Sunday, December 13, 2009

5 Miles

I'm a little stiff and sore from today's workout, five miles of walking (with a few bursts of jogging), in about an hour and 50 minutes. Not quite the pace I'd like, but that's not the point of these long days. Today was about finishing, and this was a victory I needed.

Before today, I had not attempted a long (for me) distance since the DNF. I had jumped on the elliptical a few times, and rocked out a couple of brisk miles a time or two. But today, I again had to confront the question of quitting head-on.

It happened realitively early, too. About a mile and a half into the walk, I started getting some inklings of doubt. Thoughts of what I'd rather be doing INSTEAD of what I was doing right then.

But I've learned a bit about myself in this process, and immediately banished the temptation to stop.

Then the thought popped up that I'm not going to be able to finish. But I realized (and argued to myself) that quitting now when I was just starting to get tired would mean that I'd ALWAYS quit. That I would KEEP quitting every time, and that I'd never EVER finish a race. If I was ever going to succeed, if I was ever going to finish, the battle had to be fought here, now, today, on this indoor track.

I had to decide today that I was a finisher.

Three miles down. Past the halfway point and feeling good. Starting to get tired, and a little tight around the hips. At one point, I stopped long enough to touch my toes, stretch out my calves a little, and flex my quads a little to keep them from knotting up.

And sometime during that fourth mile, I began to believe again. Began to really believe that I could do this. That I could become a distance athlete. I started remembering what it felt like to cross the 5K finish line, having gone the distance in previous races. And I started asking, "How much farther can I push myself this time?"

Then four miles were gone.

I had lost the use of my musical motivator back during the second mile. I keep forgetting to charge my iPod (one of those clip-on Shuffles), so the battery finally died today. For most of today's "run" (I'm gonna assume, dear reader, that when I use the word "run," you will understand that I mean the waddling, fast-walking gait I call my pace), all I could hear was my own ragged breath, the thud of my footfalls, and the sound of the other joggers approaching and then passing me. When I felt my steps slowing, I hummed a song to myself to make sure I kept my pace up. Unfortunately, the only useful melody I could remember was by Lady Gaga, but somehow between me and Gaga, I kept my legs pumping and one foot striking ahead of the other.

During the last mile, I had to focus on something other than my fatigue. Different people use different focal points: breathing, visualizing the finish line, observing the environment around them. Today, I started praying for each of my family members. I was able to get through all my immediately family during the last mile. I think I'll definitely use this technique in the future, because at the very least, it's a great chance to talk to God about what's going on, and focusing on something other than myself will definitely keep me from getting down on myself when I'm tired. Like I said, different things for different people, but that's what worked for me.

And then I was done. Five miles, straight through. The longest I've gone without stopping more than a few seconds. Even during the Turkey Trot, the roughly-five-miles was broken up by a couple of 10-20 minute breaks. This time, it was a continuous walk. And I finished with a feeling of accomplishment and renewed hope.

I know I have a lot to do between now and February 13. There are going to be a lot of long days and tough workouts. But today reminded me that I'm stronger than I give myself credit for. That's something I had forgotten.

Next Saturday? Six miles. And I believe I can do it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lessons Learned by Losing

So, the DNF. Here's what I learned, following my unfinished Turkey Trot.

1) Sometimes, you have a bad running day. I always hear about this, but when other fitter runners describe this, I always imagine a "bad day" for them being only 6 miles instead of 10. Oh, boo hoo, Mr. 2% Body Fat. The fact is, every run for me is difficult, or at least strenuous. So I wasn't sure what to expect. But yeah, it was a bad day. After the initial adrenaline-fueled push, I crashed immediately. No power, no energy, no enjoyment. It was weird. I just ran out of gas as I approached the end of Mile 2. This is partly a lack of training, because let's be honest: I've been ridiculously lazy. But it was also a bad day.

