Still fat, still running, still bugging you to do Couch to 5k

A little over a year ago, I told you how great the Couch to 5K program is. I describe why I started the program, exactly what it entails, and how it helped me physically, mentally, and emotionally. Here’s an update in our transformation from sad blobs to happier, somewhat more toned people with some blobby aspects.

It turned out that having a built-in babysitter was the lynchpin for regular physical fitness, and once those babysitters left for college, it got super hard to keep running regularly. We did try. We ran separately, and it was lonely. We tried running at night in the winter, and that was horrible.  I also tried these marching workout videos, and they were pretty good, but I slacked off after several weeks. In January, I consoled myself by writing a satirical news story about how I was fooling myself, but that only takes you so far. Then we got a Y membership so we could stow the baby hobbit in childcare and run around the track, but man, it is not the same. You have to make twelve circuits for a mile, and the air is dry and weird, and you can’t have loud, panting conversations about NFP when you’re running at the Y. And then some lady runs right in front of you wearing bright pink running pants with a thong-shaped pattern on it, as is her constitutional right, and you get mad your husband, which isn’t fair, but that’s how it is.

So, with less and less exercise, I slid further and further into blobby despond. Our whole household is terribly sad over the winter anyway, so it was not a good scene. People were making caramel popcorn with entire sticks of butter before 11 a.m. We were scrolling through Facebook with our noses, because it was too exhausting to move our thumbs.

Then the college kids came back home, and . . . now we can go running again. And that’s how it is! We’re running anywhere from three to seven times a week. To our delight, we didn’t have to start from zero, even after taking so much time off.  We’re not as fit as we were by the end of last summer, when we were topping four miles sometimes, but we’re well on our way, and can easily do two+ miles.

The kids, age 9 and up, will be starting Couch to 5K when school gets out in a few weeks. I highly recommend it!  And do get outside as much as possible. I’m glad we used the treadmill when we first started, because it was better than nothing, and I know the track at the Y kept us from losing too much ground; but being outdoors is fantastic. I’m trying to learn more about the ever-changing flora and fauna that surrounds us. So far, we’ve identified a pretty little friend called an arctic starflower

By Jason Hollinger (Arctic StarflowerUploaded by Amada44) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
we’ve brought home, looked up, and abruptly threw away some fascinating, luminous objects called spongy oak apple galls

which look like magical seed pods, but are made by gall wasps out of oak leaf tissue to cushion their developing larvae. Eek!

. . . and, with the help of friends, discovered that that weird sound that almost sounds like an alien toy, like one of those plastic tubes you whip around in a circle over your head, is actually the song of a hermit thrush:

We see wild turkeys, just birding around, and meandering deer, and flame-red salamanders. I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to figure out what weed produces that intoxicatingly wild, dusky, spicy smell, but I can’t get enough of it. Best of all, Damien and I have regular time together that’s just for us. That’s my favorite part of my life right now.

I still eat too much to be losing significant weight, but getting regular exercise does so much to put food back in its rightful place, as fuel rather than hobby or master. I’m much happier with my shape, my posture, and my energy levels and confidence than I have been in many months. I bought a frickin’ two-piece bathing suit yesterday. Even if I never wear it, the fact that I thought I might is a big deal!

My blood pressure is great. I have zero back pain and haven’t had a single migraine since we started running regularly. Since my migraine meds were messing with my heart, this is a relief.

I’m not a great runner. I’m very slow, and my form is inefficient and silly. It’s hard to start, every single time, and I generally feel very strongly that the first 1/8 mile is bullshit, just bullshit. But sooner and sooner in each run, I’m hitting that moment where I feel strong, competent, and optimistic, and that feeling sometimes lasts for hours.

So if you’re feeling bad, this is me pestering you to try Couch to 5K. If I can do it, you definitely can. You guys know me. I’m not a go-getter or thing-achiever, but I’m telling you, this program changed my life.


