Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lessons Learned from my Couch to 5K Adventure

Having finally completed week 9, day 3 of my couch to 5K expedition, I felt it was important to recap my lessons learned for all of you crazy kids that might be thinking about it. Before I begin, I should mention that in all my years of fitness experience, I have NEVER been a runner. I would be the first to say “I don’t like running, I’d rather walk or use the elliptical. This body isn’t made to run. Why would anyone want to run?” Yep, that was me . . . afraid to try it, only because I knew how much work it would be to get started and then, of course, you have to maintain it. Who in the hell wants to do that?? With the encouragement of another never before runner, and possibly partial insanity, I found my way to the couch to 5K program. Did I have an actual 5K event in mind when I began? Nope. I did it for shits and giggles and this is what I learned:

1.) Running is hard. Anyone who says it isn’t, is probably an avid runner and has forgotten their first weeks of running. Looking back, I could have easily have given up at any point.
2.) My body hates me for it. Yes, my body fought me every step of the way. First went the right knee, then the left, and then my lower back joined in for the hell of it. Without my chiropractor and good running shoes, I would have been out of the race at week 2.
3.) I am a slow runner. Do I really feel the need to be a sprinter? Absolutely not. My goal is to finish a 5K, not die within the first 10 minutes of a run.
4.) I sweat a lot when I run. Not my finest or most attractive quality, but for someone who is ALWAYS cold, I look like I ran through a downpour and then doused with a bucket of water when I am finished running. I won’t mention the bright red glow I have either. Nice, huh? One tip I did learn on my VERY last day of running the program, a towel dampened under a cold tap goes a long way! It’s a small piece of heaven when you feel like you are on the verge of spontaneously combusting.
5.) Perfecting your playlist is a must. I quickly weeded through my “workout” playlist after the first week. There’s no room for feel-good songs. No. Shoot for songs with explicit lyrics. There’s nothing like the F-bomb to get you through the last 10 minutes of a run. After all, you are probably repeatedly saying it in your head already, so why not add a few songs that further enforce it?
6.) Don’t compare yourself to other runners. This is never a good idea because despite how awesome you feel when you finish a run, there is always someone faster (younger) and better (younger) than you.
7.) Upon finishing your very last run, do not, I repeat, do not ask the most in shape runner at the gym (a.k.a. Stealer of Thunder), if they have “any tips on what I should do next?” This is a BAD idea. Nothing will rip your “I’m awesome, I just finished 9 weeks of hell” out from under you like this runner. Nothing you have done seems awesome to this person. Bow in their presence, you weakling!! However, if you want to hear everything that you’ve done wrong and pretty much anything that would have kept you from starting the program in the first place, go ahead and ask this god-like runner. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
8.) I can run a 5K. I can run a 5K! Yes I can. Is it fast, no. Is it easy, no. Do I curse the majority of the run, yes. But I can do it.

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