2) I gave up on myself. Once the fatigue began to set in, so did the doubt. I had the spirit-killing thought, "I'm not going to make it. I'm not able to finish." Instead of destroying this thought, banishing it from my head, I allowed it to hang around, and it began to fester. As I trudged through another mile, and then another, the thought remained. It became part of my rhythm, just like my footfalls and breathing. I'm not gonna make it. I'm not gonna make it. I'm not prepared to finish. I'm not gonna make it.

I convinced myself that I couldn't do it. So I finally threw my hands up and gave up, about halfway through Mile 4. The medics on bikes and the cops in patrol cars had been shadowing me for about a half-hour. I finally said, "When we get to the corner, I'm done." We got there, passing a cheering group of volunteers who then realized that I wasn't continuing, so they turned and started packing up. The medic radioed to the sweeper van, who said they were close. So I waited. And waited. And waited. The van wasn't close, after all.

The shame of quitting became too great, as I saw the side-long looks of volunteers. Finally, I told the guys, "I'm gonna start going, tell the van to find me." The van finally caught up to me about 20 minutes later, another half-mile or more further. The van guy then couldn't get me back to the finish, due to construction, so I still had to hoof it a few more blocks. And then a quarter mile beyond that to my car.

So apparently, I could have finished. Not quickly, not easily, but I could have done it. I just didn't believe in myself enough to gut it out.

3) I actually wasn't prepared. I could have finished, yes, but much slower than I should at this point in my training. I've been lazy, I've been stupid, and I haven't been vigilant on my diet or fitness. And as I'm now nine or so weeks from a half-marathon, I'm...well, terrified. I don't know if I'll be physically prepared to participate in February. It's going to take more willpower and commitment than I have in me right now. My emotions and mindset has been all over the map lately, and I am worried that I'm not physically or mentally strong enough to really buckle down and train. (I recognize this is an excuse.)

I was planning on taking part in a five-mile Jingle Bell Run next Sunday, but I'm just not fast enough to do it, so I didn't sign up. I'm going to cover the distance on my own, or as close to it as I can. Next week, I'll give 6 miles another go, but I really have needed to make running a daily thing, and it hasn't been. I've grabbed on to every excuse possible, and all it's gotten me is that much closer to raceday with nothing to show for it.

As soon as I can finalize a work document tonight, I'm going to ignore the hunger pangs and go to the gym. 40 minutes on the track. No compromises.

(Even as I type that, I'm imagining just going home, eating something easy and bad, and just going to bed. This is the battle I'm fighting right now--how much I even want to try anymore.)

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Made it to around Mile 5, before I gave up and got in the sweeper van.

I'll talk about it later. Let's just say I wasn't prepared for the distance, I'm disappointed in myself, and I'll eventually find the good in this.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Night Before

Status: I'm sitting here, waiting for clothes to dry, digesting some Chinese (it's called carbo-loading, shut up).

I'm crossing the starting line in less than 11 hours. Beyond that line lay 6.2 miles of road. 10 kilometers. When I was little, I wrongly pronounced it "kill-o-meters." Out of the mouths of babes, huh?

I've hit the gym a few times in the last few weeks, but haven't found a rhythm. I've allowed my life and schedule to get erratic over the last few months, and it's been murder on my motivation and stamina for gym-time. So now, I'm staring down the barrel of 6+ miles when the furthest I've ever walked in a fitness setting is just over half that.

I'm what the Penguin would call "begging for injury." And probably "an idiot."

I never claimed to be bright--just stubborn.


I went to pick up my race packet today, a day early because I knew the crowd tomorrow would be larger than any I've dealt with up to this point. Stopped in at Luke's Locker on West Gray, cutting through a line of about a hundred people waiting to get into the Honeybaked Ham store. (Really, people? You can't figure out how to cook Thanksgiving yourself, or ask Momma or Nana to do it? That's sad.)

