Monday, April 13, 2009

On my mark, get set ...

I started running seven months ago. And while I'd love to be able to say I had some compelling backstory -- like that I have an artificial limb, or that I weighed 250 pounds and my doctor said, "Get fit or die" -- I can't.

In fact, my story is about as ordinary as it gets: I was about to turn 35, and I realized it'd been about a decade and a half since I'd done physical activity on a truly regular basis (no, I don't count 60 minutes of co-ed softball once a week for a couple months a year).

The good news is that I still have the metabolism of a hummingbird. I'm 5-foot-7ish, and have never carried more than 155 pounds on my frame despite the sedentary lifestyle and a pretty unbalanced diet (my idea of the perfect meal is beef jerky with a side of Jelly Belly candy).

I also was blessed with natural speed -- rarely used, but notable enough that I often find myself at the top of the order on my softball teams because the guys in the 2, 3 and 4 spots know my legs can help them pad their RBI totals.

So ... while I almost died of exhaustion after running less than a mile my first day out, within two months I was managing 25-minute 5Ks. In February, I broke 23 minutes in a Dilworth race. In March, I breezed to a 1:47:39 in a half marathon in Atlanta. Earlier this month, I applied for the New York City Marathon.

Anyway, my hope is that this blog will serve a variety of purposes. But mainly, I plan to:

1. Spread the word about interesting races in our city and our region.

2. Provide tips. About the best places to run in and around Charlotte. About great deals on shoes and gear. About cool stories or features on running-related Web sites.

3. Offer helpful solutions for common (and uncommon) problems, with assistance from local experts whenever and wherever I can get it.

4. Give N.C. runners a place to share. Because even though you might not have an artificial limb, even though you might not have a weight problem your physician thinks could be fatal, if you run, you're welcome.

Hope to see you around, whether it's on the blog or out on the road.


cltindependent said...

I've been "thinking about starting running" for the same time you have actually been doing it. I'm mid 30's also, but carrying around an extra 20 pounds. Please address how long it took you before you could run 5 miles in one day? I'm walking a mile a day now, working up to jogging.

Anonymous said...

cltindependent, I can tell you that it took me about 2 months to get to 5 miles. I got there by run/walking unti I was running more than I was walking.

Also check this out for great group motivation:

The Dilworth/Myers Park area is the best area for runners. It's a popular area due to the number of drinking fountains, proximity to the Dowd Y and gorgeous scenery.

Theoden Janes said...

I think it took me about two months, too.

A mile a day of walking is a great start. Mixing in some jogging is a good next step. But instead of worrying about 5 miles, set your sights on 5 kilometers. Signing up for a local 5K is an excellent way to establish a goal with a deadline (the idea being, "I don't want to embarrass myself at this thing, so I HAVE to put in the work to get ready for it").

Here's a list of upcoming races in our area:

The University City 5K is a little more than seven weeks out, which should give you enough time to prepare.

Need a workout schedule? Try this Couch-to-5K Running Plan:

Good luck! Maybe we'll see you out there. ...

spinelabel said...

Plaza-Midwood, where I live, is a good neighborhood for running too. One water fountain on Belvedere near Charlotte CC and one in Midwood Park. A few little hills make it interesting.

Congratulations on your fast times and increasing distances, Theoden. I found it helpful when I returned to regular running to keep a log of my runs. (I made it a spreadsheet in Google docs!) That way I could tell how much farther, faster and more frequently I was running and even display my progress on a graph.

Deirdre McGruder said...

Uh, cltindependent, unlike the people above, it took me more than two months to get up to 5 miles. It might have taken four or five months. The thing to remember is, your body is gonna build running endurance at its own pace. Push it and you'll injure yourself. I agree with what Theoden said -- shoot for a 5k, rather than 5 miles (it's 3.1 miles and you get a T-shirt).