Monday, December 6, 2010

How (and why) I started running

For my first post EVER on a blog, I feel like I should clarify that I am not a writer nor am I sure why I started this blog other than to share my story.  Maybe somebody will get something out of it or maybe somebody will leave a comment that will help me on my journey.  Whatever the case, I have felt inspired time and time again to start a blog to share my story of why I started running and more importantly, why I still run today.  In the short 18 months of my running career, the reasons to keep moving forward are very different today than when I started.

Early 2009 at six feet and two hundred and thirty pounds, I was having some light headed spells that scared both myself and my wife.  It takes a lot for me to go to a doctor but three spells over a two or three month time did just that.  My general doc sent me to have a bunch of heart test.  One test was called a tilt table test which I laughed at.  The idea is, you get strapped to a table and you lay flat for a few minutes.  Then the table stands you up and you stand there for 30 minutes.  After standing there for a few seconds and making fun of the procedure in my head and wondering what I was going to do for 30 minutes, I almost passed out.  They quickly inverted the table to get blood back to my head and I was fine.  I failed.  So much for it being a joke test.

Failing this test started the fun because the next step was to meet with a cardiologist.  He took one look at me and profoundly said, “Let me guess, this is the biggest you have ever been.”  To which I agreed.  Next thing out of his mouth was the best medical advice anyone can get.  He simply said, “Lose it.”
Now to be fair, he did give me options.  He was fully willing and able to medicate me to get every number on every test to come out exactly where a cardiologist wants it, but as much as I don’t like going to the doctor, I don’t like taking drugs even more.  So I asked for his advice to best lose the weight to which he said, exercise 5 days a week for a minimum of 20 minutes with an elevated heart rate and shortness of breath or it does not count.

My goal was to make this fun so it would be easy to stick with.  I already owned Wii Fit and enjoyed some of the games so I went out and bought Wii Active which just came out at the time.  I got up every morning for 3 weeks and worked out with these great Wii fitness programs.  After three weeks, nothing had changed.  I did not look better in the mirror, I did not feel better, and the scale had not budged below 230 lbs.

Here was the turning point, I found the Cool Running Couch-to-5K Running Plan and figured, why not?  While the goal of getting in shape and telling the doctor where to stick his drugs were a great motivation, I needed a set goal.  I found the Streetlight 5K running on July 17th, 2009.  The Couch-to5K was designed as a 9 week program and I only had 7 weeks.  Sadly, at 36 years old, I could not run 50 yards straight.  I started out slow on the plan and modified it as needed to remove 2 weeks and yet not feel like I was rushing myself.

During these seven weeks, I also modified what I ate.  I did not go on a diet.  Diets don’t work for the long term.  I went with the strategy called “Exercise and eat right.”  Everybody know what “eat right” means, but most people won’t do it.  That will be a blog one day.  Anyway, the weight started dropping and I started getting some confidence.  On July 17th, 2009, I RAN the entire 5K in 32:00 for a 10:18 pace.

Not to skip ahead too much because I do plan to fill in some of the gap one day, but this Saturday, 12/11/10, I am going to run my first marathon carrying all 165 lbs of me.  That is right, in just a year and a half, I have lost 65 lbs and will run 26.2 miles straight.  This will be the most insane thing I have done to date.  If you took time to read this far, please say a prayer for me Saturday morning.  I can’t make the run alone!

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