|"Before", taken in 2009 (I'm on the left)|
Three years ago, my wife looked at me with concern in her eyes and voiced (again) her opinion that I needed to reverse the slide towards obesity that I had been riding in the three years since our wedding. I had successfully lost 40 pounds in preparation for our nuptials by spending 2-3 hours at the gym five days a week, mindlessly spinning, trudging on an elliptical and weight training while watching basic cable or listening to an mp3 player. We honeymooned in Greece, and I developed a soft spot in my belly for moussaka. I went from 180 lbs before the ceremony to 195 lbs by the end of the honeymoon, six weeks later. I did not return to the gym, and despite some active pursuits such as skiing/snowboarding and whitewater rafting, by Labor Day 2009 my weight had blossomed to 235 lbs, a body mass index of 30.2! I agreed with her assessment that something needed to be done. I was officially obese.
Returning to the gym and commiting 10-15 hours a week did not sound appealing. What could I do to increase my fitness which would not require a gym membership and umpteen hours a week to be effective? Despite abhorring running in school, I decided that for the cost of a pair of running shoes, I could be out my front door and back in 30 minutes a day, three days a week. Much more attractive. I picked the "Couch to 5K" training plan and signed up for the Thanksgiving 5K in Grass Valley, CA. The Turkey Trot.
I credit the C25K training program with providing me a solid foundation that enabled me to ease into the activity. I worried about form and injury, as I had ACL replacement surgery in my late twenties. I read "Master the Art of Running" by Malcolm Balk and Andrew Shields, which helped me focus on posture and ridding my body of tension. I bought proper running shoes after putting 30 miles on the cheap pair of tennis shoes I had begun running in. Before I knew it, I was logging my miles with the Nike+ system and shopping for gadgets, gear and clothing like a man obsessed. If Runner's World thought it was cool, I wanted to try it (so much for running being more affordable!)
Today, my weight is stable (180-185 lbs), I run an average of one race per month (I even have some age group medals), and I am trying to figure out how far I can push my body to run in one sitting. I volunteered at the Dipsea and Western States races this year, and I have been able to increase my race distances. Last weekend I passed two milestones as a runner. I ran my 2000th mile on Saturday (since I began Labor Day 2009), and logged the most volume in one week, 54 miles. This fall, I will participate in two half marathons, one road marathon and a trail ultra-marathon. I guess this running thing and I get along :)