it rains.  Or, tomorrow I have to work late.  Tomorrow, I'll find an excuse why it has to move to another tomorrow.  And on it goes.

Sooner or later, even making excuses gets to be too much trouble, and I just stop trying.

I can see it in my results for last year.  Here's how it breaks down:

Jun-2012, 15 workouts
Jul- 2012, 27 workouts
Aug-2012, 8 workouts (hmm)
Sep-2012, 6 workouts
Oct-2012, 1 workout
Nov-2012, ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz
Dec-2012, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Yup, that's where it ends up to this month.  It wasn't a decision to quit running.  It was just a decision to put it off to tomorrow.  The result looks very similar to quitting I know, but it's very different.  Trust me on this one. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

What is a "Runner"?

Week 1 Workout (Did Workout 3 Yesterday)

Week Workout 1 Workout 2 Workout 3
1 Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

 Week 2 Workout (Did Workout 1 Today)

2 Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

This is a dual post.  I ran the third workout for Week 1 of the "Couch To 5K" program yesterday (Saturday), but I didn't get around to posting.  I also ran the first workout of Week 2 today!  So, This is sort of a two-parter.

Since it is a two-parter, it may be kind of long.  You have been warned.

Yesterday's workout was 8 sets of 60 seconds running, followed by 90 seconds walking.

This week's workout is 6 sets of 90 seconds running, followed by 90 seconds walking.

Both workouts were on treadmill. 

It's interesting how different things pop into my head when I'm running.  Today, my thoughts were on all the times I've tried to become a "runner" before.

Cue dreamlike imagery  like clouds rolling by or something, while I go into a flashback.  A harp would be nice too...   OK don't overdo it...

I tried to run long distances when I was in High School.  I had a crush on a girl I knew from church.  She was a star cross-country runner.  She inspired me to run!  Well, OK she inspired me to act like I was inspired to run, so that I could spend time with her.  But.... it counts!

She and her father also ran in a running club and went to various race events on weekends, and I volunteered to go with them to one of the events.  It was across town, and we piled into their Winnebago to head to the event.  It wasn't overnight or anything, so I'm not entirely sure why we went in the motor home, but we did.  I remember it, because it was old and the engine was very loud.  She and I played cards on top of the engine housing on the way.  It was "nice".

During the race, I got to record her lap times on a chart.  Nice of them to make me feel needed, even if I was pretty much just a tag-a-long.

So anyway, after that weekend, I resolved that I was going to be a cross-country runner too.  I started running.  I did great!  I ran every other day.  I ran when it was cold.  I ran when it was hot.  I loved to run.

I especially liked to run, because my running route "just happened" to take my right by my hot girlfriend's house.  OK, she wasn't so much my girlfriend.  But I wanted her to be.  So, I ran by her house.  She probably never knew I ran by the house.  It wasn't like I stopped there or anything.  But she was supposed to notice, and come tell me how great I was doing.  Alas, it never happened.

The grand total mileage between my house and hers, was.... probably about 1.5 miles, round trip.  I "thought" that was pretty good. In many ways, it really was.  Not everyone can run 1.5 miles without stopping.  Fewer people still, will go out and do that multiple times a week.  So it's not bad.  It really isn't setting a very high bar though.

So, I thought, "I need to do more!"  I decided I should join the school cross country team.  Did I mention I really liked this girl... a lot?

I signed up for cross country, and to my surprise, they actually put me in the class slot for it!  No sirens went off.  No cross country team police showed up to book me for impersonating a runner.  They put me in.

In retrospect, I probably should have trained harder from the time I signed up for the class, until the day classes actually began.  That might have helped me some.  Did I do that?  Of course not.

Nope.  I showed up for that first day of class, decked out in my sneakers (you mean you actually use special shoes for this?) and gym shorts.  I was probably about 180 pounds.  This isn't too bad for an adult runner.  In fact, I'd feel great about myself at 180 pounds right now.  However, I was 16 I think, and 180 pounds is pretty much a lard ass in high school.

Needless to  say, the other guys in the locker room were looking at me pretty funny.  Next thing I know, a coach is coming over to see me.  He said something to the effect of, "Can you run for the entire duration of practice?"

Can you really run for the entire duration of practice?

"Sure," I said.  "The class is only an hour.  I might have to walk a little at first, but I think I can get there before long."

