Tuesday, June 26, 2012
This week I will be finishing Couch to 5k for the second time in my life. Two months ago, I could barely run for a minute without feeling like I would die. Tonight I will be running for 30 minutes straight. When I was running in 5k races last summer, I used to call myself a "runner by sheer force of will" and it's so true! I have always SUCKED at running.
When I was a kid I played softball and basketball and I was ALWAYS the slowest girl on the team. When I'd hit a ball in softball (which was rare) the other team had like an hour to get it to first base to tag me out. And any time I had to "run" a mile in PE for a fitness test, I think my best ever time was like 15 minutes.
As a kid I was always chubby and slow. As a teen/adult, I was never "built" for running with my wide hips, fat legs, and always being overweight/obese. I remember wanting to join the Army after college and finding out I'd have to run two miles in 20 minutes. I actually tried to "train" for that for a while and it seemed so hopeless and impossible.
Even during the times in my adult life when I tried to lose weight and be more physically active, I never attempted to run. I would always just walk fast.
It wasn't until I joined SparkPeople that I even contemplated attempting to run. I joined in November of 2009 at a weight of 270 pounds and sometime in December or January, I think, I started trying to run for a minute at a time on the treadmill. I would run for one minute and walk for four minutes. I repeated that 6 times, for a total workout of 35 minutes (with 5 minute warm-up walk) and a total of 6 minutes of running over the course of the entire workout.
It turned out to be too much. I started having chronic knee pain, broke down and went to the doctor about it, and ended up having to do physical therapy for about eight weeks. During that time, I wasn't allowed to run at all, had to cut way back on my exercise, and had to completely relearn how to walk (I'd been doing it wrong for 30 years apparently). I learned several stretches and physical therapy exercises that I had to continue to do every single day for about the next year and a half.
I was eventually able to take up running again and began working on C25k. I remember the first time I ran a full mile without stopping to walk. I cried right there on the treadmill, called my husband down to the basement to tell him the good news, then called my parents on the phone after my workout to tell them as well! I was THAT proud. And I should have been. It was the first time I had actually RUN an entire mile in my whole life.
C25k is amazing. You look at the plan and think to yourself, "NO WAY CAN I DO THAT!" And then you do it. It really does prove that physical activity is really about 90% mental. Your body screams at you to stop, but your mind says "no, I'm supposed to run for 90 more seconds." And then you do it. Does nearly every single second of it suck? Yep! Not going to lie. It's pretty much 30-35 minutes of pure torture. But then it's over and you are grinning from ear to ear and full of pride. I always find my husband afterward and tell him "I did it!" and throw my arms up in the air in triumph.
Nothing about my past or my physical appearance suggests that I could ever be a runner. But here I am! I'm a runner through sheer force of will. Don't let the world or your own mind tell you you can't do something. You can do anything if you have the mental fortitude to push yourself to do it!