Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Couch to 5k
I am not a runner. I think it is a miserable sport. At different times throughout my life I have decided that I would take up running. I used to run around my neighborhood in Buffalo Junction. It was only about a mile, but it was a mile of struggle for me. One day 2 dogs chased me the whole mile back home. After that I decided to hang up my running shoes for good. I figured, why force it? I do not need to be a runner.
Last summer I had hip surgery (yes, I was only 20 years old. And no, I did not fall off a horse). It was quite a long recovery and is still not quite over. During the whole process my doctor told me that I would probably never be able to run again. He said I would not be able to just go for a jog on the pavement because it would be too painful and my hip would not be able to take it. My first reaction to this was "I don't care. I hate running." However, the more I thought about the news my doctor had given me the more stubborn I got. Who was he to tell me that I could never run again. I would run if I wanted to and my hip would just have to take it.
So this semester my roommate, Meggie, and I challenged ourselves to Couch to 5k. We really wanted to run a 5k, but neither of us are runners and 3.1 miles seemed very daunting. Also, over the past three years of living together Meggie and I have undertaken many projects, but not ever completed them. We struggle with follow through. I don't think either of us truly believed we would actually run a 5k by the end of the semester.
We started the first week of training. All we had to do was alternate 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes. We passed with flying colors. By week three we were jogging for 3 minutes at a time. Honestly, I thought I was going to die. 3 minutes has never seemed so long. Meggie and I were slightly embarrassed as we drug our feet around the indoor track. It didn't help that all these other students were up there zooming by us not even breaking a sweat.
You should never tell someone that you are training for a 5k. Most people will say, "You are training for that? Maybe I will run it with you, but I don't need to train." or, "I can't believe you need to train for that! It's only like 3 miles." and my personal favorite, "Do you mean half-marathon?" I would respond, "O yes, I did mean half-marathon. Minus 10 miles though. So, like a 5k." These reactions are not encouraging.
Against all odds, Meggie and I made it through the 9 weeks of rigorous training. After about week 5 we considered quitting at each new additional minute of the training. But we didn't! So we signed up for the Sunset Sprint 5k in Grove City. We were very excited about this particular 5k for two reasons. 1- we wouldn't have to travel to it and 2- we would get cute t-shirts. After all that hard work, the t-shirt part was very important to us.
About an hour before the 5k, the panic set in. We were both very nervous, and then we were embarrassed that we were so nervous for a 5k. It was a very vicious cycle and a miserable hour. We ate carbs for dinner, and drank a lot of water and we figured we were as ready as we would ever be. Our only goals were to finish and to not stop and walk at all. Once we got to the starting line we added a goal: we had to beat the old man wearing jeans, or "Jeansy" as we affectionately called him.
Mile 1 went fairly well. It was mostly up hill, but we did it in under 10 minutes and we were feeling good. Mile 2 was a bigger challenge. I thought it would never end. Meggie wouldn't let me walk at all. It seemed like we had been running on that road for hours and hours not a mere 20 minutes. By about 2.5 miles I was sure we would die. I had no idea where we were and it seemed like we were light years away from school. But we were still in front of Jeansy. Then I suddenly recognized my surroundings and I got a second wind. We raced down hill to the finish line. Orange slices have never tasted to delicious. We sat on the curb eating our oranges and feeling so accomplished. Jeansy slowly came down the hill about 10 minutes later. He didn't look so good.
So, we did it! Take that hip doctor. Now I never have to run again.