Running Continuation – Week 2, Part 2

Guy wearing hoodie running on treadmill

Week 2, Day 4 – Running, but way under the weather

I’ve been feeling so bad today, I had to call off work. High temperatures, sweating, and dizziness, and that’s before I went running.

“If I ran 6 minutes yesterday, I can run them again today”

I think it was mostly the adrenaline making me feet great. My body didn’t hurt as much. But that’s probably because it’s been hurting the whole day and I was used to it. In any case, I ran 6 minutes. And then, sprinted another. Some people would think I’m crazy. Doctors recommend to rest… Not sure this counts as resting.

Guy wearing hoodie running on treadmill
Notice something different?

I’ll be sleeping better, for sure

I did feel great while running, though. I felt like I didn’t actually have a cold. I was breathing well, probably better than when I started… that should say a lot. I didn’t even cough once. and I’m still not coughing. But, I’m dizzy. I’m cooling down, but I can’t cool down too much. Gotta fight this fever.

I’m going to sleep early tonight. Good night!

Week 2, Day 5 – Still under the weather, but…

I think that running helps somehow with the fever. I remember from a friend in college that used to “cure” her fevers with a 2 mile run. I think she might have had something there. I’m not going to let a little fever stop me from my goal. And, if it actually helps to speed up the process of healing, why not? It makes sense. You heat your body up, release endorphins, among other chemicals, and breathing actually becomes better.

I managed to squeeze in 6.5 minutes, plus an aggressive 1.5 minute sprint. I suppose that it’s a nice bonus for me to be able to run my time, walk a bit, and run again to grow my stamina. This is good. So far, so good.

I’m 3 days away from going up to 7 minutes and my 3rd week. This is amazing so far. I can’t believe that I’ve come so far, and I’m so early on. I’ve increased a whole 40% since day one. That’s hard. But, I know that from now on, it will be even easier to increase my time every week.

By now, my shins don’t hurt anymore, my breathing is more controlled, I can sprint better, and overall, there’s progress towards my thirty week challenge goal.

Tired guy on a treadmill
This is what a tired, sick guy looks after running on a treadmill

I would like to possibly keep track of numbers someday, but I guess the minutes themselves will do for now. Basically, with walking included, I do about 1 mile and 130 calories. Just the running part, it comes to under 90 calories and about half of a mile.

Until tomorrow…

Week 2, Day 6 – Back to my old self

No crazy photo today. I had some guests in the gym and didn’t want them to freak out. I did my full 6 minutes, plus 30 second sprinting without breaking for a walk in between. I thought of something.

A new plan?

No, not really. It’s still incremental, but what if the increments were smaller? I mean, think about it. A thirty week running challenge where every week I increase by one minute? What if I could spread out that minute over a week? A minute has 60 seconds. A week has 7 days. That’s 6 days that can be used to increment. 60 divided by 6, that’s 10 seconds every day. So instead of increasing one minute every 7 days, I increase 10 seconds every day, with one day of no increase. The increase will seem even smaller, almost non existent. Imagine. Increase your run daily by 10 seconds. 10 seconds is nothing! It still amounts to 1 minute every week, but the pot heat rises at a more gradual pace.

I’ll give it a try, after all, this is the 30 week challenge experiment. For you, it can be whatever you want it to be. All I know is that now I can run a full, straight 6 minutes, and I’m ready to go up to 7 without a sweat. And looking back, less than two weeks ago, I was huffing and puffing, and my shins were hurting, and legs were sore…

Let’s hope for a great end of week tomorrow, and then going at it at 7 minutes on Tuesday, 7:10 on Wednesday, 7:20 on Thursday… This is getting interesting.

My health

As far as my health, I coughed very little today. I think it’s at an end. No more cold. Dizziness and muscle soreness are at an end. Things are good. I know now what to do when I have a cold. Fight through it.

It’s not easy running my 6 minutes, but what keeps me going is the fact that I’m telling myself… “If I ran 6 minutes yesterday, I can run them again today”.

