440 lbs to 10K in 26 Months
As I am approaching the goal weight I set over 2 years ago I am happy to report that I feel terrific -- better than I have in 30 years. I am living my life again. I recently saw an ad on TV for our local 10K race - the Richmond Monument Avenue 10K - and a crazy idea popped into my head. Wouldn't be an awesome bookend to my journey if I did that 10K this year? I used to jog in my mid 20's. I was in shape back then and I did enjoy that form of exercise. I've been walking regularly for over 18 months - including many walks over the winter months that exceeded 10K in distance. I can walk a 10K with no problems. But I have not jogged in over 29 years. Can I get into jogging shape in only 1 month? Maybe. Maybe not. But walk, jog, or crawl I decided to do this 10K. It would make a fitting end to the weight loss portion of my diet and open a new chapter as I enter maintenance.
Two years ago I would have said that me doing a 10K could never happen. I weighed over 400 pounds and had Type 2 diabetes. But this WOE has really worked some magic on me and the impossible has become possible. I've lost nearly 230 pounds and have become quite fit, all things considered. I don't have a runners body, but a slow jog for 6.2 miles just might be possible. This journal will document my preparation for this event and end with the results of the 10K race.
Note: If you want to skip the preparation posts, the 10K race day posts start at post #50 on page 4. Race day photos are on page 5.
Background: I'm a walker and I love it
So how did I get here? A little background on my exercise journey...
I began eating low carb on 2/3/2014. I did virtually no exercise for the first few months of the diet. I was in bad shape (obviously), I had a bad back, and I had issues with my left leg going numb (or worse) from a pinched sciatic nerve. Over those first few months I still lost weight at a nice clip and I was really starting to notice how much healthier I was feeling. Then at about 3 months into this WOE I started getting fidgety when I sat in one place too long. My body was telling me to get up and move. I had 250+ pounds of energy to burn and this WOE opened the door to that abundant resource. The problem: I still had that bad back and sciatica issues with my left leg. It was painful to be on my feet too long. Plus, I had been very inactive for more than a year. I had lived in my recliner, office chair, and my bed as much as possible. My brain said get up and move, so I did. My body said ouch. I did it anyway. I did what I could.
I joined this TDC Club thread in June 2014. The goal of the participants was to get two hours (or more) of exercise each week. Here was my first post.
I participated in that group for over a year, reporting once a week. It was a great place to start out and it was nice having the accountability. The company was nice, too. As time went on my back issues got better and the walking turned into a daily thing. I increased the amount of exercise that I got in each week. Even my sciatic nerve issue went away. It got better with each passing month, but took about 1 year to go away completely. Eventually I bought a fitness tracker to count my daily steps and on Sept 1, 2015 I joined The Walking Challenge thread in the exercise low intensity sub-forum. The goal is to try to get in 10,000 steps or more each day. My normal daily routine will yield only about 5000 steps. To get 10K or more each day I had to keep up my walks. I walked on my lunch hour and I walked after dinner. I enjoyed walking. It was so rejuvenating. I had no problem getting 10K steps in on most days. Here is a sample from the first week of March 2016.
So that is what I've been doing in preparation for this 10K. I've gotten a little "Forest Gumpy" with my walking. I like doing it and I do it a lot. It takes time and I make time for it. But I've also been thinking about ways to get more workout done in less time. Jogging would do that. I was not sure if jogging was such a good idea at my age. But I decided to give it a try anyway - starting with this 10K race. The race is on April 9 and I started my preparation on March 12 (4 weeks before race day). That is not much time, but all I can do is try. I'll record all my jogging workouts here in this journal and let you all know how it goes. If I can't jog the whole 10K, so be it. But I'm going to try.
Good luck with this. I think you won't be able to do the whole race running, but you will be able to do part of it. I had my best running times at about 230 pounds, so don't discount your body's ability to do this.
10K Training Day 1 - BASELINE
March 12 - copied from my Journal
I went out to our local middle school track and started day 1 of training for the Richmond Monument Avenue 10K run. I have 4 weeks until race day. That is not much time, but I can do a 10K walking with no problem. Between now and then I'm going to try and see if I can get into jogging shape. If today is any indication, it just may happen.
I did a little reading up on the subject and every training plan calls for one day on, one day off for the first few weeks. That is what I plan on doing. Today I did a full 10K and I pushed it pretty hard. I wanted to get a baseline and see where I'm at. I didn't really know what to expect. My legs are a little rubbery after the fact, but all-in-all I think it went pretty well for my first jog in nearly 30 years. Here is what I did...
Ate breakfast (eggs & sausage) and drank 32oz of water
Drove to the track and stretched my legs.