As I walked through the athletic store to the crowded back section where they were passing out race packets, I passed signs inviting people to "Meet _____ _____" (whose name now escapes me). A man of fifty-five or so stood alone next to a table of books. He was apparently an author who wrote novels (?) about running. He caught my eye and looked up hopefully, like a scruffy dog forlornly wagging his tail once at the sight of a new friend. I smiled and nodded as I passed. Poor guy.

I collected my packet and left, walking past the author who was offering someone a bookmark and asking them if they liked fiction. My heart ached for him in that moment. But I had to get on the road, and get to a meeting.

On the way out the door, one of the race volunteers asked me if I'd like to take part in a pie-eating contest. Now, I knew he meant nothing by it. But there was a moment where I was offended. I was thinking, "Dude, I'm fat, i know, but you see the race packet bag in my hands, don't you?!?" So I laughed, and said, "NO!!! Um, thanks anyway!" I saw their booth across the street. The contest was part of pre-raceday activities and fundraising for Sheltering Arms, the senior-citizens charity sponsoring the race. The thing is, non-runner Dave would have been too embarrassed to take part in such a thing. Runner-Dave now has less shame, but more sense. So, no, well-intentioned volunteer; keep your pie to yourself.


Contents of the Race-Packet Gift Bag:

--Race T-shirt. White. Good quality. I paid a couple of bucks extra to get a 2XL, which means I'm only slightly more likely to ever fit into it.
--A Myoplex vanilla nutrition shake.
--A Snickers Marathon nutriton bar. (My favorite, I love these!)
--An LED sensor nightlight from TXU energy.
--Flyers for local businesses (race sponsors), upcoming races, and a foot and ankle fitness/rehab center (HA!)
--Race info, race bib, and timing tag.

Not too shabby, Sheltering Arms Turkey Trot 10K.


I'm right now watching the Biggest Loser "Where Are They Now" special. Feeling really inspired. Particularly by Matt Hoover, the early-season winner who gained a lot of weight back. He's now working to get rid of it again, and the special followed him as he fought to complete the Kona Ironman. He was clearly the biggest racer out there, but he didn't give up. The heartbreaking thing is he missed the finisher cut-off time by less than four minutes. But he didn't give up. He said, "I know people look at me and think, he shouldn't be out here. But I don't care, I'm not giving up." And he finished the race. And that attitude is exactly how I feel. I know that tomorrow morning, I'll be the biggest person out there (by a buck fifty, minimum), and there will be people who will see me and think, what in the world is this joker doing here?

But you know what? I'm doing it anyway, because not only will it be good for me, but I know there will be that one guy out there, bigger than your typical runner, who will see me and think, "Shoot, if that fattie can do it, I'm gonna do it too, next time."

I run for that guy. For that girl. For myself.


Less than ten hours from right now. 6.2 miles. I'm worried. I'm a bit intimidated, to be honest.

But I'm not giving up.

See you on the other side of that finish.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

11 Weeks Away

I mapped out my training schedule, using John Bingham's "Walk-Half" program from Marathoning for Mortals. I'm 11 weeks from Surfside. Holy moses, that's close.

I'm also back on a more restricted meal plan, trying to eat better food and start dropping some weight. Which means I'm really irritable right now.

It's Tuesday. Biggest Loser Day. Inspiration. I need it.

There's your status update. Hungry, sleepy, freaked out, and feeling unprepared.

I have a 10K in 9 days. Maybe. We'll see how I'm feeling.

More in a day or two.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Week... I have no idea. We're gonna call it Week 0.

Hello, WBB. You deserve an explanation. I've only got it in me to post a short one. Here goes.

I haven't sincerely trained since the end of September. A few half-hearted sessions in the gym. I also have not been vigilant about my diet. At all.

I'm feeling guilty and fed up. And I want to change.


