Friday, March 20, 2009

Can An Overweight Couch/Desk-Potato Become a Runner?

I want to find out :)

At some point last year, maybe 9 months ago now, I read about a "Couch to 5K" program linked from a blog I used to read. I no longer read the blog since she went private but I admire her for actually using this program and making it to the 5K goal.

Ever since, I've contemplated trying out this program but, although I did start going for some occasional ~1 mile walks, never managed to find the motivation. Yesterday I saw a different "Couch to 5K" link on a completely different blog.

I challenged myself and... I actually took the challenge.


Some relevant facts about me:

There's no doubt about it, I am overweight. If it were easy, I'd like to lose about 80 lbs but I'm pretty sure that's not ever going to happen. My realistic goal is 30 lbs. I sit at a desk, in front of a computer, all day long. Other than usually leaving my office for lunch, I'm lucky if I get up to use the bathroom once a day. After work, R and I make dinner and either play computer games, watch our favorite TV shows or watch movies. I admit it, I am a complete couch/desk potato. I am about as unfit as a person of my weight/height can get. I love outdoors activities - hiking, boating, camping, etc. - but I rarely do them.

On a very regular basis I get restless. I actually feel like running as fast as I possibly can. Even though that seems weird, even to me, it is true. Recently, while at work, I couldn't take it anymore so I got up and started doing jumping jacks in my office to relieve the restless feeling. It didn't really work but I didn't do it for very long, worried that someone would ask what the heck I was doing.

I have a very active dog. I think he is slowly adapting to our lazy lifestyle. I know he would rather be outside running after a ball but he lays around while we are watching TV or playing games without much of a fuss. I'd love to get him out and running around more. I've taken him on hikes that were miles long and he never seems to run out of energy. I know he would benefit from a more active me.

I have bad knees and arthritis. When I was 16, during a gymnastics class, I did a front-handspring (full body flip where, from a running start, the hands go down to the floor in front of the body, the legs go over the head, landing on both feet at once when the move is complete), landed with my right foot slightly crooked and collapsed. I tore my acl, which is a ligament in the middle of the knee. I had several surgeries and my knee was never the same. I have cartilage loss/damage and, as a result, I have arthritis in my knee and ankle of the same leg. My knee is "loose" and can "slip" out of place, which causes pain. This doesn't normally happen if I'm just walking. Last year I went to an orthopedist and he confirmed, amidst many apologies because "someone your age shouldn't have arthritis like this", that there was nothing he could do that would make my knee much better. Ahh well. But... will this lead me to fail at running? I really don't know but I do plan on paying specific attention to knee pain. I'd rather not lose my ability to walk.

I own a nice eliptical machine. I bought it a few years ago and I like it but have yet to use it regularly. I thought I would be more apt to use it if I could watch TV to keep my mind off the fact that exercising sucks but it hurts my neck to watch tv from its current position and there's really no where else I can move it to. I feel bad using it when R is watching TV too because it's kind of loud, or at least it is in my head. It makes my feet fall asleep about 20 mins into the work out. This is ignorable but annoying. I also feel bad when I use it because I look at my bored dog and feel like I should be outside walking with him instead. These are all just lame excuses I know - I don't use it because I'm lazy.


So, I'm going to try to become a runner. At the very least, a more active person.

I plan on posting - at least a short post - on every day I go. This way I can tell, even if I feel incredibly shitty, if I'm making at least a tiny bit of progress. I actually got myself out and on the road last night (see the next post for details on how it went).

Oh motivation, where are you?? I need you! If I could give myself a daily injection of motivation I really would - and I HATE needles *shiver*.

So, who out there in imaginary-blog-reader-land is interested in how this will go? I know I am! :)


  1. I had that same conversation last June, only mine is in my hips. I decided to use them while I have them because once they go bionic running is a huge no-no. I started the Couch to 5 this week. On to week 2 on Monday. It's hard not to jump forward but I'm prone to shin splints so I have to ease into it.
    Good luck!

  2. Yay!! I am SO proud of you!!

    I am writing again and sent you an invite to my blog... maybe I had your address wrong. I sent it to

    I've been super lazy... I should start running again... we should run a 5K on the same day! That would be awesome!

  3. Flying Monkeys: maybe we could compare notes in a few weeks to give each other support :) Good luck with the hip issues - I hope your hips and my knee hold out!

    Monty - Hi! I've been wondering how you were. Sadly, I didn't get your invite :/ but that is my correct email addy. Can you try again? I'm not exactly sure how the private invite things work but I did check my spam folder just incase gmail screwed up.

    Thanks for the encouragement :) It would be awesome to run a 5k on the same day but I'm very far from that day I think! hehe