Friday, January 14, 2011

My new survival strategy: run away!

Around New Year's time, I joke around with my friends that I don't make resolutions, as I am constantly striving for self-improvement. If there is something you see about yourself or your life that needs changing, why wait until the New Year to go for it? I'm thinking most of it has to do with procrastination or with the new year being the time for beginnings, but personally, I take a "no time like the present" attitude. So when I needed a way to step up my workout routine last November, I didn't put it off until January 1. I just dove right in and started the Couch to 5K program.

Now I have never been a runner. Like most pudgy smart kids, my least favorite part of the school day was Gym. Running around the track for 20 minutes was not my idea of a good time, mostly because I hated running. First you start panting, then your legs start complaining, then you get that "my tongue is bleeding" sensation in your mouth until you finally have to stop because you are gasping for air. I've never had a problem walking; stick me on a treadmill and I'll go until next Tuesday, but I have never ever been a runner.

Which made my secret adult goal all the more unobtainable. Because I was always so lousy at sports (or really any physical activity), I have never been able to run a mile. Since so many of my friends consistently participate in 5Ks, marathons, and even triathlons, this wasn't a goal that I went around sharing. After all, it's embarrassing--never in my life having been able to run a mile. But when I started working out a lot last April, in the back of my head I always had a little voice saying, "wouldn't it be nice if I could one day run a whole mile?" So when my friend Andi suggested that we start the Couch to 5K program I was up for it. I needed to up my game, and maybe, just maybe, I could get myself to that mile mark.

Those first few weeks were hard. When week 3 demanded that I run for 3 minute increments, I thought I would fall right off the treadmill. But slowly, my body began to build up its endurance. Soon I was running for 5 minute intervals, then 8, and then, this week, I did the impossible. I ran for an entire mile! Sure, I'm not going fast (it took me 13 minutes), but you know what? I don't care! A year ago, I never would have thought I would be able to go that long, and the weird thing was, I felt strong. As in, physically strong. I have NEVER had a lot of confidence in my body's strength, it's always been my brain that I relied on, but at the end of that mile (despite sweating like crazy and doing the panting thing) I felt good. I felt strong. It's always great to achieve a goal, but for some reason this feeling of accomplishment is one of the best ever.

Next up: getting off the treadmill and running that mile outside. Let's just say that hills are not my friends, but hey, no time like the present, right?

No comments: