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