Steps

Have I mentioned that I’m not a runner? I’m not and I never have been. I was always the slow kid running the mile in gym class. I have never attempted to be a runner. I can walk a 5K. I can stay on the elliptical machine for an hour or more. I can bike. I am not a runner.

Except, I’m trying to be a runner.

Inspired by so many fantastic online friends and real life friends (like Ginny who ran the Boston Marathon in four hours last week), I decided to attempt the Couch To 5K program. There’s an app you can download for your smartphone and there’s a “Get Running” podcast you can download as well.

I started three weeks ago and I’m in the middle of week 2, so you can see how it’s going.

I’m honestly not a runner. I’m also carrying too many extra pounds and wondered if it would even be okay for me to attempt running. I’ve mentioned before that I’m stuck at this horrible weight plateau that nothing seems to be able to defeat, and after being advised by several friends (and even my doctor at my last visit), I decided that running might just be the thing to knock me off that plateau. I’ve dabbled in it some before this, but nothing structured like this program and nothing that I had to commit to.

Week one was hard. I know there are some of you who wonder what’s wrong with me that I can’t run 9 minutes (spread out over 20 minutes), but for the love of Pete, it was tough. It was also hard on my ego–I thought I was in pretty good shape. I mean, I get my heart rate well into target on the elliptical machine and I work out several times a week. But running on real surfaces, actually having to propel my body forward? Hard. So hard.

Plus, I have shin splints. Which are painful and I can’t seem to figure out how to not get them or how to make them any better when I do get them (which is every time I run or walk at more than a leisurely pace).

I struggled through week one. I got to day three (there are three workouts each week for nine weeks) and I worried. I asked a friend who knows about such things what she thought I should do. Do I move on to week two or do week one again. She suggested doing week one again and getting my body conditioned to the new things I was expecting it to do .

So I did week one again. The first two days were easier the second time through.

On Good Friday morning, I took Sam to the vet. Things do not go well when I take Sam to the vet, because he has a lot of issues. In trying to get him to move from point A to point B (and not hurt his hips, which are getting worse every day), I pulled my lower back. I spent Good Friday and Holy Saturday in bed, trying to recover for Easter. I did not work out Friday or Saturday and I was frustrated because I missed my endorphins and I was getting behind on C25K.

Easter arrived and I was feeling well enough to make it through the day’s activities–church, Easter egg hunt, dinner with Jason’s family. It rained all day. On the way home from dinner, I said, “I really need to get a work out in.” The Y was closed. The rain was falling. “I think I’m going to run in the rain.” Everyone thought I was being silly, I know. But I really wanted to get the third workout in and just work out in general.

As I stuck my iPhone in an inner pocket of the rain jacket I put on (so I could hear the dings and prompts of the C25K app) and laced up my old sneakers (they were going to get soaked) I realized that I’ve turned a corner in my life. I had several perfectly acceptable excuses for not doing this–it’s a holiday, I’m still babying my back, it’s raining, the Y is closed…but I want to work out so much I’m going to run in my hilly neighborhood in the rain.

I set my phone to Week 1 Day 3 of C25K and headed out the door. During my first run interval, I hit a puddle that was impossible to avoid–so I splashed through it. Up hills, down hills, through rushing water in some places I ran and walked. I gave up on the hood and I got completely soaked from my toes to the top of my head. I prayed that the jacket was a water proof as it should be and that my phone was fine (it was and I made it!).

This week, I moved on to week 2. The first day was really hard. But this morning, I ran week 2 day 2 and I did it with hardly any struggling. I’ll do week 2 day 3 on Friday and maybe next week, I’ll even move on to week 3–OR I’ll do week 2 again if Friday doesn’t go well!

So, all this to say two things:

1. It’s fun to have something physically challenging me. I mean “fun” in the “sometimes it’s totally not fun at all and I’m afraid I might die” sense.

2. In November I’m going to run (not walk, like I usually do) the Turkey Trot 5K. (I have plenty of time, even for my slow training schedule, to get ready for this.)

So, that’s just kind of an update on how things are going with me and my quest for health!