The dangerous, well intentioned lies we tell…

Disclaimer: my fitness history can be described by this: I played sports in high school, was a “workout bro” as a young man (best 10K was 39:50 (at 195 lb. body weight), best bench was 310, (at 230 lb.). then ballooned to 320 lbs in my early 30’s, lost it and became an “old workout bro” as an older guy…got back to 41:30 for 10k and 225+ in my late 30’ 56-57 min for the 10K, 200 lb. for the bench at a body weight of 188.

That is, I know what is like to be very fat and to try to work out as a very fat person. My waist was up to size 52, I could not do a single pull up and it took me 36 minutes to walk 2 miles (3.2 km) when I was walking as hard as I could.

Yes, I kept working out anyway (and yes, got some “fat-ass” cat-calls). I didn’t like it but it didn’t stop me.

So, I approve of fat people working out and there is nothing wrong with a company making workout clothes for the obese.

And there is nothing wrong with giving obese people honest, heart-felt encouragement.

But I will NOT lie.

And so, we have this post:

Yet the new Nike mannequin is not size 12, which is healthy, or even 16 – a hefty weight, yes, but not one to kill a woman. She is immense, gargantuan, vast. She heaves with fat. She is, in every measure, obese, and she is not readying herself for a run in her shiny Nike gear. She cannot run. She is, more likely, pre-diabetic and on her way to a hip replacement. […]

The fat-acceptance movement, which says that any weight is healthy if it is yours, is no friend to women, even if it does seem to have found a friend in Nike. It may, instead, kill them, and that is rather worse than feeling sad. Fat-acceptance is an artifice of denial – they are fat because they do not accept themselves – and a typically modern solution to a problem, if you are a narcissist. It says: there is no problem. Or if there is, it’s yours, not mine. As soothing as that may be to hear, your organs and your skeleton will not agree. […]

The facts are obvious. Stay that weight and you will be an old woman in your 50s. The obese Nike athlete is just another lie.

I agree.

Yes, being obese shouldn’t stop you from trying and shame on those who lampoon obese people who try to work out. But that is just the start of the journey…not the end or even halfway.

OF COURSE, the article I linked to lead to cries of …FAT PHOBIA.


Note: she “ran” 6:04 as someone in the 18-39 age group (according to the London Marathon “search results” application). That might be ok for someone in their late 50’s early 60’s (yes, I walked a 6:14 last fall..100 percent walking) but hardly running…and wait until she reaches her 50’s.

Yes, yes, much better than staying on the couch but it hardly rebuts the original post.

I see it this way. Consider a marathon. You need to get to mile 5 before you get to mile 15, and 15 before you get to 21, and 21 before you get to the 26.2 finish. There is no denying that. And yes, it is fine to say “good job” at mile 5, but it is wrong, wrong, wrong to act as if they have arrived when they got to that point.

And obesity can harm one’s health, degrade one’s quality of life and, yes, kill. I’ve had two friends, a relative and a favorite professor die at least indirectly because of it.

Pre-race reflection

There is this little 2 mile course I do when I am doing my “last warm up run” before a race that I am aiming for. For Peoria people: jog down Cooper St. past Bradley Ave. to Moss, turn left on Moss and run to MacArthur and then retrace my route. It is about 2.05 miles.

Way back in 1983-1984, it took me 24-25 minutes to do this course; I weighed 230-240 lb. and it was an effort. I huffed and puffed…but that was better than the 36 minutes it used to take me to walk 2 miles when I was 320 lb.

Anyway, this little warm up workout reminds me of where I came from, and no matter how poorly tomorrow goes, I cannot forget my progress. Of course, I have no intention of having a poor race. 🙂

It looks as if the weather will be good for it, and so I have no excuses. (half marathon: C goal is sub 2:20, B goal is sub 2:15 and A goal is sub 2:10…my real goal is to run the whole way and finish with a bit of dignity. Key is to keep the pace easy for the first 5 miles).

And all of this reminds me of a couple of 23:xx 5Ks I ran. Back in 1985, I was a first year graduate student at the University of Texas. I lifted weights regularly and had worked up to a bench press of 310 lb. at 230 lbs. I still ran 2-4 miles fairly regularly. I noticed there was a 5K race on the campus of St. Edwards University and that it finished in plenty of time for me to make the Texas Longhorns football game that day. So I entered and ran it in 23:00 (I recorded my time). Little did I know that this was to be my last running race for about 11 years.

In between: I was able to get my Ph. D, get a job, and gain about 90 lbs, and subsequently lose to about 185 in 1996. By then I was doing those little 2-3 mile runs and I decided to enter an on-campus 5K to test my fitness. It took me 23:15 to do and I finished “sort of in the pack” of mostly students. Yes, I wore high top basketball shoes!

When I walked home after the race..I …cried. Really. I was FINALLY “back home”, so to speak..and I’ve been doing races regularly every since. Since then I worked my way down to the high 19’s for the 5K, to a 3:38 marathon (and yes, a 1:34 half), a 100 mile walk (23:40) and then have declined…badly. Now, a sub 28 5K counts as “good” for me. Whatchagonnado???

Anyway, time to dig out my long distance race stuff (electrolyte tablets, clothes and socks I want to wear, etc.) as I haven’t done a long race since October 2018.

workout notes: easy 2 mile jog, 1 mile walk, stretching…knee stretching.

Too much nostalgia for the past

Workout notes: not much today; I slept in due to last night’s Chiefs game (a 5-2 win)
Track: 4 miles: 40:58: 10:50, 10:17, 10:02, 9:47 (lane 2, BU track) then 35 minutes of yoga.

Yoga: I can’t get into headstand with straight legs; that is something to work on. Forget arm pressure pose for now. Crow: too low; need to work on rounding the back and getting the butt higher.

And so..I am doing a mini taper for an upcoming half-marathon; the weather is supposed to be good for it. excuses. My personal formula of “half marathon time = 5K time times 4.6” projects 2:06 are thereabouts. We shall see. I’d be delighted with sub 2:10 and reasonably happy with 2:15 or faster.

So, my nostalgia:

No matter how poorly I do (or how well), I won’t set a PB and I probably won’t set a PW. I was searching through old photos and here I am, starting in 1982, and going through 2018; each photo is 9 years apart.
My weights: 195, 320, 188, 188,195 My times to do, say, a 2 mile (3.2 km): 12:00, 36:00, 13:00, 15:20, 17:30. This is about 19, 55, 20:30, 24:00, 27:40 for the 5K respectively.

If there is a moral here: yes, things can improve. And they can go downhill VERY quickly. I went from someone who ran a sub 40 minute 10K (in the red) to someone who couldn’t jog ONE LAP around a standard track. That was humiliating. But then I worked myself back to a 41:30 10K…and that gradually increased to, well…let’s say that sub 1 hour is hard for me now.