I'm so happy with myself today. Why? Well, simply because after months of preparation I finally finished my first 10km running race!

It all started when my former team leader at work gave me a copy of Jogging International, a French-language magazine on running, early last year. It was a special edition on marathons, with various articles from training programs to diet and foot injuries. I don't know why exactly, but it spurred my interest in running. I actually had tried to run before that but holding that magazine in my hand made me more determined to really finish a marathon.

However, by summer (around June 2010) I realized that I was too heavy. A very slow run or even a brisk walk was enough to raise my heart rate to very high levels. So I started looking around for ways to lose weight.

An online friend introduced me to the P90X training program. This program was extremely difficult for me and it took me weeks to finally decide to commit to this program. I had to try some of the exercises, just to get a taste of it. After a session of the cardio routines (and watching a lot of testimonials on YouTube) I decided that I will do it.

I started doing classic P90X exercises in mid-September 2010, weighing in at 94kg. For the next two months, I religiously did the exercises, devoting at least an hour every night. I bought a pull-up bar, a heart rate monitor, a yoga mat, and a set of weights. The beauty of P90X is that you can easily do it at home.

The best part of P90X for me, however, was the diet. I followed the "portion approach" of the P90X diet. The fact that the first month of P90X required a protein-centric diet suits me just fine -- I love eating meat! Also, I like that I didn't have to go hungry just to lose weight. A grumbling stomach doesn't bode well for me in any case.

After 9 weeks of P90X (mid-November 2010), and losing 12kg of weight, I slowly shifted back to running. This was intentional because I was scheduled to go for a month-long vacation in the Philippines by December 2010. I didn't want to abruptly stop doing P90X, so I started skipping it on some nights and went running instead.

During my 5-week vacation in Manila, I wasn't able to do much sports. But surprisingly, I still managed to lose 2kg more. It must be due to the regular eating schedule that we had (my kids need to eat at regular intervals).

I resumed running upon my return from vacation. But then, I started having problems with my right foot. On January 24, 2011 I felt something ticked on my right foot, somewhere inside my heel, just as I was leaving my office. I suspected that it was due to the stress of running the day before that. But, I thought it was something that was gonna go away by itself.

Unfortunately, it didn't go away. I finally went to see my doctor on February 2, 2011. Ironically, it was an appointment that I set weeks earlier to get a medical certificate that will allow me to run in a race. You see I was already planning to run in the 10km race in Cannes (Le Semi de Cannes) on the 20th of February. So, obviously, I was disappointed that I couldn't go. The doctor gave me an anti-inflammatory drug and it gave me some relief. However, walking a few hundred meters was enough to trigger a bit of sharp pain just above the heel. For some twisted logic, I didn't go to a podiatrist or a sports doctor and simply limped along for the next few weeks. By early March 2011, however, my foot seems to have recovered.

If there was a good thing with my foot injury, it's that it forced me to change my style of running. I used to run with my heels hitting the ground first before my toes. In order to avoid feeling any pain with my right heel, I deliberately changed my step and forced my toe to hit the ground first. It's a bit difficult at first, but I already had previous experience with this thanks to the plyometric exercises in P90X where you have to jump and land on the floor with your only your toes hitting the ground. Also, my new pair of running shoes, Adidas Marathon 10, which I bought at half-price just before I got injured, easily allows me to run this way.

So, with my new style of running, I started monitoring my progress. I found RunKeeper which runs on my Android phone. At first, I ran a bit slower because I used to associate a toe-first step with slower jogging. But I kept at it, thinking that it's just like doing P90X Plyometrics. Soon enough, I was able to do sprints without hitting my heels on the ground.

And today, I was able to finally run 10km at a race: the 20th Semi-Marathon International de Nice! Official time: 01:03:00.69. This is also my best long-distance speed ever, faster than in any of my training runs. So I'm very, very pleased with myself today.

Next goal, a 21km race!


Brian Kopleck said…
Hi Allister,

Congrats on the 10k! I'm working with HealthRally, a new software company focused on health motivation. I found you via your tweets, so I'm assuming you are health-oriented, tech savvy and like to try new things. We'd like you to try HealthRally and give us feedback before we bring it to the public. is a private social network where you choose a health goal like losing weight or running a 21K, pick a reward that could motivate you, and then invite your close friends and family to cheer you on and motivate you to succeed with pledges toward your reward.

It's a new approach, and we are seeing our first group of users achieve their goals and have a bunch of fun in the process.

Can I send you a link to try it out?

Just send me a note at


Brian Kopleck
Community Outreach
Following the proper training program helps you achieve your goals.

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