Week 2, Day 7 – of the thirty week challenge

The final day of week two. It felt good. I wanted to run 6 minutes and 40 seconds, but I ended up running the a full 7 minutes. I guess I’m ready for week 3. I had a TV playing in the gym. I was kind of watching it while listening to my music. It’s like time just went by.

Every extra second I run, I know it helps me. It hurts while I run. After all, I’m still out of shape. Expect it. You will be out of shape for a while. My form is all over the place, my breathing is still not fully controlled, I’m still running flat footed, and I sweat a lot. But overall, I’m running 7 minutes. That’s two more than I used to when I started. The best part, it hurts a little less.

After the first 5 minutes

During the first three minutes, it went like this:

  • Minute 1 – Easy… jogging… breathing really well
  • Minute 2 – Getting harder… Breathing is heavier, muscles are starting to hurt a bit, it’s not easy keeping form.
  • Minute 3 – It’s hard. Muscles hurt more, breathing is sporadic, I’m all over the place.
  • Minute 4 – Getting used to it, but still pain. Breathing, although fast, is more controlled.
  • Minute 5 – Home stretch. Everything is till normal. It’s heavy, but normal.

And that’s how it feels for me. For you guys it could be different. I remember back when I was running 3 miles at a time, the first mile was the worst. After that, it was normal, and the last mile was the home stretch. I eventually ran 5 miles, and even 6 miles once. But I was 22. Now, I’m 37 going on 38. I’m almost twice that age now.

Tomorrow… Week 3! Just do it!

Fitness Continuation Lifestyle – Week 2

A blurry photo of me running

Week 2, Day 1 – Up to 6 Minutes

This is fitness. Today I feel like my legs are a bit sore. This could be a good thing. It means that my muscles are building up. I have to take it a little easier today. I don’t want to overdo it and get burned. I’m going to try the new treadmill and take some photos of it.

Six minutes, here I come…

A blurry fitness photo of me running
A blurry photo of me running

Post Workout

I feel good.  I went on for 6 whole minutes non stop, and a couple of sprints as usual. Basically, I can run 8 minutes interrupted, but 6 minutes continuous. I’m really happy with myself and my results.

The shins started hurting again, but it’s ok. Nothing unbearable. I could manage. As far as the sore muscles, not a problem. I should definitely stay more hydrated.

The other treadmill

I tried running on the new treadmill from my friend, and it was ok for the first 2 minutes, but then when I started running, I got up to 5.5 mph, all stop. Not sure what was happening. Maybe the treadmill was using too much power and it triggered the safety fuse. Who knows. Anyway, I went to the local fitness center. After all, this is California, and pretty  much every apartment complex has one. Here’s an article on that.

Not a fitness record, but pretty close to yesterday's numbers.
Not a record, but pretty close to yesterday’s numbers.

Progress

Looking forward to continuing  my trend of 6 minutes, plus extra if I feel like it. I do have to say that my breathing has gotten better. Much better. I don’t feel like I’m out of breath, and as far as sleeping is concerned, I sleep better too. I wake up before the alarm. But, I also go to sleep earlier since I’m a bit more tired at night.

I used to feel like I had restless legs, or just rotated around in bed / sofa chair for a half hour before falling asleep. Now, I just hit the sack around 10:30 / 11:00 pm and wake up usually around 5:28 before my alarm rings.

I’m starting to notice my jeans fitting better too. I know it’s mostly water weight, but it feels great to not feel like my belt is going to explode. I used to wear size 32 pants. Then, it went up to 34 when I lived in Europe. They have great food. When I got back to the US, it gradually went to 36-38-40-42 within a period of 3 years. I don’t have any specific goal other than to reach 30 minutes of running.

My mom, being a nurse, used to tell me, that running 15 minutes daily should be more than enough to stay fit. Let’s see what 30 minutes does.