"Son,"  he replied (You know you are in trouble when they start with "Son").  "The class is only for an hour.  The practice goes on for two more hours after school... every day."


That was my response, in case you missed it.  I couldn't say much else.  My mouth was hanging open in shock.

To my credit, I regained my composure and said, "Maybe I should think about moving back into a regular P.E. class?"

"I think that would be a good idea."

So I did.  After all, I wasn't a "real runner."

I was just a guy with a crush on a girl.  Maybe I could find something else to do to impress her (I didn't).  I forgot about running.  I moved on.  She did too.  *Sigh*

A few years later, and I'm in college.  I decide it's time to pick up running again.  I don't think there was a "particular" girl I was chasing at this point.  I think it was just a general "getting in shape to try to attract a girl" kinda thing.

So my best friend and I would run.  We were doing pretty good.  We'd run really hard and thought we were doing pretty good.  Then we'd head back to his apartment and eat pizza.  I'm sure this was a really effective workout strategy.  You see, while the pizza offset our running, we also drank crystal light with the pizza.  So that's 1 point for the run, minus one point for the pizza, plus 1 point for the crystal light.  We were plus one point for the evening.  I should patent that workout plan.  I bet it works!

Actually, it might have.  Before too long I actually had a girlfriend!  Success!

And what happens when you have a girlfriend?  You stop running - right. And so, I did.

That particular girlfriend didn't last much beyond a summer, and in all honesty, it felt like longer than that.  I loved her.  She loved my best friend.  *Sigh*  (He didn't love her back... so I was plus one in that situation too.  Hooray for me.  Actually make that.. plus a thousand)

I didn't start running again right away.

But I have at various stages of my life since then, with various degrees of success, ultimately ending in failure.

A common theme though, is that I didn't really ever consider myself "a runner".  Sure, I run in races on occasion.  I've finished a few 5Ks.  I've even run a few without stopping.  But that doesn't qualify does it?

I mean, we've all seen them.  We know what real runners look like.  Those are the guys who weigh, like, 75 pounds.  They have long, skinny legs that are solid muscle!  They finish 5K's in 15 minutes.  They talk about things like "fartleks", and their diet appears to consists mainly of gels... and pasta.

I'm not one of those guys.  I "want" to be one of those guys, but I'm not.  I'm 270 pounds (and dropping, thank you very much).   I currently could maybe run a complete mile if I was being chased.... by a very slow person.  I get passed on the track by the real runners.  Pfft... I even get passed on the treadmill by the real runners.

So can I claim to be one?

Perhaps the better question is, "will I ever be a real runner, if I don't start thinking of myself as one now?"


So, I'm a runner.  As Gimli say's in "The Lord of the Rings,"  I'm "very dangerous over short distances!"  Especially if I manage to bump into you or something.  You've been warned.

But I'm still a runner.  And tomorrow, I'll be a runner.  And the next day, I'll be a runner. 

Hopefully, I'll become a smaller runner.  One who is less dangerous for short distances, and more dangerous over longer ones.  I'm trying.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thoughts on my second run... and other things.

My Workout Plan This Week

Week Workout 1 Workout 2 Workout 3
1 Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

So today is my second run in my (trumpets sounding) "2013 running campaign"!

It's been a few days since my last post.

Normally, I'd like to run at least every other day.  The Couch to 5K program is designed to have runs 3 days a week.  And I *will* get three runs in this week.

But on Tuesday, I woke up to it snowing fairly heavily.  I vastly prefer to run on pavement than a treadmill.

On top of that, my gym is across town (ok... so my town isn't that big) from where I live.  Driving through the snow probably seems like a walk in the park to people living in areas where it snows a lot.  But I live in Arkansas.  We are not prepared.  We don't have enough snow equipment to keep the roads clear.  We don't really know how to drive on it very well even if there was. So, I wasn't really ready to drive across town to go run on a treadmill.

Of course.... you may ask... why not just go run outside in the cold anyway.  What kind of wuss are you?  Well... apparently the kind that isn't strong enough yet to force myself outside in the snow to run.  That's what kind.

So... I didn't run on Tuesday.  And I didn't run on Wednesday either because... I didn't run on Wednesday.  No real good excuse.  Darnit.

But I remember Tuesday.  I wanted to run.  I was cursing my bad fortune that it snowed.  Cursing the track for being covered in ice.   Cursing the roads for being slippery.

