Week 4: Couch to 5K

What a week! Ups, downs, sunshine, snow. Wait what? Yep, this rainy city actually got snow for once. And by once I mean for one day. And I mean just an inch or so but snow does cause some mass confusion. It also makes running a bit challenging. 

So much for using my new shoes on Sunday! I mean, I could have, but I didn’t want them to get all wet and gross. Also, my youngest stepdaughter was visiting and wanted to come with me. I wasn’t exactly sure how this would all work since she’s not all that fit and scootering or rollerblading were obviously out. We set out despite the challenges and I was so proud of Jade! My goal was run 3, walk 3 x10 after a warmup. She managed to do the first couple of sets with me which was awesome! After that I did a lot of running ahead and back and ahead again. And I put Jade in charge of keeping track of my time. This consisted of a lot of yelling back and forth and waving arms, but it was cute and sweet.

I only managed to get 7 reps in but by the end, my inner thighs were burning with the efforts of trying to keep myself from slipping and falling. And Jade’s feet and (per her) butt were done. Importantly I managed to go about 3.5 miles despite the lack of reps. 

On Tuesday I had the scary task of running 15 minutes at a time. *gulp* Let me remind you, pulverize it in your brain, that I could barely run two minutes at a time about 4 weeks ago and hadn’t actually run in about two years. So run 15, walk 5, run 15, walk 5 was my goal. The day was overcast but warm (48-52°F) and tons of people were out.

I don’t know what it is about running in the ‘burbs like I do, but people are super friendly. Like oddly friendly. I mean, last week a guy stopped me to whisper conspiratorially that up ahead was a raccoon in the tree line. And yes, I saw the cutest little ringed-bandit waddling around the base of some trees. This week I can’t tell you how many people I waved to, mouthed hello, smiled at, etc. Honestly it kind of warms my heart every time. Yes, some decent, down-to-earth folks still exist!

Anyways, on Tuesday my first 15 minutes felt like torture. I had to walk for about 30 seconds 10 minutes into it, but I picked that lost time up at the end. Strangely, my legs felt AMAZING afterwards. Like air. Like 8-year-old-can-run-the-entire-playground legs. What?? About that time I passed the cutest tiny, ancient Asian man. He had his bright yellow racing glasses on, earbuds in, tall socks on, and was doing this bow-legged/pigeon-toed speed walk in the opposite direction.

After my five minute walk, I turned around and headed back. I could faintly see the Asian racer ahead and thought to myself, “You have got to pass this guy. You’re agonizingly slow but you cannot be beat my a man who looks like he’s 80 years old!” Slowly but surely I ate up the difference and kept rolling, past the waterfall, under the bridge, past the playground, and found some energy in my legs to turn up the speed and almost managed to go 1.25 miles in that last 15. And then to top it off, I had a nice conversation with the homeless guy who always is either reading a book or napping by the river when I shuffle past. What a great day.

Wednesday seemed to be just the opposite. Although it was warm again and the sun was even shining, nothing seemed to go right! I was set to do a run 5, walk 2, repeat x5. Somehow it took me 50 minutes to go 3.5 miles where the previous day, I did 4.25 miles in an hour. I just could not get my legs going. Controlling my breathing was difficult. I was super tired and hungry. The wind was blasting. It was just awful.

On the upside, the way the sun caught the green moss on the empty trees was breathtaking. And I also saw my Asian inspiration from the previous day and he gave me a little wave.

For the next two days my body complained about Wednesday. All my joints ached. Weird muscles were tight. I felt horrible.

But to end the week positively I finally got a chance to run with my friend who convinced me to do this darn 5K! We set out, despite a constant drizzle, and it was amazing what running with someone else will do for you! We’re paced well together, in other words, both slow but steady. We did a run 10, walk 5, repeat x2 and we both felt great about it. The only downside was we were both soaked to the bone and freezing by the end.

Despite that misery, Tarah was like, “I know this is just me feeling good with a little bit of a runner’s high, but this race is just the beginning of race season. I mean, we could enter in a few and see how our times improve!” I had to laugh. And who knows, maybe this will turn into a “thing”. But for now, it’s just one run at a time.

Running track of the week, decided on by Tarah and me: “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson


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