They lie, I tell you

Damn watches and phones.  I know they lie.  They do it to torture me, I’m certain of it.  There’s no way 5 minutes of running feels so damn long.  By the end of it I was gasping for air.  I’m pretty certain that it has nothing to do with my advancing age or the fact that I let myself get grossly, disgustingly out of shape.  Nope, it’s slow quartz crystals.  Or maybe the position of the moon relative to Mason, Ohio.  Whatever the underlying reason, I wish it would stop.

Happy anniversary

I completed week three today, and celebrated my 11 year wedding anniversary with my wife yesterday.  She’s been an inspiration to me in a million ways, not the least of which is her support of my running.  I can tell that I’m starting to make strides as I’m getting itchy to start some longer runs.  Having gone out too far and too fast in the past, I’m going to stick with the plan though.  Patience.

Week four will have a bit of a jump in it.  Whereas the run intervals had been measured in seconds up until now, in week four we start to see 3 an 5 minute runs.

Incentives

As I begin the third week of my training, I’ve decided to give myself an incentive:  complete the entire first four weeks and I get new running shoes.  The ones I’ve been wearing are long, long past their useful life.  I’ve forgotten what it feels like to wear new running shoes, so I know this will help keep me motivated.

Also, my wife continues to do very well on this C25K program.  She’s also started using the C25K iPhone app I wrote about here, and she loves it.  She remains a week ahead of me and has yet to miss a workout, so she continues to be inspiration to keep going.  We’re both searching around for music to add to our running playlists.

Week three is just a nudge up from week two.  Now it’s alternating between 90 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking, so really, this week simply decreases the walking intervals from the previous week.

Another nice little incentive is watching the the days/weeks get marked as “complete” in the iPhone app.  Here’s what my screen looks like today.

C25K Screen shot

It really is the little things that keep me going.

Week two ends

Well I’m made it to the end of the second week of C25K, and I have to admit that I am already feeling like progress is being made.  I managed to drop a pound or two so that’s got to be a good sign.  The other thing I’ve noticed is that when you’re trying hard to make changes for the better in your life, that positive feeling bleeds over into other areas.  For instance, late last night I found myself staring at a box of Oreos, but said to myself, “Don’t sabotage yourself,” and found it easy to walk away.

Another fun development is that my boys wanted to come with me today.  So they got out on their scooters and bikes and followed me around.  That alone is reason enough to keep going.

Week two begins

Week two of C25K training started tonight.  This week I alternate between 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking and day one wasn’t too bad.  I know I shouldn’t do this, but I’ve already looked ahead and I can’t even imagine that I’ll be able to get to 30 minutes of running.  I’m huffing and puffing at the end of 90 seconds!

I must not quit.  I must not quit.  I must not quit.

Test passed (and U2 was phenomenal)

I did it.  I got up early on Saturday to get day three of C25K done, which means I am done with week one.  I’m glad I did because it’s starting to feel less like complete and utter hell, and more like I starting to build something.  As the boys from Dublin say in I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight:

“It’s not a hill, it’s a mountain, when you start out the climb.”

They’re right.  It looks like a mountain, but if I keep taking it little hill by little hill, who knows.

Update (for my fellow U2 fans).  Here’s the set list from the concert.

First test

This weekend, I will be in Chicago with my wife, kids, and friends to see the Cubs play the Reds and then see U2 at Soldier Field.  We drive to Chicago tomorrow after work, then Saturday is just packed.  Cubs/Reds at Wrigley with a noon start, head to some Chicago tourist-y kind of restaurant for dinner, drop the kids back at the hotel with a sitter, then on to Soldier Field for a 7:30 concert start.  I’ve been looking forward to this for months.  But, I’m also due to get a workout in on Saturday.  A test.

Will I get my workout in?  Do I have the fortitude to wake up early to get it done before the big day gets going?  Will I simply default back to my old ways and think, “Ahh, I’ll do it later.”  We shall see.

Did I mention we’re going to see U2?

Day two and an iPhone app

I am a gadget guy.  I love cool electronic toys.  So today I found a little electronic help on my road back to running in the form of an iPhone app called C25K.  At it’s heart, C25K is simply an interval training program designed to get you running little by little.  Rather than having to face running  3.1 miles as an insurmountable goal, it gives you tiny bite size chunks and eases you into running.  (“Ease” being a relative term.  Did you read my last post?)

So the C25K iPhone app helps you by giving you verbal cues about what you should be doing, all while playing whatever playlist of songs you like to run to.  As you’re doing your workout, you hear the voice come through the headphones (after automatically muting your music) telling you, “Walk”, “Run”, “Halfway done”, and “Last run.”  Pretty cool.  No more listening for my watch to beep and remember what interval I’m supposed to be on.  And it has the entire C25K program already preconfigured for you so you just select the day and it takes care of the rest.

C25K iPhone App

It helped me pay less attention to my belly jiggling around and my labored breathing as I plodded through day two, so that alone makes it a winner for me.

Speaking of bellies.  Just to make sure my embarrassment is complete, as I start this program I weigh 218lbs.  Which would be fine if I were 8’3″ tall, but sadly, I’m only 6’0″.

Hi, pain

Hello, pain.

I remember you.  I remember that when I actually exert myself, you show up.  You’re consistent as hell, too.  You never take a day off.  Exert, pain … extert, pain … exert, pain.  That’s how it goes.

But here’s the thing.  I like you.  I missed you.  I want you back in my life, and I’m willing to change just for you, because you remind me that I’m alive and not just a lump.  I’m considering friend’ing you on Facebook.

Sixty seconds of hell

I’d love to report that day one on my journey back to running left me feeling exhilarated and ready to take on the world.  It did not.

I felt embarrassed.  I felt very real disgust.  When I was a younger man (I’m now 40), I could have literally run all day.  Today I see my boys chasing each other around and realize they don’t even register the fact that they’re running.

It registered for me.  Day one of the C25K program basically alternates between one minute of running and a minute and half of walking.  And there I was wheezing my way around, wondering how 60 seconds could feel so damn long.  Sixty seconds.  Seconds.