I have already told you that I am "training" for a 5k in August.
In college I used to run every morning. I loved running outdoors because I could feel the trade winds off the ocean and I loved the fresh Hawaiian air. And afterwards - I know this sounds gross - but I loved tasting the saltwater off my lips.
Then I got married and had children and had to work outside the home. Running wasn't a priority. Eventually exercise wasn't even a priority. I struggled to find peace and happiness in what was supposed to be wedded bliss. I became sick on top of that and was on several medications (mostly hormones and a partial steroid) for years. It seemed that as each year passed, another five pounds was added. Sure, within a year a five-pound gain isn't horrific. But times that by oh - how many years? and that's like a gajillion pounds! Well, all right, maybe not THAT many, but still.
Finally with my divorce, I wanted to start feeling good again. I had already had surgery to remove the diseases so that was taken care of and no more meds. I had ventured a few trails on my own and I also found a place I like to walk outdoors. I had a great view of the valley and I usually walked at night, so the setting sun was always gorgeous. I walked that path several times a week, saving my trail for Saturdays.
Then I met Big-D, who is a trail-runner. I was impressed by how far and how high he'd run. Suddenly my little 2 or 3 miles seemed like nothing. I went with him a few times to his trail and loved it. The more I went the more I wanted to go. We would always start off at the same point, but he would take off running and I would of course, walk. I would time my walks so I knew when to turn around at the half way mark, and we'd finish together. I made it up to the radio towers and back for a total of 3.22 miles.
Then the "break-up" happened and I no longer went to the trail with Big-D except on occasion. I have done a lot of "walking" exercise over the past year, but the more I walked, the more I wanted to run. I can't explain it other than to say it was like an itch that needed scratching. As I would walk on the trail or the track or treadmill, it was like I had this energy brewing, waiting to explode. Like, I had this "thing" that was being held captive... I don't know what this "thing" is, other than perhaps "desire".
I decided to go back to the gym. I really wanted to run. BUT I did NOT want to run in front of all of those girls... You know the ones; the ones that aren't really even there to work out. They show up in their tight short-shorts and sports-bra tops and perfectly sculpted, perfectly tanned bods and they "pretend" to work out while they check out the guys who are of course also checking them out. NO. I did not want to run in front of them and feel all fat and frumpy and dumpy. Then I discovered the MOVIE ROOM! Yes. The gym has two rooms with big screens and the rooms are dark. I started going in there to use the treadmill. I figured most people were watching the movie and therefore, would NOT be watching me.
So I started running one night in the movie room. Or should I say I TRIED to run. I was no good at it. My knees started screaming, "Hey, Fatso! Remember us? We haven't hauled you around at this speed in over 16 years! And there's MORE of you now! What are you trying to do to us???" So, I walked. Then when I got home, I googled.
I found an article online called "From Couch Potato to 5K". It was a coaching guide for beginning runners to get them ready for a 5K in 8 weeks. It was perfect. After reading that along with other articles, I started to find a common denominator. They say for beginning runners, the first thing you should do is WALK! Brilliant.
So, I changed my work out a bit. I started riding the stationery bike first, to condition my knees. I did this before every "run". After 2 weeks of that, my knees felt great and I no longer needed the bike. Then on to the "training". I warm up with a 5 minute walk and then alternate running with walking. I only run until I feel winded or my chest hurts, and then I slow down to a walk. At first the running was as little as 90 seconds; sometimes more. But the whole idea is to gradually build up to a pace in which I will be able to run the entire 5K without killing myself. Again, brilliant.
A few weeks ago, I went with Big-D back to the "radio towers" trail. He was going to run "only 7 miles" that night. I figured out my half-way time and we were off - though not before him telling me to keep my eyes open as he had recently seen several rattlers and even 1 tarantula on that trail in the last few weeks. Great, I thought.
I put my music on and started off with my walk. The weather was perfect. And I noticed that I could walk much faster than before without getting winded. Then came the first little incline in the mountain. Ok, I can do this, I told myself. And I did. A few more turns, a few more inclines, and then one little down-hill. I decided to run down. Soon, I was at the radio towers. I looked at my watch. Holy Cow. It was my best time ever. I still had 10 minutes before I would have to turn around to go back. I kept going.
I felt exhilarated. I was now going to see what the other side of the mountain looked like. "Don't cry," I told myself. "It's just a freaking mountain." And yet to me, it was so much more.
I figured I wouldn't get very far in the ten minutes. But, I was wrong. To make things better, I even saw a baby deer. Soon I had hit my ten minutes and it was time to go back. I got back up to the radio towers and took some deep breaths and stretched my shins out a little. Then, I looked down the mountain towards the car. I suddenly felt on top of the world. I felt a surge of energy throughout my body and it consumed me. I decided I was going to run the rest of the way.
And I did. I ran the entire way down the mountain. When I could see the car, I slowed to a "cool down" walk. And when I got there, I realized I still had a few minutes to spare before Big-D would finish. I stretched a little and waited; secretly feeling proud. I wanted to cry and giggle all at the same time. We mapped my progress on google earth when we got home, and I had added a whole other mile! I walked/ran a complete 4.22 miles with a total elevation of 700 ft! I felt sore and tired, but I also felt great.
I don't know if I will be able to run the entire 5K come August. But I will say that my progress has me excited. For once, I feel like I am accomplishing things. This is something ONLY I can do for myself; no one can do it for me. I finally feel like I am on my way, whatever that means. And I'm not even really sure to "where"... I just feel like I am on my way.
Crap! Now I'm gonna go have a good cry... self-realization does this to me sometimes. ;)