Thinking about running used to make me cringe because memories of being the last one in gym class to finish the mile and the pain of coming up with countless excuses as to why I couldn’t run the laps for soccer practice would flood my mind. Running was literally the last thing on Earth I would have imagined myself doing voluntarily prior to 2009, unless I was being chased or the ice cream truck was pulling away.
So I even shocked myself when I first said, “I want to be a runner” last April. I really can’t explain exactly what came over me, I just decided one day that I wanted to start running, and that was that. I remember talking to my friend Amber at work and she said, WHY!? I replied, “All athletes are runners” and she said I was wrong (which I now do think I was). I guess I just never even imagined myself having the ability to run, so the challenge was intriguing.
I had just joined Weight Watchers the month before and frequented the 20 somethings message board for support daily. A lot of people who had been successful with the WW program had taken up running, and I saw “c25k” more times than I could count before I googled it myself to see what the big hype was about.
C25k stands for Couch to 5k and is a 9 week program that has you go from being completely inactive to running a 5k at the end of the program. I’m not one to really follow things to a T unless I design them myself (take recipes for an example) and I had already been working out so I knew I had some good cardio endurance. So, I decided to use the basic idea of walk/run intervals but came up with my own plan.
I started with a 2 minute jog followed by a 2 minute walk and I can vividly remember that first 2 minute interval and wanting to throw myself down on the pavement and quit as I gasped for air and literally thought I might die. Running was harder than I thought it would be and my countless hours on the elliptical did not seem to be helping. I took a day off and set off the day after with the same 2 min jog/2 min walk and you know what, it was a little easier. Definitely not easy by any means, but I felt less like throwing myself down on the side of the road. After those first two runs, I took it inside to the treadmill so that I could gauge my pace and make sure that I was never running a second longer than I was supposed to for the interval.
Time went by and I remember getting up to doing 5 minutes of running with 1 minute of jogging, and calling my mom freaking out about how I had run .5 miles STRAIGHT for the first time that I could remember. I don’t think she really understood how huge of a deal that was to me because running .5 miles straight doesn’t sound that far, but for me, it was a huge deal. More weeks went by and I eventually ran for 20 minutes straight and would tack on 5 more minutes each time that I felt like I could until I was eventually running for about 45 minutes straight.
I started running outside once I mastered 45 minutes straight and the transition from treadmill to pavement was ROUGH. I remember the first time I did an outdoor run last June and it was with my coworker Jackie. I think we went around 3 miles total but towards the end I started getting a terrible side stitch and thought I was going to throw up. We had to stop at Quizno’s and beg them for water since we had no cash. They probably obliged only because I looked like I was going to drop dead with my red face and sweat crusted body. We ended up walking the rest of the way back to the office, but, I kept on trucking.
I signed up for my first 5k which was September 12, 2009 one year ago YESTERDAY! We didn’t have chip timing because it was a really casual race, but ever since that run, I was hooked! I’ve since completed 8 races: 5 5k’s, 2 10ks, and a 10 miler. And as you probably know, I have a Half Marathon coming up on Sunday, which will be my first half marathon ever and the true test to me of being an endurance athlete.
So I know my story is not that unique in terms of how I started running, but you have to realize that as cliché as this might sound, if I can do it, so can you! I literally DREADED running throughout my entire childhood, and now it’s something I truly enjoy. It helped me with my weight loss tremendously and the pounds started melting off when I first started running. It also helps me so much mentally because I’m naturally a pretty anxious person and it helps relieve stress so much. I experienced runner’s high for the first time last week which was seriously the most amazing feeling in the world, and totally worth the almost year it took me to get there. 🙂
Tomorrow I’ll do a post about tips and tricks for new runners if you’re thinking about starting running so let me know if there’s anything specific you’d like me to address AND if you are a runner please contribute extra tips in the comments section!
Lunch today was super simple and delicious. It feels so good to be eating clean after an indulgent weekend…
An Arnold Thin Sub Style (1 pt) with 2 tbsp Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (1 pt), a slice of RF provolone (1 pt) and sprouts (0 pts).
Celery + Cherry Tomatoes for a veggie kick.
And 1 cup of leftover couscous salad (3 pts) from Saturday’s potluck.
Super satisfying 6 point lunch that took about 4 minutes to assemble this morning!
Are you a runner? How long have you been running? How did you get started?