On the first day of the year, I wrote down a list of personal goals to accomplish– aka”New Year resolutions.” Writing things down makes me feel obligated to finish them, like an unchecked item on my to-do list. Most of the goals are about bettering myself, but things like “finish the blue jean quilt I started two years ago” found its way on the list, along with “complete grad school.”
One of those goals is to run a 5K. I chose this partly because when my physician asks me if I regularly exercise at my annual check up, I want to be able to proudly boast, “yes!” for the first time. Every year she asks me if I have an active lifestyle and I always humbly tell her that I walk my dogs, hoping that she’ll smile and write it down on my chart. Turns out that doesn’t really count as exercise. I needed to do something that gets my heart rate going. I should be sweaty and out of breath. The activity should challenge me. And I’ve found that running hits the spot.
I used to run in elementary school and I was on the cross country team in high school, but once I hit college, I stopped exercising all together. I’d like to say it’s because I got too busy, but I know it happened because I’m a lot lazier than I was in my youth. I prefer to watch season after season of the Gilmore Girls over and over again. Whoever bought me those DVD sets wanted me to be fat. I started taking yoga classes, but besides for the sun salutation repetition, I never really broke a sweat.
So I started theCouch to 5K training program back in February. It’s a free app on my smartphone that builds my running endurance slowly over eight weeks. A woman’s voice whispers in my ear to “get running” and when it’s time to “cool down.” I’ve gotten along with the app really well. We’re friends now.
I started training in the middle of winter, so I ran laps around an indoor track during my lunch hour at work. It was an amazing way to break up my day and force me out of my office chair where I tend to spend eight hours straight madly typing on a keyboard. The 30 minute workouts are the perfect amount of time for me to get my heart rate up and cool off in time to return to my desk without being a hot mess.
Since spring weather has started to reach Chicago, I’ve been running outside. I love using the Nike+ app to geo-track my runs. Looking at the distance on a map makes me feel so much more accomplished than counting laps. I’m finishing up week seven of the program, so I’m starting to get close to 3 miles of running nonstop. It feels good knowing that someone who couldn’t run 100 feet two months ago can now run for 30 minutes without stopping.
My first race is on April 14. I’m running Ry’s Run 5K at the college where I work. I’m nervous that I’ll be last to cross the finish line amongst a group of college athletes, but optimistic that I’ll be able to finish at all. I keep reminding myself that a 12 minute mile is a just as far as a 6 minute mile. I’ve just got to keep running!