This week I hit the 7 week mark on my C25K running app. This must be some kind of psychological touchstone for me because when preparing this post, I discovered that the last time I posted about running was the LAST time I hit that same 7 week mark back in October! And I took almost the same pictures this time. How weird is that?
For those not familiar with it, C25K (Couch to 5K) is a running program for novices (those of us who have been on the couch!) in which you practice walk-run intervals for eight weeks. You gradually reduce the "walk" intervals and increase the "run" intervals until you work yourself up to running 30 minutes straight without walking, the length of time it would normally take to run a 5K (3 miles). While there are many phone apps available, I've been pretty happy with the free app C25K by Zen Labs. You just plug in your headphones, set the app, and walk/run until the nice lady tells you to stop. It's a good idea to have a video or three to watch while you run. I've found that the more distracted I am, the better I run!
Anyway, it's sort of telling that here it is JULY and I'm back at the same point where I was in October. What does that mean? Well, it means that while I was headed toward my goal last fall, I didn't make it. It means that at once again, I had to back off on my running and re-group due to injury, discouragement, or the host of psychological barriers that I impose on myself. You know the negative self-talk: I'm not a runner, I'm a wimp, I'm too tired, I'll do it tomorrow...In short, I've let myself off the hook far too often. That's why I didn't meet my goal last fall.
So I gave myself a stern lecture and have been back at it with renewed dedication for some time now, repeating days of running until I can do that particular day's run without feeling like I'm going to keel over. After all, the only person I'm competing with is myself, so it doesn't matter how long it takes me to get to the 5K level.
At this point, I'm up to running 25 minutes comfortably with no stopping. I feel like this time I've made a big improvement because I'm no longer getting the side stitches and cramps that have hampered me on this journey. I can feel that my stamina has improved. I can honestly say that I'm enjoying each run, and that's something I haven't been able to say on past attempts.
With all of this, I've decided that I'll never be able to run an actual outdoor 5K with other people. I'm OK with that. I really don't want to compete with anyone else. First of all, I'm pretty sure I couldn't socialize and run at the same time. But more importantly, I don't want to deal with bugs, rough terrain, extreme hot or cold weather, or any of the other perils of outdoor running. On the treadmill, I can run in comfort, watch HGTV, and not worry too much about falling down. Treadmill running is really the perfect sport for an introvert like me!
Long story short: To reach my goal, I only have 5 more minutes to add to my run time. At this point, I'm feeling really good about my odds of achieving it at some point, SOONER than later this time!