Until tomorrow…

Week 2, Day 2 – The Norm

Well, I only ran 6 minutes tonight. I just felt like it. I didn’t want to overdo it. I wanted to take it easy because the past few days, I’ve been pushing myself a lot. An extra minute here, an extra minute there… and although it’s good for building stamina, it’s taking its toll on me.

The  main reason I ran only 6 minutes is because I went running late. I was working on a project, and just like everyone else that works late, or works on side projects late into the night, I had to stop myself. I know I have a commitment. So, I took 15 minutes off, walked 2, ran 6, and walked again for the remainder. It was nice. I did run at a bit faster pace than usual. Instead of the usual 5.5 mph, I pushed myself to 5.8 mph.

Why the fitness slow down

Another thing is, I’m getting a bit tired. Going to bed later doesn’t help. I do feel soreness the next day, but it’s not too bad. It’s manageable. Also, a colleague is getting sick and I don’t want to catch it. Not now. But… I read somewhere that getting a cold gets rid of the weak cells in your body. Makes sense. The flu virus runs through you all the time. Only when it finds weak cells, or weak areas, it infects and multiplies, thereby destroying weak cells.

For now, I’m happy that I’m at the 6 minute mark, and will comfortably continue with that time until next week. I only did 95 calories tonight, but it was a good 95 calories.

Watered down

I still have to watch my water intake. I just don’t drink enough water. I need to get me one of those mason jars at work and just keep filling it up. We have filtered water, fridge filtered water, and even LaCroix sparkling water. There’s no excuse to why I’m drinking 3 coffees and no water. That has to stop. That’s not good fitness practice.

Sure, I’m not dying of thirst, and I can probably manage with the water I drink from home. Basically, I know I won’t die. But still, if I want to make it a less painful experience, I need to drink more water.

Until tomorrow, again… good night, and happy running!

Week 2, Day 3 – Under the weather

Feeling a bit under, I was coughing today. I hope I didn’t catch anything from work. There’s something going around. I definitely could do without it, but even if I do, and it’s a typical cold, it shall pass easily. Ever since I moved out to Cali (almost 4 years now), I’ve only really been sick with fever and all… maybe once or twice. Before, when the wife and I used to live in The Netherlands, I was getting sick twice a year, and really bad. Talk about fitness. And one of our sons, Ethan, got so sick once that he almost had his tonsils removed.

Feeling better

I didn’t feel as winded as I did yesterday. I did wake up before the alarm again. My legs felt a bit weak and sore, but that’s probably due to a mixture of no rest, lack of water, and the cold coming on. I’m planning on getting some good rest tonight.

I have to rush it

I can’t write too much more since it’s late and I have to rest well. One thing I will say is that running is starting to feel good. I don’t mean, it feels as good as moist cake… I mean, come on… nothing beats moist cake… but it’s feeling ok, like I could really do this. I think I can pull this off.

Lifestyle Beginnings – Week 1

A photo of an exercise machine showing 120.4 calories burned within 14:57 minutes

Day 4 – Developing a lifestyle, five minutes at a time – 2/19/2016

I cheated again. Went over. 🙁 And a new caloric record. Here we go again. I just can’t stop. It’s definitely becoming a lifestyle. I think a small part of me wants to see if I can go to the 6 minute mark to see if next week I won’t struggle. I have to admit, I’m a bit scared. What if 6 minutes will be too much? Of course, so far, 6 minutes seems normal. Day 8 should be easier than I think since I’m already doing 6-7 minutes, or more.

A photo of an exercise machine showing 120.4 calories burned within 14:57 minutes
A new caloric record. Yes it’s a bit blurry. Running and taking photos is hard.

The bad

My shins still hurt when I run. I’ve been told that this could be because I slam my feet in the ground, that I run flat footed, that my form is off. I really can’t focus on that yet. I need to feel really comfortable running my time first. Plus, running should be fun, not a military practice.

I’m still having a hard time letting all the air out when I breathe, but that’s most likely because I’m out of practice. I’m assuming that after two weeks, running 7 minutes should be much easier than running 5 (7-8) now.

