I ran a quarter mile today. I realize that I haven't set any endurance records, but considering that I weighed 323 pounds only four months ago, I can be proud of this. I've lost over 70 pounds from walking, but lately I've had the itch to start running again. I wave to the runners on my daily walk, and part my heart runs with them.
My body has gone through a remarkable change over the past few months. The most noticeable change is on the outside, as I continue to shrink, but I also feel a big change on the inside as my body adjusts to my increasing physical demands. When I began walking, I was weary and footsore after a 30-minute walk. My body soon adjusted, and I was able to increase the length of my daily walk. Today I walk 4 miles on weekdays and 8 miles on weekends.
The next logical step after walking is running. I'd like to dive right into running, but because I'm still heavy, I have to be careful. My legs and heart have been strengthened by taking long walks, but my joints and tendons aren't quite ready for long runs. Last week I began introducing a very short run into my daily walk. When I say a very short run, I'm talking about a whopping 100 feet. This is to prepare my joints for the added stress of running. The plan is to very, very gradually increase the length of my run. I'm not in a hurry. I'm not preparing for a race. There's no deadline. I'm feeling my way through this. I'm gradually increasing distance as my body adjusts.
Today I ran a quarter mile without discomfort. As a matter of fact, I wasn't breathing much harder than when I walk. I'll stick with a quarter mile for the next couple weeks, let my body adjust, and then add a little more. Assuming all goes well, I should be running regularly by November or December.
Back in my Air Force days, I was quite the runner…not world class by any means, but pretty fast. I trained for speed over medium distances and clocked some pretty decent times at local 5K and 10K runs. This time around, I'm not planning to train for speed. Those days are past. When I'm running again, it'll be purely for health and pleasure.
- Tom Godfrey
- Atlanta, GA, United States
- When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995 and have been music director at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011.