Couch to 5K: Week 4


Last week I was supposed to repeat week 3 of the Couch to 5K.  Thanks to… well, life… I only ran once last week.  Rather than waste the time and repeat week 3 again, I decided to go ahead and try week 4.  After all, I could always go back if it turned out to be too tough.

I spent all day yesterday worrying about my planned evening run, and I was even more worried when my daughter came down with a slight fever.  I could still run, but I would be doing it without the company, support, and cheerleading from my awesome husband.  He got home and encouraged me out the door, where I was relieved to find that it was a cool day with a nice breeze.  Cooler weather always makes running easier for me.

Week 4 is the typical five minute brisk walk warmup, 3 minutes running, 90 seconds walk, 5 minute run, 2.5 minute walk, a repeat of the runs & recovery walks, and a 5 minute cool down walk.  The warmup walk felt good and I was feeling good about the first run when it came.  It was three minutes, and by the end I was definitely breathing hard and starting to sweat despite the cool air.  I was super thankful for the 90 second walk that followed, and I was really glad I managed to get my breathing back under control.

The next run was the first five minute run, and I was trying really hard not to get scared.  It’s by far the longest I’ve ever run.  I made it through the first four minutes without a problem, but the last minute was really tough.  I was feeling so heavy and slow.  I was determined to finish though, and I did.  The next walk period was 2.5 minutes, and I barely got my breathing and form back in line before the second 3 minute run.  This one was harder because just a few strides in my left hip flexor did something weird and I was having some sharp pains.  I thought about stopping, but I really wanted to be able to do this.  I slowed my pace a little bit and tried to concentrate on a long stride and good form, which seemed to help a little.  All the same, I was more than glad when the 3 minutes was up.

That last five minute run?  I was really worried about it and I was already giving myself permission to stop early if I needed to.  Although I do think it’s a good idea not to beat yourself up and to listen to your body if you need to stop, I worry when I start making deals with myself because I always feel like I’m giving myself the chance to quit, and once the thought of quitting is in my head sometimes I’ll stop before I have to.  The second five minute run (and the last run of the day) started, and immediately the pain was back.  I was frustrated and determined to finish.  I thought really hard about my form.  I tried to push off with my toes, and to lean my upper body forward a little bit like I read about on a runners website.  I kept my head up, tried to keep my arms loose, and I just did what I could to breathe as deeply as possible.  The breathing is where I really struggle, so about halfway through the run I’d totally lost control of my breathing and was struggling through short, shallow breaths.  There comes a point for me where I just can’t get the breathing back under control, and unfortunately I’d reached it.

At this point, about 3.5 minutes into that last run, I really wanted to quit.  It was the oddest thing though.  My legs were aching, my hip was hurting, my chest was tight, my throat and lips were dry from the shallow breaths, and I was very close to crying.  My brain gave me permission to quit, and I really wanted to… but apparently my brain wasn’t driving anymore.  I was mentally screaming to just stop, to give up.  I was giving myself every excuse to walk the rest of the way, but my legs just kept going and my arms just kept moving and my lungs and heart just kept pumping… and suddenly it was over.  I was done.  I’d run for 16 whole minutes… if you add the sections all up.

I felt noodley, and the cool down walk felt too short.  I felt pretty bad after the run, a little dizzy thanks to my shallow breathing.  For about an hour after I got home (and slowly but purposefully stretched) I felt like I might be sick.  I don’t know if it was just a bad day or if I fueled badly for the run… but I ending up laying in the floor for a while.  The idea of eating anything made me want to die, so I skipped dinner and just tried to stretch as much as I could.  I was a little stiff as I headed up to bed, but I slept really well and thankfully so did the little one.

I didn’t think I was going to finish.  I told myself it was alright if I didn’t, that I didn’t have to, that no one would even have to know.  But I DID finish.  It was really hard, and I really didn’t want to do it.  I struggled and cried and hurt, and I did it anyway.  And today?  Today I feel amazing.  I am so glad I pushed myself.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew I wasn’t pushing hard enough to hurt myself or cause long term issues.  I knew I could do it.  This feeling?  This is strength.

I am strong.  Superhero strong.

Advertisements

7 Responses

  1. Congratulations! That is awesome. You must be so proud that you persevered!

  2. Way to go!!!! I always say this running game is all mental!

    Just a side note, if you feel like your breathing is too huffy, just slow your pace down and take shorter strides. It really helps and you may find your groove a lot quicker. For me, I realized that I can’t be a fast runner. I need my breath to be more even and in control. Or else, I worry that I’ll have to call 911 😉

    • Yeah… I have issues with pacing because I always feel like I am going so slow that at any moment I’ll start moving backward. I thought I was SO slow out there yesterday, but I managed a 14:00 pace which, for me, is super fast!

  3. yay – soo proud of you!!

  4. You totally rock!

  5. YAY! So inspiring!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: