I did it! I ran two miles without stopping…a week earlier than planned! I’m stunned. I thought if I could meet this goal it was going to take a lot longer. I’m so glad I was wrong!
I followed a couch to 5K program with the intention of stopping at the two mile mark. I was hoping to be able to run the two miles in about six weeks using this program. I spent the first four weeks running inside on the treadmill. I don’t prefer running on the treadmill because running in place with my basement walls to stare at–not exactly food for the soul. However with the program I was combining running and walking and it made sense to have a timer right in front of my face. Also, with the warm summer weather, I didn’t think I’d be able to run outdoors. Heat and humidity sap my energy pretty quickly, so jogging in a cool basement with a fan blowing on my face seemed like a better option.
Overall I was really happy with how things progressed. Out of the first 13 workouts, I only had two bad ones. One time I had to get off the treadmill because I was coughing so hard. I had made it 17 minutes into the workout and doubted whether I could get through the last five. But I got back on and finished. Sometimes you just have to fight through it. The second bad workout came on the heels of a very difficult and tiring week. I hadn’t slept well and I just didn’t have any extra energy to give to running. I had to hold onto the handles of the treadmill to get through the longer running stretches.
Once I got to the week five workouts, I knew I wanted to try running outside. The first day I was supposed to jog for five minute stretches and the second day, eight minute stretches. I seriously doubted whether I could run for eight minutes on the treadmill. So I headed outside last Thursday. The weather was perfect–72 degrees and 35% humidity with a light breeze (in August!). I started running and a few minutes in, I realized I wasn’t getting tired. I decided rather than run for five minutes, I’d run until I felt I needed to stop and see where I was at. Much to my surprise, it kept going well. It went well up the small hills in the neighborhood and went great down them. The further I got the more I wanted to run the whole way. At around a mile and a half it started to get pretty difficult but there was no way I was stopping at that point. I can be stubborn too (although Lucas gets his stubbornness from Jaime 😉 ). I pushed through and completed the run in 27 minutes and 5 seconds.
Tonight I ran again and completed the two miles for the second time. Despite warmer temps (77 degrees) and much higher humidity (73%), the run actually felt easier than Thursday’s run. Hooray! I completed tonight’s run in 27 minutes 8 seconds. I went a bit later tonight and was amused and pleased to find that the beautiful, bright pink shoes Lucas bought for me glow in the dark :).
I’ve learned a few things through this process. This is probably the first time I’ve made a reasonable, sustainable exercise goal. Instead of trying to do it all–weight training, plus running a 5K, plus one day of yoga, plus working out five days a week…I kept it simple. I am working out just three days a week. I started with just 20 minutes. I’m only doing the jogging right now. Making it feasible based on my health and lifestyle was key, I think.
Also, although I’m a positive and optimistic person, I really doubted whether I could run again. I just wasn’t sure I could after so many years of not running. I didn’t know if my lungs could handle it, and I didn’t know if I had enough stamina given the challenges of caring for a busy boy. I almost didn’t even try. It is possible that I could have tried and failed, and that would have been alright too. The mistake would have been not trying. And one more thing I learned: I am finally at the point where I can be proud of what I am able to achieve now without getting caught up on how it compares to my abilities of the past, or how it compares to the abilities of others. I know that a 13.5 minute mile is slow for most people. It is far slower than what I used to be able to run. But for me, right now, it’s a big accomplishment, and I am proud of it.
What about you? Is there anything you’ve been wanting to do? Any goals you’ve been putting off? Maybe you need to modify them to make them realistic. Maybe your accomplishments won’t be as impressive as someone else’s. But don’t be afraid to try.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ~Winston Churchill