I am allergic to exercise, but I have always wanted to be a runner. I have this fantasy of me waking up early in the morning, looking fabulous (with a blond ponytail, for some reason), running 10K, and coming home to my expensive kitchen to chug a big glass of orange juice, all glowy and healthy and shit (Fantasy Me looks so cute, too, in my running tank, jogging shoes, and Lulu Lemon capris – not the ones that give you a camel toe).
So, sometime during the sugarless delirium that was Lent, I decided that I was going to complete the Couch to 5K running program when the weather got nicer. Three factors contributed to my actually wanting to run (instead of just daydreaming about how good Skinny Rich Me would look doing it): 1.The lack of sugar in my blood stream made me temporarily insane, 2. Candidmommy posted her C25K review and made it look good, and 3. My friend, Jenny (an actual person I know and love!), told me she did it, liked it, and that it worked for her. One factor actually got me off the couch: I signed up for a 5K marathon with some girl friends before I lost my motivation (race date: June 23rd).
If you google Couch to 5K (or C25K), you can find a ton of information, but the basic gist is, you run for 30 minutes 3 times a week for 8 weeks. Each week gives you a specific interval (for example, in week one, you alternate between running for 60 seconds and walking for 90 seconds), and the intervals gradually get harder until eventually you’re running the full 5K.
I downloaded the ZenLabs C25K app for my iPhone, and I really like it. A nice lady prompts you to walk/run throughout your workout and you can listen to your iTunes playlist at the same time if you like. And the app was free. Freeeeeeeee.
So far, the only things I’ve purchased for my run are a pair of sneakers (which I got on sale), and a sports bra (you’d think every girl has at least one of these, but I literally never exercise, so I haven’t needed one before). When my new sports bra is in the wash, I just wear a regular bra and one of my tight nursing tanks with the built-in boob shelf. It’s basically the same thing. Also, my PJs double as my workout clothes. Maybe in the future I’ll actually buy an outfit or two specifically for running, but I am nowhere NEAR needing to be aerodynamic or whatever reason people use as an excuse to wear spandex (although, I could use a shirt made from that fancy pants material that keeps you cool and dry).
Week 1 was great. Running for 1 minute straight was a bit of a challenge, but it was really attainable, especially with the 1.5 minute walk between jogging stretches. Also, the C25K program requires you to walk for 5 minutes at the very beginning of your workout and at the very end, so it’s really only 20 minutes of torture. I’ve noticed that they tend to tack your last walking stint onto your cool down, so you have a full 7 minutes or so of walking at the end and it’s amazing.
Week 2 (90 seconds of running, 2 minutes of walking) was a little bit harder, but still doable.
Something that adds to the challenge for me is my terrible, terrible back. Ever since I had The Sprout, I haven’t been able to stand for more than 10 minutes without getting lower back spasms. I started seeing a chiropractor about a month ago, so it’s been getting progressively better, but I am still nowhere near normal. Some days are better than others, but by the end of my run, I am usually hobbling like a decrepit old man. Sometimes I actually walk faster than I “run” (read: walk-hop). But I don’t care. My focus isn’t about looking good, or moving fast, or going far. I just want to get through these workouts alive. I am not out to impress ANYONE.
It’s a far cry from my fantasy – me hobbling around in my pyjamas in the dark (I try to work out before Chase and the girls get up for the day), cursing my bad back, coming home to do doctor prescribed stretches, looking like a hot mess while I drink tap water in my tiny kitchen – but it’s alright.
Things I Like About Running
– It is a quiet, kid-free activity, and most days, it’s the only time I am truly alone and doing something entirely for myself.
– No equipment required (aside from a good pair of running shoes – which could double as my regular shoes if I decide running isn’t for me).
– It’s nice to have an activity that forces me to go outdoors. Sometimes I forget how nice it is just to be outside.
Things I Dislike About Running
– I feel like everyone I meet in my path, every car that passes me, is making fun of my (unintentional) Phoebe run.
Hardest Part About C25K
– Getting out the door.