Fitness Journey – 1 Year in the Books

Yes, Saturday was the first anniversary of my starting this fitness journey. One year of eating less and exercising more. One year of trying to be healthy. One year of walking, and then running. So what’s the difference?

I don’t know that I’m in the best shape of my life, but it’s certainly the best shape I’ve been in in decades. I’m down 7.5 inches on my waist, 6.5 inches on my hips, and almost 2 inches on my neck since I started measuring 10 months ago. I’ve got the ability to run somewhere without getting winded less than a minute in.

Thinking about it, the weight that I’ve lost so far is about one-half the current weight of my son. Now THAT gets my attention. Anyway, here is the workout diary for the week.

Monday, 2/24:

Today was my day for taking care of my strength training “homework.” It really kicked my butt again, even though I took longer breaks than I could have if this were class. I’m not quite as wiped out overall as last Wednesday, but my quads were a bit shaky afterwards. Walking downstairs from the fitness room to the locker room was….interesting to say the least. Full SRD [Scheduled Rest Day] tomorrow. We’ll see how I hold up on Wednesday.

Tuesday, 2/25:

SRD here today. My quads are still not happy with me today after strength training last night, and a number of other muscles are feeling stiff as well. I hope that things ease up tomorrow, because I’ve got a stacked workout tomorrow night. Looks like the 10K training program is doing 1K repeats in near-zero wind chill, then more strength training at Fleet Feet. Then, if my body holds up from that, I get to spend all day Thursday sitting in a training class where I won’t even really be able to get up and stretch if I feel stiff. Yay.

Wednesday, 2/26:

Stacked workout tonight. ~1 KM repeats with the 10K program followed by strength workout.

The repeats went amazingly well, with the exception of a teammate who took a turn tight, stepped off the pavement, rolled her ankle, and may be out for the season. I was about 20 feet behind her when she went down. It didn’t look good. No report from her after she left for medical attention. Anyway, we did five loops around a group of athletic fields, with the approximate kilometer diminished by a stretch of ice right before our start/finish. My times were pretty impressive for me. My pace for the warmup and cooldown laps were 12:03 and 12:10, and my pace for the three tempo laps were 10:36, 10:53, and 10:47. Even better was the fact that I was not beat at all after I was finished!

Strength training was a bear again tonight, especially since my quads were still aching from Monday night. They didn’t give me too much trouble through the first part of the workout, but when we did mountain climbers near the end, they informed me quite loudly of their unhappiness. I was better prepared and better fueled than last week. Combine that with longer rests due to more people than equipment and routines that mostly didn’t hit already-sore muscles, and it worked. I think I’ll stick with the Wednesday night strength training unless it really starts not to work.

Hoping to do my short run tomorrow night, on the treadmill if necessary.

Thursday, 2/27:

My plan gives me the option of 25 minutes either today or tomorrow. Even though tomorrow night will be about 12 hours before our 4.5 miles on Saturday morning, I opted not to run tonight between the snow and just general exhaustion from the week so far.

Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking about my tentative goal of running a half marathon in the fall. The Half program run by our local Fleet Feet is a run-only program, and I’m just not sure that I’m going to be able to do that. I have a feeling that if I actually DO go for a half in the fall, I would opt to run/walk the Disney Wine & Dine. I’d then circle back and do a program for an all-run half either next spring or next fall. While it’s annoying to drop back, I think that I don’t want to push too far too fast and end up on the disabled list. Also, the lack of a run/walk contingency in the program is concerning. I’d rather have the run/walk option available throughout. I’ll have to decide soon, and registration will sell out quickly.

In response to a question about the half-marathon program:

In the description of the program, they very specifically say “Half-marathon runners should be running at least 4-5 days per week, for a minimum of 20 miles per week, prior to starting the program. A weekly long run of at least 6 miles should be run under 11:30 pace. This is not a run/walk program; if this pace is challenging, please consider our Faster Farther program to work on endurance and speed before attempting a half marathon program.” I’m sure that I’ll be at the minimum running level before the program starts (we’re already at 15-18 next week in the 10K program), but I’m not sure whether my body will be happy with the necessary ramp-up in distance, so I’m thinking that I’d want to tackle a fall half as a run/walk if I were to do it. So no FFDP Half program for me this fall. I just need to find a run/walk program that I’m happy with, if I decide to pull the trigger on registering for the Disney race.

In response to a question raising concerns about pre-packaged training plans:

I hear what you’re saying, George. Thanks. That’s kind of why I want to pick and choose what I think will work from the various plans that I’ve downloaded to put together a plan for myself. Then I’ll run it past the folks here for comments and a reality check to make sure that I didn’t make any tactical mistakes in putting it together. We’ll see. I’m going to have to decide fairly soon whether or not to try the half, but then I’ll have a few months to figure out a plan before I have to start it, since the 10K program won’t be finished until our goal race on May 11.


