With everything that was happening over the last couple of years, one of the other things I realized was that I was getting horrible unfit and overweight. Now I've never been the athletic type (major knee surgery and asthma will see to that), but I always considered that I was healthy and could hold my own. What I came to realize though was that that was me 5 years ago, not the 130kg person starring out the mirror at me. So I decided to do something about it.
So I did two (fairly) simple things. I started watching what I ate. Both calorie counting (with the assistance of an app) as well as trying to choose healthier options. Now I didn't obsess of every last little bite and gram, or cut out all the nice things. But I did try to keep to my daily target, and I did try to be rigorous with keeping my food diary. Nor did I try to loose a massive amount of weight quickly. I set myself a -0.5 kg per week target.
Secondly I got active. As someone who works in a predominantly desk bound job (as so many of us do), my day was never particularly active. Initially just by walking more. Parking further away from the train station and walking to and from. Taking the time to go out at lunchtime and do a lap around the block. As is often suggested in the press, I was aiming for 10,000 steps per day. That was it. Nothing more.
According to my Fitbit I walked:
|1 957 033
|2 970 264
So neither year I have quite made my 10000 steps/day average, but it still gives me something to aim for.
Once I started loosing some weight, and things like walking up stairs became easier, I decided to take the next step and started running. Now as I said before, I've never been much of an athletic type, and therefore running was never high on my list. However I found it was the lowest common denominator activity for me. That is, all I need is a pair of shorts and running shoes, and some space outdoors. With very little setup time you can be off and running (pun intended) which made it something I could do on my lunch break at work. Which also meant I didn't have to take extra time away from my family.
Initially my target was just to be able to run 5kms without stopping at any pace. To help me get to this target I used the Couch to 5K training plan. For those not familiar with the program, it is (as the name implies) designed to help get you off the couch and moving. It has a series of workouts (3 per week for 9 weeks) designed to slowly build you up from jogging for 60 seconds with a 90 second walk break, through to being able to run 5kms non-stop.
Now the thought of being able to run for 60 seconds, let alone 5kms seemed ludicrous. But I'm happy to say I got there. It took me longer than 9 weeks (repeated some weeks), and the support of a number of friends (including one who ran just about every session dragging me onwards, thanks Simon), but I did get there.
Somewhere during this time (probably about the time I started to be able to run 3kms non-stop), someone suggested it would be a good idea for me to enter a race. Now this was never my original intention, but I decided to do it as both a target/challenge and a celebration of being able to run 5kms (the race was 2 weeks after I was scheduled to reach the end of the c25k training plan).
I am pleased to say that in May 2013 (weighing 111kg) I did make the start of the race and I did finish the 4kms in a time of 23:43 (mins:sec). No world record time, but make it I did.
Now, why I am telling you all this?? I’m not sure. Maybe it’ll inspire you, maybe it’ll be an interesting read. Or maybe it’s just my musings. Either way, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this. If people are interested, I can write some more about where I have gone since (please let me know either in the comments or email me). In short, I haven’t been standing still.