I suppose I should fess up about the whole couch-to-5k thing.
I’m not doing it because I’m some kind of martyr or better than anyone else. In fact, I am doing it because I am not as good as everyone else.
I’ve never really been in particularly good shape…at least not since I gave up playing outside and riding my bike around my 6th grade boyfriend’s block just hoping he would come outside and “bump” into me. (If you “bump” into Dave tell him I said, “Hi.”)
In high school, we had to do the Presidential Fitness Test each year and Run The Mile. I was more likely to win the Presidential Academic Fitness Award than any physical fitness anything. I only ran a mile all the way through once without walking and that was after a 6-week track unit in gym class junior year. My time was like 12 minutes. This last Sunday, I ran an entire mile without walking (according to my GPS) in 12:30. My first mile in 18 years. And then I walked for one minute and subsequently ran another ¾ mile.
There are a lot of things going on, and I will list them in fancy numbered points for you.
1. I have weaned, but I still like to eat. To keep from turning from the milk cow into just a plain old cow, I need to do something to burn off the Breyer’s Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. I mean, it’s not like I am going to give up ice cream. Ergo, I have taken up running.
2. I don’t want to die, and I hear that cardiovascular exercise is good for you. I do not generally speaking do exercise. I wouldn’t say I’m sedentary, but well, butt.
3. I want to be a good role model to my kids, so I want them to see me being active, which is why I take them with me when I run (sometimes). I want them to see an adult exercising and having “fun” so that someday they will take up exercise or just stay active as they get older.
4. I want to be a good role model to my kids. I am not naturally good at athletics. I’m good at Sudoku. I’m good at math. I like puzzles and trivia. I don’t like sweat. But, I am running. And a little more each day, and with practice, I might get good at it. Chuckles has a bit of a perfectionist thing going on. He won’t do handwriting practice because his letters aren’t perfect. I am trying to teach Practice Makes Perfect by example (and directly stating it because sometimes kids are dense).
5. I want to be a good role model for my kids, and I am fitting this exercise (small time commitment, really…1.5 hours per week) into my already-full life. I guess I am making it a priority and getting it done.
6. My 35th birthday is fast-approaching, and I always told myself that I was young and didn’t need to worry. I would be fit when I needed to be like when I wanted to start a family or when I wasn’t pregnant or when I was done nursing or done having kids or when I was older and it was more important. Well, I guess, that time is now.
The couch-to-5k plan has been very forgiving. You’re supposed to run 3x per week for about a half hour each time (really more like 25 minutes in the beginning back when I was timing myself with a Shrek watch because it was the only thing I had with a digital second hand). I routinely take 8 days to get my 3 runs in, and that’s OK. It’s still working. I’m seeing improvement.
In the beginning, you’re only running for 60 seconds at a time. And by the 55-second mark, my lungs were begging me to STOP. They were on fire. They felt like I was running through a forest fire inhaling burning, acrid smoke. STOP already. My legs were like, “meh”. But here I am in week 5 or 6 and my lungs are A-OK and fine. But my muscles have gone all “WTF?” on me. My legs and hips would like it if I would just stop and stretch them for a minute now. They beg me to STOP and s-t-r-e-t-c-h, but I just keep going. Sometimes Chuckles can’t keep up and begs me to STOP, and for him, I will run in place until he catches up.
Last night, the PLAN told me to run 20 minutes non-stop or two miles. Now, I know from my mile time that 20 minutes is not equal to 2 miles. 2 miles would be more like 25 minutes or more. So, which do I do? Do I run for 20 minutes straight or do I go for the two miles? I went for the two miles and it took 29:00. Which is pretty slow, but I did it. I ran (jogged, really) the entire two miles without stopping to walk. I’m ridiculously proud because I am doing something I am not very good at, practicing, working hard, and getting better.
So, that’s what I’m doing….slowly.