But then I had to ask myself, "What about all those other days?  Those days when the road wasn't slippery, and the track was in pristine condition (as if it ever is)?"

The track was there.  It was waiting for me.  It was saying, "Here I am!  Come over here and spend some time with me!"

I wasn't listening.  I had too many other things going on, or so I told myself.

Oh I was a runner.  You betcha.  Of course I'm a runner.  Look at this drawer full of running clothes.  My treasure trove of race jerseys.  "You bet.  I'm a runner baby!"

"When was the last time you ran?"

"Um...., let me think..."

"Right.  Too long ago."

The track didn't let me down.  I let it down.

I took it for granted that the track would always be there, waiting for me.  And then, when one day it wasn't, I blamed it.

Stick with me here.  I know I'm sounding a bit crazy, making the track sound human.  There is a reason.

So, this morning.  I got up early (for me anyway).  6:00 AM and I'm awake, getting my son up for school as he has early classes on Tuesday and Thursday.  It's about time I made running a priority for the day.  So I get my gear on and get ready to run.  it's still pretty cold outside, so I plan to head to the gym and run on treadmill (yes I am still a wuss).

While I'm getting ready, my son walks in the room, visibly shivering.

"Dad, something is wrong with the hot water."

Oh... lovely.

"Damn that hot water heater!  Why does it have to break now?"  I shake my fist, for effect.  The water heater appears not to notice.

Oh wait... you mean that water heater that has worked every single day for years?  The one that is so consistent that you turn on the hot water and don't even really ever think about the possibility of it not working?  That water heater?

"Yep!  That's the one."


Isn't that interesting.  Yet another thing that is so consistent, I've taken it for granted.

It works, and works, and works, and works.  It's there for me every single day.

Oh and I enjoy the hot water.  You better believe I do.  I've had cold showers.  I know how fun they um... aren't.

So I value the hot water.  But I still take it for granted.  It seems like those should be mutually exclusive.

I go and do my run.  I'm only on week 1 of the program, and it's hardly accurate to call it a run.  I'm running a minute, followed by a walk for 90 seconds.  So it's really more of a walk with a low attention span than a run at this point.  Still, I'm moving at least.

I'm walking, then running, then walking.  All the time I'm thinking.  I take so many things for granted.

  • I take for granted that my body is able to run.
  • I take for granted that my I can beat my body into some sort of shape every year, and then let it go, and expect to be able  to do it again next year.
  • I take for granted that everything that is true today, will be true tomorrow.
  • I take for granted that the people who care about me now, will continue to care about me if I take them for granted.
  • I take any fitness level I reach for granted... like I will stay at that level (or even better, improve) without continuing to train.  "I can run 3 miles.  So this time next year I'll be able to run 3 miles too.  Hey that doughnut looks good!"
So many things in my life are so stable.

I am not.  I am a bundle of good intentions.  If you look at all my intentions, I'm a pretty good guy.  When you look at my accomplishments... hmm... 

Not so good.  I'm anything but consistent.  I'm the poster child for having a low attention span.  I get so wrapped up in myself.  I miss the people around me, begging for my attention. 

Is there an answer to this?  I don't know.  I guess the only way to start being more dependable, is to start.  Genius at work here!

And I thought this blog was just going to be about running.

Oh speaking of running.  I did actually do my run.

Isn't amazing how easy it is to do a run, when you aren't really thinking about the run?  On Sunday, I ran my Day 1 circuit, and wow was it hard.  Today... completely different.

So different that I didn't even notice when I missed an audio cue to stop running after my first 1 minute leg.  It told me to start walking.  I didn't hear it.  So I kept running, for an extra minute and a half.

Sunday, I'm staggering to get all 8 legs of running (1 minute intervals) done.  Today, I go for 2 and half minutes, and don't even realize it.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

NOTE: This is my first blog entry.  I don't know if anyone will read it.  I really don't care that much.  But I'm going to use it as "one more tool" to keep me from quitting.  I promise future ones won't be quite so long!  But I will keep posting them to keep myself going.  If I stop posting, please feel free to kick me in the butt!

My Workout Plan This Week

Week Workout 1 Workout 2 Workout 3
1 Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

After a month an a half of telling myself I need to start running again, today I actually did.

