Saturday, November 5, 2005

Initial Thoughts - 2 years, 4 months

Today is the first Saturday of November 2005 and this is a test -- not a test of blogging but of how I do with blogging about running. My writing won't likely be inspiring and probably will bore anyone but me to death. My wife actually suggested that I do this.

I ran track (1 mile, 1/2 mile, and mile relay) in high school and was moderately good -- no records, but good enough to win the 1/2 mile in our small conference (AAA in South Carolina) one year. After my junior year, though, I ran only sporadically -- a few months, then off for a few years. My wife loves to walk, but, even though I really enjoy being with her, I don't like walking for exercise. She can really churn up the pavement walking and if I'm going to put forth that kind of effort, I'd rather go ahead and kick it up a couple of notches and get really sweating while running.

We have lived in Kenya since 1987, serving as missionaries with the International Mission Board, SBC. Just over 2 years ago, I was very dissatisfied with my weight and overall fitness. At 5'10", I had let myself get to 210# -- that's a BMI of just over 30 or slightly obese and I don't like that term applied to me. My waist measurement was up around 40, though, out of vanity, I was wearing 38" pants (imagine that sight!). My wife needed to lose, too, but she can choose to talk about that or not -- the key thing for this is that we were in this together.

We decided to follow the Sugar Busters! eating plan -- the condensed version is no sugar, no white bread, no white potatoes, no white rice, fruit only at certain times, and very limited high glycemic vegetables (the only part that was hard to keep in mind). We also decided to start walking, together -- at 49 years old, I knew better than to jump right into running. Starting the first of July 2003, we walked 45 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week when we could schedule it. We were absolute fanatics about the food (drove others nuts -- partly because we were so fanatical and partly because (I think) they wanted to lose weight but wouldn't/couldn't make the commitment to eating right.

After 6-7 months, I had lost about 40 pounds. At my absolute lowest, it was 45 pounds (165#). Further, my waist was down to 33". Pretty dramatic -- so much so that Kenyan co-workers secretly wondered if I had contracted AIDS. One of them let that slip one day in the office -- it was a natural thought for them because of the high incidence of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Fortunately, I could dispel that. Except for a 3 month break when I injured my knee (medial meniscus) and a 1 month break with Achilles tendonitis, I've kept up the running and have pretty much followed Sugar Busters! since then -- the longest I've kept running in my entire life. I currently weigh 175# and want to shed 5#.

In May of this year, we agreed to take a 3-year assignment in the US with the International Mission Board so we currently live in Richmond, VA. During the past 6 months, my running has taken an upturn. I'm averaging about 5.6 miles per run and have run 100+ miles in 3 of the past 4 months. In the 2 years and 4 months I've been running, I have logged just over 2100 miles and worn out 5 pairs of shoes (I'm in my 6th pair). My goal was to make the Double Digit Club (a group on the Runner's World Beginner's Forum who have had at least one run of 10 or more miles) by the end of September 2005. I did that on the last Saturday of September and have since had an 11 mile run.

That's the background. The next post will begin my running journal -- random thoughts on running, weather, observations during my runs, etc.

Press on,
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