Running Again?

I may take up running … again.

I used to run, a lot. Although I was never a contender for any kind of medal or cash prize at any event I enlisted in, I did participate. I got a medal for participation but everyone gets one of those. Got the T-shirt, too.

At my zenith, I ran (probably) 20 – 25 miles a week. Usually outdoor, sometimes on a treadmill. I’ve run a few half marathons, haven’t done a marathon, many 5Ks and 10Ks. At my fastest, I was averaging about 9 minute miles. I once ran a 7 minute mile when I was in my 20s.

I gave up running shortly after Nikki left. I started drinking heavily and over eating. I couldn’t find a reason to continue running as the joy faded from it. What’s the point if the love of your life is gone. In those years, I bloated to over 220 pounds, felt lethargic, fat, useless, worthless.

I bought a new pair of running shoes about four years ago. Haven’t opened the box.

Now that I’ve lost some weight on my new eating plan, I may take up running as a form of exercise and meditation. In the past, I would get up at 5:00 am to run a few miles before I had to clock in at the desk. I would like to do that again.

I’m not interested in 20 mile weeks. I don’t want to be a contender. I don’t want to be on the cover of Running Magazine nor do I want to join a Running Club. But, I would like to get back into shape and run a few 5Ks before too much time passes and I kick the bucket.

Painted Parade Lady from the Fountain Square 2014 Art Square Parade.
Nikon D600 photo taken by Dave O on September 20, 2014.

Chapter One

“No”.

She answered not looking away from the glowing notebook screen that illuminated her soft cheeks.

He gazed at her. The notebook sitting on her lap supported by long lean legs that have seen miles of road and treadmill. Small rounded breast that popped from a firm torso toned by countless hours. Even her neck was firm, partially hidden by her flowing blonde hair.

She sat on the porch swing, gently swaying back and forth in effortless glide backlight by the mid morning sun. The only word that came to mind was, stunning.

Dave wanted her. He always wanted her. Who wouldn’t want her, he reasoned. He wanted her then and he wanted her now.

On the porch he stood in his bathrobe, a tattered rag of thinned faded flannel. He pulled it tight to covered his belly.

“No”, he questioned.

Her hazel blue eyes finally lifted from the screen to cast the answer.

Her sports bra was still damp from a morning run. She ran with her girl friends. They assembled on the front porch of the house, chatted about kids, life, groceries and husbands. Maybe not in that order but usual topics. Depending on the day and weather, the group decided on mileage, a route and then began to run.

On this particular day, a bright Saturday morning of low humidity, they ran to Gigo’s Gym, a relaxing four miles away.

At the gym, they sipped purified water infused in vitamins and other nutrients. They talked more about kids and life and husbands and jobs while toning and exercising body parts. Once pumped with energy that originates from a dopamine progression, they returned to the front porch via the same four miles, where they high-fived and hugged and made future plans.

The group, numbering five on most Saturdays, were known as the Running Club, a mix of mid to late career women who found solace from life’s issues from physical activity. Husbands were encourage to run along with their wives although it was unusual if any did.

Dave was interested in physical activity of course even if a thin damp sports bra was included in the mix.

His wife was the de facto leader, elevated to local celebrity status by losing over a hundred pounds and blogging about it on the increasing popular Carla’s Run. She took her position too seriously, Dave thought at times, cataloging miles, calories, reps and participation and attitudes to share progress with those who ran with her and followed her on the web.

“No”, he repeated, maybe questioned. He didn’t mind the damp bra.

(to be continued)

The Debate

It’s Friday. Yay.

I was out of bed by 4:30 am this morning. And immediately a debate as to if I should go to Planet Fitness or not started in my head. It was an honest debate. One side said that I shouldn’t go because my right hamstring is really, really sore and that I should crawl back into bed and rest. The other side said that I should go to the gym and work out on the elliptical instead of running on the treadmill and make it a light day.

As the debate swirled in my head I brushed my teeth, shaved and put in my contacts.

Finally, I said to those debating within my head … I said that it’s been only three days since I renewed the membership at an out-of-pocket expense of $89 and committed to $20 a month for the next 12 months … and I’m ready to take a day off after only three days!

I heard in my head … “you wimp”.

I quickly gathered my workout clothes and left. I was at the gym at 5:05 am. I walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes. I didn’t run. I spent 10 minutes on the elliptical and then did some of the weight machines. It was time well spent and I’m happy that I didn’t crawl back in bed.

I ran 4 miles on my first and second workout sessions at the gym. I suppose a light workout is ok for the third session.

As I was walking on the treadmill, I concluded that it’s important for me to get out of bed in and get to the gym in the mornings. I have noticed a shift in my attitude the last three days. I feel more productive at work as well.

