it's hard, jane

it's hard, jane

dear jane, who is contemplating doing couch to 5k,
i hate running. i really do.
when i started c25k, i thought, hey, it’ll be easy. they’ve set up the program to make it easy, so it will be easy. what on earth could possibly go wrong, right?
when i started, it wasn’t that bad. i think i started at the third week because i knew i could do the first two easily. so off i went in my old new balance sneakers, trotting away for an eighth mile walk, run, walk, run, walk. not too bad.
oh, but it got worse. my knees started wigging out on me. my left thigh muscles spasmed occasionally. my hip muscle was pulled at one point. i wrapped my knees, bought better shoes, and kept plugging away. thankfully, shin splints never set in and my ankles were fine (i sprained one in high school).
at about week 5, I was gasping for breath after my run/walks and ready to pass out on the cool-down mat. i redid weeks 5 and 6. i ended up doing week 6.1 and 6.2 because i couldn’t quite do week 7 (2.5 miles nonstop). i was doing a mile, walk 1/8, a mile, walk 1/8, a mile for a couple weeks. i thought i would be doing that forever.

how i felt at week 5
then one day, i just did it. ran the whole shebang and didn’t even think about it beforehand. and it wasn’t bad. but i didn’t enjoy it. i was still gasping and wheezing for breath at the end, but i had done it, and that was my goal.
but i kept doing it. about a month ago, i started running outside all the time, and maybe 2 weeks ago, i enjoyed a run for the very first time. 3.5 miles, very little wind, maybe 68 degrees outside, 8 p.m. perfect. but the perfect run isn’t what really kept me going. it was the new calf muscles that popped when i flexed. the trim(mer) ankles. my thinner, toned thighs, not to mention some overall weight loss, that was really what motivated me to keep running. walking would not do this for me.
so i guess i’ll keep going. when it’s gross out, i don’t really enjoy running. when it’s nice out, it’s tolerable to enjoyable. but it took a while to get here.
and that, jane, is how you do c25k. it’s hard, but you just power through and do it because, well, you can.

10 thoughts on “it's hard, jane

  1. before you do anything, go to a running store and have them analyze your gait and then buy decent running shoes. most running stores will analyze for free if you buy shoes there. be prepared to spend $100-$150 on your shoes. don’t quibble over the cost because running is a high impact activity and you want to keep your knees, joints, muscles and spine happy.
    “…because, well, you can.” <— THIS! EXACTLY THIS! running is a mind game. i've been running off and on since the 10th grade [which means i've been plugging away at this for over a decade!], and i have yet to work up to a consistent 3 mile run. this summer, dagnabit, the time is NOW!
    it's a mind game. play tricks on your brain who says you can't do it. make it to the next tree. see? you made it. now keep going to the next road. viola! you're here! now the next block and so on and so forth. yes, you're going to get cramps, and sore muscles, and not be able to breath. but then you're going to be done with your run and know that you did it. and that high is something else.
    if you do commit, maybe we three can find a 5k somewhere between all of us. or maybe kate and i can trek out to CO although the altitude will probably get to us…. you two can come to me! 🙂 there's a 5k in october at purdue as part of their half marathon. we can do that.

  2. and if i don’t have $100-150 for shoes? i don’t spend that much on shoes over a five year period. that would be the biggest hang-up. but the description of getting to the “fun” of running should be motivation enough. i mean, who doesn’t need cramped legs, burning lungs, and light-headedness, as long as that tree knows who’s boss?
    just kidding. i haven’t even decided i want to run. i don’t like running. and my mind is pretty okay with it.

  3. if you have normal arches, you can get a pretty decent pair of running shoes for $40. kohl’s has running shoes on sale quite a bit for that price, it’s just a matter of finding a brand that will fit your foot well. or maybe it’s a matter of getting some orthotics and sticking them in your current shoe – mom and i both use “walk fit”, her for her fallen arches, me for my no arches. they are $20 at target, but i saw some at big lots for $6, so i know you can get them on the cheap.
    i have flat feet, so i had to get the “special*” shoes that cost a mint.
    *short bus shoes 🙁

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