Friday, April 11, 2014

Ready to Run

I have a love-hate, on-and-off, breakup and get back together again relationship with exercise.  When I was 24, I lost 40 pounds by combining Weight Watchers and serious exercise. That was the first time in my life I tried running. I was inspired by John Bingham's book about getting started as a runner despite being middle aged and overweight. I love that he dubbed himself "The Penguin". I went to Alaska for one of his running clinics and it was awesome.

Because this is a blog post and that was 14 years ago, I can fast forward through all the sweat and side stitches and hours on the treadmill, and say that I went from no exercise at all, to a ton of walking, to running a 5K.  It was glorious - I was thinner than I ever had been as an adult, I actually started to love running and working out and I gained some serious self-confidence in the process.

You know how the story goes. First it started with a new consulting gig where the gym wasn't so convenient and lots of dinners out.  I eventually gained some of that weight back. In 2004 after I got engaged, I got my vanity on - I wanted to look *good* in my wedding pictures.  So back to the gym I went. I got a trainer and a nutritionist and got back to running.  I ran another couple of 5Ks in Seattle and learned to love running again.

But again, the lazy won out.  I did work out fairly regularly, but stopped running.  When I got pregnant with T, I stopped going to the gym entirely because I was SO tired all the time. I dropped my gym membership and haven't had one since (5+ years now!).

Two pregnancies later, the situation is not pretty. I have about 20 lbs to lose to get back to pre-T-pregnancy weight.  And that was not a healthy weight for me, so it's more like 40-mumble pounds to get back to something actually healthy for my height.

One of my goals for age 40 (next year - arghhh!) is to get to a healthy weight for my height.  I don't have a lot of time, and I do have a lot of work ahead of me.  And yet I have been unmotivated to DO THE WORK. I can talk a good game, I can make charts and lists and motivational collages, but actually getting down to the treadmill and walking?  Naaah.

And then my friend A told me about Beat the Blerch.  It's a crazy running event hosted by the guy who draws The Oatmeal.  There will be cake, and people in costume chasing the runners. This appealed to me. Plus, I love The Oatmeal.

My first 10K, god help me

So in a fit of crazy, and encouraged by several friends, I signed up.  The shortest distance is 10K.  Which I've never run.  The last time I did any running was in 2005.  What have I gotten myself into?

I started where all new runners start these days.  The Couch to 5K walk/run program.  Now in our fancy age of smartphones, there's an app for that.  It's fantastic- it gives you prompts to start running or walking over the music you're listening to.  I really could have used this back in 2004.  Or 1998.

I completed a week of running workouts before I got this horrible cold which I've had for about 2 weeks now.  (Sigh).  This means I'll probably have to start over.  I couldn't even DO the Week 1 of that program - I'm so out of shape that even running for 1 minute 8 times was too much.  So I scaled it back to running 35 seconds and I'll add more time slowly.  

I've got 5 months before the race in September so I should be able to work up to 6.2 miles by then, *if* I can be consistent.  That's the hard part, right?


  1. Okay, you just inspired me to get my butt off the couch and take my dogs for a walk instead of just sitting here, reading blogs. Please keep posting running updates in the future, I'm going to need continuous inspiration (my couch is VERY comfortable)... ;^)

    Beat the Blerch sounds like it's going to be sooo cool, bring a camera so I can live vicariously through you!

    1. Ingunn - you are way ahead of the game if you keep walking those pups through your pregnancy! Good for you :) Plus all the hiking you do will be awesome, too!

  2. Good for you!!!!

    I'm hoping that next month, I can put a serious dent in my weight loss with my increased exercise.

  3. Good luck! I hate and love running all at the same time. I hate getting going and pretty much most of the minutes I spend doing it. But I LOVE how I feel afterwards---strong, accomplished, and relaxed! I realize that exercise if HUGE for my mental health these days…in the moment it feels better to skip it, and linger at home with more coffee…but in the long run, if I don't do it regularly I get more stressed.

    1. Yes! On the rare occasion I can get my exercise done in the morning, I feel *so good* for the rest of the day.

  4. Preach, sister! It's so funny that we're so in the same place -- I feel a renewed sense of urgency to losing the weight given that I will be seeing 40 next year. And while I lost the baby weight I gained with Alessa, I still started out that pregnancy about 40 pounds over my ideal. But here's the major difference -- I'd rather gouge out my eyes with a pair of Nikes than run. So that's never gonna happen. Also, given that huge amount of weight loss I'm facing, I'm wondering whether my time wouldn't be better spent losing some weight before attempting to start throwing this big ol' body around a gym. At any rate, I hope you'll either post or email me updates with how you're doing!

  5. I thought a lot about my health and working out while on this recent sprint vacation to Europe. There were days I got so tired from carrying all my weight around that I got frustrated and wished I was lighter to be able to do more...and fit into a plane seat more comfortably. I'm going to make a strident effort to get back into the Couch to 5K now that it's spring.


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