I've completed two 5K races in the last 16 days. The first, on 10/17, was the Huntsville 5K/Half-Marathon sponsored by Hillcrest Ford and the Seven Hills Running Club. With such sponsor names, you would assume I'd be prepared for how hilly the course was. You'd be wrong. By Mile 0.30, I was sucking wind and hitting the rescue inhaler. The cold air was kicking up my asthma and the bronchial tubes in both lungs went on lockdown almost immediately. Thankfully, I was able to get regular breathing again. I finished the course in 1 hour, 4 minutes, and some seconds. Dead last, but successfully across the finish line without a coronary. (The fastest posted time that morning? 18 minutes flat. Crazy.)

The second 5K was this past Saturday, the Monster Mash 5K at the horse/dog racetrack a few miles away. The course wrapped through the parking lot, then through the side of the facility and an underground tunnel onto the field itself. The final mile was spent mostly on a gravel/dirt/mud walking track inside the oval, and then back through the tunnel and across the front of the grandstand and around the corner to the Winner's Circle. I clocked in at 1 hour 1 minute, and some seconds. I was 324th out of 328, successfully beating four women, one under 14, two in their thirties, and one in her sixties. (The fastest time for this one? A seventeen y-o boy finished in less than 16 minutes, posting a 4:57 minute-mile pace. SICK.)

The second race was fun because almost half of the competitors were in costume of some kind. I saw a Supergirl, a giant banana, a giant peanut, Dr. Seuss' Things 1 &2, and all manner of monsters, cowboys, and convicts.


The coolest thing about both races was confirming what i've been reading and hearing for months: the running community is predominantly made up of really cool, really nice people. I've been cheered on by so many runners, super-fit runners, people who look like they would have mocked me in high school. I got so much encouragement from people there that I couldn't help but start cheering on others myself (usually those who were so far ahead of me they had already doubled back around and were running back the way I came).


I'm back to it this week. There's a 10K on Thanksgiving; I want to try to participate in that. But while I can slog through a 5K without working for it, I don't think I'll be able to finish a 10K in any kind of useful time without training the whole time between now and then.

I haven't given up. Even during my month or so away, I never gave up, and I always felt the nagging feeling i needed to get back to it. But life interrupts. The best we can do is try to adjust.

I'm adjusting. And I'm back.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Week...what is this? Six? In which our hero realizes that Dr. Pepper's like bad medicine...

...And not the kind of bad medicine he needs.

Howdy, gang.

Week Six. Well, I'd love to tell you that I'm losing a bunch of weight and able to run considerable distances. But I can't, because I'm not.

The whole fit lifestyle gig is a three-sliced pie, according to the Penguin. Those slices are Activity, Sleep, and Diet. Lately, I've been pretty okay on the activity tip--hitting the gym at least 3 times a week, more often 4, plus the last few weeks I've been adding a fifth day for softball. Sleep--well, let's not discuss that. Suffice to say, I don't get enough.

But the diet. See, here's the thing: I've been eating like a fat guy. Not like an athlete. And the needle on the scale (figuratively speaking--it'll be a year or more before a scale with a needle gauge does me any good), she hasn't moved. I've lost a total of about 5 pounds since starting this, according to the scale. This is frustrating, but there are some explanations.

Part of it is that I'm losing fat but gaining muscle, so it balances out weight-wise. But I'm no fool of a Took, so even I realize this is a very small part.

The real issue is that I have been eating like a horse (Clydesdale)--understandably so, since I'm doing a lot more activity, so I need more fuel. However, I haven't exactly been filling up with Supreme Unleaded with Techron, ya dig? And even after my messy public break-up with McDonalds, we still have been seeing each other on the DL. And I've been hitting up the Dr. on a regular basis--it's like, as soon as i started doing something good for myself, this old vice creeps up again.

If I'm gonna get anywhere with this, or have any chance of distance waggling, I need to lose weight, so I'm carrying less around for thirteen-point-one miles. It's well past time to get militant about the diet.

