Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ain't nothing going to break my stride. Nobody's going to slow me down

In January I started the Couch to 5K running program, which takes non-runners (ME) and turns them into runners (ME NOW). It's broken into nine weeks, gradually increasing the amount of running until you're able to run 30 minutes -- without stopping.

The program initially appealed to me because it started off somewhat slowly. Running one minute at a time, off and on for 20 minutes seemed a lot more doable than simply hitting the road to see how far I could run on my own.

Before I ventured out for my first training session, I thought about potential obstacles and wondered how the heck I was going to be able to run and time myself at the same time. I'm a card-carrying member of the Klutz Klub, so I could just imagine running into a tree or tripping on a tiny crack in the sidewalk while trying to constantly eye the minutes on my watch.

Google is my friend, and when I searched for "Couch to 5K podcasts," I was happily surprised to see that my pal Nicole had created a set of podcasts just for Couch to 5K! Nicole and I bonded over our love of music a few years ago, and I knew her podcasts wouldn't let me down. I downloaded the podcasts and appreciated the Darth-Vader-meets-Cookie-Monster countdown of "5...4....3...2....1.....ZERO" between each walking/running interval. I knew a lot of the tracks she'd chosen and could appreciate some of the new ones I hadn't heard. I also like Suz's podcasts.

I'm almost done with Week 8, with four more runs until I've completed the entire program.

I can now run 28 minutes without a single stop. Seriously.

I have a course I like to run in my neighborhood, and I've done a few runs on the nearby beach path. I mapped my last run and calculated that I had run nearly 2.9 miles. Jigga what?!? I'm the girl who had to take that stupid "test" in high school PE over and over again because I couldn't run a mile under 10 minutes. My math on the above shows that I'm running at a little less than 10 minutes per mile.

While the program as it's designed definitely works, I wish I could say it were easy peasy. More than anything it's an exercise in mind over matter. And if I can do it, anyone can. The podcasts are a tremendous help, and I've found ways to keep my mind occupied when I think my body is telling me to quit. I admire the gorgeous houses in our neighborhood while I run and jokingly tell myself, "If you lose all the weight you're hoping to, you'll end up in a house like that some day." You know, 'cuz only skinny people get big, modern houses. I look forward to seeing the house with the HUGE Elvis shrine in the front window, complete with ceramic busts of him and shirts that say "Before Elvis, there was NOTHING." That's when I tell myself, "Those are the kinds of houses they give to non-active people."

When I feel like my body just can't take another step -- but I know it can -- I think about people who would kill to be able to run, like the woman I saw wheeling by in her electric wheelchair. And I think about how becoming more active lessens my risk factors for diseases like colon cancer, which run in my family.

I will say that it has taken me more than eight weeks to get where I am now. You're supposed to do three runs over a 7-day period, but there were some weeks where I spread the runs out over nine days. And there were times when I skipped an entire week between runs because of Em's illness/my illness/getting situated with our new daycare & Brent's work schedule.

I really should've completed the program a few weeks ago, but it's ok - it's still doable on a spread out schedule.

I try to schedule a run over the weekend when Brent is home to watch Em, and another while Em is at daycare. (She's there 2-3 days a week.) On days I have to take Em with me, I use my previously-loved-but-still-in-great-shape jogging stroller I got for a smokin' deal. I did a lot of research and decided on the Bob Ironman, which is a fixed-wheel jogging stroller --makes for a smoother ride for Em and a smoother push for me. I'm still getting used to running with it since it changes my running form a bit, but I like it so far. Em also loves it. When she's not giggling in it, she's having fun pointing out birds and dogs.

I still can't believe I've made it as far as I have. While I haven't been shy about posting my results via Twitter and Facebook, I held off posting about it here because I wanted to get to a point where there was no turning back. There have only been a couple runs where I walked more than I should, and I gave myself a do-over and repeated the session the next day.

It's safe to say I'm there now. I haven't signed up for one yet, but I'm going to do a 5K in the next few months. I might even try Couch to 10K!

"You are on the road & now you pray you will last. The road behind you was rocky but now you are feeling cocky. You look at me & you will see your past. Is that the reason you are running so fast?" - Ain't Nothing Gonna Slow Me Down, Matthew Wilder

30 comments:

  1. Good luck!

    I'm still on the fat train. And gaining. ;)

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  2. Well done! I'm trying to get myself motivated to start swimming regularly again as the weight has slowly crept on (doesn't help OH is a really good cook). Running isn't my thing but made me wonder if there are similar goal orientated regimes out there. Will have to have a look!

