I know this blog is mostly about running - well, the fitness parts of it anyway. I've dubbed it the Muddy Runner after all, not the Muddy Ellipticaller or the Muddy Biker.
But that doesn't mean I ran the weight off myself.
I little disclaimer: scary pic coming up!
When I went from the first picture to the second picture, I did so without running much.
That was me in early 2006, before I started my weight loss journey and fitness renaissance.
And this was me in September 2007, about 95 pounds lighter. I hadn't cracked the century mark by then.
In between those two pictures, I ran outside approximately zero times. Actually, I take that back. I ran a mile once, to time myself. That was humbling. It was March 2007 and I hadn't been exercising much in the days/weeks prior to that. I ran a mile around the track at the local high school to see how fast I could run it in. I ran a mile in a little over 10 minutes and was thoroughly exhausted, wiped out and dripping with sweat. It took me several hours to recover from that. But that helped me continue on my weight-loss journey, since it was around the time I really hit the gym hard and drove myself to get back to losing weight.
Anyway, from March 2006 to Sept./Oct. 2007, I barely ran outside, barely ran at all. When I first signed up for a trainer, I started from scratch. I was 308 pounds and had not done any steady exercise for, what?, a decade, maybe longer. I had to start slowly. I never ever imagined I'd like to run and would run a half-marathon by April 2009 or would want to train for a marathon... never. In fact, I was like many people and despised the thought of running. Miles were for driving, not running, right?
Well, I started from scratch and started doing work on the stationary bike. I moved on to the elliptical and then eventually the stair climber (which, incidentally I hate to this day, screw that thing). My trainer had me spend about a month or six weeks on each and I'd rotate around. He wanted me to get in 2-3 cardio sessions a week on that and that's what I did, to supplement our twice-weekly training sessions which I remember as utter hell. Now, they might be more enjoyable but then, the only thing that kept me going was the hope that it would make a difference somehow.
It did, of course, as I lost at least 10 pounds a month for the first four months or so and 60 from March to November 2006.
I stopped seeing a trainer around that time and didn't get started back into working out until February or March 2007, a little before my horrible and humbling mile experience. When I picked it up into high gear, I used the elliptical. A lot. I didn't keep track of heart rates or mileage or anything but the machine measured strides and I made it a goal to keep increasing my strides until I got a really challenging level. I think it was around 3200 strides for... I can't remember, 20 minutes, 30 minutes... not sure. I wish I would have written it down. I think it was 20 minutes because after a while I started throwing in 20-minute stupid stair master sessions. Did I mention how I still hate that thing? It left a mark on me apparently.
But it was effective. So was the elliptical. I never really got back on the bike because I really loved the elliptical and built my own cardio program around that. I also did weights and things like that, core. I don't do weights either anymore because that's just a notch below on The Things I Really Hate At The Gym list.
The elliptical and stair master helped get me from where I started to more than 100 pounds lost. Running came after that. Now, my trainer did stick me on the treadmill a few times and I remember dreading the thing, loathing it. I don't remember how much I ran but I think it was just 20 minutes worth and I think I ran it at a speed of around 5.0 or 5.3 or something, a pretty good clip for myself back then. I didn't spend much time on the treadmill though because I just stuck to the other machines.
But around October 2007 I started to branch out. I didn't get tired of the elliptical but I knew I needed a new challenge. I needed to increase my cardio level to get to the next step, which was to drop the last 10 pounds or so. I was just under 200 for a while, around 199-195 but I wouldn't really go much lower, so I figured running would help. The treadmill finally then did not seem to be as daunting as it had been, and slowly I started to run some intervals or 2-3 mile runs. I dropped 10 pounds like nothing, maybe within five or six weeks of hitting the treadmill hard. Next thing I know I signed up for the 2008 Mud Run, started training for that, realized I liked to run, signed up for my first-ever run, a 5K in June 2008, and my love of running grew from there.
I run now, pretty much exclusively. I get on the elliptical every now and then, for nostalgia. No, actually, I do want to mix things up more and use the elliptical more but I don't. I should but sometimes I opt for the bike if I do a post-run workout, and even then it's only 10-15 minutes. I got a bike, of course, and I intend on riding it more and getting more cardio in that way.
But running is my forte nowadays. I like it, enjoy the health benefits, enjoy races and training for them and love the places running has taken me.
I realize, though, that running is not for everyone. If I would have been presented with the task of running to lose weight back in 2006, I probably would not have gone through with it. Also, people have knee, muscle, feet, ankle, back... whatever... conditions that keep them from running.
While I see firsthand the benefits of running, I also know that there are other ways to get fit and stay fit. I saw that firsthand too.