I was also thinking that if I don’t have the motivation or energy to run or get in a sweaty workout on the weights, I could always tan as the gym offers free tanning with my $20 a month ‘black’ card membership. Cool. I could use a tan.

Trying To Climb Out

I’ve been in a deep funk as of late. It’s deep, depressing and dark.

It really started before the holidays, as I dread the holidays and all the imposed obligations and expectations I have a hard time measuring up to. The ownership change at work hasn’t helped either. As a result, I’ve been over eating like there is no tomorrow and I’m back to my heavy drinking.

Yesterday was a bad day for me. I could hardly concentrate at work, the code on the screen was blurry and melted together. I’m surprised the company’s web site is still working! I need to do something to get out of this funk as it is beginning to accept life in general.

The good news is that I have a plan to get out of this funk.

First … I renewed my membership at the local Planet Fitness. And I say renewed, but honestly, I really paid up the membership so I could get back on their treadmills and work out.

My last run was on Friday, January 8. I ran less than 3 miles. It was dark and cold outside. I had no energy. I had no motivation. I couldn’t even finish 3 miles. I was tired of the dark and the cold. I was tired that I couldn’t see where I was running and what I was running on.

I have thought of buying a treadmill. I see it as a way to be able to run indoors when it’s dark and cold outside. And now that winter has finally set in with 4 degree temperatures and snow and ice on the roads, a treadmill is a good option. Otherwise, I really couldn’t run outdoors. I guess I could if I was a real runner but the snow and ice and cold are barriers that can stop me from running outside.

My chosen treadmill would cost $1,500 from an online store. While the cost isn’t a real issue for me as I believed it to be an ‘investment’ and I know that I would use it for a long time. However, the cash isn’t readily available for a purchase as I need to take care of some other pressing issues that require the cash.

So, instead of buying a new treadmill for my own personal use, I thought I would get back my membership at Planet Fitness and ‘rent’ their treadmills and other fitness equipment. It seem like a practical idea since I can’t buy a new treadmill for myself and take care of these other pressing issues. I can do one or the other but not both. There just isn’t enough cash to do both.

I had let the credit card  expire that Planet Fitness charges the membership to. I thought the membership would then automatically expired as well.

Nope. I was still responsible for those monthly charges plus late fees and service charges. The total was $139. Ouch! Thankfully, the assistant manager waived some late fees and service charges to bring the total down to $89. I paid that with a credit card that hasn’t expired. They will draft the monthly fees straight from my checking account.

So, this morning I had my first Planet Fitness workout with my new membership. I ran 4 miles on their treadmill. It was a slow run. My average pace was about 10 minutes per mile. It was a very comfortable run, warm and it wasn’t dark.

Second … I renewed my subscription to www.lynda.com. Lynda.com offers tutorials on almost every geeky topic. And since I work as a media developer, their tutorials on photoshop, photography and web development can be really helpful. I feel stagnate on my  skills and want to keep them sharp and fresh. So, I’m working through a photoshop course right now and plan to work through other tutorials as well. I need to keep my skills sharp incase the new owners have different plans for me.

Well, that is about it on my efforts to climb out of this funk. The PF workout this morning has perked me up somewhat. Maybe things are not as dark and hopeless as I was believing just a few days ago.

Hope everyone has a great day!

 

First Week

176.5

At least I’m down a few pounds from last week. Although this is most likely a stabilization weight than actual weight loss. As, my eating hasn’t been great and my excess drinking is starting to take a hold again. So, I expected to gain some weight this week but happy that there was a small loss.

My running for the week totaled at 22.91 miles. That is the most I’ve run in one week for a very long time. Maybe the miles are balancing out the weight because my eating is out of control.

I’ve had a hard time dealing with some aspects of the ownership change at work. I can’t seem to shake it off. The ownership change is something I had no control or influence over. So, why do I beat myself up over it? It’s odd that I do that and I need to stop. I’ve given it a solid effort to stop obsessing over it this week because it’s starting to affect things at home and work. Thankfully, the running is helping me cope but I need to be stronger overall.

I need a new pair of running shoes. My Brooks Addiction 11 are quickly breaking down to the point where there is absolutely no cushioning left. Even with the insoles, there is no cushioning.  Last night’s 5 mile run was awfully hard on the feet and legs. My average pace for the 5 miles was 10:39. That is almost a minute slower than my faster pace. And, I know it was because I was going slow just to avoid the hard impact per stride.

I’m buying a new pair today!

Sunday Sunday

I stayed in bed until 10:30 am on Sunday morning (1/3). I was awake but stayed in bed for no reason. Although I was reading a new book and watching you tube videos. But, by 10:30, I was tired of laying in bed and decided to get out of bed.

Once I was out of bed, I thought it would be good to get in a long run. I didn’t run on Saturday (1/2) because I spent most of the day working outside since it was warm and sunny and I needed to be outside working.

