Couch to 5K

To the grim delight of my neighbors, I started jogging a few months ago.

Let’s get this out in the open. I am one of the Fat People. There is no sugar-coating it with euphemisms like chubby, portly, husky or stocky. No need to delve into the world of PC terms. I do not challenge gravity. I am not big-boned and I am not horizontally-enhanced.

I am one of the Fat People.

The Couch to 5K is one of several hundred running programs available on the Internet. It’s a staged program of specifically timed sessions that increase in difficulty, thus increasing your stamina. In 9 weeks Fat Person should go from the couch to running 5K in 30 minutes. I was skeptical, mostly because the last time I had run was for a tram and I was in high heels (it was a strange night, don’t judge). Furthermore, I have learned through several disappointing incidents not to trust things found on the Internet – so-called ‘size’ enhancers or ‘lifelike’ house companions.

As one of the Fat People, I had to choose an appropriate jogging route. There were two choices. The first was a designated running path along the river, and a 5 minute walk from my flat. The problem is, well, places such as these often attract people. Fit People. The judgmental Fit People. And I was not among them. So, I chose the other locale; a cemetery 3 minutes up the hill from my flat. Cemeteries attract few people in the early morning and my morbid sense of civic duty deduced that when I keeled over from a heart attack, the EMTs could just drag me into the cemetery, steal my mp3 player and pour me in a grave. I had it all worked out.

Three mornings a week I jogged in my private exile around the cemetery. However, in the back of my mind I knew that when the running intervals got longer I would have to join the Fit People along the river. It soon became evident how I was going to accomplish this goal.

Music and Anger.

The first couple weeks I could only focus on my own misery and begging. But in the third week a rude driver cut me off as I crossed the street to the cemetery and the residual fury gave me a bolt of adrenalin that worked as a steam engine to my sedentary caboose. Before I had settled down, my run was finished.

I went home, drank coffee and decided to continue the experiment.

The next time I ran, I actively focused on a fictional heated conversation with a colleague whose voice I detest – it’s like an owl being kicked to death by a mule. The time after that, I had a grand conversation with my upstairs, salsa-dancing neighbor. I physically acted out the conversations, threatening and muttering, pointing fingers and emoting facial expressions. The only side effect was that everyone who saw me running thought I was a maniac. Fortunately, at 7 am at a cemetery, those people were dead or drunk or maniacs or dead-drunk maniacs, so I fit right in.

Music was a necessary companion to my anger. Not angry music; no Rage Against the Machine or Cannibal Corpse. I have dramatized a blow out with my boss to Lionel Ritchie. I have decimated a lazy student to Paul Simon. I would simply visualize the person I wanted to lay into, set my pace to glacier and feel my heart rate rise dangerously.

I suppose it’s all about distraction and adrenalin.

In week 6, I went down the hill to jog on the river path for the first time.

While stretching, I sought my own kind – the Fat People. But there were none, I figured they were still stuck running around their cemeteries. I put on my Yo Yo Ma rage-jogging mix, locked into an aggressive conversation with my building manager and took off.

I must begrudgingly admit that I didn’t need the rage that morning. Not because of my enhanced physical condition, but it seemed that my body carried me on a wave of shock and disbelief that jogging remained a part of my morning routine.

Also, the Fit People are prettier than my cemetery maniacs; they have teeth, visible abs and grooming habits. Rather than frighten them with my rabid antics, I tried to smile through the pain and feign casual belonging. I thought about puppies.

Since then, I have been the sole ambassador of the Fat People among the Fit People of the river.

As ambassador, I’m going to suggest having a hot dog vendor along the path.

  1. #1 by greg on June 28, 2011 - 1:31 am

    good one damo

  2. #2 by Lee Adams on June 28, 2011 - 7:51 am

    I am doing the extended version of this program, couch to 5k and back to couch again.

  3. #3 by Damien on June 28, 2011 - 9:02 am

    You always were an overachiever.

  4. #4 by Gabrielle Luongo on June 28, 2011 - 2:31 pm

    I enjoyed every sentence. (Dan’s new wife, not that there are any old ones.)

  5. #5 by Emma on June 30, 2011 - 1:31 pm

    look, we’re going to have issues here. you really need to update more often. twice a day would be optimal. you are directly impacting my productivity, due to me fruitlessly checking again and again for new posts. resign the day job, it appears to be the only solution (for you, not me, I need my day job to get money to buy shiny, shiny things).

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