Anyone who knows me knows I have never been what you would consider athletic. Sure, as a kid I was fit, did every dance class known to man and tried my hand at numerous sports, but apart from dancing I never stuck with anything for more than a few weeks especially if it involved running. I hated running. I was crap at it and I hated anything I was crap at. The only time I recall getting any sort of solace or comfort from running was when they told me our first dog had to be put down, and I ran down the street with him back to the car because I couldn’t bear walking. Since then I havent done any running voluntarily… until 12WBT.
Round 1 saw me attempt the couch to 5k… for a few weeks. It helped. As did all the running drills I did in bootcamp etc. I stopped the C25K mainly because I was doing all sorts of other exercise and it didn’t really fit in. By week 8 of 12WBT though I had improved in my running enough to run 1km without stopping for my fitness test. I was pretty happy about that! I had planned to run during my holiday but that didnt end up happening, so I was a bit worried about whether I could repeat the performance for my fitness test in Round 2.
Thankfully I did! My time wasn’t as good, but that wasn’t the issue. I just wanted to run the km again. It’s very much a mental thing for me. When I start puffing an panting my brain tells me I should stop. I have to keep making deals with myself to go further. This time though it was a bit different. Sure I was puffing like a steam train about 50m in and I knew I wasn’t going to do it easy, but I also had the knowledge that i have been able to complete it before, and that as bad as my breathing sounds (passers by give me concerned looks – probably thinking I’m about to keel over), that as long as it doesn’t get any worse I can keep going. I even had some left for a sprint at the end! Funnily enough, as hard as the jogging part was, the sprint part actually felt good! My legs strode out, my arms pumped, I felt strong! Don’t get me wrong, it was only very short and I wouldn’t have broken any Olympic records, but for that few seconds I could actually tell why people enjoy this running thing.
I therefore decided to join a group of inner westies for a Couch to 10km training session. When the alarm went off at 5.30 on Friday morning, I didn’t let myself procrastinate. I was up, dressed and out the door before I had the chance to think about the fact that I had just voluntarily cut short the first proper night’s sleep I’d had in a week. It was cold and dark when I met the ladies near the bay and I was a little intimidated when I saw that most of the others were regular runners – some had even done marathons! Luckily the lovely Carol was there (my partner from my first ever bootcamp). The lady who had organised it, and her husband are both runners and had set out a course for us with cones. We’d run to the first cone, then walk back, run to the second cone, then do a combination of walking and running back to the start. We kept this up for the whole session. Cheri, the organiser ran with Carol and I (how that girl can hold a conversation while running i have no idea!). She was a great motivator and didnt make me feel like I was holding people back at all. By the end of the session we had walked/jogged 4km. Most of it was jogged! I even had enough left for another sprint finish and once again I got that awesome feeling for that few seconds of sprinting.
I’m planning on attending these sessions every Friday morning if work permits. I’m really looking forward to improving how long I can run for. A little part of me is also looking forward to extending the length of my “sprints”… who knows, maybe one day I’ll be able to actually run (not just jog) the whole 1km! Miracles happen right?