Follow Me and My iPhone On Our C25K Journey

My running career hasn’t been a long one. I started running back in the summer of 2007 as part of an effort shed a few pounds. After a few runs I was hooked and made a promise to myself. I was 37 at the time, and I pledged that I’d run the NYC Marathon the year I turned 40; at the time I planned to make it my first marathon.

Anyone who knows me knows that when I start something I go all all in. I know only one speed. So it didn’t come a surprise to my friends or family when I ran my first marathon, the Flying Pig Marathon, in May of 2008, after only having starting running a short 8 months previous.

I finished with what I consider to be a very respectable marathon debut time of 3:47:21.

Instead of shedding a “few” I ended up loosing almost 60 pounds. Here’s a shot of me after I’d run my second marathon, the Philadelphia Marathon, in the fall of 2008.

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Now admittedly I looked too thin. Friends who hadn’t seen me in years would look at me with concern upon doing so for the first time. Some even came right out and said, “are you sick?” Which of course I wasn’t.

Oh by the way I also ran the NYC Marathon that fall too (2008) and set a personal best, at the time, of 3:45:50. Today my PR stands just under that at 3:44:21. So much for waiting until I was 40.

Since that first marathon I’ve run 11 others for a total of 12 full marathons in just three years, including a stretch where I ran 4 marathons in 4 months to raise money for firefighter safety. I ran my last, the Philadelphia Marathon, this past fall (November 2009). Since that last race my running has pretty much been non-existent and my weight has started to balloon because of it.

Here I am, much heavier, coming to the finish of the Outer Banks Marathon back in November 2009 (that’s me on the left with the white hat).

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My times have suffered too.  More weight equals more to carry out on the course, which translates into slower times.  I slowly went from being a sub 4 hour marathoner to a 4:30 marathoner.  Instead of getting better as a runner, I was getting worse.

So I’ve got a plan. I plan to start running again, from scratch. Yeah I could probably just head out to the pavement and start, but I’d be risking injury. Too many miles, too fast is a common mistake new runners make, and it almost always leads to an injury of some sort. Not to mention my fitness level is weakened, and I’m just not able to sustain the long miles I was able to years ago.

The plan is to use the über-popular “Couch to 5K” (C25K) program to get back into the game. This plan has been used by thousands of first time runners as well as runners like me who want to start again, to get into running shape safely.

I’ve downloaded the iPhone application C25K (link opens iTunes) from the App Store to assist me in my journey.  The app is available for $2.99.

The app is one of the App Store’s most popular beginner running plans, and it provides voice prompts, similar to the Nike+ system, so you don’t have to look at your stopwatch.  The C25K plan uses a mix of interval based running and walking to get you from the sofa to 3.1 miles of running in 9 weeks.

I’ll be posting here on Gear Diary every week, at the end of my training cycle about this journey.  Not only on how it’s going for me personally, but about the “gear” I’m using and the iPhone application too.  Hey, this is Gear Diary after all, and I imagine most of you aren’t interested in how my run felt but maybe you are interested in the stuff I’m using while running.  So look for tips and mini-reviews on shoes, watches, hydration, food and more.  I’ll be on Twitter too tweeting stuff about my daily workouts as well, so make sure you follow (link opens Twitter) me to stay on pace.

The goal of all this?

Surprisingly it’s not to loose a ton of weight again.  I’ve done that once and guess what?  I wasn’t happy.  What I want is to be happy with my running.  To get outside, get in better shape and just have FUN!  And if I drop a few pounds as a result, all the better.

It’ll all start this Monday, May 10th, so look for the first update post later that week.

Wish me luck because here I go…………………..