My running journey started when I read on Facebook that a group of teachers I did Bootcamp with a couple of years ago entered their first triathlon. I found this depressing because if I had have kept up with my fitness, I could have been with them. Instead I was about 10kg heavier than when I finished bootcamp.
Then I went to the movies with a colleague I worked with last year. She had lost nearly 9kg by going to the gym and eating well and drinking less. She looked fantastic and just...glowing.
And I was watching the Dog Whisperer - and I knew I had to spend some more time exercising my dog. So we went for a walk using his methods of being "pack leader" and it was enjoyable - he wasn't pulling at the lead!
These things intersected and I knew it was "time" to get better health wise. So on March 29, 2011, I dusted of my Couch to 5K app on my iPhone that I attempted last year and started running (dog in tow!). The first week was 60 seconds of running, followed by 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. OMG!!! That just about killed me! It was such hard work - especially the last running interval! But I did it. And I did it twice more after that.
A trip to Sydney mucked up my schedule a bit, and it was nearly a week before I got to Week 2. I would have given before, written it off, but I was determined this time. So I just picked myself up and began Week 2. And haven't looked back!
Now - don't get me wrong - it is VERY hard work. Sweaty, red-faced, out-of-breath, sore knees, sore hips, sore shins, hard work. But I was determined. When my mind whispered "You can't do this" I yelled back "I so can!!!". I imagined the skinny, fit version of me! And the dog dragged me forward! By Week 5 I was running 8 minutes (twice without stopping) and faced the dreaded "Week 5, Day 3" - 20 minutes running, no walking!! The nemesis of the C25K program! A bit daunting, but with a postive mindframe and taking it nice and slow I did it. I'm not ashamed to admit to a bit of air-punching and happy-dancing :-)
A few things helped me tremendously:
- The C25K app on my iPhone - tells you when to walk and run and records your progress and uses the GPS to track your runs.
- A rocking playlist!! Now mine might be a big different to yours, but Maniac (Michael Sembello from Flashdance), Holding Out For a Hero (Bonnie Tyler from Footloose) and Alive & Brilliant (the amazing aussie Deb Conway) really psyched me up!
- Chi Running book by Danny Dreyer - really helps to run with that nice feeling instead of that painful feeling.
- The Facebook C25K page - amazing support and encouragement from a bunch of strangers!
So now I've "graduated" - finished the 9 week program and running 30 minutes without stopping. While I still find parts of the run (the warm up and especially the hills!) difficult, I have now experienced "runner's high"!! I have experienced the euphoria you get when you doubted yourself but overcame the doubt and achieved. I have experienced more energy and better sleep. I certainly "glow" for a few hours afterward and I'm even losing a few kilograms! And the dog loves it too!
So for anyone else out there who thinks it might be "time" to look after yourself and get healthier, I can strongly recommend the Couch to 5K program - the most important thing is to get off the couch and keep putting one foot in front of the other!