So this week (two days), I have been on point and on plan, like a good little Weight Watching soldier. Have I already dipped into my extra-points bank? Yes. (Post-softball-revelry is hard on a diet.) But I'm sticking with it. Although, I'm ravenous at the moment.

Hopefully, as this becomes comfortable again, I won't be hungry all the time. It usually takes a week or two to get over that initial "shock" to the system.

It's after five, so I've gotta go. Elliptical machines wait for no man.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"Dear Ron" Letter

My dearest Micki D,

We've been together for...ever, really. As long as I can remember, you've been a part of my life. When I was a child, I used to beg my parents to let me go to your house, because lunch with you made me happy, and you always shared your toys.

As I grew, my appetite for your companionship grew as well. My love for you was super-sized, and your affect on me multiplied. Sometimes, in high school, my busy schedule with work and sports kept us from seeing each other so often, and the lack of companionship was as plain to see.

But with college, and especially in the early part of my post-college career, our relationship was renewed, and it deepened daily. I'd stop by and see you in the mornings on my way to work, and sometimes immediately after work, on my way home. You welcomed me at your window, and bestowed your paper-wrapped presents on me.

This affection we shared grew to a deep love, freely refilled day by day. And it's been great, Micki. Really. Believe me when I say, I'm lovin' it.

But something has happened to me. I've started making changes in my life. And I have to confess--I just don't think we can see each other anymore.

It's not you. You've been great. I just don't know if our relationship has been healthy for me. I know I'm the only one to blame in this; you never claimed to be anything but what you are, and I loved you for that. And lately, as you have emphasized your particular values, I have to confess that loving you has never been cheaper or easier.

However, in the last few months, sneaking off to see you has left me feeling guilty every time. I try to pretend I'm only an acquaintance, and sometimes even lie about our trysts. I can't do that anymore.

You've been great, Micki. Really. But my life is taking me down new roads. And you can't come with me this time.

I'm really sorry. But we're through. If we cross paths in the future, it's okay to wave, or say hi. But we can never be this close again.

Know that you will always have a quarter-pound of my heart.

Your special sauce,

P.S. If you see your sister Wendy, tell her I need to talk to her, okay?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Week 4--in which I start having panicky doubts about this whole process...

It's funny how fragile this whole thing is. As stated, I took Friday off to get ready for the party, and Saturday off to recover from it. Sunday was my usual off-day, and Monday, rather than go work out, I decided to run some errands and get some other things done. By my logic, this would make it easier to get my gym time in.

Yesterday, I actually got home early, and worked from home for a couple of hours. As the clock approached five, I knew I had to get up, get dressed, and go. But I didn't want to.

Then I heard it. That soft voice that pulled at me like a siren's call. The voice of Fat Dave. Quitter Dave. Weak Dave. That voice said, "Stay home. You're too tired. Lie down on the couch and nap. You don't want to go outside in the heat."

I nearly fell for it. I even lay down on the couch for a few moments. I thought, "I'm hungry, I'm sleepy, I'm stressed out. I don't need this. I can stay home and vege out."

But then I heard another voice. A new voice, one I'm still not familiar with. Fit Dave. Finisher Dave. Strong Dave. That voice said, "You need to get up and go. You'll hate yourself if you don't. You've got a goal to reach, and you won't get there by laying around day after day. Get up. You'll feel better afterward."

I still wasn't sure if I could trust that second voice, but I got up and went to the gym. I did another elliptical session, 33 minutes, 2 miles. Felt like a lighter workout somehow. Worked up a good lather, though, so I felt good about that.

Here's the crazy thing. As I stumbled out the doors of the gym, across the parking lot toward my truck, under the fading dusk and the halogen glow, I felt like an athlete. I ignored the reality of my bouncing gut, my wobbly arms, my cankles, my bulbous and fatty knees, my double-wide backside. I was exhausted but I actually felt like I did back in high school, walking off a football field or basketball court. Winded, weary, but satisfied.