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  3. This is such great news! I thought I could just start running one day and I was so wrong. I lasted a block before I thought I was going to die. So I've just started back with going to the gym and yoga.

    And I think it's great that you can take Em with you! She can grow up seeing her mom being active & healthy!

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  4. Way to go!! I feel the same way... if *I* can do this anyone can. And I'm glad to hear of your success. Congrats!

    FWIW I really liked using the "One Hour Runner" training program when I ran my first 10k last fall. It's structured a LOT like C25K.

    Yaay, you!!

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  5. Awesome! So proud of you! I've tried running many times over the years and fail because of trying to go too far too fast. At this point I'd be happy to get back into hiking regularly.

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  6. You go with your bad self.

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  7. You are an inspiration for me! I'm on week 4 and it's been so hard. I've been on week 4 for a week...and still haven't completed a full week 4 run. I plan to keep trying until I do it, then I can move on to week 5. Keep up the great work and continue to write about it!

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  8. Congrats! As a former non-runner and now kinda-sorta-runner, I know how hard it can be, and it's awesome that you've stuck with it and made so much progress. I also know what you mean about trying to motivate yourself by thinking of all the people who wish they could run...when I was out of commission with back problems, I swore I'd never take running for granted again. Unfortunately, even thinking about that doesn't always make up for the fact that sometimes running is just HARD.

    Good luck in your upcoming 5k!

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  9. Yay for you! You've inspired me and I want to try the program after the baby gets here and it is time to get back in shape. I miss my running and this seems like a good way to get back into it.

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  10. Yay!! Please run an extra minute for me the next time you're out because I'll be on the couch. :)

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  11. Congrats Nanette! That is awesome!

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  12. Keep it up! Good job.

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  13. i thought i was gonna have to shank you for putting that damn song in my head, but i'm too proud of you to do that.

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  14. This is awesome. I hear so much good stuff about Couch to 5k that it almost makes me want to try it though I have ZERO desire to be a runner.

    Congrats!

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  15. Amazing! I've tried Cto5k before, but always lost interest somewhere in week 2. I need to do it and really stick with it. Thanks for the links to the awesome podcasts. Maybe those will help!

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  16. Like other commenters, I too, found this post so inspiring! I don't remember when I did anything for 8 weeks, except watch my ass get bigger. And running a mile under 10 minutes is very impressive.

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  17. You're so awesome Nannette! The one things I've ALWAYS wanted to be was a RUNNER....but I can't stand doing it. Seriously, I'me one of those people that feels like she's going to PASS OUT after running for 2 minutes straight...it's pathetic. So this type of program actually sounds like it's made for me. Recently, i was even looking at Teams in Training so I could possibly run a half marathon in october...but I thought that might be too ambitious. Anyway, you may have just inspired me to look into this for myself! GREAT JOB AND CONGRATS!

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  18. Sorry about the typo on your name...DUH! I was trying to type too fast since I'm not supposed to be online at work! :)

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  19. seriously that is awesome, nicely done. i am so not a runner, but i'm a walker, does that count? :)

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  20. that is so cool! i've been wanting to do that, and now you have inspired me to get it going. yay for you :)

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  21. You're there! You're there! You're there! You should jog in place, arms over head, like Rocky! I'm so proud of you Nanners!!!!

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  22. Yay you! So, has it ever gotten to the point where you LIKE running? Does it get easier? I could never get past week 3....I despise running...but desperately need to get in shape and drop some pounds quickly...have you noticed any weight loss as a benefit?

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  23. I live in Santa Monica, if you need someone to run by your side hit me up. Running is fun when you finally get the hang of it!! :)

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  24. You are awesome!! Good luck with your upcoming 5K!

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  25. You know I'm impressed because I know how frickin' hard it is!

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  26. That is AWESOME!! I started running using a couch to 5k type of program because I FAKED asthma attacks so I wouldn't have to run in P.E.!

    I know the pain, I know the feeling of your body screaming at you to quit, I know the things your mind will do just to keep you moving... and I also know that awesome feeling when you run a distance or time that you've never run before.

    Keep up the great work!!

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  27. good job! i'm a two-time couch-to-5k quitter already.

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  28. running has always been a challege for me but this couch-to-5k may help me. you've inspired me. thanks!

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  29. Amazing!! so proud of you !!!

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