Started the workout - alternating walking and jogging
Mile 1 to mile 4.5: alternated walking 3.5 mph and jogging 5.2 mph, 1/2 mile each
Mile 4.5 to 5.5: jogged the entire mile at 5.2 mph
Mile 5.5 to 6.2 alternated walking and jogging with each 1/4 mile lap.
Duration: 85 minutes -- average speed 4.3 mph
Jogging is not walking, that's for sure. It was a cool day and I had not sweat like that since the summer of 2014 when I first started walking. I was definitely full cardio, too. I could feel that little tingle you get in those fatty parts of your body that don't often get good blood flow. This was a workout. It reminded me of those huffing & puffing days on the first day of football practice. My leg muscles were tired by the end, but all-in-all I feel pretty good. I drank plenty of water afterward (with a little salt mixed in) and drank 30g of protein in a LC protein shake. Now I'll just have to wait and see how I feel tomorrow.
March 13 - copied from my journal
It's official. I signed up for the 10K, along with my 2 daughters. I'm glad they are both doing it so they can run together if they want to. I told them that I plan on doing the race at my best pace. They can run ahead or be left behind. We can meet up at the finish line.
About the workout yesterday... The jogging part was not fun. It was work. I had to dig deep and find that competitive spirit to do what I did. I'm feeling it today. Nothing major, though. My calves & hamstrings are sore and I don't have much spring in my step. Today is a casual walk day, for sure. My daughters and I are headed out to the track in a few minutes where they will begin preparing for the race. I will happily walk slow laps for the duration.
In my early 20's I did a lot of jogging. I learned to enjoy it. There for a while I didn't consider my day complete if I didn't get a good workout in. I don't know if that will happen for me at my age. I may do it just long enough to do this one race. I do enjoy walking, though. I enjoy it in much the same way that I did enjoy jogging all those years ago. If jogging does not become something I enjoy doing, or if I find that injury and pain are a problem at my age - then I won't continue doing it. It will be an interesting experiment. So far, so good.
March 14 - copied from my journal
Today was supposed to be my second jogging workout. I didn't do it. I decided to take my own advice and to listen to my body. I wasn't ready for it yet. My calves were fully recovered from Saturday's workout. My hamstrings were still complaining and I feared that another tough workout might actually lead to a step backward. I pushed hard on day 1, so an extra recovery day was earned. The hamstrings felt better after my evening walk, so I should be good to go tomorrow. This day delay will put me in sync with my daughter who ran yesterday (and is feeling it today, btw). We will both jog at the track tomorrow.
10K Training Day 2
March 15 - copied from my journal
I wasn't looking forward to my 2nd jogging workout today. I did it anyway. The hamstrings were 90% recovered and I was hoping they were ready for day 2. I did have the spring back in my step. I was good to go.
On my lunch hour...
30 minute/3 mph walk
Workout today at the track...
Walked 3.7 mph for 1 mile
Jogged 5.2 mph for 2 miles
Walked 3.7 mph for 2 miles
Total today: 6.5 miles
After my warmup mile I felt really good. The plan was to do 6 laps jogging. That turned into 2 miles and I could have gone farther. Then I warmed down with 2 miles walking. The jogging was much easier today and I'm feeling no ill effects after the fact. The plan is to extend the jogging session with each workout; go a little farther each time. I liked doing one jog session rather than alternate walking and jogging. I found a pace I can sustain. The problem is strength. My legs get tired. Today was better than last Saturday; my legs held out longer. Again, I loaded up on the protein after the workout. I'm hoping that taking 1 day off will be enough this time and I can do the next workout on Thursday. Kel was still too sore to go jogging with me. She put in 45 minutes on the recumbent bike. Something is better than nothing.
March 16 - copied from my journal
I went to bed early last night and slept like a log. I woke up at 5am bright-eyed and feeling amazing. Then I stepped out of bed... and ... I still had most of the spring in my step! I felt good. Even the hamstrings felt better than they did the day before. So I guess my workout yesterday was just right . Today will be lite walking day and I should be ready for another 10K training day tomorrow. The lite day today works out well, anyway. My talented daughter has a piece of art work on exhibit at a downtown Richmond bank and they are having an open house event tonight. I can't miss that. So I'll try and squeeze in some extra steps at lunch today.
About the jogging... I know, right? I figured that one of two things would happen when it came to me taking up jogging. Either my body would say "Are you an idiot? What were you thinking?" -- or -- my OCD-like dedication to walking over the winter would pay off and the transition to a slow jog wouldn't be too tough. It looks like the latter thought is winning the day. Still, I didn't expect to find a sustainable jogging pace with such ease. I thought it would take longer to adjust. I thought I would have some joint pain. I've had none. Some sore muscles is all.
