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Starting Over

Posted by Filed Under: Fun & Jokes, Weight Loss

What Happened?

Six months ago I ran a fabulous 30K and was seriously on top of my running game. I had just come off a hard winter training session and was looking forward to breaking my 5K PR this summer. Then I got a new job. And moved. To another state.

And gained 15 pounds.

My running ground to a halt during the move and adjustments to the new job with extended hours. I knew I had lost some endurance but it didn’t hit until I tried a nice three-mile run. That sweet 9:00 minute/mile long run pace turned into a killer for me and I was wheezing and dying by the halfway mark. It wasn’t that long ago that a 15 mile long run on deep hilly trails was a breeze. Now I couldn’t make it down the street.

And I know who is to blame: Me.

Oh yes, blaming the new job and the move are easy but in my heart I know it’s me. The light dinners I used to eat had turned into giant cheese-globbed full course meals of lasagna, mammoth size steaks, loaves of white bread, and yes, ice cream.

When you are running nearly every day, you burn calories like crazy. A few extra bites of something here and there during the day are easily forgiven on a 10-mile trek through rough-hewn trails or on the pavement. But, if you stop? Your body punishes you for being a lazy butt sloth. It maintains the hunger levels, and begins to store the food. (And I’m not talking about storing it in Hefty bags in the freezer.)

I’m talking about Fat.

But, there is a cure.

It’s easy. It’s the same cure I used when I lost 50 pounds the first time. It’s a special diet. It’s called the “get-your-fat-butt-to-the-gym-you-lazy-idiot” diet. You know this diet. It’s very similar to the “stop-stuffing-junk-in-your-big-piehole-before-it-kills-you-idiot” diet. It’s the one that we know we need to be on, but never want to admit it. It’s when you say, “Diets don’t work,” as you pick up your french fries. I know, I did that too. But I stopped, and you can too.

Here’s What You Need to Do

There are a few ways to fix the problem once you have fallen off the wagon. You can take the approach of visualizing success and getting back to your running prime by surrounding yourself with light and good feelings and applying positive reinforcement of affirming thoughts and self actualization. Yes, well, you could, if you had enough beads and incense.

Lots of people come up with plans and methods and ways to think about how to get back on the wagon but what I found is that none of that will help. Philosophy is not an enabling technology when it comes to running. You need a plan and you need to follow it. Here are my suggestions:

  1. no_junk_food.jpgStop eating junk! Take a rubber band and strap it around your wrist and every time you go to pick up a doughnut or danish or giant blob of fudge, snap that sucker so hard you get a giant welt. I’m not kidding. Did it work? Do it 10 times! Good grief. The junk you eat—the doughnuts, the pastries, the candy, the french fries, all of it—is killing you. If you eat these things, you will never return to running. I’m telling you from personal experience. You will never run anything faster than a 35 minute mile. Seriously. Vegetables. Eat them. Your mother was right. You need them for rebuilding the body you had and also to give you something to eat that isn’t fast-food poison. Fiber. Eat that too. You need it (we aren’t discussing the details here, but you need it).
  2. Turn your head and cough!. If you are starting up any new fitness program, first make sure you aren’t carrying around a heart attack time bomb in your chest. If you cut out the poisonous food and you die from heart failure anyway, it didn’t do much good. Get a checkup; you probably need one anyway.
  3. Get your butt on the road!The only way to start running again is to start running again. Does that seem simple? It is. Can’t run yet? Go walk. You do not need a plan to start; I got your plan right here: 1) put on shoes, 2) leave the house. (Don’t forget the pants though.)
  4. Get a plan! OK, so you’ve walked or run for a bit but now you do need a plan. Write down the plan. I found that starting out again does not work by haphazardly going and running every day that you can. You either lose track of your mileage, which can lead to injury from too much too soon, or you don’t make progress because you don’t run as much as you think you have. Write it down. Here’s my plan for next week:
    • Saturday: 4 miles (fast)
    • Sunday: 6 miles
    • Monday: rest
    • Tuesday: 3 miles
    • Wednesday: 7 x 400
    • Thursday: 3 miles
    • Friday: – rest

    There it is. Yours can be harder, easier, whatever, just write it down and track it.

  5. Rest! Don’t forget to rest. You cannot start up where you left off if you have been away from running for a long time. Your body is not the same and you need to start easy and rest a little more than you think you should. And what are you doing on rest days? You aren’t running. But you are stretching. “Rest” does not mean TV and pizza. Pizza will kill you and destroy your running. TV just rots your brain. We’re off track, I know. Eat something else and go do something constructive with yourself.
  6. Find a race! Very quickly the plan will get old and you will need something else. Find a local race to run in. I know, you don’t like to race or it’s not what you do or your time won’t be as good as before, or waaah, waaah, waaah. That’s not the point. The point is to have a goal to work towards. You will be thinking about the race and gearing your training to that. It will keep you on track. Set it up. Do it. And you get to eat everything you want to in the refreshment tent at the finish.

Here’s Where I Am

I just ran my second race since falling off the wagon. My time was not my best, but it wasn’t my worst. The race is not the point. The race is just to get you moving. My ultimate goal is pull myself back close to my 5K PR time. I want to dump the 15 pounds. I want to be able to run 10 miles and still be able to walk afterwards. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll sign up for another marathon.

Where are you?



12 Comments
  1. Laurie on September 20th at 9:59 am

    Brutal honesty, I love it.

  2. Soozan on September 20th at 2:02 pm

    I hear ya, my 15 lbs are jiggling all over . . . it’s disguisting. We need a CRN Fat to Fit challenge.

  3. Jeanne on September 20th at 3:51 pm

    the good news is…you can always start over!

  4. Linda on September 20th at 5:06 pm

    You’ve convinced me! I’m getting my jiggley butt into gear………soon!

  5. Pamalamadingdong on September 20th at 6:16 pm

    Did you write this for me? Are you calling me fat?

    Hmm…running tomorrow. For sure.

  6. Dianna on September 20th at 7:30 pm

    awesome article jon. i love the ‘diets’ you describe. i wish everyone would follow them.

    and i won’t forget that you might have used the “m” word at the end of this post. duly noted and saved for later.

  7. Juls on September 20th at 9:04 pm

    Great article Jon. Now, I need to run out to get the beads and incense. Seriously, you make a good point about visualizing the goal, and then (maybe *then*) I can actually see the truth in my reflection – The plan *is* working.

  8. Mia on September 20th at 10:05 pm

    Jon, get out of my head. I have to ask you though, these veggies that you’re recommending? Do they come dipped in chocolate? You can’t possibly be saying you’ve given up *chocolate*?!?

  9. Jeffem on September 21st at 10:48 am

    Amen to everything you say. Tracking it/blogging it has kept me going for almost 3 months now. I’ve lost 15 pounds and have another 15 or so to go.

  10. jank on September 21st at 12:09 pm

    YEah Jon!

    Though you were claiming 20 lbs in New Haven

  11. jank on September 21st at 12:16 pm

    Wow – I actually *read* the article this time.

    Jon, you’ve hit the ball out of the park with this one. I’m guessing you’ve been taking the writing juice.

    Susan’s hit the nail on the head – CRN “Fat2Fit” club. Mark/Aaron – find a geek and make this happen.

  12. Dawn - Pink Chick on September 21st at 8:13 pm

    I’m with Jank. Where do I sign up for CRN’s Fat2Fit club??? I want to be CRN’s smallest loser, forget this “biggest” stuff. I wanna be SMALL…..and maybe just maybe I wouldn’t be last anymore…lol.

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