Feeling Awesome after the Valley Harvest Full Marathon on October 13, 2013! Time: 4:20:56 =D
Well Folks I finally did it!!!!
Completed my first Full Marathon – 42.2 Km – in 4:20:56 =D
No, it wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t really that hard either.
My Fitness Story:
If you have read my health journey and scrolled through my first 365 days of aerobic exercise (from Dec. 1st, 2011 – Dec. 1, 2012), then you know all about how I went from 300 lbs. to 190 lbs. and from 13 prescribed; Sugar, Heart, Cholesterol, & Hiatus Hernia pills to 0, yadda, yadda, yadda. Not Bad for a then 53-54 year old! So now at 55; here’s the running story that got me to my first Marathon.
- From Dec. 1st, 2011 until now, I have been getting a minimum of 60 minutes aerobic exercise daily (only missed one day for flu and one day for travel in all that time).
- Started with spinning (bike on a trainer) and speed walking,
- Added a combination of spinning & speed walking on a max. incline on the treadmill (started at 2.9 MPH, now at 5.0 MPH+)
- Did my first Run/Walk training out doors in late March 2012
- Started some 20 Km – 50Km Trail bike rides throughout the Spring, Summer, & Fall
- Ran/Walked my first 5 Km road race in April 2012 the added two more in May
- Ran my first full 5 Km (no walking) in June 2012 added about 6 more 5 Km/8 Km and one 10 Km race over the summer 2012
- Bucket List GOAL #1: Competed in my 1st Duathlon in October 2012 (4 Km Run/28 Km Bike/4 Km Run) and finished a very respectable 56th out of 76 in a time of 1:45:51 =D
- Started training for a Half Marathon in January 2013
- Completed my first indoor Half Marathon+ (22.1 Km) in an informal group training in 2:11:00 in February 2013
- Completed my Pre-Race Half Marathon training in May 2013 with a 21.2 Km trail run in 1:58:00
- Bucket List GOAL #2: Competed in my 1st official Half Marathon at the Bluenose Marathon in Halifax in a very good time of 1:53:31 and came 743rd out of 2, 280 runners =D
- Continued with several 5/8/10 km races throughout the summer of 2013 with best times at 24:10 for 5 Km, 39:41 for 8 Km, and 50:35 for 10 Km.
- Intense training for marathon in Sept./Oct. 2013 included 5 straight weekends of distance runs at: 22, 32, 22, 20, & 30 kms before the Marathon.
And now in just under 2 years from a sedentary 300 pound 53 year old, with multiple health issues, taking 13 prescription pills, to my current condition of a perfectly healthy 55 year old at 190 pounds with zero meds, I have just lived a dream by completing my:
15. Bucket List GOAL #3: Competed in my 1st official FULL Marathon at the Valley Harvest Marathon on October 13th, 2013
Finishing with a time of 4:20:56 in 67th place out of 91 =D
And now you know the rest of the story… what are you waiting for, start your own health journey: Today!!! =D
“Slow Running” a Reflection
Some would say that Slow Running does not really sound like a good exercise and/or it should not be a runner’s goal; however, I totally think the opposite. It has helped me, and many others, to: get moving, stay moving, improve our health, and lose weight!
The theory is this: if you can hold back your running speed to the point where you are always breathing calmly then you can usually maintain that effort for a very impressive distance. Granted, initially you may be running slower than you can actually walk, snails may be passing you, but you can effectively run a long distance by staying within your own level of lung capacity thereby avoiding the trigger of your aerobic panic button that usually make a new runner stop (or at least a walk). Here are some other positive thoughts on why it works:
1. It’s true: “Walking before you run” is not just good advice for children!
If there has been reasonable mobility in your life like walking or speed walking, then your muscles and joints can usually make the jump to running. All you need is to ensure there is a sufficient fuel flow of oxygen to keep the lungs from being stressed and then, presto, you can run!
2. The next great thing about Slow Running is that it is very joint friendly.
One obstacle “rusty” runners often face when they start up again is they go out too fast before their muscle strength and development around the joints is ready to protect them from injury. With Slow Running, runners can build muscle memory and develop strong joints by practicing this low impact style of running motion (which differs from that of walking), without the harmful high impact.