I left the house about 11:30. My goal was to run 6.5 miles straight without walking and then complete 3 walk/run intervals afterwords.

The total distance was 8:35 miles. The total time was 1:24:29 for an average page of 10:21. The Nike+ app says I gained 418 feet in altitude and burned 1,057 calories.

The splits :

  • 1 mile : 9:46
  • 2 mile : 9:46
  • 3 mile : 9:58
  • 4 mile : 9:48
  • 5 mile : 9:57
  • 6 mile : 9:56
  • 7 mile : 11:16
  • 8 mile : 12:07

I finished the 6.5 miles without much difficulty. Although, by the end of the 6.5 miles I was beat and ready to go home. The day was covered with a thick grey overcast and there was a wind chill. A little sunshine would have helped. I was warm while running but when I began the walk/run intervals, I suddenly started to freeze. It was hard to pick up the running again even after a two-minute walk but my ego propelled me.

As I finished the 6.5 mile my roommate called and said he would like to run a lap around the neighborhood with me. The timing was perfect as I was about to pass by the house. I extended the walking break and meet him in front of the house and started the walk/run intervals. We ran 5 minutes, walked 2 minutes and then ran 5 more minutes. It was good to have a running partner for a mile. His 2016 resolution is to quite smoking and get back into shape. He finished the lap around the neighborhood and then went back home. I finished the third interval and I was totally wiped out and was happy to get back home too.

The 8.35 distance is the longest I’ve been out since I started running again. However, I might have gone too far. I was spent and frigid for the rest of the day and did nothing of significance.  Even a hot shower couldn’t warm me up. By late in the afternoon, I decided to crawl back in bed to get warm. I read the new book for a while and watched some you tube videos and took a quick nap. I was ok afterwards.

While I was running the 6.5 miles I decided that I needed a new pair of shoes. I thought the new insoles I bought last week would add some cushioning but they were not helping as the shoes still felt hard and flat. I vowed to myself to order a new pair when I finished the run. Of course, I didn’t. My feet didn’t hurt when I stopped running!

 

Welcome Twenty Sixteen

Welcome to 2016. Happy New Year.

When I awoke this morning the sun was bright and I felt a glimpse of hope and assurance and warmth. However, the grey overcast has rolled in and everything is cast of shadows of grey and cold.

Hopefully the sun and warmth will come back.

I ran 6.2 miles yesterday, on New Years Eve. My goal was to go for 5 miles but my ego wanted to finish out the year and month with a 10K. My total time was 1:01:00 for an average pace of 9:49. Not too bad for an overweight old man on a cold blustery New Years eve.

And, it is hard to image that on June 22, 2015, just over six months ago, I could hardly run for 90 seconds at a time. At that time, I couldn’t image running a 10K.

I was asked what are my resolutions for Twenty Sixteen. I thought I would list them here. Maybe on December 31, 2016 we can look back and see how successful I am in following through.

  • Write a short story.
  • Lose weight to the 155 pound goal
  • Run 2 mini marathons and maybe a third
  • Run in a staged event every month
  • Continue working on new drip paintings

That would pretty much conclude the list. I know it isn’t extensive but it’s good enough for me. Of course, I will continue to work on other things that could be put on the list.

  • Pay down the debt load … I paid off two loans this year (the boat and Jacob’s dental work but still have much more debt.
  • Keep a better attitude at work … I can’t pay down the debt if I don’t have a job so I better start watching my attitude and mouth before they show me the door.
  • Stay out of the crippling depression … which mingles its tentacles throughout my bad attitude at work.
  • Keep running and exercising, maybe going back to the gym for resistance training … exercise certainly does help the bad attitudes.
  • Maybe jump into a Zumba or Cross Fit class … that would be fun!
  • Brush my teeth every day (I do that anyways but just wanted to mention it)
  • Buy new running shoes.

Hopefully I will start Twenty Sixteen with a run. But, last night’s celebration is still with me. I suppose if I was a real runner I wouldn’t have indulged in last night’s celebration and would be reporting a new PR in a New Year’s Resolution Run and posting swag photos. I suppose that is why I’m not a real runner.

But, anyways, I sending new year wishes to everyone for a blessed, improving and progressing Twenty Sixteen.

 

Hopefully A New World

If I would count my blessings then I am the most blessed man in the world.

However, I haven’t been counting any blessings of late. Monday night (12/28) I laid in bed and over ate and over drank and didn’t do anything of consequence or value. The day before was pretty much the same.

Last night, however, I decided to run. I ran 5.12 miles in 51:09 for an average pace of 9:58. The run lifted my spirits and the world has become a new place. Ah yes, just in time for the new year.

