Wow, what a journey it has been. I really can’t remember how it all started, but there I was, starting a running program for the first time in my life. I was determined to conquer this mental block I had about running. Not all mental though. I was also out of shape, and needing a change desperately.
I started the C25K running program to get myself off the couch and doing something for myself and my family. I knew already that I couldn’t run like I used to, that it would be hard to get my body to accept my new activity. I knew the breathing would be my biggest challenge, since my legs were pretty strong already. I’ve always had soccer legs, even 10 years after I stopped playing soccer. My wife and I have tried to start running in the past. I used to blame not being able to run on my bad knees, and that biking was easier for me. But when I ran with my wife, I couldn’t even run long enough for my knees to hurt. I had to stop because I couldn’t breathe. We tried a few times, but then gave up and we started biking instead.
What I learned after I started C25K and started patrolling the blogs and community forum threads, was that speed was key. I found out that I was running too fast. I started slowing down and taking things one step at a time, literally, and things started to get better. I couldn’t jog at 8 mph like I used to do, but I could jog at 15 mph. Over time, the intervals got longer and easier, but my speed didn’t increase quite as fast. But that didn’t matter. What mattered was that I was jogging, and still breathing, and not gasping. It was amazing. Throughout the program, I continued to improve, and amazingly, I started to love running. My knees were holding up and my lungs allowed me to go further than ever before. When I finished my last run of the program yesterday, in Week 9, I ran 3.1 miles in 32 minutes. A whole 5K. I never thought it would be possible, but it happened.
Tomorrow, I start training for longer distances. I am looking at a few different 10K training programs now and may combine their workouts to make my own routine. Next Saturday, June 25th, 2011, is my first even, a 2 mile race. I don’t plan to compete, but I do plan to finish, and that will be amazing. 3 weeks after that, I am signed up to do my first 5K. Again, finishing is the goal, not racing. Wish me luck and hopefully there will be more races in my future.