3. The biggest muscle obstacle for new runners is actually the one between our ears!!!
It is very hard for a new runner’s brain to believe that they can actually run 5 km (or whatever the goal). The slow run removes the common reasons to stop (out of breath, aching joints, fatigued muscles, etc.) so the run becomes possible, often the first time out. By running further than you thought possible the very first time out, your confidence explodes and you can’t wait to go again.
But Wait! There’s more! haha!
4. Here’s why the Drill Sergeant & the “No Pain – No Gain” theory isn’t really a good way to go!
Ever wonder why an elite athlete will sit on a bike and spin for 20-30 minutes after an intense game of hockey, basketball, soccer, etc.? Slow Running, like the after sport spin, is the best way to: stay healthy, reduce pain/stiffness, burn fat, and it’s the best way to prevent injuries by reducing/ eliminating lactic acid which is what causes the day after pain & stiffness in muscles. What is lactic acid?
Good Question: Boring Alert (I’m about to get technical).
There are three levels of duration in physical exercise:
a) 0-20 seconds – Pumping Iron (anaerobic like body building): (leaves lactic acid* in muscles),
b) 30 seconds-5 minutes – Sprinting & Stopping (aerobic/anaerobic like most team sports, run/walking style training like couch to 5 Km, etc.): (leaves lactic acid* in muscles), and
c) 5-8 minutes & longer – Steady Exercise (aerobic like walking, running, spinning, etc.) : (removes lactic acid* from muscles)
* The Lactic Acid Story (Quick Blue Collar Version):
Muscles use three main types of fuel besides oxygen:
a) The primary fuel is ATP: Lasts about 10 – 20 seconds. Inefficient fuel that leaves harmful lactic acid in the muscles. (Body Building uses this type mostly)
b) The second fuel is Carbs: Lasts the next 30 seconds to 5 minutes. Inefficient fuel that leaves harmful lactic acid in the muscles. (Sprint/Stop activities use this type mostly)
c) The third type of fuel is Fat: Burns after a steady elevated heart rate of longer than 5-8 minutes. Fat is an Efficient fuel that cleans out all the harmful lactic acid.
That’s why elite athletes are sitting on a bike spinning for 20-30 minutes after the big game!
5. Not convinced? Think “Slow Running” doesn’t really cut it as an exercise?
In my case, a “slow run” almost doubles my 5 km run time from 24 to 48 minutes and includes almost twice as many steps due to the slower/shorter strides I take. That means I am getting double the exercise, and I work out twice as long as I would normally – and that is Awesome Exercise!!! =D
The Skinny on my Weight Loss Journey
Where I was in 2011:
- I was close to 300 pounds in the Winter 2011
- Morbidly Obese (120 pounds over BMI “Normal”)
- Diabetic with High Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Hiatus Hernia, and Sleep Apnoea
- Sugar levels: 14+, 3 month average: 11+ (should be between 4.0-7.0)
- 13 Pills & Threat of Insulin: 8 pills for Diabetes, 3 for Blood pressure, 1 each for Cholesterol & Hiatus Hernia, Sleep Apnoea machine.
- Size 38 waist (below huge muffin top), 2X shirts, & 18 inch neck.
- Could not run longer than 3-5 minutes (0.25 kilometres)
Where I am now:
- Around 190 pounds: Down 110 pounds (goal was to lose 100 pounds)
- Overweight (still 11 pounds over BMI “Normal” and still working on getting to 178)
- Healthy: All within normal levels with Zero (0) prescribed pills taken
- Size 30 waist (no muffin top), Medium shirts, & 15.5 inch neck.
- Can Run for hours, have done a 1/2 Marathon last spring in 1:53 and
- I am registered to do the Valley Harvest Full Marathon in October.
How I got here:
- Eating Smart: reduced carbs, wheat, sugars, fats & increased lean protein, veggies, and fruit.
- 60 minutes of Movement every day: Spin or ride my bike for at least 30-60 minutes and/or Treadmill or Run for at least 30-60 minutes a day.
- Slow Running for training
That’s IT! Folks – it’s that Easy =D
Won First in my age group with a time of 40:43 =D
Ran with my son Liam (placed 5th) with a time of 30:47, my daughter Holly (her first 8 Km) with a time of 51:03, and my wife Norma (also first 8 Km) with a time of 55:14. It was a great day for the Clan =D