The dreaded bathroom scale kept inching its way upward, pound by pound. It wasn’t supposed to do that, not when I was walking two or three miles five or six days a week. “Briskly“, as my doctor ordered. Once it hit 210 I knew I had to do something drastic and push my fitness routine up a notch.
On the day the scale hit 210 I started running. After warming up for about a block I started jogging at a fairly slow pace. By the end of the block I was wheezing and gasping for breath. And that was on the short end of the block. I was in worse shape than I thought!
Memories of running laps in middle school filled my head. I was the scrawny guy lagging the pack, behind even the chubby guys. I never learned the basic fact that you have to push yourself a little bit more every day. That nugget of wisdom came later. I wouldn’t give up. Not if I want to live long enough to dance at my daughter’s wedding.
As I walked to the end of the next block to catch my breath I remembered something I’d read in my Dad’s old Boy Scouts of America, Official Handbook for Boys.
I remembered reading a chapter about alternating running and walking. Walk one hundred paces, then run one hundred paces, then repeat. Or was it a thousand paces? I mentally gave myself permission to take walk breaks and started running intervals. I didn’t even know what intervals were. That first day in December 2009 I ran six half block intervals during my regular two mile walk.
After about a week of this a book review caught my eye. I can’t recall the magazine, but the book review was for Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. Something caught my eye. “His feet hurt”. I was captivated by the article. I immediately went to the County of Los Angeles Library online catalog to put a hold on this book. There were 18 copies in the county library system, but it still took six months for my hold to come in. I have to vote Born to Run as the best book I read in 2010.
I couldn’t wait so I stopped by the Redondo Beach Public Library to check out some back issues of Runner’s World Magazine. I also did some searching online and found CoolRunning.com’s Couch-to-5K ® Running Plan (C25K). This is an incremental interval training program that gets you up from the couch to running a 5K race in nine weeks.
I followed the link on CoolRunning.com and downloaded one of the free iPod apps and started the program. With time off for a cold, shin splints and other issues, it took me 16 weeks to finish the program. And I’m a runner now!
I’d love to hear from you. Do you run? What got you started? What was the best book you read in 2010?