Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Run, Forrest... Run!

I'm not entirely sure how it happened, but I am currently training to run a 5k. Well, actually, I know exactly how it happened.

A friend of mine saw this "fun run" advertised and decided to sign up and start a team. (It's the Color Run.) She thought it was a charity run, but turns out it isn't... although they DO partner with local charities and donate some of the proceeds. She figured it would just be a fun walk/run to help a cause. (We've done a couple Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5k's in honor of my mom and another pal.)

So another friend and I signed up and joined her team for this event. For me, I figured it would be something to do with some pals, and there's supposedly a party at the finish line after. What the heck... walk and chat with a few friends, and get colored powder thrown at us, and then enjoy a couple cold brews, right? But then...

The other friend said she's going to train and run the 5k. RUN it! Seems she has a significant birthday coming up next year and running a 5k is on her bucket list. "I downloaded a Couch-to-5k app and started training," she said. WTF?? She wants to actually RUN this thing??

Personally, I believe you only need to run if someone is chasing you, you're chasing someone, or you're trying to catch a plane, train or bus. But I also love a challenge. And I hated to think of my friend being the only one in our group trying to run this 5k. So what does THIS monkey do? Downloaded the Couch-to-5k app and started training too.

Can I just tell you that I do not enjoy running? It's stupid. Seriously... why run unless you're in one of the above described situations that require it? So training for this 5k has not been much fun. At first, I thought I was gonna die on the treadmill when I had to run 3 minutes at a time. But I kept at it. When I got to week 5 of the training, I got stuck on day 2 (jog 8 minutes, walk 5 minutes, jog 8 minutes) for a couple weeks, because week 5 day 3 required just jogging 20 minutes. Are you kidding?? How do they expect a pudgy 40-something out-of-shape women to go from struggling to jog 8 minutes at a time to jogging 20?? Outrageous!

I do the training on a treadmill, and I generally keep it at a 9 incline. Anything lower feels strange to me because I've kept it inclined while just walking to burn more calories for a few years. My brisk walk pace is 4 mph, and my jogging pace was 5.5 mph on the 8 minute jogs. I could get through the first 8 minutes okay, but was gasping for air by the end of the second 8 minutes. Seriously, I had just about decided that I should not train if I was home alone... someone else needed to be there to dial 911 when I blew a coronary artery and my heart exploded.

But then I figured something out. While doing week 5 day 2 for about the 5th time, when I got to the second 8 minute jog, I lowered the incline to 8.5 and dropped my jog pace down to 5.3 mph. I had no trouble finishing the 8 minutes, and I kept jogging through the 5 minute cooldown, and then for another 2 minutes to make it 15 minutes. I was gobsmacked! So the next training day, I moved on to week 5 day 3... the dreaded 20 minute jog. I did the lower/slower 8.5/5.3 combo, and made it through the 20 minutes, PLUS jogged through the 5 minute cooldown! Amazing!! I don't think I've run for 25 minutes at a time in my entire life!

I breezed through week six and I start week 7 of the training program tomorrow... warmup walk and then jog for 2.5 miles or 25 minutes. Now, the only way to jog 2.5 miles in 25 minutes is if you run at 6 mph. No way in hell can I do that. So I'll just stick with my 5.3 mph and run longer to complete the 2.5 miles. If my math is right, it should take me about 28 minutes. I ran for 27 minutes earlier this week, so I know I can do it. I might even run through the 5 minute cooldown again too. And once I can run a whole 5k without stopping, maybe I'll work on bringing up my speed. What the heck... the 5k event isn't for another 8 weeks. Might as well keep plugging away.

Or tacos and beer afterward!
Once a week for about a month now, Mr. Remarkable Monkey and I have been joining a friend of his and the friend's wife for the weekly "run for brews" group they run with. We mostly do a walk/run combo for that, but have been trying to run longer each time. Mr. RM says he's just in it for the tacos and beer afterward. And that DOES make it a little fun.

But I still don't like running. When I told my mom I had run 27 minutes, she asked if I got a runner's high. Nope. Just got hot, sweaty and tired. And shin splints somethin' awful! (Although they're getting better.)  And you'd think I'd be dropping pounds like crazy with all this running, but no. Still pudgy. (And no, I'm not eating more just cuz I'm running. Except for the weekly post-brew-run tacos.)

Now, I'll tell you that my friends who started this whole thing with running the 5k are WAY behind in their training. I'm a little skeptical that they'll actually run it when the time comes, but I hope they'll keep at it and run. Me? The one who didn't wanna do it in the first place? I'm in too far not to run it now! I am determined, and after my success this past week, I know I can do it!

Will I keep running after this 5k event? It's possible, but I wouldn't lay odds on it. Unless I'm trying to catch a plane. Or someone is buying me tacos and beer after.

1 comment:

  1. I run almost every night. At most, only two to two and a half miles, but I love it now. Before the fire academy, I never ran. I was a rollerblader, but I like the stamina running is giving me during the daily work grind. I find myself being more productive and less fatigued. And when I am tired, a quick nap does wonders nowadays. Good job on the progress. And if you hate running, run outside with someone, especially in a place you have never run before or somewhere scenic. Makes the whole running thing a lot easier.