In January 2001, I went to the doctor for a regular physical, and he told me I should lose weight (I weighed 202 pounds, which is too much for my 6'0" height) and get more exercise. I asked him what sort of diet I should go on, and he said "reduce fat, and reduce calories". I asked what kind of exercise, and he said "walk". I pried him with additional questions, but he refused to give more details. He would not suggest a number of calories, or how far or how long to walk. I found this very frustrating at the time, but maybe his approach was good, because it caused me to think carefully about my goals. I decided to log my food intake, and limit my calories to 2000 calories, including no more than 400 fat calories. And for exercise, I decided to walk uphill on my treadmill for 45 minutes every day. The result was that from mid-January to mid-May (4 months) I lost 35 pounds. I continued 45 minutes of walking just about every day for the next three years. Over these years, I gradually increased the incline of the treadmill to increase the intensity of the workout.
Finally, in June, 2004, I decided I should try running. Although I entered some 5k charity runs before then, I never really ran the whole way. On June 19, 2004, I ran the "Run against violence" 5k, and finished with a time of 30:11. Then, at my wife, Catherine's, suggestion, I entered the High Desert Runners summer cross-country series, and got my time down under 29 minutes for the three mile course. While I was there, Alan Brown announced that an 18-week Marathon training program would be held every Saturday to prepare for the Santa Clarita Marathon. I joined the training program with the idea that I would just do the training, but not actually run the marathon. But Alan fixed me with his steely gaze, and told me, "you will not do this training, and then not run the marathon!" I said sure, whatever, so I don't think Alan expected me to follow through. But I bowed to his pressure, and entered the Marathon, where I ran the first 20 miles, and walked the last six, completing it in 4:40.
High Desert Runners
Santa Clarita Marathon