Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Running Man

Week 3 is done. In my first three weeks, I've dropped 10 pounds. Some of that is water-weight, and I think the figure is artificially inflated because my starting weight was probably inaccurate by a pound or two, but it is still starting to be a noticeable difference. I'm only looking to lose 1.5 - 2 pounds a week, so I'm pretty well on course. More importantly, I'm generally feeling healthier and more energized.

I'm really liking the C25k iPhone app I found - it's so much easier than all the convoluted things I was trying to do before. It posts to Facebook, which I hope is not too annoying. This morning's run, though, for some reason, failed to post.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Baby Steps

Although I tried to start my run as stealthily as possible, I was spotted the moment I walked out the door this morning. A phalanx(1) of mosquitos immediately started dive-bombing at my legs. A bit further on, I was attacked by dozens(2) of abseiling caterpillars - they launched themselves off of the tree canopy, descending toward my head on their silken strings. Obviously, last week's spider has called in reinforcements. But I will not be deterred. I am now in Week 3 of C25k. I am going strong, and I have allies: My sister Sharon has mentioned that she may start C25k. And even my son, Griffin, has started. He's only 14 months old, but his progress so far has been remarkable. Last month, he was completely sedentary - not even walking at all. Then, in Week 2 of his Crawl to 5K program, he started taking a step or two, here and there. Last week, he took six steps in a row! He is doing awesome. Soon he will accompany me on my runs. First, though, we are working through the challenge of getting him to sleep through the night. Stacy and I are "ferberizing" him - a difficult and heart-breaking process that essentially involves teaching him that he cannot rely upon us to assist him during the night. When he cries in the night, we now let him cry. He's supposed to learn to put himself back to sleep. So far this has only really worked with Zoe, our oldest.(3) But we are holding out hope that Griffin may learn to sleep on his own at some point in the next few years.

Apart from the Great Bug Wars, today's run was fine. I love weekend runs through the park, because I always feel very empowered when I run by other park-goers out for morning exercise. They move slowly down the park paths, shuffling their feet. Blowing passed them makes me feel like a young lion, muscles flexing and sweat glistening. The fact that most of them are in their 70's and 80's is irrelevant.

1. A phalanx of mosquitos is comprised of one, maybe as many as two, mosquitos.
2. I'm assuming it was dozens. I saw only one, but they're pretty sneaky.
3. It's also worked with Stacy - she, too, has learned that she cannot rely on my assistance during the night.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Still running strong

Should anyone happen to wonder, I did run W2D1 and W2D2 as scheduled. W2D3 is tomorrow. I just didn't have time to blog about my runs, since my parents are in town. Hopefully something really interesting will happen on the run tomorrow, and I'll be able to post an extra-fascinating entry to make up for it. Interesting in a good way. Not in a Dan-got-hit-by-a-car way.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

It's ON, Charlotte - BRING IT!

I finished my first week of C25k this morning. It was an unremarkable run, yet here I am remarking on it anyway. The only thing of note that happened is that - in three separate locations over the course of two miles - I ran through spiderwebs. I hate that! I figure that either (1) this is just a simple coincidence, the type of thing that a normal person wouldn't notice or dwell upon, or (2) there is a spider out there that is seriously trying to interfere with my C25k progress. Well, let me tell you, spider, I am not "normal," and I did notice! I will not allow you, or your snail buddies, to stand in my way! Sure, I may be able to run just 60 seconds at a clip now, but you watch me - I'm done with Week 1 now, so in 48 hours I will be running for 90 seconds! That's right, 90! Let's see you try to stop me then! I hereby challenge you to a 5k, spider, to take place at dawn, in about three months or so. I'll post the specifics later.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Today's run almost didn't happen. I woke up at 4:45 AM, raring to go. I got dressed in my running gear and was out the door by 5:15. I went to lock the front door with my key, and the lock seized. It grabbed my key and wouldn't let go. I fought with it for a good 15 minutes. I wasn't willing to just leave the key in the lock, since that would be the same as just leaving the door unlocked. Our neighborhood isn't particularly unsafe, but neither did I feel comfortable leaving the house unlocked with my sleeping family inside. So, discouraged, I headed back inside and resolved to call a locksmith after sun-up. A half-hour later, I gave it another try. This time, with the help of a little WD40, I was able to free the key from the lock. I figured it was already too late to run by that point, but ultimately I decided I'd rather be late than not get in the morning run, so run I did. And it was good. I now have W1D2 of C25k under my belt. And my belt isn't quite as big as the scale reported on Day 1, either: when I weighed today I had lost 4.5 pounds from last time. That's either water-weight or, more likely, the first weight was just inaccurate. I doubt I really lost 4.5 pounds over the course of 48 hours. But - whatever - I'll take it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I'm Baaack

Whew! That was quite a little hiatus I took there. But I'm back and motivated to get back in shape. I weighed in this morning at a hefty 191.4 (pretty darn close to an all-time high), but then I slapped on my running gear and headed out the door. I started back at the beginning - Week 1Day 1 (W1D1) of C25k (Couch to 5k) - correctly figuring that any fitness progress I had made by successfully graduating from C25k two times prior had been nullified by months of sloth.

It was a relatively cool morning when I set out at 6:15, but by the time I finished up at 7:00 the sun had already crested the palm trees and it was quite humid. Not too bad, though. The 'run,' if you could call it that, was great. C25k starts out very gradual - that's the whole point of the program - and so W1D1 is mostly walking: Several intervals of running for 60 seconds and walking for 90 seconds, sandwiched between a 5-minute warmup walk and a 5-minute cooldown walk. If you've never tried it, you should. Each week gets progressively more difficult, but the week prior has prepared you for it. By the end of the program, two months later, you can run for 5k (about 30 minutes) uninterrupted. On the two previous occasions that I finished the program, I found myself loving it but then getting injured shortly after graduation. This time, I'm going to be more careful. (Full disclosure: look back at my prior entries on this blog and you'll see a few unsuccessful, unfinished C25k efforts - last time out, I just gave up for no good reason in Week 4. This time, I'm going to see it through).

Since my girls are now out of school for the summer, I'll be able to go in to work later - I won't have to do school drop-off each morning at 7:45 - and that means I'll have the time to get in my runs. I have the time, I have the motivation, and I'm committed to see it through.

C25k? There's an app for that. I used the C25k iphone app, and it worked beautifully. It essentially automates the instructions I laid out in my "Make Your Own Kind of Music" blog post back in September of 2007, doing all the hard work for you and adding some extra bells and whistles. I highly recommend it and, if you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch, I'd suggest you just disregard the complicated instructions I listed back in my earlier post and just buy the app. It's well worth it. My only quibble is that I can't use it and a GPS/map-tracker app (like runkeeper, or imapmyrun) at the same time.