An interesting point to consider. My biggest concern would probably be how much time I’d need to dedicate to get from running 6.2 miles to run/walking 13.1 miles. We’re taking 12 weeks to go from 3.1 to 6.2, so I’m not 100 percent certain how long it’ll take to more than double that. I’m hoping that–when I get a chance to see what the proven plans are saying–I’ll have a better idea of what I’ll need to do to be ready for November. That said, all advice is welcome and will be seriously considered as I try to find my way here. I’ve progressed so much over the last year that I don’t want to do anything that would compromise my progress or sour my enthusiasm. I have a feeling that it’s going to be an interesting balancing act.


I find myself using two analogies lately to describe myself and my approach. My approach is like boiling a frog. I just keep turning up the heat little by little so I don’t realize how hot it’s getting. And I’m like a freight train. I’m slow and I may take a while to get moving, but once I’m rolling I’m hard to stop.

Friday, 2/28:

I was going to do my “Thursday or Friday” run tonight, but a change of family plans made me decide to skip it. Besides, felt crappy after work. That leaves me with 40.7 miles for February, still a record for me. It’s only going up from there. I’ll be kicking off March (the first anniversary of staring my “get fit” journey) with a group 4.5 mile run. Sunday is slated for a 25-30 minute run, and then I’m supposed to do another run on Tuesday before the next group run Wednesday evening. However, since I’m going to be at a concert in NYC Tuesday night, I’ll be doing that (and then strength training homework) on Monday. The scheduling is getting interesting….

Saturday, 3/1:

Today is the one-year anniversary of the start of my fitness journey. One year ago today, I weighed nearly 290 pounds and could barely run 10 steps. I’m almost 50 pounds lighter, I’ve run as far as 5.45 miles non-stop, and I’m in training for a 10K race with a tentative fall goal of run/walking a half marathon. This has been an amazing year in terms of my health, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the next steps take me.

This morning, we had another 8 a.m. group run. I hate mornings. I always seem to run poorly in the mornings, and my best runs seem to take place around 3 p.m. But the 10K training group was going at 8, so I dragged myself over there. It was tough going, and I had to drop to a walk more times that I would have liked to. But even though I was the last one back, I still finished.

Afterward, looking at the RunKeeper stats, it looks like I went out too fast again. I guess that’s the problem with running with a group. If I had started out at a 12:00-12:30 pace, I might have been able to run the whole way, but instead I probably messed up the whole thing by starting at a 10:00-11:00 pace and burned out too quickly. I’ll have to try to stay either with or behind the back-of-the-packers next time, and maybe I’ll have gas left in the tank at the end. Despite that, I did 4.5 miles at a 12:44 pace. I’ll still take it. 30 minutes tomorrow, 30 minutes Monday night (plus strength training homework), then an off night Tuesday while my family and I head down to NYC to see Paul Simon and Sting at Madison Square Garden. Then a 3.5 mile speed workout Wednesday night. This is going to be an interesting week.

In response to kudos received on my progress to date:

Thanks, all. I’m so grateful to be able to do what I can do now. I don’t know that I’m in the best shape of my life, but it’s certainly the best shape I’ve been in in decades. I’m down 7.5 inches on my waist, 6.5 inches on my hips, and almost 2 inches on my neck since I started measuring 10 months ago. It’s just awesome that if I need to get somewhere faster on foot, I can just pick up the pace and start running without worrying that I’ll be winded in just a few yards. I know that I have a lot of work left to do, but I’m really not worried about it at all. If I was able to do what I did already, there’s no reason why I can’t do more as long as I do it sensibly. It’s also helped with confidence in my ability to deal with tough work in other areas of my life, as well. All in all, I’m really happy with what I’ve accomplished so far and I can’t wait to see what I do next. I wish the same feeling for all of you.

Sunday, 3/2:

I got out this afternoon between errands for 2.76 miles in 35 minutes. Not great, but it felt so much better than yesterday. It would’ve been even better if the wind hadn’t shifted and blown frigidly in my face for about 3/4 of the run. It wasn’t my best run, but it was all run, so I’ll take it.

Tomorrow night, I’m going to try to get in another 30 minutes around replacing our old, broken toilet seat. It would be a lot easier if our one-piece toilet gave you access to the back side of the bolts. I will never buy a Kohler again. I doubt I’ll have time to go out and do my strength training “homework” for this week, but the toilet seat (and Tuesday night’s concert with my family) takes precedence.

Next week’s reports are going to be interesting. Happy March!


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