Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Obese Girl's Journey to the Chocolate 5K: Week 0

The Chocolate 5K. Doesn't that even just sound like a good idea?

(Click the image to learn more.)

But, wait. It gets better.

The Chocolate 5K benefits Crayons to Computers, a free store for teachers in the greater Cincinnati area that impacts 110,000 students each year.

How could I tell Resident Motivator Rachel (whose newest tactic that I love is using Twitter shout outs to get my butt in gear) that I would not partake in this awesomeness?

I couldn't bring myself to do it. And so the Obese Girl's Journey to the Chocolate 5K was born.

I have compiled a few tips for those who, like me, are non-runners (perhaps the terms "anti-runner" or "avid walker" would better describe my running experience) and set seemingly impossible goals like running a 5K in roughly two and a half months. Each Sunday evening I will update you on the lessons I've learned the hard way so that you don't have to.

I call this update "Week 0" because I am barely getting started. Joy. :-)

I've divided my tips into the most important categories (to me; it's my list) for getting the journey off on the right foot.

1. Clothing: Work out at home or have no shame. If you are able to train in privacy, do it. You are going to get hot. Like, around the ten-minute-mark you'll be tossing your shirt on the floor.
See? Told ya. 
If you're cool with that happening at the gym, be my guest. Me? Not so much. Maybe when I'm an "after" photo, but not right now. 

Also, wear real running shoes. I used to silently scoff at people who thought one athletic shoe was preferable to another. Then I bought real running shoes, and I silently apologized. In my experience, they are lighter and have a better (I don't even have the technical vocabulary to write about this, I'm so out of shape) cushion-y feel to them. Like spring-y? Shock-absorb-y? IDK. They just feel good when your foot hits the ground, okay? 

I also sprung for the moisture-wicking socks. I'm not sure I'm serious enough yet for that to matter, but they were cute and if that's what it takes to get me running, so be it.

2. Breathing: When real runners tell you to focus on your breathing, do it. If you're clumsy like me, it gets a little complicated to focus on not falling off the treadmill and breathing a certain way at the same time. I'm assuming it will get easier. But, that whole "in through your nose and out through your mouth" thing is real. Know why? Because if you don't, not only will your lungs burn, but your throat will be dry, too. (That will happen shortly after you throw your shirt on the floor, around the 12-minute-mark.)  So focus on the breathing and not falling off the treadmill, and, like me, pray that someday soon you will just have the breathing to worry about.

3. Entertainment: As my friend advised me tonight, "Music music music." It helps. Full disclosure: I downloaded the 2011 Hits Workout in, oh...2011, the last time I promised I would get healthy, and it sounds corny, but it works for me (or so I'm discovering in 2014).  I need the fast tempo to keep me going. I also read that if you can watch TV while you train, it is helpful to designate a show that you can only watch while you're working out. There's a new season of Teen Mom soon (quit judging me) so that's probably going to be my show. When I have just been walking, I have also found success with reading on the treadmill, especially on an e-reader or other touchscreen device where I can just swipe instead of fooling with pages. 

4. Support: Create a network of people who will encourage you. If you don't have a Resident Motivator, use an online support community to share your progress and ask questions. Rachel asked me to send her a pic of the treadmill screen when I was finished tonight and that's one thing I remembered when I was tempted to quit. We are up to a team of six first-time 5K runners for the Chocolate 5K and we are helping keep each other motivated. That is key. 

5. Modify: Obviously, I'm no trainer. But, I'm obese, so there's some kind of real experience I'm speaking from when I say: If you can't do the entire workout, modify it. Something is better than nothing. 

I am using a Couch to 5K app (C25K for short if you've never heard of it) and I am embarrassed to say that I couldn't make it all the way through Week 1 Day 1 tonight. Remember, I'm the anti-runner. I have NEVER, even in my healthier pre-Bella days, even jogged on a treadmill until this evening. In the past, I would have thought, "Well, this is hard. I can't breathe. I quit." And then I would have deleted the app, gone upstairs, and eaten something. Tonight, I did the first 15 minutes of the routine to the letter, then walked at 3 mph for the last 15 minutes. It's better than what I did yesterday, which was nothing. 

6. Tech: Use cool websites and/or apps, like C25K, to plan your workouts and track your progress. There are tons of freebies. I spent quite a bit of time today browsing online and in the Play Store searching for the apps that fit my personal wellness goals. 

I know the Calorie Counter app by MyFitnessPal is popular with a lot of people. I'm not into counting calories, so I prefer Fooducate, which grades food choices, tracks multiple nutritional elements, and alerts you to the presence of GMOs, among other cool features; I consider it to be the best all-around nutritional app out there. I have also looked into the FitBit, but decided to wait for the technology to improve after reading some reviews online. Rachel has a pedometer built into a watch-like bracelet that she wears daily and she loves it. Look around, find what works for you, and use it. 

I think that's it. I do have to say that in addition to training for the 5K (and looking forward to the delicious chocolate, which will taste like sweet victory), I am trying to increase my water consumption, something that I have struggled with for a long time because I like coffee and I don't get really thirsty (except, apparently, when breathing through my mouth while jogging). I'm trying out this tactic that I saw on Pinterest, using these nifty water bottles the hubs picked up for me today at Kroger.
I think it may make more sense for me if I change my labels to class periods, but we will see tomorrow. :-)

And, for those of you playing along at home, here's the treadmill display pic I took for Rach. I think I will keep taking those, as another way to see my progress.

That's 1.6 miles in 30 minutes. And enough calories to burn off those 4 Candy Cane Hershey Kisses I ate while Adam put the treadmill together. Which was super adorable and looked like this:

What fitness goals do you have for 2014? And, more importantly, how could you use your journey to inspire others?

Live on.


  1. That is so cool! I use to have a friend and we would exercise together but we lived 5 hours apart. We got on our treadmills at the same time. It helped to keep me motivated. I hate that my treadmill broke. Also, I can't wait for Teen Mom to start!

    1. Awesome long-distance treadmilling! I love that! And I'm glad someone else in my age bracket is excited for Teen Mom! LOL