5.2 mph is barely jogging. But I'll take it. I hope I have enough training time to work up to sustaining that for the entire 10K. I can't say that I enjoyed that 2 mile jog yesterday, but it was not nearly as tough as the first day was. By race day I might actually find jogging enjoyable. I just hope that I don't spoil the experience by pushing things too hard.
My cave-dweller daughter is the old man in all of this. She was hurting more that I was after her first jog. She is not an active person. She lives in her bedroom playing video games, drawing, watching youtube videos and teaching herself how to play the piano (and she is amazing at it, BTW - it blows my mind). Sometimes she even does some homework. I'm hoping that she will have a better day 2 workout just as I did. She is 17 and within her normal BMI. She should shape up faster than her old dad.
About the humidity... I do think I retain water when it gets humid. I noticed that the first summer I started walking. I sweat like a pig when I work out and it doesn't matter if I'm in shape or not. When it gets humid, I sweat like 2 pigs. I think my body knows that and reacts by adding a reserve of H2O.
10K Training Day 3
March 17 - copied from my journal
Today was jogging day 3. The good news is that I jogged farther than on the last session. The bad news is that I don't have good data other than start and stop time.
Duration: 65 minutes total
Jogging: 25 minutes
Walk at lunch: 35 minutes
Distance: 6.1 miles according to the phone (but likely more)
I could not jog on the track (lacrosse practice ran long) so we did the next best thing and used the schools cross country training course. The loop is supposed to be 1 mile and I jogged it twice. The problem was that 2/3 of the course runs through the woods and that messed up the GPS readings on my phone. The speed and distance reported for that section was junk data. It was, however, an awesome workout. The trail goes up and down and around tight corners. It was a much harder run. And to cap it all off, when you come out of the woods there is a super steep hill to climb that goes on for about 100 yards. I barely jogged up it the first time and I had to walk some of it the second time. It was a great jogging workout.
After that we walked the perimeter of the school complex back around to the track. Practice was over so I jogged 2 more laps to make sure I put in more time jogging this workout than I did the last one. My legs are a little sore, but I think I'll be good to go on Saturday. That one will be back at the track.
BTW: My 17 Y/O daughter joined me today and I KICKED HER BUTT! She jogged most of the two cross-country laps, but came out of the woods on the 2nd lap almost 2 minutes after I did. She got a good workout in and said her legs feel a lot better. She just might get in shape for the 10K after all. The other daughter (in college) has not done anything yet. She will regret that come race day.
March 18 - part of a post from my journal
... I can't say that I'm "having a ball", but I have always been one that enjoys pushing the envelope a little bit. No pain, no gain. Right? It has only been a week and I can tell that my legs are getting stronger. That's good. I am happy about that. I am, however, looking forward to the pain part subsiding. I'm feeling good this morning, but the muscles are still getting used to this new level of activity. ...
10K Training Day 4
March 19 - (all caught up - last one from my journal)
Today I was still feeling soreness from the last jogging workout. Running the cross country course worked the muscles hard. I still did my workout today but it was slower walking and slower jogging than what I expected I'd do. My legs were a bit rubbery even from the start. Here is what I did:
Walked 1 mile (3.6 mph)
Jogged 2.5 miles (5 mph)
Walked 1.5 miles (3.6 mpg)
Today was cold and blustery ahead of a storm. The next 2 days are going to be nasty & cold. I worked hard today and my legs are tired right now. I plan on taking a 2 day break from the jogging. Hopefully I'll be 99% recovered by my next jogging workout on Tuesday. I may take a lite day walking tomorrow, too. I think I would benefit from being fully recuperated before the next hard workout.
Later in the day I went back to the track with Kel. She did a short jogging workout and I walked.
I'll do my best. I was talking to a neighbor about this the other day. She has run that race twice. She said that once you are out there you tend to push yourself a little harder as you are in the presence of so many other competitors. The course is a straight up and back on Monument Avenue. The first half will be slightly up hill and the last half all slightly down hill. That should help, too.
I was somewhere around 200 pounds when I last jogged. That was just before I got married. When I was running 4 to 6 miles daily I was in the 180's. I feel the extra weight I'm carrying now. It should get better as I get stronger. I just don't know if the 3 weeks I have left is enough time. Whatever the case, finishing the race will happen and that is enough of an accomplishment for me. I'll always have the T-shirt. :)
You will do fine and you will get a lot faster. I run 5.2MPH and you'd be surprised how many skinny, fit people don't do much better than that. Your muscle memory seems to be kicking in - once you jog or run, the body never really forgets.
Subscribed :) I will try to stay quite and cheer you on. I like your idea of keeping observations and data here.
Although food and movement are measured differently they are very intertwined. Some of the stuff we ate a long time ago we probably had to do some running to get and some stuff we had some running to do so we didn't become its food.
Run Ken, Run!
I am able to jump now without too much trauma LOL - I'll cheer from the sidelines.
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