I never wanna see another treadmill as long as I live. Well, until the next time it rains. Or until the next time it's dark when I want to go running — because I'm a complete and utter scaredy cat.
Sunday morning was a breakthrough. I got up early and headed to the park to do Week 5 – Day 1 of my C25K program. You may have seen cryptic updates on Twitter or Facebook for this program. Something like this:
C25K = Couch to 5K. And while I didn't exactly start on the couch, I certainly started from square one as far as running is concerned. And I decided to throw myself an extra curveball by miscalculating the weeks between my starting date and the 5K. I had it in my brain that the program was six weeks long – so that's when I started. Yeah, so, evidently the app would prefer you take NINE weeks to get from your couch to the starting line of a 5K. Woops. So I've been squeezing nine weeks of training into six weeks of calendar. The race is 18 days away and I've got a little over four weeks of training left.
Weeks 1 and 2 really tested me. I was getting through the workouts, but I wasn't loving it. And I told myself it would get easier. Weeks 3 and 4 rolled through and I still wasn't feeling like the runner I wanted to be, but my patented mixture of blind determination and unadulterated stubbornness kept me moving. I had long ago convinced myself I hated running. This wasn't necessarily about that. This was about proving to myself that I could decide to do something – then do it.
I can't put my finger on the light bulb moment, but it happened. I considered for the first time that it was indeed possible I'd been stacking the cards against myself.
I run inside. On a treadmill. While half-listening to whatever randomness is on the TVs above my head. I usually alternate between staring straight ahead (at myself in the mirrored wall) and staring at my feet so as not to move more than 8 inches to either side lest I trip and fall. I compulsively check the timer on my running app and carefully count down every last second of the workouts with dread. Doesn't that sound like a barrel of monkeys?
So. Week 5.
Enter Michael. My new trainer. Well, actually he's the incredibly monotone male voice in the app who prompts me when it's time to run and how much time I have left. There's a female voice option, too, but it's much harder for me to pretend that "Alison" is really Bob from The Biggest Loser. So I go with Michael.
And since I had decided to join the rest of civilization and wear ear buds while I run, I thought it might be nice to listen to some music while I was at it. I'm still compiling a good workout playlist so if you have any suggestions please pass them along — but Alanis came through in a pinch. Hey, it was either that or find a way to get energized by Zac Brown Band or Johnny Cash. Jagged Little Pill it was.
So there I was – music in my ears, wind in my face.
And before I knew it, my Week 5 – Day 1 workout was over. Seriously. What should have been a pretty taxing run was over before I was really tired. So I took advantage. And kept running. I made it official by switching over to Week 5 – Day 2. And finished that one, too.
Did you catch that?
An hour's worth of workouts. Five full laps around the park. At 7 a.m.
I bet you a million dollars it wouldn't have happened if I'd been on the treadmill. It's only taken me until Week 5 to realize that all those people I see jogging outside with headphones – might be onto something.
I felt really good after my long morning. Really good. I've never been so sure that this thing is actually going to happen.
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