Saturday, February 11, 2012

I ran a mile, and I liked it

What nobody ever tells you when you're considering a couch-to-5K program is how FAST your body adapts to running. It's not their fault. They can't get a word in edgewise when newbie runners are coughing and wheezing and complaining about how badly their frickin' lungs burn and how stupid it was to attempt to run in the first place.

Since I started running less than two weeks ago, about a dozen people I've talked to about this -- some of whom are in very good shape -- have said almost the exact same thing: "I just don't like to run." They do other things, like yoga or speed walking or team sports. I used to say that exact same thing. There are so many other exercises and machines you can use. So why do something you hate?

I've really been trying NOT to become one of those people who say, "But, seriously, if you just try it -- if you just get through that first week or two of misery -- you'll love it. It'll be like a drug." But it's so hard! When you find something you enjoy, you want EVERYONE to do it, too.

I had a pretty huge breakthrough on day 8 or 9 of the couch-to-5K program this week. I ran a mile. It was the first mile I had ever ran in my life. And it felt amazing. This week consisted of running two minutes, walking one minute, and repeating that pattern 10 times. But at the end of each session, I did this thing where I thought, "Just run for as long as you can without stopping. Just to see how long you can go." The first day it was five minutes without stopping. The second it was 8 minutes, 20 seconds. And the third, I went for it, and I ran a mile. Now, granted, it was the slowest mile in the history of running-miles: 13 minutes, 03 seconds. But we are talking about someone who, just eight days prior, had not run in 15 years. In just eight days my body adjusted that much. It's pretty incredible to think about that, to think about what we are capable of.

I hate this expression, but it so very much applies here that I have to say it: If I can do it, anyone can do it. So, please, do it! It'll make you feel so good about yourself!

I plan to run the Girls on the Run 5k on April 28. That will give me plenty of time to prepare. My only big roadblock now is my knee pain. I've been advised by friends to stick with the program and stop running those extra minutes after each session because my knees get so stiff and achy a few hours after running that it's worrying me a little bit. Maybe if I dial it back, and just stick to what I'm supposed to do, it won't be so bad. It's a bit frustrating, though, because when your lungs and heart are totally into running, you really wish the rest of your body would cooperate.

But I guess I've got more than two months to get the knees on board, too.

Today, I shall run four minutes, walk one minute, and repeat six times. And I promise not to run an extra mile afterward. : )))) Of all the promises I never thought I'd have to make ... haha.

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