Today I executed my plan to get back into shape. Healthy shape that is. And by "plan" I mean, complete lack of a plan. All I know is that I am 42 years old, have 3 little ones at home, and I would like to be around to see them grow up and to not be so out of shape that I can barely keep up with them. I mean, I'm able to keep up with them, but I am SO exhausted at the end of the day. I'm older for a dad with a 7, 3, and 20 month old. Usually, a dad with those kids would be in his 20's (or maybe early 30's) and would have no problem keeping up.
I know my lack of energy is because of my current level of health. I am 6'1" and weigh anywhere from 218 to 222, depending on which day of the week it is. It is not a solid 220, but more of a Jell-o-like, jiggly, gelatinous 220. I'm not exactly huge or anything. I don't think most people would call me obese, but I am definitely bigger than I should be, and it isn't muscle. I don't exercise at all and haven't for approximately 10 years now. I used to be in great shape as an athlete in high school and college, and later as a U.S. Marine.
I have been thinking about starting to exercise for a little while now. Need to get back into shape. Was planning to start at the new year, but life was too busy and it was a cold winter. This was the year we had several ice storms here in north Texas. Life is pretty much always busy for me, but the weather is starting to warm up so it seemed like a good time to finally get going. I knew the hardest part about exercising is the part where you actually get up off your butt and start. So, I set my alarm clock an hour early (5:00 a.m.) and put on some shorts, t-shirt, and running shoes and got started.
I should add that in my prep for this first run, I did some homework and came across an app for my phone called "Endomondo". You can take your phone with you and it will track your exercise duration and, with the GPS in the phone, will track your route. I won't detail everything about the app here, but it seemed like a good way to track my progress along the way. An added bonus was that I had a good idea of what distance I was covering. I didn't want to run out away from the house 2 miles and then be dying and struggle to get back.
It was still dark when I got started. I ran down the country road that my house is on. I started off with a goal of 2 miles. I used to run 12 miles daily when I was stationed in Japan in the Marines so this seemed like a decent number to start off with. I was 28-29 years old back then, but figured I probably haven't slipped that much in 13 years, right? Wrong! I didn't get a third of a mile before I had to stop and walk. My legs were acting like I was asking them to carry 800 pounds. I could hardly breathe as well. It would have been easy to give up (I was so close to home) and go relax for a while before getting ready for work, but I was determined to make this work. I was just pretty disappointed as it was apparent I had a much longer road to travel in order to get into good shape. I proceeded to go out a mile from home, alternating running and walking. I completed the 2 miles in 25 minutes, 29 seconds. I finished the last 100 yards or so as fast as I could. I had to walk several times. You can see the dips in my speed in the graph below. Despite my lackluster start I had a weird sense of feeling like I was dying, but also feeling pretty good. Adrenaline rush I suppose.
At this point, I am happy with myself. I accomplished probably the toughest goal...GET STARTED! My next goal is to run 3-4 days a week. This will mostly have to be early in the morning for me as I don't have a lot of time after that between work and family. At some point I may start doing something else like lifting weights, aerobics, etc, but for now I just want to focus on keeping it simple and forming the habit. I have read and heard enough advice over the years to know that forming the new habit is my biggest obstacle at this point so I will focus on just making sure I am doing something regularly each week. I'm sure some experts would tell me how I need to have specific goals and be regimented, but me and exercise don't work that way. If it is too regimented I won't start so I am going to keep it simple for now.
I will add my workout details to the end of each post. Might look at doing a condensed workout only page at some point in the future. Not sure how the format of the site will work out over time. Details from today (off of Endomondo) below.