Turns out Fit Dave was right. I did feel good.


This week, I've started second-guessing myself. I've started wondering what madness I experienced, signing up for a half-marathon. It seems like my walks are getting shorter, not longer. And I'm not losing any weight, which is frustrating as can be. (I'm pretty sure this has everything to do with diet, and that's an area I'm still really lazy in. I haven't "pointed" anything in a week or two.)

But the doubts are now creeping in. This is usually the time in any new fad of mine where my interest flags and I give up. Actually, for diet and fitness things, this is approaching one of the longest streaks of my post-collegiate life. The best I ever did was six months of militant Weight Watchers adherence, which got me a net loss of 60 pounds (lasting about 6 months after that point).

Don't get nervous, I'm not giving up. I'm in this for the long haul, and I hope by the grace of God to be typing here at this very site, a year from now, two, three even, and rejoice in the fact that I was able to accomplish so much.

I'm just documenting this first wave of self-doubt. Hopefully, in order to get it out of my system and move on.


I'm going to set a doctor appointment soon, to get a quick mid-year check-up before really ramping up the training. Not looking forward to that. See, I promised him that the next time I saw him, I'd have lost 100 pounds, and if I hadn't, we'd seriously talk about weight-loss surgery. I shook on it with him. I don't want to go back, six months later, with only 20 (...16) pounds lost, talking all this noise about half-marathons. I want to be able to show him results. But on the other hand, I know I need to get his sign-off, to make myself feel better if nothing else. That would give me all the reassurance I need to press on into this, to get more intense about training, so that I can reach the very high but not out of reach goals I've set for myself.


I'm starving. Seriously hungry. Time to grab some grub and then hit the track.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Why I want to do this.

Below is a documentary about marathons. I'm watching it right now, and it just reinforces my desire to complete this.

Take 100 minutes and check it out.

"The Spirit of the Marathon"

Love/Hate Relationship.


Friday night was "Guys Night," and six friends came over to my place. We watched movies, we played cards, we talked about chicks. Good times.

Unfortunate results of Guys Night:

1) I didn't go work out on Friday because I had to clean-ish my apartment in about an hour. (Clean-ish meaning, everything that didn't have an easily-accessible "place" went into the bedroom. Much of it is still there.)

2) Pizza. Breadsticks. Ice cream. Full-calorie soda. Leftover cookies the next day.

3) Guys Night didn't end until about 4:30 a.m. I woke up just before noon, and didn't go to the gym on Saturday either.

So, yeah. Stink.

Today is my optional cross-training day, but I may take this day to run some errands so they don't get underfoot when I get back to my normal schedule tomorrow.

At any rate, I felt I needed to confess it here. End of Week 3: first blown-off gym sessions. Won't be the last, I'm sure, but they won't be common either. As fun as Guys Night was, I felt uneasy with the lack of workouts. I honestly felt guilty about it, but not toward anyone else, just myself. Like I let myself down.

And I felt pretty ill the next day from all the pizza.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fatigue--bad. Sleeping--good.

This week has been tough. I went in Tuesday, feeling pretty good, ready to go. Finished the first mile well enough, under 20 minutes. However, once again, that second mile was instantly difficult. I was losing pace, and had to slow to a stop a few times. It was as if, while I was getting a quick drink of water between laps, someone had tied sandbags around my ankles. Every step became a labor. Ever lap felt like a mile. I knew that I'd hate myself if I didn't finish, so I struggled through, pace-be-cursed, and finished 2.25 miles. I felt like I had been jogging through a bog, and staggered downstairs and home.

Wednesday was a different problem. I held off from eating anything more than a protein bar (lesson learned, thanks), and waited for the gym to open back up after church. (We heathens who don't go to Wednesday service have to wait while the gym is closed from 6:15-8:00p.m.) Once I got up there and worked through my warm-up stretches (as normal, I thought), I started my brisk walk. About 1/4 mile in, I felt a weird twinge in the back of my left ankle. Not a muscle pull, but a ligament/tendon pain. Not good. I stopped almost immediately, walked a few light steps on it, and tried to get on a stationery bike, determined to get some kind of workout. Unsatisfied with how the bike was working out, I switched to an elliptical machine and set it to a "fat-burning" workout.

