Back in February, right around my 38th birthday, my oldest son told me that he wanted me to run my town’s “Father’s Day 5K”. Initially, I was less than pleased about it. You see, my motto in life was simple, “Only run when being chased.” For me, to get my fat ass off the couch and train for and complete a 5K without catching a myocardial infarction would completely go against my entire philosophy in life. Now I’m sure many of you out there are scoffing at my complaints. “WAAAHHH, my kid wants me to run a 5K, WAAHHH!” Trust me, I hated myself for feeling that way. So I decided to commit to the process and train for it. Here’s the skinny:
February – bought running shoes at Kohl’s. I have really wide feet and New Balance makes wide widths. I also didn’t feel like spending hundreds on real running shoes. My wife tells me that my feet look like Fred Flintstone feet. She’s a riot. I consulted with a friend who runs marathons who told me about the “Couch to 5K” program. Perfect. Just what I needed. If only the couch had wheels.
WEEK 1 – I walk carefully over to the local park and stretch for a few minutes and start running. The “Couch to 5k” program is simple. Three times a week, go running. Start with running for 60 seconds, walking for 90. Repeat for a total of 20 minutes. Warm up and cool down walks on either end. Simple. Thought my lungs were going to explode and my shins and feet disintegrate from the abuse. Can fat get sore after a workout? Yes it can. Considered taking the boy to the mall, buying him an Orange Julius and an Aunt Annie’s Pretzel and leaving him there.
WEEK 2 – Run for 90, walk for 90. Starting to get into it and liking it, sort of. Feels good to brush the chip crumbs off my chest and get off of the couch. Try to start eating better. Not being too successful with that.
WEEKS 3 & 4 – Really getting into it now. Running 3 – 4 days a week, alternating between the treadmill and outside. Pushing myself to run more than the program says. My already-bloated ego tells me that I’ll be doing the Ironman by August.
WEEK 5 – Went on vacation to Myrtle Beach with the brood and brought my running shoes. They never left the suitcase. Ate everything in sight and drank A LOT of BEER. Decided that being a fat sloth was more fun.
It was at this point that my training took a turn. I was inconsistent at best. Some weeks I ran three times, other weeks I skipped altogether. However, I did start running longer distances on the treadmill. Did two miles in 23 minutes on a Wednesday in May and then ran 5K (3.1 miles) on the treadmill on Friday in 33:30. Was very proud of myself. Considered me to be done with training and was ready for the 5K, even though it was still a month away and I had never actually run the thing outside. So that weekend I decided to try to run the course. Not good. Really thought I was going to puke at the 1.5 mile point. Stopped and stole a bike off someone’s lawn and rode it home. By the way, my 4 year old, loves her new Barbie Island Princess bike with the training wheels.
Fast forward to the week before the race. I’m running like a fool on the treadmill, hoping for the best but expecting to embarrass myself and my kids on Sunday. The day before, I go to bed early, try to deny my wife nookie to “save my strength” but once she sets her mind on something, there’s no stopping her. I reluctantly give in, quoting lines from Raging Bull about “Not before a fight, Vickie” but she doesn’t get the joke. I wake up early the next morning to pouring rain. I figure that the run is off but I wander over to the park anyway and there they are, all set up. I register, get my number and try to look like I belong there. It felt like high school again. “Hey, look at the fat band geek trying to hang with us cool people!” I guess it would have been better if I didn’t fall into a puddle while stretching my quads.
So we line up for the race in what the lead race official calls “heavy fog” and the gun fires. I start running faster than I should but I felt good. Two seconds later, as I’m being passed by, well, everyone, my ego kicks in and tells me to stop being a pussy and pick up the pace. I spot my goal, a fat woman in pink spandex. I catch up to her and pass her. About five minutes into the run, I realize that my pace is way too fast and I’m going to die if I don’t slow down. SO I slow and get my pace to where it should be. Two minutes after that, Pink Spandex passes me. I feel ashamed but resign myself to the fact that I’ll probably be pacing with this woman. Her ass looks like chewed gum. I’m surprised that her thighs didn’t catch fire. She’s breathing like she has asthma but then again, so am I. Yes, I’m angry and taking it out on her. She probably has a glandular problem. Anyway, things are going fairly well even though I’m soaked to the bone. The race goes right past my house and as I turn the corner, I see all my kids and wife on the lawn cheering me on. On the house they had big signs “GO DAD!!” and “OUR DAD ROCKS”. I was hoping for a “BJ AFTER THE RACE” sign, but the wife must have forgotten to hang it up. Seeing the kids excitedly cheering me on brought a tear to my eye and made me realize why I was doing this. And then the faggoty trainer who was running with bubblegum ass in front of me turned around and ran backwards and said “AWWWWWWW!” Screw you Fruity McGee, pay attention to the Jabba the Hutt-ish looking Teletubby that you’re torturing and stop trying to check out my soaking wet crotch. I digress.
The rest of the run goes smoothly, except when I spilled water all over me at mile two. How the hell do you drink from a cup while running? Didn’t matter, I was soaked anyway. I had a nice rash on my corpulent thighs from the rubbing. I crossed the finish line at 33:42 and didn’t have to stop once to catch my breath. Not bad considering I hadn’t run the 5K outside before. I considered having a Rocky moment, “Yo, Adrian, I did it!” but was too tired. All in all it was fun and I’m glad I didn’t quit. Hope to do another one before the summer is over. I’ll let y’all know how that goes.