My First 5

Kiometres, that is. Yesterday I ran, as I do 2-3 times a week. There was a break in the weather so I headed out. I was mentally preparing myself during the 5 minute warm-up walk, telling myself to not burn out during the following 5 minute free-form run, but to run as much of it as I could. Well, the 5 minute free-form run came around and I ran the entire 5 minutes. And, I didn’t burn out! I kept telling myself, “pace yourself, you’re only just warming up” and I actually listened! The drills started, 30 seconds of walking followed by 60 seconds of slow running. I also kept mental tabs on that key word, slow. Whenever I felt myself getting a little too quick, I reined it in, knowing that I would have my chance to let loose after the drills. 

After I had done the interval training, it was time for another free-form run, 10 minutes this time. Ryder was just not having a bar of it. After failing to keep him distracted with a flower, I had to stop halfway through that 10 minutes. Thankfully I remembered to pause my gadgets this time. A quick cuddle and a scrounge around in my handbag for my emergency lolly stash and we were good to go again. 

Only, I just couldn’t get back into the running rhythm I had going. I had turned around and was running in the opposite direction to what I usually do, right in the middle of one of the bush tracks I frequent on my runs. I had never run this direction before and I felt disoriented. I then quickly found out why I always feel so fast coming from the footpath to the gravel track, there is a fair incline there! I ended up walking for the remaining few minutes of that “leg”, which was followed by a 5 minute stretch and recovery period. Knowing that I had already stopped when I wasn’t supposed to, I decided to run through that stretching break to make up for lost time. I quickly got back into my groove and was chugging along nicely when the final leg of my run started. Another 10 minute free-form. I made myself keep moving for this final 10 minutes, as I glanced at my watch I had done just over 4km. I thought of Kate and all the other fabulous OpMovers and I let my legs fly. 

Even when my training program said “mission accomplished”, I kept running. Even when I reached the point where I usually cross the road and walk up my driveway, I kept running. I was so close. 4.89km. I could do this. I was going to crack that elusive 5km. But then, disaster. One wheel dipped ever so slightly off the side of the path, jolting me back to reality. Thankfully I stopped instantly, without tipping the pram over or careening towards the busy road just metres away. I made sure Ryder was OK and I kept going, walking now. I had only taken a few steps when I glanced at my watch again. 5.00. It hadn’t beeped and flashed my time for that “lap” yet, so I took a few more steps until it did. I was elated when the screen changed and I turned back towards home. My final distance was 5.07km, completed in 52 minutes and 18 seconds. My first 5k, with my son on board.

I was on a high as I climbed my front steps and walked through the front door. Upon realising that we were home, Ryder reminded me that he was not very happy and very tired. Laying beside him as he fell asleep, I burst into tears as the gravity of what i had just achieved hit home. I shared my experience with the amazing OperationMove group, which led to more tears as the encourgement and congratulations poured in.

 

It may seem strange to become so emotional over running of all things, I certainly wasn’t prepared to be so completely overwhelmed either. But that feeling of “I actually made it!” was just too hard to ignore. 251 days to go.

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And So, I Run

I have this thing I like to do. I lace up my shoes, strap Ryder into the pram, set my watch and phone, then I head out the door. With music in my ears and a smile on my face, I run. I may not run far and I may not run fast, but boy, what a rush. The wind in my hair, my legs pumping rhythmically, the world laid out before me, I feel free. I feel alive.

It is Sunday morning and I have run twice this week. I was hoping for three but the weather has been windy and wet all week, easing up enough to squeeze a run in on Friday afternoon. It returned with a vengeance yesterday and as the day rapidly approaches noon it is looking less and less likely I will run today. If I were running solo I wouldn’t mind so much if I got caught in a sudden downpour, but it is not something I am willing to chance with my son “on board”. My usual running track has a tendency to flood in parts and be ridiculously slippery in other parts after wet weather, so maybe it is not worth the risk any way.

I am now at the halfway point of my Couch to 5 kilometre (C25k) program. To date, my longest run has been 4.41km, which took 48:52. That was on Monday. My fastest time for 1 kilometre so far is 8:20, though my fastest average pace is 11:05. Before I started I couldn’t even run for 30 seconds. All of these times have been while running with the pram, so it will be interesting to see how my times compare to running solo. You may be wondering why I shared all those boring numbers with you. This post will serve as a record of sorts, a post to reflect upon as I finish my C25K program and move onward and upward.

Onward and upward to what? Well, on Sunday the 1st of June 2014, I am entering a half-marathon. That’s 21.1km for those who aren’t into this running business. This may seem like a lofty goal when I cannot even run 5km yet, but it is giving me the motivation I need to keep going. To continue with my C25K program, to better myself. It is giving me focus and direction, something to aim for when I’d rather stay in bed.

There are four weeks left of the C25K program, so weather permitting I should be finished halfway through October. This is perfect timing as I am going to Perth for my birthday over the weekend of the 25th -28th and I would love to run 5km in Perth. Once I finish the C25K program I will be launching straight into a beginner’s half-marathon training plan upon my return from Perth. I’ll be stoked if I can run 10km by the end of the year.

I run for many reasons, fitness being just one of them. I run to clear my head, to shake a bad mood, to celebrate good news, to reward myself. I run to let my brain “switch off” for a while and my feet to take over. I run to feel my body doing things I never thought possible. I run for the joy of feeling like I am invincible, like I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. I run to remind myself that I am only human and humans can make mistakes. I run for the surprised feeling I get when I run further than I thought I could, that sense of pride when I push myself that little bit further. I run for that overwhelming sense of happiness when I finish a run and the endorphins kick in. I run for the feeling of accomplishment when I return home, sweat running down my face and muscles twitching.

There are a lot of ways I could express myself, vent my frustrations or get fit. There a lot of situations in life where I feel like I don’t have control and am learning how to control the situations that I can. Sometimes things just don’t make sense. And so, I run.

Had it not been for Kate and her fabulous #OperationMOVE team, I would have never discovered the joy of running. To Kate and all the crew, words cannot describe my love for you all. Thank a million times over for the support, encouragement and JFDI attitude you all provide on a daily basis.