Holy. Moses. That was the most exhausting workout I've had in the last three weeks. I think I was even more tired than after the 3.5 mile day. It ended up being a cardio workout, with an avg heartrate of 140 or so. 33+ minutes, 550+ calories burned, and one very exhausted Dave later, I stumbled back to my car and headed home, stopping only to grab a 6-inch ham sub (what I call a "half-sandwich"), apples, and a drink for dinner. I was too tired to cook.

Yesterday, I was...wrecked. Not sore, though. Just weary. So I skipped church last night (shock!) just did a few loads of laundry before going to bed before 10 p.m. (amazement!)

Turns out, there's something to this whole "sleeping enough" thing. Got 7 hours or so, and felt pretty good this morning. I oughtta do this more often (sleep, not miss church).

No workouts tonight--gotta clean my house before hosting a party. Tomorrow, I haven't decided if I want to do a distance woggle again, or give the elliptical another go. Either way, I think I've decided what my "cross-training" option will be from here on, and may actually alternate between track-nights and cross-nights for a month or so, to try to shed some poundage a little more quickly.

I'm still struggling with the diet choices, though. It's like, as one area improves, another gets worse. And they kinda work together, which makes it inconvenient.

Pressing on. The end of Week 3 approaches. I'm starting to feel better, overall. Got a little more spring in my step, and my coworkers are starting to notice. Just wait until February, kids. You'll be amazed.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Saturday's Mental Victory

Week 2 was rocky. Tuesday night was fine; Wednesday, I worked in a noontime session at the gym. During this session, I shaved about 25 seconds off my 2-mile pace (still over 39 minutes). I got passed by a few grey-headed saints, which gave me a laugh and a dose of humility. I later passed a gentleman in his sixties, who was overweight and breathing heavily, walking hand-in-hand with his wife. I gave him a respectful nod as I passed.

The next two days were difficult. Rest on Thursday, and an attempted gym session Friday. However, I didn't give myself enough time to eat and digest on Friday, so after about 1/4 mile, I felt like I was going to be sick and had to stop. It was incredibly frustrating to miss a training day for something as stupid as not timing my dinner better.

Saturday morning came. I had planned to get up at 8... which became 9... which became 10. I didn't get to the gym until about 11:30, and didn't get checked in, stretched out, and on the track until almost noon.

I hit a good pace from the start, and kept it going for the first mile. I finished the mile in 19:10, which is huge for me. This is the fastest I've ever woggled (waddle-walk-jogged) a mile, and I was feeling really good about myself.

As I started into the second, however, I was hit with a wave of fatigue. The first Mile 2 lap around the 1/8 mile track was brutal. I just ran out of gas. I crossed the "line" (I use the overhead digital clock as my start/finish) with a 2:30+ lap pace, which would put me over a 20-minute mile. I started thinking of reasons to just stop. As I walked Lap 10 (Lap 2, Mile 2), I was feeling just beaten down. I wanted to just chalk it up to a bad day and finish early. It'd been a rough week, and I wanted to rest.

Oddly, as if to counter all this negative thinking, I began thinking about things The Penguin wrote in "No Need for Speed," a beginning running book I just finished. About how you should focus on being YOUR best, rather than THE best. At that point, common sense hit me like a volleyball to the face. "What do I care about speed right now? I'm not a racer. I don't need to worry about pace, I just need to finish!"

It was as if weights had been lifted off me. I don't have to set paces or win races. My goal, every time I work out, and down the road when I start participating in races, is just to finish. I'll save the pacing worries for the fleet of foot, and focus my flat-footed self on placing one in front of the other for as long or far as I have to.

