Two days ago, I ran more than 3 miles straight. If you would have told me that a year ago, I would have laughed in your face.
I used to absolutely despise running. But now I actually look forward to it. So… what changed?
My brother did track and field in high school, so naturally I tried it out, too. I showed up for the first day of practice in fifth grade, and at the end we had to run laps through the high school. I hated it. My mom picked me up and I told her I wasn’t going to another practice ever again.
Then, in the summer of 2012, Sean was living with me and my parents for his internship. I remember he would go running a few times a month and I was really jealous. I wanted to have something similar that I could do for exercise.
So, one afternoon I strapped on my old tennis shoes and decided to go for a run. But I didn’t know how, per se. I didn’t warm up and I start out going way too fast. By the time I had gone 1/10th of a mile, I was tired. I walked for a while and then ran again, but I went an even shorter distance before collapsing. I said under a tree with bad asthma for about 15 minutes before I was able to get myself home.
After this episode, I was convinced I would never be a runner.
Then I started my anti-anxiety meds and gained a ton of weight in not a ton of time. It was time to get serious about exercise, and running is the cheapest way to do so.
So I downloaded Couch to 5K. I had to do the first week’s worth of runs about five times before I stuck with it, but at least I was running.
I tried to run with Sean a few times, but I started to feel self-conscious. He was very encouraging and didn’t do anything to directly make me feel self-conscious, but I could tell he was running much slower than normal. Plus, I didn’t really want anyone to witness how bad of a runner I actually was. It was embarrassing.
For the first week, you’re supposed to do a 5-minute warm-up walk, then jog for one minute, walk for a minute and a half. The first time I did it, I had to stop during the second minute of walking. Literally bent over with my hands on my knees trying to breathe. Embarrassing.
I know we all have to start somewhere, but I didn’t want anyone (even my now-fiance) to witness the beginning. I wanted him to see the end and be proud of me.
Plus, he kept trying to talk to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love talking to Sean. But while I run, I don’t want to have to think about anything. I just want to run. Trying to have a conversation was way too distracting.
So, I decided I needed to go for runs on my own. Which is why it took me a few tries to really get going with the Couch to 5K plan, but eventually I held myself accountable and finished it.
I can’t run with music playing; it’s too easy to tune out. So I decided to listen to Stuff Mom Never Told You while running. Not only am I being distracted from all of the pain of running, but I’m also learning some really interesting things.
And, as every runner knows, I learned that it’s all a mental game. No one really likes running. You just have to tell yourself to keep going.
So, on Sunday, my goal was to run from one traffic light to another. These traffic lights are a mile apart, so this wasn’t a small feat.
But when I got back to the first traffic light, I decided to keep going. I was going to run until I hit two and a half miles.
Then, when I got to two and a half miles, I realized I could make it to five kilometers. And bam, I did.
So now that I’ve run 5K, I’m running in a 5K. My coworker and I are participating in the Zombie Dash this Saturday, and I’m terrified but also super excited.
Wish me luck!
Jenn @ OA and BL&D says
That’s awesome! Good luck!!!
I have so many things to say about this, but basically I totally get where you’re coming from. I’ve gone through periods of being in shape and out of shape since high school and I’ve always been able to run a mile but not much more than that. Because I also have lung issues, it is NOT simply a matter of “run through the pain.” I have to work up slowly to give my lungs time to improve. Couch to 5K and 5K to half marathon plans are the best! Because they give you explanations and pacing and how to work up slowly.
I also used to be super self conscious about people seeing me when I was out of shape. I wheeze and it sounds like I’m dying, but now I’ve gotten to the point where I’m proud of it rather than embarrassed. Sure I sound terrible, but I’m still going, aren’t I?
Thanks, Jenn!! Once I finished my 5K on Saturday I’m going to try 5K to 10K. Eep! Hoping I can keep going. 🙂
Ashley C. says
Good luck in your 5k!! and doing the 5K to 10K training!
I know your pain! I ran this past weekend for the first time since January. It wasn’t easy. The time before January was a half marathon in October. I was so burnt out from training from the half that I couldn’t bring myself to run, among other health issues.
It’s always the “start” that is the hardest. I feel like I’m back at square one since it’s been so long since I’ve ran. I do know that once you’re past the “I feel like my lungs are going to explode out of my chest” feeling and you’re in running shape, it’s a great feeling and runs become enjoyable. Just getting back to that point can be tough.
This was basically a long way of telling you thanks for sharing. I *know* I’m not the only one who has felt self-conscious running but it’s comforting to read other’s experiences.
Thanks so much, Ashley! I’m glad I’m not the only one. 🙂 And awesome work with the half marathon! I’m super impressed. At this point I could never imagine myself doing that, but who knows? Before I couldn’t see myself doing a 5K, and look at me now!
This post warms my heart! I love running! I’ve taken a step back from long-distance running and after 4 marathons I’m doing a Couch to 5K. Its been humbling but renewing my love for it. Good luck with your race! I can’t wait to hear about it! And don’t be suprised if you catch that “race bug!” :/
Thank you! I’m a bit terrified because there will be 300 zombies chasing is, but that’s just more motivation! 🙂
Cynthia @craftoflaughter says
GO GIRL! Running is MY time, I have so many wonderful conversations in my head, solve the problems of the world (or at least my corner of the world), and work out the latest block in my novel. I run “15 minutes at a time” to keep going….I’ll just go for 15 more minutes….
That’s so awesome! I feel like I need an easy way to write things down when I run, but that’s just not going to happen. 🙂
Donnica Smalls says
Good luck on your 5k! I’ve started and quit the couch to 5K program twice, but it is something I am very determined to complete.
Thank you!! You can definitely do it! 🙂
Shann Eva says
So Awesome! I’ve heard a couple people mention the couch to 5K and I’ve got to check it out. I’d love to get my endurance up so I could run a 5K without collapsing in the middle.
Do it! It’s a free app! I would have collapsed within the first half mile beforehand. It’s great for getting your endurance up!