I told you how I sort of fell into running. I was hooked from my very first step. I needed a plan. After extensive research, yes, I am freaky like that, I stumbled upon a Couch to 5K schedule. It was exactly what I needed.
When I started, the 60 second run seemed so doable. I was excited. Come on, 60 seconds, who can’t do that?? Um, me! Brian went with me and manned the stopwatch, as he was pretty much walking. Part way through I thought, surely I was dying or he was lying to me and we had gone for five minutes. ‘How much longer I would pant.’ Forty more seconds. WHAT!? Are you kidding me. My legs hurt, my lungs were burning and I was gasping. I did it though. And so, we repeated this scenario for two more days that week. By the third day I was running the 60 second segments with ease. It was amazing.
The next week, 90 second runs. With my new found confidence, I was sure this would be a piece of cake! Um, no, not so much. Sixty-five seconds into my 90 second run I, again, though I was dying! But by the end of the week, I mastered that 90 seconds. This was exactly the pattern for the next several weeks.
I began to learn something about myself. For the most part, it was far more of a mind game than a physical challenge. My body could do significantly more than I thought it could. I would have to talk to myself the whole time. Encouraging and even exhorting along the way. My family was so supportive. Elijah, my six year old came down (to the treadmill) each morning, sleep still in his eyes, in his underwear, to watch mama run. He would snuggle into my sweatshirt that I threw off this premenopausal body about two minutes into the warm up section. I would get thumbs up from him, “you can do it mama”, and high fives!
Our treadmill is old and extremely loud, so I had my headphones pretty loud, and apparently, I would sing very loudly so everyone upstairs could hear it. I had no idea, but they would snicker up there when they heard me trying to sing and breathe at the same time.
By week five, things got serious! By the end of the week I was to do twenty minutes straight! Running, straight, for twenty minutes, did you catch that? I was nervous and excited all in the same moment. I was confident by now, I had seen my body do some things I never thought it could do. I knew if I just believed in myself and could keep my head from convincing me I couldn’t, I just might do it. I got on that day, put a sticky note over the timer so I couldn’t watch it, and just started running. I did it! Twenty minutes of non-stop running! You can believe that I was crying, not only from pain, but from sheer joy! I even went a few more minutes just for emphasis! The high I felt was incredible. Such a sense of accomplishment.
The next four weeks of the program were a little bumpy. I had shoe problems, and consequently foot pain, all to familiar from years past. But I persevered, I dug deep some mornings, and even ran through tears. My mind was saying, ‘quit, you can’t do this, who do you think you are? But, something would rise up and I would fight back! I found a strength I never knew I had. Running was teaching me so much more than just how to put one foot in front of the other.
(my new ‘official’ running shoes)
I will never forget the morning I ran my first 3.1 miles. I was prepared to take a photo of the treadmill dashboard when I got there. I had seen other girls do this and post on a group I was on, so I was excited. We prayed and I got on the treadmill, again, covering up the time/miles with a sticky note that said, ‘just keep running’. I would sprint for a minute or so, just to get there faster. It was not pretty, me, running for that long, but I was doing it and as I got closer, I was choking back the emotions. I yelled for everyone to come down so they could see me ‘cross the finish line’. Almost there! Two-tenths of a mile to go. I kicked the speed up to get done faster. I did it!! 3.1 miles! I hopped off, gasping for air, trying to gather enough strength to take a photo. My ever so supportive, encouraging and sensible man, concerned I might get hurt, as the treadmill was still going, pulled the cord. He loves me so and doesn’t want me hurt. But guess what? By pulling the cord, the treadmill shuts off! The screen went dark. No proof, no photo op, all gone. I screamed, no, almost in slow motion. He was completely baffled and I was crying hysterically by now, trying to explain to him that I had wanted a photo. He felt awful, I mean AWFUL. Talk about mind over matter. I had to pull myself together and not make him feel worse. It was hard, I still could cry over it just remembering. Silly, I know.
It doesn’t matter, I did it! I completed the whole program and actually ran a whole 5K! I am not sure I can express to you, the significance of this to me and what a huge accomplishment it was, considering the state of my body in the beginning. So amazing! I could not be more proud of myself, even all the tears, the struggles, the discouragement, all of it! I did it!
You don’t have to want to run, but whatever it is for you, YOU CAN DO IT! Maybe it is starting a walking program, or getting back to working out. You are worth it! Take the time, dream and get out there and do it! I am probably close the least likely person to ever want to run, never mind be able to run. Nothing is impossible with God. Let Him take you all the way to your dreams!