Running a little early

Today, I decided to run before my regular evening time. I still need to hydrate more. I had some carrot juice… does that count? I wonder if running at different times of the day. I also wonder if I ran 2 sessions of 2:30 minutes each is better than one full 5 minute session.

Selfie of fat guy at the gym lifestyle, getting used to it.
This is it. Jogging pants, shoes and shirt… and a phone. That’s my workout attire.

Off to tomorrow.

Day 5 – 5 minutes only – 2/20/2016

Happy Saturday! Today, I didn’t do anything extra. It’s the weekend! I mean, I did one little sprint in between the 5 minutes span, and I didn’t cheat. I didn’t go over my 5 minute mark. I did some stretching in the beginning. It seemed to help a little. Maybe I need to stretch more, or maybe my shin muscles need to get used to running. Who knows?

I’m still getting used to running again. It’s not getting too much easier, but I can manage to run through the 5 minutes comfortably. Definitely not part of my current lifestyle.

Am I worried about reaching 6 minutes next week? I already did 6 minutes earlier in the week, so I’m not really worried. It’s the weekend, so I’m taking it easy. I will only do more if I feel like it. If I hit my target for the day, I’m happy.

Extra sleep

Today, I felt like taking a nap. It was good. To me, that’s a sign that my body is a little tired. Maybe taking it easy today and doing the normal run was a good thing. I hope it’s not a cold. I can’t afford a cold at the moment. Here’s a great little article on colds and running.

Day 6 – 2/21/2016

One more day after this and I have to maintain 6 minutes… Running I will go. I’ll try to take it easy again. 5 minutes.

Post Run

It was good. The typical 5 minutes, plus about a minute and a half of extra sprinting. My left shin muscle was hurting more than usual, but I pushed through anyway. It’s fine now that I’ve cooled down, but I really think it’s just a sore muscle. I’ll have to keep going.

I did bring a bottle of water with me to the run. I had also started hydrating throughout the day a bit more. The run itself was not that bad. I’m definitely getting used to running 5 to 7 minutes. It’s just that darn shin. How’s that for a lifestyle… Yeah, a style of pain for life.

Tomorrow evening, since it’s day 7, I will try to do 6 minutes straight just because I want to test myself if I’m really ready for week 2. I will be interested to see how this will evolve by week 10. Week 10 means 15 minutes of straight running. Actually, I’m interested in how I will do week 5… 10 minutes of straight running, and I have a month to get there. I think that’s very doable.

I was speaking with a friend of mine yesterday who’s into body building and fitness. I told him what I was up to, and he was very interested to see how it will go. He told me that my pace might be too slow. That I could probably do more than just one minute a week. That’s exactly what I wanted to hear! Too slow. I want the increase in time to be unrecognizable. Like a frog boiling in a pot of water. Put the frog in the hot water, it will jump right out. Turn the heat up slowly, and it will pass out before it knows it’s being boiled. That’s what I want. I want to one day wake up, and run 30 minutes, not even knowing that I’m in shape.

Until tomorrow, peace!

Day 7 – The end of week one

Well, I feel great! I ran my 5 minutes, plus a couple of extra sprints. I think tomorrow will be OK. I’m up to 7-8 minutes already. I just need to do it all together now.

My newly adjusted lifestyle during cooldown
Me during cooldown

Pain management

During my run, my shin didn’t hurt as much. So, I must conclude that it must just be soreness. Typical, lazy muscle, non worked out, soreness. I was told once that pain is just weakness exiting the body. It makes sense. I do feel better after a run though. Not really a lifestyle choice.

A new caloric high

I got to a new record tonight. It doesn’t mean that I have to live up to it, but someone suggested to me that I should keep a record.

A new record for calories used up. It's almost twice as much as the original 5 minute run
A new record for calories used up. It’s almost twice as much as the original 5 minute run

A new treadmill

Tomorrow, I will run on a new treadmill. A friend of mine wanted to get rid of his and so, he gave it to me. He was going to get a bike or something, and I told him that I would take it off of his hands. What a nice guy. That’s how the whole idea of the 30 week challenge started really. I think it’s something that can become a lifestyle.

