So, it has been nearly two months since I told my doctor I was going to do a Couch to 5K program. School started, and I didn’t get off of the couch. I used my surgery as an excuse to stay on the couch a little longer. Then I got a cold. It’s difficult to run when you’re on the couch with a cold. (I’ve got the couch part down. Funny how I think about running only when it’s impossible for me to run. “Tra la la. I should be running, but it’s tricky when the anesthesia is wearing off, so here I lie. Fiddle dee dee!”)
My sister is a runner. When I told her that I was toying with the idea of running, she started calling to encourage me to put my shoes on.
Jen: So. How’s the running going?
Me: Well, I’ve got that surgery in two weeks and right now I need to shave these legs of mine and…
Jen: Ang. I think you’re okay to get started.
Me: I can’t hear you.
I set my start date for Tuesday. The day after Labor Day. My running day. Yes. Tuesday. And then I had to take Henry to the vet and get through some paperwork for school and figure out what I was going to wear for a meeting, and damnit. I finally reached the point where I was getting sick of my own excuses. SO, I watched this video again.
(It makes me cry Every Time I Watch It. I’ve watched My 120 Pound Journey about 25 times now, and I can barely think about it without my lip quivering. The most recent Shrek movie made me cry. Glee does it to me fairly often. Toy Story 3? I was a mess. I have no idea what’s happening over here.)
Yesterday morning I got out of the shower and put my “running” shorts on. I call them running shorts because they’re slippery. I then reached into my Drawer o’ Underpants and pulled out two sports bras. The first one was a nursing bra that was purchased to hold my lactaters back, and it always seemed to come unhooked at unfortunate times. (This is not an option at the track.) The second one? I purchased it during my sophomore year in college. Because I was really getting into the Jane Fonda workout. The year was 1990. My sports bra is 21 years old, and I am no longer the same shape that I was when I was 20, but I didn’t let that stop me. I wrestled myself into the thing and immediately felt an uncomfortable tightness in my chest. (I then said a little prayer that the bra would be the ONLY cause of tightness in my chest.)
Confession: When I think about running, I am terrified of two things: 1. That my heart will explode. 2. That I will pee myself.
I found my athletic shoes, loaded my running app onto the iPod, ate a banana while telling myself that the extra potassium will hug my heart and prevent it from exploding, and drove to the gym.
The first thing the app does is choose a tune from your iPod. Then it says something like, “Ding! Walk!” So, I walked. And as I walked, I watched the program count down to my first sixty seconds of Run. And when I had less than ten seconds to go before Run, I started freaking out. It’s happening. It’s happening.
I took off running like someone was chasing me, and it didn’t take long before I realized that I didn’t really know how to handle running. Three other people (who knew what they were doing, as evidenced by their cute running clothes) were running, and if I would have kept up at my “Someone is CHASING ME HOLY CRAP!” pace, I would have lapped them repeatedly. I slowed down to a jog and immediately felt a lot less frantic. “Ding! Walk!” Yes.
Because I’m a huge fan of experimentation, every time I got the “Ding! Run!” I practiced a new style of running in order to figure out what was the most comfortable. Do I use my heels? Do I run on the balls of my feet? Do I kick my legs backward? I tried everything, and sadly, I never found a style that felt right. (I *do* know that the heel-to-toe method felt very wrong.) If anyone was watching me, I’m sure I provided great entertainment as I sweated and panted and snorted and hopped and repeatedly replaced the ear buds that kept falling out of my ears.
When I noticed that I had only one more run followed by a five minute cool down walk, I got really excited to hear if I would be congratulated when the workout was over. I ran a little faster. I walked with a bit more bounce. And then the vocal track went out on my iPod, and I immediately knew that I was having a stroke. I was sweaty, my right leg felt like it was about to separate itself from my torso, I was seeing a few spots before my eyes, and I could no longer hear Cee Lo Green. It’s all over.
And then it WAS all over. Week One, Day One. Completed.
Tomorrow is Week One, Day Two. And just typing that makes it seem like a plan. I just need to figure out HOW to run. (Do you use your heels? Do you kick your legs up? I would hate to think that I’m running the exact way that will surely lead to a heart explosion or a bladder failure…)