Monday, January 31, 2011

From Zero to 5K in 14 Days

So I have decided to taken up running even though it goes against every fiber of my leg muscles. It could just be another section in the lifelong cycle of get fit, slowly stop exercising and end up as couch potato, but I am really hoping it is not. My last go round with pushing myself to my limits resulted in a nagging back injury that made me miserable for several months. In an effort to heal it I rested--too much! Although the injury has not completely gone away, it has been reduced to a tolerable ache that I have finally accepted as being my new normal for the rest of my life.

I seem to be surrounded by runners. Many friends are not just running but finishing half-marathons. Initially I thought you would never see me doing anything so ridiculous as punishing my body on long, painful, boring training runs yet with each run I do I desire to go further, faster and be better than I was the day before. A friend was encouraging me to run with her and to even sign up for an actual 5K which just seemed too extreme yet after meditating on it for awhile it didn't seem so out of reach anymore. Maybe I could be a runner and actually finish a race...

Once I decided to lay down my excuses it was time to hit the road. Sure my back hurt, and I will always be anemic so my heart has to beat faster than most to get oxygen to my iron-deficient blood cells, but I decided those things would not have power over me anymore and it just meant I had to be more determined and focused. With this new found inspiration, I decided to take a run the next morning. I'd been hearing about the Couch to 5K plan and that sounded like my speed so I printed it out to see what my first workout would be. It only called for two minutes of actual running which just wasn't enough. Perhaps I wasn't "couch" after all! I was so enthusiastic after being able to run for a full mile that I registered not for the March race, but rather one that was two weeks away on February 5. I knew if I didn't make that kind of commitment, I would be in danger of giving up once things got a little hard. With my payment submitted the pressure was on. I wasn't expecting to run the full 5K and just hoped to finish. After I ran for a few more days I decided that just finishing wasn't enough. I wanted to run the whole thing and finish in as close to 30 minutes as I could get. As incredible as it seems(at least to me), I have found that I can run the full distance of a 5K during training runs, but not too much more than that.

In just 5 more days I will know exactly what I am made of and I cannot wait to cross a finish line for the first time and see my family cheering me on when I get there. My oldest son will be running the race too, however he is so much faster than me that he will be able to finish, grab a bite to eat, change into clean clothes and be back in time to film me as I triumphantly complete my first race and undo a lifetime of negative thoughts and feelings towards running and my own athletic ability in general.

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