I started jogging this month. Again.
I started jogging last year…before we moved to this neighborhood, before my oldest kid started high school. I went out every other morning, and my goal was to be able to jog a mile without stopping. I didn’t get there. And when my son started school, I had to leave at 6:00 am every day to have him at a bus stop 7 miles away. I had to get up at 4:30 am, to get my son up at 5:00 am, and then babysit him every step of the way to get him out the door in time.
TL;DR version: my morning time to jog and then shower off all the sweat disappeared.
So, as soon as school ended this month, I laced up the running shoes and hit the sidewalk again. Something about turning 45 this year, and going on meds for my blood pressure and high cholesterol made me realize that I have to do something different if I want to be around to annoy my kids for a long, long time.
I’m going at it differently, though. Whereas last time I waved off all advice to follow a program and went at it my own way, this time I’m following the Couch-to-5k program. I just finished Week 3 of it, actually. It’s a good program; my wife went through it and it took her from never running 50 yards in her life, to finishing several 5k’s. Also, this year I have a smartphone, and can run an app that tells me when to switch from running to walking for the intervals. It makes things much easier.
I don’t like running any more than when I did it the first time. It’s hot, it’s tiring, and it makes my legs sore. I fought off shin splints the first week, and I find the actual act of running to be unenjoyable. It’s not fun, it’s work. I don’t know that a “runner’s high” is ever in the cards for me.
What I DO like is being out in the early morning before things heat up. It’s June in Florida, and the only time it’s below 80 degrees is before 7:00 am. I like seeing the sunrise, and there are a couple of places on my route that smell exactly like the sweet ferns in the Michigan woods.
No, I don’t like jogging. I like bicycling, if I’m going to like an exercise. I can climb on my bike and dash off a 10 mile ride, and I still get all nasty and sweaty, but I love it while I’m doing it. When I get tired, I still just want to go faster. I find peace while bicycling.
However, a bike ride takes an hour, and a whole lot of space to do it – 10 miles, actually. I can’t stay near the house, and I can’t squeeze it into the morning. I also can’t do it when it’s dark out, because of the whole cars-can’t-see-me-in-the-dark thing. Jogging, on the other hand, gives me the same workout in a half-hour, and only 2 miles. I can step out the door and do it, and be done.
I also like that in just the three weeks I’ve been doing C25k, I can see my belly shrinking, and feel my pants getting less tight. I’m not losing weight, but I’m pretty sure I’m losing size, and that’s good, too. I did also combine this with watching what I eat and logging my food into MyFitnessPal. Just logging my food and getting a handle on the snacking I do managed to lose 5 pounds for me. I was eating about 1,000 calories of just snacks every day. My wife is incredulous that I don’t weigh 400 pounds with the way I eat.
So I think it’s going to be a good thing, random leg pains notwithstanding. I generally feel better, and can feel myself shrinking, albeit slowly. I feel like I’m maybe on the road to being actually healthy, though I don’t really want to be one of those “healthy people” you see everywhere, eating protein bars and drinking smoothies and looking all wistful when a pizza goes by. I still want to eat what I want…just less of it. And now I want to run a 5k, when I finish the program.