So, on this blog, I try not to focus so much on the day-to-day, but more on the big picture. I have an unwritten rule with myself that I don’t post about that Tuesday when I gained a pound and ate half a bag of chocolate chips (what? That’s totally never happened), and I tend not to post about what I ate for lunch or the amazing workout I had after that. And I certainly never post about my adorably mischievous dog/baby/lemur–mostly because I don’t have any of those things, but even if I did, I wouldn’t post about it. Because it’s obnoxious. And no one cares.
But I’m breaking that rule today because, my friends, I think I’ve officially became a runner. Get that skeptical look off your face so we can proceed. Thank you.
If you’ve been reading the blog for any length of time, you know that I’ve been half-heartedly trying to start running. I’ve always wanted to be one of those people just chugging along down the street like it ain’t no thang. Running seems to be both the very most basic fitness activity, and the greatest sign of health, endurance, and the ability to push yourself to new heights of awesomeness. Plus, the runners in my neighborhood are usually totally ripped and hot. Marry me?
I started the Couch-to-5K program day one of my Manda Kay Makes It journey, and I’ve done it sporadically since. It’s been a struggle–everything bounces and jiggles, I’m slow, uncomfortable, and have no endurance, my fear of the treadmill is still very real, and I really haven’t seen progress. I’ve always prided myself on being pretty athletically gifted–sports was all I did growing up–but running has provided a pretty shocking look at how truly out of shape I am. I thought by now that I would have a few 5K’s under my belt, and I could start looking at longer distance races, obstacle races, and, eventually, I’d be doing the triathlon I so badly want to do. In reality, I’ve been lucky to make it three minutes without wheezing and slowing down to walk.
Well, that has all changed now, because I am officially training for my first 5K! It’s the Women Run the Cities race (yeah we do) and it’s going down September 23 (two days after my birthday–what what!). So if any of my fellow Twin Citians happen to be out and about that day and see a rather large lady with an inadvertent bitch face on (see below), huffing and puffing along the mighty Mississippi–well, that’s probably me. You should say hi and cheer for me. Then go get me a water and a lawn chair.
The point of this horribly long-winded post is that this past week, I started training for said 5K. I loaded week 3 of C25K on the iPod, mapped out a little less than 3.1 miles on my favorite, slightly hilly, secluded river trail, and got to work. Let me just say, for the record (and to make myself sound more badass), it was sunny, horribly humid and 86°. And I was so not feeling it.
I moved slowly through the thirty minute program, concentrating on my breathing, my legs only slightly feeling like I was dragging the carcass of Bigfoot. When I finished, I had a ways to go to get back to my car, so I thought, “ok, I’m not completely dead, let’s run a bit more. Make it that tree and we’ll be done.” Guys, I don’t know what happened, but after awhile, I realized that I had long passed that tree. My mind had kind of spaced out and I was lost in the music (thank you, Ke$ha). Then, four minutes in, I decided, “well, why don’t you just keep going all the way to the car?”
Every other time I’ve run, I’ve only been able to focus on how out of breath I am, how slow I’m moving, how embarrassing it will be to run an actual race and come in dead last. I’ll be the girl crossing the finish line as night falls and the clean-up crew is sweeping the street. That’s the image on a constant loop in my mind while running.
But for whatever reason, I was able to completely zone out. My breathing was even, I wasn’t struggling. Both Ke$ha and I were feelin’ like P. Diddy. But of course, as soon as I realized how out of breath I wasn’t and how well I was doing, I immediately snapped back to my usual nagging running thoughts: “holy shit, I might literally die. What if I pass out? How embarrassing! Can a heart explode? What if mine does? I wonder if that guy would give me a piggy back ride the rest of the way?”
Just as I was about to slow my roll to walk, My new and improved inner voice cut through the bullshit and said, “keep going. Shut up and show a little character.” I sprinted the last few feet to my car.
I had just run for over eight minutes–the longest I’ve purposely run since high school. I ran at what I thought was a decent clip for 8 whole minutes after doing my usual training program. I know I have a ways to go, and say what you will, but I am crazy proud and it’s given me a little bit of confidence that running a 5K in six very short weeks might not be the craziest idea. Maybe I can do it. Scratch that–I know I can do it.
Have you run a 5K (or longer) race? What goals did you set for yourself during that race?