Monday, January 30, 2012

Run Forrest, RUN!

Back in 2005, for reasons still unknown to me, I decided I would sign up for the CIBC Run for the Cure 5K Run in Toronto. Of course, I wanted to raise some money for a very worthwhile cause, but I believe there was also another reason. For as long as I can remember, I have admired people that run (Voluntarily - without being chased by a dog or a bear). Whether you run 5k, 10k, the half marathon or the full, you are one of my heroes.

S0 I enlisted the support of my long time BFF (who has running in her blood) and decided to sign up for the race. I had no idea how to train or prepare for the run and wasn't really interested in learning how to run properly. I had a goal and I was just going to jump in and do it! That's kind of the running equivalent of setting out on a cross country journey without a road map. Not overly bright. Sure, I worked out and exercised leading up to the big day, but prior to the run, I had never actually run 5K in my life.

I did complete the 5k run (I ran about 3.5 of the 5K) and had a slow but semi-respectable run time of 37 minutes, 10 seconds. While I was running I thought "Who in their right mind does this on a regular basis"? But I was determined to keep going. When I crossed the finish line that morning, I will never forget the way I felt. While I was running, I thought it was my first and last race. After I crossed the finish line, I knew I had to do it again.

In January 2011 I made a New Year's resolution to lose weight and get back onto the exercise bandwagon - a wagon I had fallen off about 4 years earlier. For quite possibly the first time ever, I actually stuck to it and here I am 13 months later - 24 pounds lighter and a regular "yogi" at my yoga studio. This year I needed a new resolution. Why not give that running thing another shot????

I had heard good things about a running program that you can follow on-line called "Couch to 5K" (C25k). Supposedly, by following their program you can go from a total couch potato to a 5K runner in 9 short weeks. All you "runners" out there would likely read it and think it sounds incredibly easy. I read it and thought "This might be a program I can stick to". What have I got to lose?? (other than HOPEFULLY the extra jiggle in my thighs and butt!)

So I decided, Monday, January 30th would be RUN DAY! (W1D1 in C25K lingo). The program consists of 3 runs per week over a 9 week period, each week becoming more difficult than the last. Today's run was a 5min brisk warm-up walk, transitioning into alternating intervals of 1 min of running and 90 seconds of brisk walking for 20 minutes, followed by a 5 minute cool down walk. Sounds easy enough, right??

Cue obstacle # 1 - semi-blizzard-like weather that began about an hour before I had scheduled my run. Thankfully I had purchased some winter running gear which I hoped would be enough to keep me warm in the snow. I planned to run during the 4 (!!!) hours that I spend at the cheer gym each Monday, but since the gym is in a deserted, poorly lit industrial area, I heard my mother's voice in my head and decided to drive to a nearby residential area with plenty of people around and lots of light.

I parked the car and began the 5 minute walk to a local park area that I knew had a running track. I'd like to tell you that the gently falling snow was beautiful and that I admired the way the trees glistened in the streetlights, but that would be a crock. To be quite honest, it sucked. I was, however, impressed with how my running gear kept me warm. With the exception of my hands, after my warm-up walk, I was pretty toasty warm.

Cue obstacle # 2 - my left knee. Within the first 45 seconds of actual running, my knee reminded me of why I don't run in the first place. It remains to be seen whether my knee will allow me to continue, but I did complete the full 30 minute Week 1 Day 1 program. In the beginning I thought "there's no way in HELL I will be able to keep this up for 20 minutes", but by the end, I was surprised at how fast the time passed. I DID IT!!

I've scheduled a hot yoga session for tomorrow morning in anticipation of needing to stretch some sore muscles and ease some aches and pains. I'm planning my next run for Wednesday morning after I drop the kids at school. I'm hoping for better weather, a happier knee and another successful 30 minute program. I have a feeling it may take longer than the 9 weeks for me to be able to run 5K without stopping, but with any luck (and a little hard work) I hope to run the 5K at the Mississauga Marathon in May. Wish me luck!

"I just felt like RUNNING"

J :)