My left heel, thanks to plantar fasciitis, is throbbing. My left knee aches. My calves are sore. I’m exhausted. I’m as satisfied as I’ve ever been after a workout.
Today marked another breakthrough. Less than two years after I couldn’t run a quarter mile, I clocked my first 10k this evening. That’s right, six miles. Not bad for a guy who weighed more than 300 pounds at this time two years ago.
I wondered once I finished a 5K how motivated I’d be to keep running. It’s not exactly fun. How often do you see someone smiling while they’re running? I’m convinced that’s physically impossible.
But I also knew that not running meant likely gaining back some of the 90-plus pounds I’ve lost. In other words, quitting wasn’t an option.
Since the 5K, my routine has consisted of lifting weights, situps, a little Tae-Bo and a lot of time on the treadmill, which is a completely different experience than running outside.
I run faster on the treadmill, which means more calories burnt and more sweat. But rarely do I run more than 3.5 miles, partly because it’s an exhausting workout (about 40 minutes of running), on the machine. So I really had no idea how far I could run outside.
Thank God for the weather. I’ve hit the pavement several times during the past few weeks, running about four miles. Not until today, driven by an unhealthy lunch of a Reuben sandwich and two macadamia cookies, did I really test myself.
The original plan was to run five miles, which meant running from our apartment to Quivira Road and back. Once I got to Quivira I figured what the hell, I feel great, why not keep running? I ended up at Pflumm Road, more than three miles away.
The trek to Pflumm is pleasant enough. There isn’t a ton of traffic, the sidewalks are clear and high-dollar fencing equals less wind resistance. The path to Pflumm also has a shitload of hills, and all of them are long, steady climbs.
I hate those hills. I also love those hills. With each step toward the top, I thought about the last several months of exercise. How I couldn’t run to my dad’s pond a few hundred yards from his house in May 2010. How it took several months to reach a mile without walking.
I thought about running in 100-degree temperatures virtually every day of August 2011. I thought about finishing a 5K about a year after the lifestyle change started. I thought about all the support I’m so grateful for from family, friends, Facebook, Twitter and this blog. I thought about writing this blog.
Once I hit five miles, my body seemed to finally give up … on telling me to give up. Maybe it was a third wind. That changed about a mile later, once I hit the steepest of hills on this run, the last half mile. The body was clearly pissed.
But I kept going. And I didn’t stop until I got home. More than hour of running. A total of 6.5 miles. More than 1,000 calories burnt. All of that 20 months after I couldn’t jog the length of a football field.
I’ve said it several times: If I can do this, anybody can. Today’s proof. From couch potato to runner. Anything is possible.