My splits:

  • 1 Mile : 10:04
  • 2 Mile : 9:50
  • 3 Mile : 9:56
  • 4 Mile : 9:51
  • 5 Mile : 10:06

I had a hard time on the last mile, as one can tell in the split. It was a cold and dark evening and my first run in the last three days. I didn’t properly warm up before I started running. And, my eating has been the pits so my stomach was full and jiggling. By the fourth mile, the bottoms of my feet were hurting. I don’t know if that means I need a new pair of shoes or new insoles.

I have let circumstances and events and things and personalities beat me down. The holiday’s did not help with its own brand of expectations and obligations. Mild depression has crept into my soul and is starting to find a hold. If I would talk to any other person like I talk to myself, I would have no friends.

However, the 5 miles was a good step in fighting back, or taking back, or rising above. My motto for 2016 is going to be “Progressing” and or “Improving” instead of perfection.

After Christmas Long Run

I was motivated by a you tube video to get out and run.

I was watching a video produced by Chris & G Travels. This you tube channel follows the RV living and travel of this couple. I enjoy watching their channel as I can live vicariously through them. And other people who produce you tube channels of their van dwelling and RV living adventures.

Anyways, Chris and G were traveling through a town in British Columbia in their Monaco Class A and they decided to stop and run. They wanted to get in a 5 mile run around this scenic mountain lake.

How cool. Driving through mountain town and found a scenic mountain lake to run around. What a way to live.

So, still under the covers, still in bed, still a little hung over from Christmas dinner and drink, I thought I should get my fat slug ass out of bed and get in a run of my own. If Chris and G can do it around a scenic mountain lake in British Columbia, then I could do it around the neighborhood.

I wasn’t able to get in a long run on Friday since it was the Christmas holiday and there was too much holiday to get in for the day. I prefer long runs on Friday evenings but since that wasn’t possible I decided Saturday was the next best day.

So, this morning was my long run. A quiet Saturday morning, chilly with grey overcast and slight rain. My goal was 5.5 miles of straight running with 3 sets of intervals of 5 minute runs and 2 minute walks.

The reality was that I did 6 miles of straight running and then 3 sets of intervals. Yay! The total mileage was 7.87 for total time was 1:20:04 and for an average pace of 10:10.

My splits were :

  • 1 mile : 9:40
  • 2 Mile : 9:45
  • 3 Mile : 9:52
  • 4 Mile : 9:52
  • 5 Mile : 9:50
  • 6 Mile : 9:46
  • 7 Mile : 11:33

My fastest mile was the first one. I slowed down for the next four miles and finished strong with a 9:46 mile for the sixth. Not too bad for a holiday wasted slug.

Wishing everyone a great weekend and a great run.

Christmas Eve Weigh In and Run

177.4

Good grief. Up 4.2 pounds! Holy Cow. Four point two pounds in one week. How does this happen?

Brief pause … realization …

Of course. It’s all the Holiday food and drink I’ve been consuming. I shouldn’t be surprised. I should have expected it. I have been too liberal in my eating. Too many office cookies, too many Little Debbie snacks, too much craft beer. I’m calling this weight gain an example of Holiday Bloat. But, I need a way to ignore or overlook or skip over or overcome the temptations to eat all those available goodies.

My running has been good this week. Although I only ran 3 days, my total miles was 18.83. I would have run last night Wednesday (12/23), however, a major thunderstorm passed overhead when I got off from work and sort of drowned out my opportunity to run outside. So, I jumped on the Bowflex for 22 minutes. If I had a treadmill, I would have run on the treadmill.

Running for this week :

  • Friday 12/18 : 7.51
  • Sunday 12/20 : 6.01
  • Tuesday : 12/22 : 5.31

A Morning Run …

Thursday mornings are my weigh in day. And, today is Christmas Eve and I have the day off. So, once I slept in till 7:30 am, I got out of bed and weighed in to see what the frustrating number would be, as reported above.

There seems to be so much to do before Christmas day and that adds to the stress of the holiday season. So, I thought I would get in a morning run since I have the day off. I’m thankful that I was able to get in a run this morning before I get busy with the holiday responsibilities.

I ran 5.31 miles for a total time of 50:34 with an average pace of 9:31. Wow !!!! I guess maybe the holiday bloat gave me some extra energy for a fast run. At least fast for me. In fact, I believe this is fastest run to date. The splits were :

  • 1 Mile : 9:26
  • 2 Mile : 9:30
  • 3 Mile : 9:30
  • 4 Mile : 9:25
  • 5 Mile : 9:36

This run was encouraging. Especially after such a dismal weigh in. And, it was warm and sunny this morning too. It was like a Spring day. And, it’s late December. Incredibly warm weather. I saw several other runners taking advantage of the warmth and sun while I was doing the same.

Merry Christmas Everyone !!