Getting Back To Running And Away From Procrastination

I procrastinate badly. I suppose if I was a kid today, they’d say I have ADD. In any event, this extends to things that I’m “supposed” to do “for my own good.”

Years ago, I walked everywhere. Living in Washington, DC at the time, that was an easy matter. I went to school at Howard University, and while I took the bus and subway everywhere, walking was the preferred form of transportation – so I walked. All the way down 16th Street from Carter Barron down to the White House. From Capitol Hill to Georgetown, and across the Key Bridge and well out into Arlington. Hither and yon.

I also ran a handful of 10K races – it was almost a requisite matter; I worked both for Nike and for sportswear company Moss Brown during school.

At that point in time, I weighed 150 pounds soaking wet. Hitting fast forward for 25 years puts me here, at about twice that size. Along with the procrastination, I have become a far bigger man than I ever would have wanted to.

A couple of years ago, I walked the US 10K in Cobb County, up US 41 with my son (that’s the pic of me in that race above). After trudging up and down the hills on Cobb Parkway, I racked up a 1:55 time. Not spectacular, but at least I did it. I walked one or two 5K races shortly afterward, but backed off and languished, yet again.

Okay. So I’ve finally decided that I’m tired of looking at twice the man I once was in the mirror in the mornings, and am worried about my health. My younger brother suffered a massive stroke a couple of years ago, and is still recovering. While he was much larger than I am when he had that stroke, I don’t want to go down that path. Talk about a rude wake up call.

Looking around for a decent program that I could use to get myself in gear, I stumbled upon a web-based program called “Couch to 5K.” The gist of the idea is that you start from literally nothing and work your way up to being able to run a solid half-hour without stopping. I’m cautiously optimistic.

Here at 11Alive, we’ve got a gym, so I’m able to use the treadmill at lunchtime. I ran the first day last Wednesday, and thought I was going to drop on the spot. One knee and the other ankle were stiff afterward, and I started having second thoughts. Mind you week one is pretty simple – three days, 31 minutes each day – run a minute, walk for 90 seconds, alternating, with a five minute warm up and cooldown walk.

Day two was Friday, and it actually got a bit easier. I was still puffing quite a bit by the end, but I didn’t feel as bad as I felt at the end of the first day. Tonight, I ran the third day, and the end of the first week. I’m feeling pretty good. Still puffing quite a bit, but feeling things in different sets of muscles than the first two days.

I’ve got an iPod app that keeps track of the time for me, and syncs up with the music and podcasts I’ve already got on my iPod, so I can listen while I walk and run.

Now comes the next hurdle – week two starts on Wednesday: same five minute warmup, but then the alternating is 90 seconds of running (or jogging as the case may be) with two minutes of walking over a 20 minute spread.

Experts say that anything practiced for two weeks becomes a habit. I’m half-way home. I’ll keep everyone up to speed on what I’m doing here.

Wish me luck.


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