I think it was a Sunday morning when I laced up my new Asics and took them outside to let the rubber hit the road for the first time. If you take a look at the Couch to 5K Week 1 Day 1 workout, it looks like this. “Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.” Huh, that’s pretty simple. And it looks pretty easy. Right? Mmmm, not right! You’ll see.
So I bought myself a gym boss to help track the walk/run intervals in the C25K plan. It seemed like a neat little device — it’s an interval timer about the size of a pedometer. However, it didn’t lend well to the C25K program, mostly because it can only alternate between two intervals — and as you progress through the C25K weeks — you will need more than 2 intervals. So you’d be better off setting yourself up with a watch with a timer function, or an app for your smart phone. I went the smart phone route eventually and bought the C25K app with the GPS function. I love it. It interfaces with your iPod playlists, which is awesome if you are like me and need music while you run.
Out I went with my gym boss set for my walk/run intervals, sneakers all comfy, a strong positive attitude — set up for success, or so I thought. I was a good walker by now, so the brisk warm up was fine. When the beep came from the gym boss, that was my signal to start jogging. 60 seconds. This would be a piece of cake. Just 60 seconds. That’s like – just a minute. Well, I started jogging…not even running. Just jogging. And Oh-My-God. That was the longest minute of my life. The next beep to walk could not have come soon enough. I had 90 seconds to try and catch my breath. I could feel my face was hot, red. My breathing was labored…already? Man. How bad off am I? Well when that next beep came and my next jog cycle started, the answer came quickly. The reality landed on me like a ton of bricks. I can’t even jog around my own block! I felt horrible. Ashamed. Fat. Like a Loser.
So where is the silver lining, the comedy relief in this story? Well, on this gorgeous Sunday morning — there wasn’t one. Reality hit home, and it hit me hard. I was in bad shape. So I walked the rest of the way around the block, and headed home, feeling — well — hopeless.
Walking through my front door, I was upset, mad, embarrassed. I told Peter I couldn’t do it, and I went back to sit on the couch. I didn’t want to talk. I just wanted to sit silently in my embarrassment. This lasted for about an hour, until I was finally able to tell Peter how bad I was feeling. How much it hurt to admit how little I was capable of. He was sweet to me, encouraging. But his words went in one ear and out the other. I didn’t want him to make me feel better. I wanted to BE BETTER. I wanted to BE MORE ABLE. I told myself to remember how crappy I felt. Don’t go back to sleep Diane!! Stay AWAKE and feel the crap. Feel it until you are DAMN WELL DETERMINED to do something about it.
Once my emotional reaction calmed down a bit more, my problem solving mind kind of took over and I grabbed for my laptop. There has to be some advice for me out there in the big world. I think I started with a google search like ” beginner running breathing”. I landed on a number of great running websites that offered articles on Learning to Breathe while Running. Huh, how about that. There is more to learn about this running thing. That’s good, because I need it! I read for an hour or so, letting my hurt feelings repair themselves, and letting my brain take the lead in this situation. [That’s kind of an epiphany for me right now — because I now KNOW that my weight problem all my life has been related to my emotions and how I didn’t deal with them. More on that in a later post]
The advice from my fellow running buddies on the world-wide-web was ….slow down. Slow down the pace of your jog until you are able to have a conversation while you jog. A conversation? Unless that conversation is with God and involves my begging for the gym boss to beep so I can walk again…I’m simply NOT able to converse. Keep Reading, Diane. I found a website that recommended jogging on the treadmill, so you could control your pace and not try to run too fast. I learned that the #1 mistake of new runners is that they go too fast. This made me feel so much better. I had managed to talk myself off the ledge and began to realize that day how quick I was to label myself with totally unflattering terms. Gotta stop that. [Note to self — That’s a key to this journey, work on that!]
So, there it was … the silver lining. A new plan. Or maybe it was just an adjustment to my current plan. Either way, I had figured out my next move. I would try again. Re-do Week 1 Day 1 on the treadmill, and establish a walk pace and a jog pace that let me finish the Day 1 workout. It didn’t matter how slow I had to go to do it. Because the other piece of golden advice I found from my expert running friends on the web was this — Speed Does Not Matter. Just “Doing It ” matters. If you just do it…..run 3 times a week…..breathing will come, endurance will come, strength will come…..and speed will come.
I liked that.
So — Week 1, Day 1 of the C25K was a big bust. But I ended the day a winner. Why? Because it didn’t matter that I failed that day. There would be another Week 1, Day 1. Frankly, there could be as many Week 1, Day 1’s as I needed until I was ready to move on to Day 2. No body was keeping score. Because the ONLY THING that mattered was that I kept my promise to myself. No quitting.
Ciao for now… Diane