Here's the GPS tracking of my run today:


4:25 PM
I leave my house and start on my walk to the track.  Before leaving I start tracking my workout using the trusty Endomondo app on my android phone.

Generally I run on a track that is attached to a local elementary school, and that is where I set off to today.  It was once Bentonville High School and Google map service still shows the field inside the track as "Tiger Stadium", but the school moved to a new location several years ago.  The track and an occasionally maintained football field is all that is left.

The track is about half a mile from my house, so walking to it makes a decent warmup for running.... normally.

8:17 Mark
I reach the school track.  Today, the walk to the track has, in itself, all but squashed my desire to run.  How can this be?  I have made this walk to the track countless times before.  I have run around the track even more countless times.  I know every inch of the well worn asphalt.  I know the places where the track has an uneven crease across it.  I know the places where kids throw rocks onto the track that I have to skip around.  I know the places where parents sit on their folding chairs to watch their kids practice football (though I am convinced they are really there to laugh at the fat guy running around in circles).  I own this track!

Oh wait!  That's right.  I stopped running in September of last year.

Hold on...Why did I do that?

Was I injured?

Hmm... no.

Did I decide to stop?

I don't remember deciding that.

I just.... stopped.

That's weird.  Not the stopping part.  I am really good at that.  I do that a lot.

What is weird is that I usually quit in November.  Why?  I don't know.

Perhaps it is because the weather starts going really bad in November.  Sure, I could put on some sweats and brave the elements.  And it's not like Arkansas winters are usually that cold.  And even if they were, I have a gym membership.  I could always go run on treadmill.

Perhaps it is because my birthday is in early November, and it always reminds me of my mortality.  2012 makes 47 years for me.  Bleh.  OK, so I guess that's a good reason to be feeling old.  But is that really a good excuse to stop?  No.  But that hasn't stopped me up to this point.  Well, OK, maybe it has.

I'm not sure.  But, whatever the reason, November has been my Achilles Heel for years.

You see, I've started and stopped running many times.  Just about every year, I pick myself up and start running.  I build up my endurance.  I get to the point where I can run a 5K at about a 10.5 minute per mile pace.  And then I hit November and let it all fall apart.  I gain back whatever weight I've managed to lose over the course of the year, and end up right back where I started (about 280 pounds) and depressed about it again.

But 2012 was different.  This time I stopped in late September, early October.  I guess that's one way to not fall apart in November.  Do it earlier.  Hmm...

Well OK.  Enough dwelling on my reasons for failure.  It's a new year right?  A new day!

A day when I, once again, suck at running.  And, I excel at quitting.  I want to reverse that.

I'm using the Couch to 5K running plan, again. - http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/

So, today I'm starting at Week 1. That's a bit of a disappointment.  At least last year, I was able to start from a more advanced week.  The problem is, that was actually a mistake.  I messed around way too long trying to find a weekly workout that my body was comfortable with.  By the time I finally found a workout I could consistently do over the course of a week, I could have just started over at week one and been in as good of shape.  Lesson learned... Week 1 it is.  Today, there is no football practice.  That's kind of too bad. Feeling like people are watching, and laughing, at me when I run is oddly motivating.  Today, there are just other runners, and walkers, on the track.  Good.  I feel a kind of solidarity with them.  Well... except for that one guy who is wearing a race jersey.  He's a little "too good".

So I started out.  The week one workout is as follows:
  1. Warm-up Walk for 5 minutes
  2. Run for 60 Seconds
  3. Walk for 90 Seconds
  4. Rinse and Repeat steps 2 and 3, for a total of 20 minutes.
  5. Cool down walk for 5 minutes.
OK where was I?  Oh yeah, I'm still at the 8:17 mark.  By the time I walk from my house to the track, I've already gone half a mile, so I've done far more than the 5 minute warm-up walk.  But I prefer to start my timer once I actually get to the track.  I use a program on my android mobile phone (C25K Pro) to step me through my workout automatically.  Obviously this is not required, but I do highly recommend it.  It helps a great deal.  Also, I do highly recommend Endomondo.  I use it on Android, but it is available on just about every smartphone system.

So this takes me back to the beginning of today's workout.  All I've done is walk to the track and I'm already out of breath.  Well, that's all the more reason to get my butt in gear and get started.  So, I do.

