Accidental Couch To 5K

How did this happen? After years of obnoxiously informing anyone who would listen that I have never, do not, won’t consider participating in a regular workout program I’ve made a huge liar out of myself.

Z was home for the summer. T was in school in the morning. There is a local park we were frequenting with C that has a lake with a two mile loop around it. Suddenly I was fast walking two miles five days a week. Within a couple of weeks I was running part of the two miles. I ran a mile without stopping for the first time in my entire life. Eventually I ran two miles. Then two and a quarter.

It all sounds so simple when I type it out. It hasn’t been. I’ve learned when I’m tired I jog much slower. I’ve learned when I have my period I walk a lot more. I’ve forced myself to get out of bed while hating every moment. I’ve walked out the front door planning to jog the whole time yet barely making it a mile before needed to walk, hating myself for not sucking it up. There have been weeks at a time with zero progress. As I mysteriously continue to get heavier there has been terrible frustration and body image issues. I don’t think of myself as a strong person, but I can be stubborn. I’ve hated a lot of this exercising deal, but I’m in competition with myself. I get angry and somehow the anger keeps me going.

A week ago I took a spill while on my morning jog. Our neighborhood is old and the sidewalks buckle from winters of snow and ice as well the roots of huge trees that worm their way underneath. I caught my toe on a square of concrete two inches higher than the rest of the walk. The whole time I was falling in slow motion I was sure I would right myself. Then I was sliding along the ground, tears of embarrassment welling in my eyes. Thankfully it happened at the tail end of the workout. I was a block from home. Made it all the way inside before a tear fell.

I was pissed and discouraged and done. But somehow I forced myself to go out again.

On Saturday Z and his parents, who were visiting, took the boys to the farmers market in the morning. I was able to have a cup of coffee before heading out which always helps my stamina. I jogged two and a quarter miles without walking by the time I got home and was feeling proud of myself. The car wasn’t back yet and on a whim I kept going.

One of the students in my class this semester has been a long distance runner her whole life. She was giving me tips earlier in the week and she told me that a 5K was 3.1 miles. I was less than a mile from that distance. What if I ran 5K? Could I actually do it? Turns out I could do it with an overall pace of 11:44. I shocked the hell out of myself. In about two and a half months I went from being unable to jog at all to completing a 5K. The whole runners high thing still hasn’t kicked in for me, but man the excitement and pride I felt at that accompaniment stuck with me for the rest of the day.

If I could run a 5K on my own what about actually doing a race? On October 6th there is a 5K in my neighborhood. The path includes part of the route I take every day. If a gal with an anxiety disorder is going to do a 5K really there isn’t a more comfortable scenario possible.

The snag is that weeks ago Z told me he had an obligation that morning. So childcare would have to be arranged for the boys.  I wouldn’t have a cheering section at the end, I’d be going solo. But going solo is kind of perfect for me. My social anxiety is pretty crippling. I prefer to go to restaurants and movies alone over with groups of people. Being able to fly under the radar, to slip into the race and just quietly walk home after sounds appealing.

I just signed up. Paid the fee. Included my shirt size, because I’ll get a long sleeved tech shirt, whatever that is.

I’m doing this. I’m participating in life. Even if it scares the shit out of me.

photo (4)

About a week after the fall. It’s one of the best bruises I’ve gotten in a long time.

photo (3)

I’ve even gotten a rather unattractive moisture wicking hat for winter with a clever little hole for a ponytail. We had our first frost yesterday. For the last two mornings it has kept my ears toasty warm.

photo (5)

This girl just ran 5K and was enormously proud of herself.

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17 thoughts on “Accidental Couch To 5K

  1. 1) that shirt sounds awesome.
    2) you’re awesome for doing this.
    3) if we lived in the same place I would totally babysit.
    4) how did I just realize that your url is unhonest, which is like the opposite of the actual blog title, and therefore incredibly funny?
    anyway that’s my four cents.

    • 1) A picture of the shirt will be posted after I get it.
      2) Thanks.
      3) You rock.
      4)This makes me happy because I’m kind of ambivalent about the url. uncomfortablyhonest.com was already taken. Glad you think it’s funny. I worry it is just confusing.

      • I think the URL is great. It’s got a nice double meaning. Honesty is hard, and always filtered through our perceptions, so unhonest seems just as honest as uncomfortably honest. And just as straight forward.

  2. Just found your blog after a friend shared it on Facebook and really enjoyed this post.
    I hope you enjoy the 5K and that you’ll post about it when you are done. Over the years, I’ve composed this little running ditty that goes through my head several times a mile:
    When you feeling like quitting, walk.
    When you feel like walking, slow down.
    When you feel like slowing down, maintain your speed just a few more seconds.
    When you’ve maintained your speed for awhile, speed up a bit.
    When you’ve reached your top speed, sprint.

    Does it work? I guess that depends on your definition of work. But it does help me remember that it’s just running, not, like, brain surgery or salsa dancing, and it keeps my mind from telling my body that it could be at home snuggled in bed or reading a book or something equally luxurious.

  3. YAY 5k! I did my first last Feb, and then did two others. While I’ve realized that I’m much more of a yoga-type person, I REALLY am glad I did the 5k’s. I am proud of how hard I worked to run and the sense of accomplishment is great! Good luck!

      • Once I did a ‘regular’ 5k I then signed up for ones with themes (a Color Run and a Mud Run). I really liked the mud run because it was an obstacle course and I did it with this mishmash group of women who were focused on being ridiculous and helping each other through the obstacles. From now on if I decide to do another 5k I think I’ll stick with the mud runs. Because it made me feel like a kid, when running was for fun!!!

    • Listen, I would have said the exact same thing three months ago. You totally could do it. The conditions just have to be right, you have to somehow trick yourself. It took me 36 and a half years. You could totally do it.

  4. I admire your moxie. I hate hate hate working out while it’s going on, but feel great and accomplished afterwards. Except running. Running always sucks. I walked/jogged lightly my first 5K in June. I’m pretty sure my average mile is around 18 minutes. Way to go, you! from the lady who can’t understand anyone who even remotely enjoys running.

  5. I absolutely love this post. I love your complete honesty. I love that you have accomplished so much. I love that you signed up for a 5k. I love that you shared it with the world. I especially love that you didn’t let your bruised leg (ego), stop you. I actually struggle with a blood disorder. Basically the same symptoms as extreme anemia. So running is always so hard for me because I don’t have the stamina. But I signed up for a 5k (Color Me Rad) and it’s Saturday the 28th. I have always struggled with trying to stay healthy but my disease always gets the best of me. You’re blog post gave me some self confidence and I’m going to push myself that much harder. I may have to walk/jog this first 5k but I will keep going so next year I can run the whole thing! I wish you all the best of luck and I admire you for the accomplishment!

    • Oh good for you! That is awesome! And no matter how and if you get to the finish line what is important is you are trying to take care of yourself. You have totally inspired me! Thank you so much for sharing your story.

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