In junior high volleyball practice, we once had to run several laps around the gym. I remember this, because it was torture for me. I also remember complaining to a girl running next to me. Me: “Ugh, I thought this was volleyball, not track!” (What a clever 13-year-old I was!) Her: “I know! This is so easy!” (I still hate her.)
Two more memories stand out for me from college: running from the cops with my skateboard in hand (hand-painted, rarely used,) and running to catch a bus at one in the morning.
These experiences pretty much sum up my relationship with running. I was firmly in the “will-not-run-unless-being-forced” camp.
Fast forward many years (and a couple dozen pounds) to 2011 – I am the proud mama of a healthy baby boy, and thanks to the miracle of nature that is breastfeeding, I’m back down to my high school weight! I don’t want to squander my cheater’s diet (it sure wasn’t easy, but it was unintentional) so I decide it’s time to get into shape and keep the extra weight off.
I’ve never really been very sporty – I played softball as a kid and then a few years of volleyball, and marched in the band in high school if you can count that as physical activity. The idea of getting fit was daunting, and I didn’t really know where to start. I had the motivation, but no plan.
Then, on a forum I frequent, I came across something called Couch to 5k, or C25k for short. I identified immediately. (“Couch! It’s one of my favorite words!”) The plan consists of 3 workouts per week over the course of 9 weeks. Each workout is 20-30 minutes of walking and/or running, usually in intervals. Ok! I can do this! I went out and bought some fairly expensive running shoes (hey, if I spend a lot on them, I’ll have to use them, right?) and enlisted my sister-in-law to be my running partner.
It was difficult, and continues to be difficult – but doable. The great thing about this program is every step is just enough of an increase to feel it, but not so hard that you feel discouraged. Every time we finish a run, I feel pumped – and that is something I never thought I would say. Every time I can see the results, like being able to bike up a hill that gave me lots of trouble in the past, I feel great about what I’ve accomplished. It has spilled over into other parts of my life – I am more motivated to try difficult things (starting your own business, anyone?) because of the success I’ve had with C25k.
Sadly, I’ve yet to finish the program, even though I started months ago. When the weather got hot, we slacked, and now that it’s been cold and rainy, we’re slacking again. I’m using this blog post as the equivalent of the expensive shoes – if I post about it, now I have to go do it! Besides, after I’m done, maybe I’ll start taking my dog!