9:38 Mark

I use a fanny pack to carry my phone in while I run.  Surprisingly, I've actually managed to close it around my waist.  That was, by no means, guaranteed.  It barely closed.  I take it off when I get to the track to start the C25KPro app, and then put it back on.  Amazingly, it feels like I've actually gained inches since I left the house.  Is that possible?

Somehow I manage to get the belt back on, and start walking.  I am already feeling a dull ache in my lower back.  My body is letting me know it is not impressed with my running ambitions.

"Deal with it", I tell my lower back.  "I'm not stopping."

And I don't.  I try to use the warm-up time psyching myself up for the run.

16:11 Mark
I start my first running stint.  It actually feels pretty good.  My body seems to remember its stride and I run at a pretty decent pace (for me).  I pass a few people on the track.  I'm jogging.  They are walking.  No matter.  In my mind it is a race and I just owned them.  Ha!  I'm only feeling slightly fatigued when the chipper woman's voice comes over my headphones telling me to "Start Walking".  Hmm... she sounds nice.

SIDE NOTE: This is the first time I've heard this particular computer generated woman's voice.  Since my last running workout, I've upgraded my phone from an HTC Evo 4G to a Samsung Galaxy SIII.  Apparently, the phones have different computer generated voices.  Whatever.  The new girl sounds nice.  That will change.

26:36 Mark
I'm starting my 5th, and in my head, last running phase for the workout.  I know it's the last workout because I'm only supposed to go for 20 minutes.  And each running phase is 1 minute and there are 3 minutes of walking in between each running phase.  So that makes 4 minutes, times 5 is 20.  So I should be good after this right?

I stagger to the end of the running phase, thinking I should be done.

The somehow less pleasant sounding woman in my ears say's "Good Job! Start Walking."

Wait.  That's not right.  She was supposed to say "Great Job! Start your cooldown walk".  The fact that she didn't say that means I know I have another running phase coming.

Oops!  I have forgotten that the walking phase is 1:30, not 3:00.  I always forget this.  I don't know why.  Math is not my strong suit, and it becomes even less so when I'm running.  Perhaps it's the lack of oxygen.

I don't realize this yet.  I'm still clinging to my illusion that my walking phases are 3 minutes long.  OK so I'm having to go another time.  No big deal.  I'm a little tired, but I can do it.  No big deal.  I pull up my big boy pants (no really! I have to pull them up... they are riding down a bit), and prepare to run yet again.

30:16 Mark
I wrap up my 6th running phase and yet again, the rude voice in my ears say's "Good Job!  Start Walking".


OK at this point, I'm convinced the program has gone off the reservation.  I'm no longer dealing with C25KPro.  Now I've got HAL 9000 to deal with.  Any moment now, I expect to be addressed as "Dave".

Alright, fine.  I'll do your extra lap.  But I'm getting annoyed.

32:34 Mark
"Good Job!  Start Walking."

"LOOK, {Expletive omitted}!  I'm done already.  Don't you get it?"

She doesn't.

I'm actually on medication.  I've had a persistent cough for a while and my doctor has prescribed a Z-Pac and prednisone to help deal with it.  I'm not sure if it's relevant, but my mouth has gone extremely dry.  I'm acutely aware of where I left my water bottle sitting on the edge of the track.

I'm not sure I have it in me to go one more run phase, especially when I'm no longer convinced it will be the last.  The only good news is, I'm pretty sure the run phase will end at about the same place my water is (say's the guy with bad math skills).

I resolve that, regardless of what the dominatrix in my head say's, I will be stopping to pick up my water. I'm done!

35:16 Mark
Thank God, she finally say's "Great Job!  Start your cool-down walk".  I slide over to the outside lane to deftly pick up my water from the ground next to the track in mid-stride (I miss).  I turn around to see if anyone noticed my clumsy move.  I see that fit runner, with his race swag shirt on, smirk at me as he runs by.

That's it.  He's got to die!
If only I could catch him...
"Meh," I tell myself.  "Let it go."

Besides, I've got race swag shirts too.  They don't fit as well as they did originally.  But I've got them.  And I'll wear them again one day...

I do my 5 minute cool-down walk, thankful to have remembered to bring water.  When I'm done, I've finally convinced myself I'm not going to fall down and die on the track today.  So I head home, and have pizza for dinner.  Well... small steps...

Workout one... done.