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10 thoughts on “Still fat, still running, still bugging you to do Couch to 5k”

  1. Couch to 5K is awesome! Good on you and Damien for getting active again – you’re setting a great example for your kids.

  2. I hate running just for the sake of exercise. Running in basketball or tennis and I (was) there. But now I’m too old to risk the injuries that go with those sports. I’m too much of an introvert to sweat in front of others at a gym (and money for membership would be way down on the priority list). Now I walk with my husband and that’s enjoyable (no panting conversations). However, I really didn’t feel good until I got my eating under control. There is evidence that exercise does not help with weight loss. It’s beneficial for other things – like toning, mood, cardiovascular health – but not long term weight loss. Losing weight was always at the top of my personal non-spiritual bucket list. I’m not one of those women who can just accept and live with the fat me, wear plus designer clothes, and feel wonderful. It’s really pretty awful to be a slave to food and bad eating habits. It took many decades to come to the truth that it wasn’t because I wasn’t running marathons that I was fat, but because I was eating unhealthy food and more food than my body needed. Now that I’m not eating sugar nor flour, eating lots of vegetables, and finally losing weight (without any strenuous exercising), I feel great in so many ways. Even though I’m not at “goal” weight yet, just knowing that I have control of this one aspect of my life gives me confidence.

    1. Exercise helps me with weight loss because it gives me that “at least one thing is under control” feeling, which makes it easier to make more rational choices about food — and also not to fall into inappropriate spirals of self-loathing when I do overeat.

  3. Dobby doesn’t *want* to run. Running makes Dobby hungry. Dobby wants to be a good house elf on a trendy sushi and chardonnay diet. Dobby will wear work out gear from time to time to fool people.

      1. Haha yeah.

        Someone needs to save us from Latex. Nobody wears cute clothing anymore
        🙁 🙁 🙁

        The entire county here dresses like that. Add a Patagonia jacket for winter. And the all-season ubiquitous baseball cap. Some $200 lash extensions that take 2 hrs. to apply. What is wrong with these women? What happened to fashion?

  4. This is excellent. I’m so glad you found what works for you.

    I come from a Highly Athletic Family–the sort that do strenuous hikes and triathlons and marathons and 100-mile bike races. I did the IronKid triathlon when I was 7 years old, multiple 5K races as a kid, lots of hiking to the top of glaciers, etc. Once I was old enough, I stubbornly refused to participate in these miserable events. I hadn’t been on a bike in at least 20 years, until I rode randomly with my young sons two weeks ago. Much to my surprise, I discovered that I actually like biking when it’s not for 50 miles in the blazing desert sun. And now I’m going to get a bike for myself. We’re never too old, right? (Especially since I’m only 38.)

  5. Yes! The first time I ran was not optimal…I started in winter, outside, in Ohio. I ran maybe a block out of my 5-block walk. But it felt good when I was done. And I felt like a RUNNER. I gradually built up, and took my then-12-year-old with me, and we ran a 5K together. I lost nearly 50 pounds and felt fantastic.

    Then I had to have abdominal surgery, the kind where when you’re recovering afterwards in the hospital your doctor visits and says, “Woah. Man. I’ve seen some stuff, but NEVER have I seen as much messed up as what you had going on.” So i had to recover, to avoid more stuff happening, and then life got in the way, some really awful stuff, and running fell by the wayside and I kept shoving stuff in my cakehole and forgot to track my calories.

    But now! We are running again! We do use an indoor track, at the gym near my husband’s workplace that has racquetball courts as well. My husband walks with the littlest, while the two older kids run their laps, and I run and finish my run while they play racquetball, and then we play dodgeball for a while. Then he gets his run in on his way home from work. We get out of the house, and yes, we’re indoors but but but I like running indoors. I like a flat surface and I don’t like running into the wind. Once a week we run at the park nearby, but people walk dogs there and I dislike dogs.

    But running is my anti-depressant. I get twitchy when I have a run planned and it looks like we might not make it. It does make a huge difference, especially when you live in a place that has harsh winters.

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