Running, For Fun and Hate

I am no fan of running.

This is perhaps being too kind. I hate running. Abhor it. Detest it. When I was in the Army, I grew to hate running even more because I was forced to wake at 4:30 each morning and go for what seemed like endless runs around Fort Sam Houston and then Fort Hood and then Iraq.

Have you ever tried running in Iraq? It is likely you have not. Let me tell you, friend, that running in Iraq, with the sand and the constant fear of mortar shells landing somewhere in your vicinity, well, that is no fun at all.

Mostly, I hate it because I am by nature not very good at things that require endurance. And before you make those kinds of jokes, let’s just agree to move on and pretend I never wrote that first sentence. What I am saying is that I am not great at things that require effort in the cardiovascular sense. Running. Biking. Rowing. I can do all of these things, but you know that point where you reach the wall and you get tired? Athletes push right through that wall. Me? I turn around and go home and eat a snack.

But here’s the thing: for over three months now, I have eaten cleaner than I ever have, in the history of my life. I make 95% of my meals at home, and these meals consist of meat and vegetables and sometimes fruit. I do not eat fast food and I do not drink sodas. I actually tried my old favorite flavor of Gatorade (lime cucumber, ftw) a few weeks ago and it tasted like sugar poison.

I go to the gym a couple of days a week, and I do Crossfit 2-3 times per week. I am healthier than I’ve ever been, save for those few months right after Basic Training when I was 156 pounds and could do 105 pushups in two minutes.  When I moved to Las Vegas in November, I weighed 227 pounds. As of this morning, I am 203 pounds. I have dropped anywhere from 5-7% bodyfat, depending on how much of an asshole my scale decides to be when I step on it.

That is all well and good, and I am proud of myself. But I’m nowhere close to my goal, and I’ve realized that I’ll need an extra helping of cardiovascular exercise in order to reach that goal. And I’ve decided that the cardio exercise I’ll be adding to my daily routine is running.

I’m adding it because I hate it. I’m adding it because I see it as a mountain to conquer, and I’m feeling pretty frisky lately when it comes to conquering personal mountains. I’m adding it because if I can force myself to push through a sprint when all I want is a couple of those delicious Loco Tacos from Taco Bell, well, I figure I can push myself to do just about anything.

20140217-085352.jpgThis was day one.

I am using the Running for Weight Loss Pro iOS app, which is thoroughly awesome. It is a High Intensity Interval Training program, which means it’s a mixture of walking and sprinting. Walk for two minutes. Sprint for 60 seconds. Walk for two minutes. Sprint for 90 seconds. Etc.

Day one sucked. I’m sitting in bed this morning and my leg hurts. I realized I need new running shoes because my Crossfit shoes aren’t really designed for running. They work as running shoes, but they are not specifically great for running. They’re great for squats, though.

But the point of all this: I made it through day one, and I’m excited to get back out there and do day two. The app tells me that, by the time it is done with me, I’ll be able to comfortably run a 10k. I don’t know if I believe the app, because it is an app and apps do not yet have actual intelligence. But, okay. I’ll give it a shot.

Update: I bought a pair of Merrell Road Glove 3’s with Vibram soles. They’re minimalist, barefoot-style shoes, but without the dumb toes that look dumb. I’ll give them their first official test later tonight, but from wearing them around the house this afternoon I can say they are very comfortable. I look forward to seeing how they handle the rigors of my awful running style.