So I kept at it. Finished 2 miles, dropped my chrome clicker-counter (what are they actually called?) in the basket, and decided to add a half-mile walk as a cool-down, to extend my distance. Then, at the end of Lap 3, I got a crazy idea: after 2.5 miles (20 laps), it's only another 5 laps to finish a 5K distance (longer, technically). I thought, "Why not give it a try?"

So once I hit that fourth lap...I kept going. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. That's three miles. On the "last" lap, I started questioning my mental count, and really wished I had hung on to the clicker. So to be safe, I tacked on one more lap.

After just over an hour of woggling, I finished 26 laps, out of breath, parched, dead-legged. And proud.

I slowly walked downstairs, checked out, and staggered to my truck. Sitting there in the seat, waiting for the air conditioning to kick-in, I had a startling but pleasant realisation:

"Holy crap, I think I can actually DO this."


Last season, on "The Biggest Loser," the contestants were asked to run a half-marathon. Almost all of them finished. Later, the four finalists were tasked with running a full marathon. All four of them finished. Even the older man with a host of medical problems finished.

I saw the pride in their faces, on the faces of their families. I saw the sense of accomplishment. I teared up when the middle-aged woman (who won the game) started crying when she said, "I can't believe it--I'm a marathon runner."

And as I sat on my couch watching these moments of victory, the seed was planted.

It seemed impossible to even consider, but deep down I knew I wanted that moment for myself.

Fast-forward to last month. My recent trip to the UK included a few days of touristy adventures, which included upwards of 10 miles of walking each day. I battled through it, and my legs were pretty much wrecked for nearly a week. But I survived. I got better. And it hit me--I can do more than I thought I was capable of doing.

Two weeks ago, as I listened to coworkers talk about signing up for the Chevron Houston Marathon, I thought, "why can't I do something like that sometime?" I began researching, and learned that while the Houston Marathon registration was closed, there was another marathon on the coast in February.

Before the doubts could creep in and talk me out of it, I signed up for the half-marathon.

Now I'm on the clock. February 13, 2010 is less than 7 months away. I have to go from essentially zero to half-marathon capability.

When I told coworkers, they were thrilled. When I told friends, they were encouraging. When I told my family, they were incredulous. Even now, their words of encouragement are glazed with a tone of "I still don't think you'll stick with this."

I can't blame them. I'm the king of the big-talkers and no-walkers. But this isn't tell, it's show. And what I'm gonna show will prove that my heart is in this.

Because for the first time since high school, I'm ready to push myself to my physical limits and really see what I can accomplish.

This is not another failed start.

I've started and stopped exercise and diet regimens a dozen times over the life of this blog.

That's all changing.

I'm tired of starting and stopping, trying and failing.

That's over.

This is the new dave. The new day.

I'm still not 100% on my diet. I'm getting there.

I'm still on track with my exercise. I'm getting better.

In six months, I'm going to participate in a half-marathon. Barring injury, I'll be doing a full marathon a year after that.

Welcome to the new blog. The Waddling Bison blog.

Who's ready to waddle with me?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A New Start: Day 3

A new start, you ask? Whither Days 1 and 2, you ask?

I'll explain later. But I want to put SOMETHING down, so here it is.

On Monday, I went to the gym. Stretching. Two minutes on the elliptical, a mile on the recombitant bike, a walk around the 1/8th mile track to work out the pain in my foot, and then another two minutes or so on the elliptical.

Nothing special, but special enough to leave slow-release soreness on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, no work-out and some bad food choices.

Today, I caved and had Pop-tarts as a snack. And a big chocolate chip Jimmy John's cookie that a coworker gave me later. I'm going to the gym tonight.

ALSO: Tuesday's are going to be my weigh-in day, but I missed it yesterday, so here's my data:

Week 1 Starting Weight: 501.6 lbs.

Talk to you tomorrow.