On July 4th, I ran a 5K.
For many people that is really no big deal. But for me, it was an achievement beyond compare and was the culmination of several months of hard work and dedication.
In February of this year, I weighed in at 365 pounds. Over the past 17 years since graduating from law school I had managed to slowly pack on 160 pounds through bad eating habits and lack of exercise. Yes. I said 160 pounds. Although I was 6’2” the weight was beginning to take its toll on me physically and mentally. I had developed sleep apnea, had high blood pressure (Stage II Hypertension), and was borderline diabetic. At the age of 42 I knew that if I didn’t do something to change my life then I would most likely not live to see 50 years. The knowledge of that fact depressed me beyond belief. So on February 7th, I decided that it was time to make a change.
I began with small steps. I cut out soft drinks. I also cut out all refined sugar as well as breads and pastas. I began eating whole foods. Over the course of the next several weeks I continued to make small changes to my diet, like cutting out salad dressings, switching from roasted and salted almonds to whole almonds, and restricting my alcohol intake. I also dramatically increased my water intake. After about a month and a half of the changes I felt so much better. But I knew that healthy eating was only part of the picture. I knew that I needed to exercise.
In mid March, I began walking. Very slowly at first. Just around my neighborhood and on my lunch breaks. Over the next few weeks I got faster and went farther. And then I decided, after losing about 30 pounds, that I wanted to run. I hadn’t been able to run since I was in law school which was 17 years ago. I loved to run and I missed that feeling of accomplishment I would always feel after finishing a run.
I began to look at programs to help beginning runners. After doing my research I was convinced that the app by Bluefin Software was the best choice and on April 18th I began my journey to become a runner again.
I remember the first day vividly.
I went to a local paved trail where I knew there wouldn’t be many people. I thought to myself how embarrassing it would be for me to run at such a weight.
And what if I wasn’t able to even do the 60 second intervals? I would feel like such a failure and wouldn’t want anyone to see me as I stumbled along. But I did it. 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
The sense of accomplishment was overwhelming.
Someone had said to me earlier that day that the journey of 1000 miles begins with one step. When I had finished Week 1 Day 1, I had done 2 miles and I remembered thinking to myself “only 998 more miles to go!”
After that first day I was on fire to complete the program. I followed the program to the “t”. The in-program prompts made it so easy to use my iPhone when I did each day’s workout. I didn’t have to fool with continually watching the screen. The app would tell me when to walk and when to run. And I loved the fact that I could import my music into the app and control it all from the home screen.
I continued to work my way through the program and I successfully finished it on June 19th. I never once walked when I was supposed to run and I can’t begin to even explain the sense of pride and accomplishment that I felt. I remember completing Week 9 and as the final seconds ticked away, I found myself in a very “Rocky-esque” type running form.
My hands were in the air and I was bouncing around like I was the heavyweight champ of the world.
I guess it’s fortunate for me that no one else was around. But to be honest, I didn’t care.
I had gone from a couch potato to a 5K runner!
I find it fun now to go back and read the notes that I wrote in the journal that is included with the app.
The journal allows you to track how you felt, what the weather was like that day, where you ran, and to also to post notes about how you felt. It is so awesome to be able to go back and literally read my progression through the 9 weeks.
It also tracks your walk pace, your run pace, and your total distance so I could always go back and see how much my pace was improving. Did I mention how much I love this app?
And the best part for me, since I’m such a social networking type of person, was that I could sync all of my workouts directly to Facebook and Twitter. I’m sure my friends got tired of reading about all of my workouts.
The funny thing is that I’ve actually had several friends contact me privately about the program and I recommend it to them whole-heartedly.
I have now moved on to the Bridge to 10K app by Bluefin Software and I am now halfway through that program. I will be running my first 10K on July 30th and I am very excited about that.
I have also signed up for my first half marathon on October 23rd and I’ve already downloaded Bluefin’s Hal Higdon Half Marathon training app. I will begin that program on August 1st and will conclude the training on my race day.
And I have to admit that I already downloaded the brand new Hal Higdon Full Marathon training app from Bluefin just in case the half doesn’t cure this neverending desire that I now have to run. I haven’t signed up for a full marathon yet but assuming that things go as planned I hope to compete in one in April 2012. I know that with my apps from Bluefin Software all of the necessary training components are there. The rest is up to me.
On July 4th, I ran my first 5K in 17 years. For many people that is really no big deal. For me, it’s the beginning of a brand new life. A life filled with health, fitness and happiness. If you’re thinking about starting to run I can tell you, without a moment of hesitation, that the app from Bluefin is the best way to start.
You can do it and Bluefin provides you with the tools to help you accomplish your dreams.
The rest is up to you! Dream BIG but start small!
Pingback: Success Stories: Mark Rucker | Bluefin Software Blog
This is am AMAZING story. I’m on week 4 and getting to the place where the runs increase. Got a little depressed this morning when I was fatigued on the last 5 minute run. However, Mark’s story is enouraging and makes me want to keep the faith. My 5K is scheduled for October 15th. Praying that I can run the whole thing like Mark. The App makes it all so much easier.
Thanks for writing. Yes, you can do it. Mark’s story is truly inspiring I am so glad that it has motivated towards your running goals. You’ll do great in October. Just remember to have fun!
I love Mark… His story just inspires me!!!
I have four more workouts left in C25K and am competing my first 5k on July 30. Never thought this day wod come. I swam in high school. I played football. Distance running? Never crossed my mind, never thought I could do it. Now, I can’t believe I didn’t get into running sooner.
what an inspiration! I started c25k this week and have successfully completed week 1. At the start, i weighed 255. I’ve been heavy all of my life and never ran. I decided i wanted to run a 5k with some of my friend and here i am. I dont use their software but i do the treadmill program. I use my blog to track my progress and weightloss. Thank you for sharing your story. I know if you can do it, i can too! Best of luck on your half marathon!!