As this is my first post, I will take this chance to tell a little of my story (at least as it relates to my running and my new lifestyle).
The summer of 2004, I was interning full-time at the University of Texas - School of Health Information Sciences at the Health Science Center in Houston, Texas. I had been going to school full-time at the University of Houston-Downtown for about two and a half years, working toward a B.S. in Computer Science. I also worked full-time, put in about 10-15 hours per week volunteering with the Junior High ministry at my church and was endeavoring to raise 3 beautiful children...oh, yeah, and by the way, trying to be a supportive, loving husband to my wife of 12 wonderful years. Needless to say, both ends of the candle were lit!
With all my ambition and lofty goals, I failed for so many months and years to attend to one very important thing, my health. I decided around June to visit the doctor for a physical. When I received my lab results a few days later, doc informed my that my blood sugar was creeping up into the 'need to be concerned' range. I think it was something like 110 mg/dl (fasting). Oops, at this point, maybe I should mention something. I weiged 360 lbs. Another 10 or 15 lbs. and he said my sugar would be in the diabetic range.
Of course, I yo-yo'd with my weight for most of my adult life (well, after I got married) but I had never been this heavy. So, I decided I had to get this under control or die, plain and simple.
So, I started running. Well, not exactly, seeing as how I could only go 30-50 yards and be completely out of breath. I started reading online about beginning running and running programs and found a beginner's program on coolrunning.com called Couch-to-5k. I certainly had to repeat week one and a couple of other of the weeks but I progressed wee and soon found myself able to run 25 minutes continuously (not breaking any speed records, mind you). During these weeks, I tried to learn more about running and sought advice anywhere I could find it. Surfing brought me to the web site of The Houston Striders where I hooked up with a great, knowledgeable man, Steve Shepard, who graciously let me join the Strider's Yahoo group Stride4fun and introduced me to a little of the awesome running scene in Houston, Tx. He told me about a fantastic novice/intermediate running clinic here in houston called Power in Motion, affectionaately known as PIM. So, although a week late, I joined PIM. It was great. I met some really great people and fell in love with running.
Long story short, I ran my first 5K at the end of the PIM session and continued to build endurance and speed in the months following. By January, I had lost 60 lbs. and PR'd by 5 minutes at the Houston Press 5K, one of the races run during the Houston Marathon. I also ran my first XC race in February, the Buffalo Wallow 6K, put on by the Houston Harriers running club. That was a blast.
Well, it hasn't all been roses for me. I've battled since last summer (even before that, if I remember) with a chronic pain in the side of my foot and ankle. The good folks at Koala Health and Wellness Center, downtown, helped me through a lot of pain and kept me on the road for many weeks. However, the problem never got better, despite just about every conservative treatment available. At the suggestion of Dr. K, I went to see a podiatrist. The podiatrist tried orthotics, coritsone injections, and finally gave in and ordered an MRI. Another long story short, I had some cartilage that was crushed in my talus and a sliced peroneus brevis tendon and frayed peroneus longus tendon. The tendons were split by a bone spur that had developed on my ankle.
So, I havent' really run at all since the end of February, 2005. I have since had reconstructive surgery on my ankle and, according to the doctor, all is back to normal. Except for the fact that I can still barely walk. :) No, really, I've been off crutches now for about 6 weeks and have finally, just about a week ago, been able to start a short 20 minute jog/walk routine. I'm definitely back where I started almost exactly a year ago, today. Some more bad news...I've regretfullyl gained 28 of the 60 lbs. that I lost last year. This was due partly to sitting around with my bum kicker but also a little feeling sorry for myself and indulging in old, bad eating habits. It's ok. In the past 2 weeks, I've dropped about 3 lbs and am getting back into my old, new, healthy eating habits. I can't wait to really get back out and back in shape. Hope to see a lot old friends out there soon.