Tuesday, October 07, 2008


*Caution: If you squirm at the intricacies of exercise, running, or the blathering of an old man, you might as well skip this post.

I've finally decided to "officially" let the cat out of the bag. What's the big news? I'm running in a race Saturday. I know, boring stuff, but it's big for me. So sit back, while I regale you with my sad story.

In high school I ran cross country and track. In track my even was the 400. I have no idea why I chose to run that race other than I thought I could sprint. I couldn't. Cross country was much easier for me once I got into shape. It didn't take long to do that as I was young and thin. I topped out around 160 to 180 pounds and maybe 5'10" to 6'0".

I had long legs and a long stride but I wasn't the fastest on the team. And that didn't bother me. There were taller kids and shorter kids and even girls that were faster than me. But I wasn't the slowest, so I was fine with that.

Anyway, our coach (who ran and looked like a dwarf - as in the fantasy kind, not the little people kind) had a good routine for our training, stretching, etc. Part of that still sticks with me to this day. The memory, not the practice.

Fast forward 14 years. I haven't run on a regular basis since high school. I'm now 32, married, and the father of two. And while my height hasn't changed much (still 6'0"), my waist has grown considerably as I now weigh in around 230. I know that's big, and I want to get smaller. But I also know that it could be worse. A good friend lives in pain from his weight and I don't know how he does it. I think I'd become overly depressed and eat more. Instead, he's working out.

So taking some inspiration from him (and a few others), I finally realized I had hit the bottom of my barrel. I was tired of being tubby and wanted to move closer toward chubby (yes, there's a difference in my mind). So in searching around the various interwebz, I discovered there was a 5k (that's 3.1 miles) race this weekend (the same distance we'd run in cross country).

So for the past month and a half, I've been training. Yes, training. My goal? Several. First, to finish this race. Second, if I finish it, I want to finish it in less than 45 minutes. The long-term/overall goal, was to generally increase my level of fitness and hopefully drop some weight. Nothing specific, but if I have to buy a new wardrobe because my pants are too large, then I'll be super-happy.

My training has also been aided by the motivation that I'm paying for it. We recently got a YMCA in the county, so it takes me all of a few minutes to drive there and back. With doing you-know-what at home now, I have the time to workout, shower, and get back home with time to spare.

Now, for the motivational part for those looking to start a workout regime. So, how have I done in my training so far? In late August, I could barely run a few laps around my yard. Since then, I've been able to run for a mile in under 10 minutes. And most important to me, I ran the old cross country course this past weekend. My time? 39 minutes.

Not too bad considering my age, weight, and overall fitness level. I'll bore you all next week with how the race goes.


Gayle said...

WOW Neil. I knew about the race and that you were training some, but didnt know how well you were doing. Thats terrific.

I bet my fatness has been some inspiration...that you dont wanna be this big of a tub huh?

Yeah, me neither. I should ask Steve to put that exercise bike in our new breezeway. If I would just use it as intended instead of using it as a coatrack!


Neil Richard said...

Everyone's fatness is an inspiration to me, but mostly my own. And with some family history of health concerns, yes, that multiplies the inspiration.

We had an exercise bike too. We got smart and sold it. But the Y has helped a lot and we're fortunate that it's so close.

Anonymous said...

First off, happy belated birthday. my friend!! Those books you got seem rather interesting and may be worth checking out, but I'll wait for the review to figure that one out. As for the letter opener, why didn't you get the one that is a replica of, like, Sting from Lord of the Rings, or of Blade's ninja-looking sword from the Marvel vampire hunter character? The reason I mention it is because at least you can compensate for no longer experiencing the manliness of ripping and tearing into a hapless piece of sealed paper but by holding in your much softer, baby's-butt feeling hands at least a token of epic weaponry. As for me, I still sneak up on my mailbox in the dead of night, pouncing on each piece of mail and capturing the pathetic envelopes and adverts in my mouth while shaking my head ferociously in a vicious and brutal effort to prove my dominance over my prey. The neighbors have complained of the noise, and there was this one time I got fined by the city for littering, but that wasn't my fault that the entrails and innards of the acursed bills and papers were blown by the wind all around the cul-de-sac.

Anyway, I hope you had a great birthday!

Great job on the running!! That's something I know I need to my stupid, lazy ass back into, but it's kinda hard to work up the energy when there is nothing to fear in my world and I'm on top of the foodchain. Just ask those pesky envelopes that keep showing up everyday!

Now, I do have one question. What country are you from that its borders are are 5 kilometers apart? Luxembourg, Vatican City? I can't figure how cross country is only 3.something miles. Here, in the good ol' U.S. of A. we got a whole lotta border, about 3000 MILES worth of border, not no Frenchy kilometer borders here. You need to wake up and smell the blood of all our service who died so you can have a border to run around! We got 3000 miles of running space just for you, so hop on it! Forest Gump did it, and he wasn't quite right in the head, you know. So, have it, boy!!

hehehehehe... Great job!! Let us know how you did in the 5k, I'm interested in hearing about it.

Take care, bro!

~Epheros Aldor - Apostle of Cale

Neil Richard said...

Epheros - Thanks for the encouragement. I'll certainly keep everyone updated (and bored) with my running as I progress.

1979 semi-finalist said...

this is awesome news.


and it IS inspiring. i'm trying to change some of my really bad habits, but i'm integrating them REALLY slowly, so that maybe my body won't notice.

two weeks ago I started flossing again nightly...and this week i cut diet soda out of my lunch rountine (i was doing it for the caffine, but it's not too bad so far - as in i haven't fallen asleep at work yet); upped my water intake to a minimum of 70 oz; and began bringing my lunch to work (which is as much financial as health related).

next week is 'no eating after 7pm' which is difficult since i don't generally get home until then...

and the following week is work out 5 times a week...

that one will be the real killer...but i'll think of you running your 5k and try to soldier on!

Neil Richard said...

Kelly - Well I'm glad this tub can inspire you to do something. No I have something to keep me going!

I think the gradual integration will help, but it sounds like you're doing a lot. I haven't had a soda in a long, long time, but I have started drinking coffee (homemade mochas actually) so I still have some caffeine daily. I think once I finish the race, I'll need to focus more on my eating habits. I'm a notorious snacker and love to eat while I watch TV. So eating well and reducing my waist will be on the plate in the near future.

Keep up the good work (and keep us posted - if you feel comfortable doing it).

-Melissa- said...

That is great! I would love to start running again. I keep telling myself when it cools down or when it warms up. I just need to do it!