Going from the couch, to completing my first 5k
That would accurately describe the extent of my physical activity prior to a few years ago.
As many of you know, last year I began my own “Pursuit of Healthiness” and made up my mind that one of my healthy goals would be to run a 5k. With no experience and a less than perfect physique for a 3.1 mile run, I turned to technology for help. I used the Couch to 5k app to whip myself into shape; beginning in April. The app set up a program with 30 minute workouts three times a week, spread out over 9 weeks.
Unfortunately, my schedule didn’t cater to such a strict exercise regimen. So, I ran in the mornings and the evenings when I had the time. At first the physical preparation was pretty brutal, and I wasn’t convinced I could do this. The last time I actively ran was when I played soccer, and that was 20+ years ago.
Something that I didn’t expect would come in handy was my meditation.
Meditation is about breathing, and this practice helped me keep a steady flow of air into and out of my body. It also helped me reach a Zen like mode while running. This allowed me to keep focus while putting aside any pain or struggles that came with training.
June 14 and the Downtown Detroit Riverfront 5k came faster than expected. I still had a few weeks left of Couch to 5k training, and I had only just cracked running a total of two miles. Fortunately, a few of my team members and colleagues were in the race along with me. I wouldn’t say I was nervous, more excited than anything. I really wanted to try to run the whole thing.
At the sound of the buzzer, about 500 of us took off.
Now, with Couch to 5k you start off with a brisk five minute walk. I forgot to do this and the first half mile didn’t go smoothly. I began to worry that I wouldn’t be able to finish. Fortunately, I began to find my rhythm and completed the first two miles. If only I would have had the time to finish the last few weeks of the program, the last mile would have been as smooth as the first two—if only. That final stretch was definitely a struggle.
I just focused on my breathing and kept telling myself “you can do it” and “keep moving”. I kept running. 42 minutes after that first step, I crossed the finish line with my team waiting to congratulate me. My legs felt like rubber, but I actually felt good.
So, if I can do this running thing, anyone can!
It is my hope to do another 5k in the future, and eventually work my way up to a 10k.
I learned that running is more about your personal goals, and not measuring yourself against everyone else. I also learned that running is a great way to keep in shape. That feeling of accomplishment is the motivation my body needs because I have now made running a big part of my exercise routine. When I miss a day, I begin to get the itch and desire to run. I even enjoy running at crazy times like 5 in the morning. Who would have thought?
Photo credit: A Healthier Michigan
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