I’m a little nervous, but excited. Tomorrow, my time goes up by a whole 20%. That’s the biggest gain since the beginning of this thing. Week two will be interesting, considering that the gain from this point on will be less and less until I reach the 30 weeks mark.

Hunger

I’ve been getting more and more hungry. I can only assume it’s because I’m using up more energy. I’m not worried. Food intake is not on my watch list. Getting to the 30 minute mark is. Good luck, I need it!

Until tomorrow, good night!

Exercise Beginnings – Week One

A picture of a fat guy before running

How did the exercise start?

So it all started on a challenge with a friend. I told him that it would be a nice challenge to myself. He told me that maybe I want to take it further and do it like the ice bucket challenge. When I complete the 30 weeks, I have to challenge some friends. Now mind you, I’m no exercise buff.

Like many Americans out there, I’m struggling with weight. Over time, I’ve deposited more fat than I’d care to admit, and it’s starting to make me feel sluggish and uncomfortable. And no one likes to exercise.

A picture of a fat guy before an exercise.
The obligatory before shot. Butt and gut and everything. Yes, I’m upset. Look at me! I used to run 6 miles at a time in my youth.

There are plenty of blogs out there dealing with slow starts to exercising. Here’s a neat one I found.

What does the exercise mean?

It means that we start out with 5 minutes on a treadmill, or in a park, around the block, or anywhere that you can run. Every week (7 days), you increase your running my one minute. Eventually, in approximately 25-30 weeks, you should be able to run 30 minutes. That’s a lot of calories, and it’s not even considered exercise, or a full workout.

Day One – A Journey of a Thousand Miles Starts with One Step

Don’t force yourself to do more than you can. If all you can do is 1 minute, walk the other 4. Remember, you have 30 weeks. Technically, if you start at one minute, you have 29 weeks. Give yourself time. If you can’t even run half a minute, walk for a minute. Then, next week, walk two, and so on. Make it a 35 week challenge. It’s only another 5 weeks. That’s nothing compared to the results you will have. Or, start at one minute day one and work your way to 5 minutes within 7 days. But only do it if you feel comfortable.

* From now on, I will refer to the starting point as the 5 minute mark. Yours may differ. You might feel comfortable (that’s the key word right there) running 10 minutes. Make that your mark.

My 5 minute run was ok. Remember, I haven’t ran in over 2 years. I gained a lot of extra weight. I’m 6’1″ and weigh close to 290 lbs. I’m ashamed of it, but I know that in 30 weeks, it will be different. I used to run 3-6 miles at a time when I was younger. Now, my back hurts if I sleep in a bed. That’s right, I have to sleep on the sofa chair in the living room because my back hurts when I sleep on my stomach. I’m weak. Very weak. I need more exercise.

Is it possible?

You bet! Anything’s possible if you put your mind to it. Start slow, and gain a little at a time. At first you will feel like crap. I did. I’m only on day two when I write this, and I already feel like my lungs are going to come out of my back. I cough when I want to laugh after I run, my feet are sore, my breathing seems like it wants to quit at the two minute mark, but after I’m done, I feel much better. The torture is better.

Here’s why it will work.

It will work because it won’t kill you. Most work out coaches and instructors will force you to go the full 30 minutes on day 1. Or a full hour of weight lifting on day 1. That will be the best way to not work out again the next day. It will be the biggest deterrent. And when they tell you to do what you can, and they run the full 30 minutes, you definitely feel like crap and don’t ever want to run again.

Now, for some math

Take it easy. Very easy. Yes, on week one you will feel horrible. Like me, you’ve probably not run in years, or ever. Running 5 minutes from zero is a big strain. But, hang in there. Run for a week. I guarantee you that by day 3 you will start to run more, automatically. Don’t force yourself. Don’t push yourself over the 5 minute mark. Stay at the 5 minute mark for the whole week. The next week, moving your time to the 6 minute mark will feel like nothing. First week, you went from zero to 5 minutes right off the bat. That’s a 100% increase in time. Week two, you’re increasing only by 20% (one extra minute out of 5, which make it 6). Next week, it will be 1 out of 6, or 17%. By the end, when you go from 29 minutes to 30, it will be only a 3% increase in your time.

Day Two – Still going strong

So today, I had some motivating music on my Galaxy S5. Some nice epic sounding music by Thomas Bergersen. The two tracks that I recommend are “To Glory” and “Protectors of the Earth”. I turn on my Spotify, and put those two on loop.

I kind of cheated a little. I actually ran a couple of extra minutes. I liked the music. It gave me a jolt of adrenaline. Tomorrow I know I will continue with 5 minutes only… or at least, I’ll try not to go over.

Fat guy running on treadmill, not used to exercise.
This does not look pretty.

As you can see, at the 4 minute mark, I’m dying. I could barely muster up a smile. It’s not pretty. Man boobs bouncing everywhere, and arms flailing around like I just don’t care. It was hard to hold the camera and run at the same time. I was mostly breathing out of my mouth which you shouldn’t do. Let’s see how day 3 will fare.

Some tips so you don’t overwhelm yourself

Don’t bring water with you. No towels are necessary. Leave your gym bag at home. This is supposed to be casual, and you won’t die from 5 minutes of running without water. Use the available paper towels at the gym to wipe down the machines. Most of them have them.

Do bring your favorite music along. Don’t just bring a boom box with you. Be courteous. Bring some headphones or ear buds. Cheap ones run you about 10 bucks if you don’t have any.

Day 3 – I don’t feel like it, but…

I know that I have to. The way I look at it is like this… “It’s only 5 minutes”. No preparations, not even stretches are necessary for a 5 minute jog. All I have to do is put on my sweats and grab my phone. Oh, and ear buds. That does not sound that hard. I think the hardest part is bending down to put on my workout sneakers.

A running I will go…

Back from another 5 minutes… ish. I can’t help it. That music is really good for running apparently. I did my 5 minutes, walked, and then when the music came in, I started running again. I must have done 3 one minute sprints. I call them sprints because I was going 6-7 mph. That’s more than my usual 5-5.5 mph. It felt great, though.

I’m all sweaty, and can barely type on the keyboard. I look back on day 1 and realize how weak I was to barely run 5 minutes. I suppose running 6 minutes next week won’t be a problem. Heck, I’m already kind of doing 7-8 minutes now. Shh, don’t tell anyone.

The Bad

I think I need to drink more water. My left shin muscle hurt a bit while running. It’s fine now, but while running, I felt a sting when I would use the muscle. I know my muscles are barely developing, and I can’t force myself too much, but I definitely think that pain was due to low water intake throughout the day.

This is what’s so great about running only 5 minutes at a time. I can adjust without feeling like I committed to a full 30 minutes yet. I know that I need more water, but I still ran my full committed 5 minutes, and then some. Good exercise, I’d say.

Speaking of water. See you in a few seconds.

Caloric record

Tonight, I did over 100 calories in running combined with walking. It’s not much of an exercise, but it’s the start. And that matters now more than anything else.

A photo of a treadmill display before an exercise.
A photo of the machine during cooldown.

It was good. The good thing about it is that if I need to take it easier tomorrow, I won’t be running 8 minutes. I’ll just run my dedicated 5 minutes.

Drink your water

Every athlete out there tells you to stay hydrated. I’ve seen people faint due to lack of water in my days. They just kind of stumble to the side of the road and fall like a cow pie. Of course, the medic on the field has to pull out his silver bullet (thermometer) and has to take your core temperature. That’s right… your core is best reached through the back door. Ow. No thanks. I’d rather drink my water.

You can live without water for 3 days, sure, but when you run, and the more you run, the more water you will need. Don’t push you luck. Don’t go running your 30 minutes without having any water for two days. That’s just not smart.

Anyway, on to the rest of my day. See you tomorrow!