Well folks, I have decided to take up running. I know, I know, it's not a big deal to most of you, but I happen to be that wimp in the back of PE saying "But I can't... my knees... and I have exercise induced asthma... and I'm PMSing... and I'm pretty sure I'm working on a bit of the flu..."
It's true that I HAVE had knee problems since college, when I spent at least 30 minutes 5-7 times a week in the gym on the hill-climber thing without really working up to it or stretching. But I have made that much too much of an excuse. Couple that with my "sit for 8 hours a day" job, and I've gotten a bit tubby, it's true. I think it took me a while to really admit that I was not at all happy with the way I look. When you gradually put on weight, it's easy to say "it's just a fat day" or "well it's that time of the month" or "well I DO eat a lot of Ramen, and you know how much sodium that has..."
Well, no more excuses. I want to get healthy. November was my first month off of birth control because I decided I no longer wanted to deal with artificial hormones raging through my body at all times. We're not trying for a baby though... that's always the first thing people ask me. We're using the Fertility Awareness Method and barrier methods to remain pregnancy-free. One of the reasons I want to get in better shape and lose some weight is that I WOULD like to become pregnant in the next year or two. I do feel that it would be in my best interest, as well as the best interest of any future spawn, to be my healthiest.
Bryan and I are trying to eat healthier. We have decided that if we are going to buy beef (which we rarely do, maybe a couple of times a year) we are going to only buy grass-fed organic beef. We'd like to move to organic chicken as well, but it's just so EASY to buy frozen chicken breasts at Costco. We're trying though.
After talking to our friends Keith and Bethany Muhlenkamp at our Life Group this week, I realized that the way that I had been running for 25 years was probably not the CORRECT way to run. I'm still not sure that I'm doing it perfectly (in fact I know I am not, and probably look like a duck) but at least now I know not to land heel-first. That alone has made running easier.
Bethany told me she was doing the C25K plan, or Couch to 5k plan. In 9 weeks, running three times a week, you slowly progress to running a 5k straight. It's an interval program, so today being my first day, I walked 5 minutes, and then alternated running 60 seconds and walking 90 seconds, and ended with a 5 minute cool down. I will do this 2 more times and then slowly increase my running.
Although this is my first C25K run, it's not my first run since I decided to give it the good ol' college try. On Thursday when Bryan went out for his evening run I asked to come along with him, and to my surprise (after realizing I was running incorrectly) I was able to run about 1/3 of a mile without stopping! That may sound ridiculous to some of you, but before this running-form revelation, I was only able to run about 100 feet before my knee would sort of "slip" and I would sort of awkwardly limp. Being able to run at all felt awesome!!
I mentioned on Facebook that I was planning on trying the C25K plan, and my friend from back home in Chicago, Shannan, pointed me to her blog where she charted her progress with C25k in 2008. It was really inspirational!!! One the last run of the program her hubby took a picture of her, and you could just FEEL how proud she was of herself. That, and her calves looked AMAZING. So I'm copying Shannan, and I will try to keep track of each run through this program over the next 9 weeks. I will probably skip a couple. But I will try. If only for those calves.... :)
So today was the first run, and I did well! I am using Robert Ullrey's podcasts to help me stay on track. I did laugh a bit towards the end of the run when he said "you shouldn't be feeling out of breath or tired." Oh really? Huh. Could have fooled me! Luckily I'm running at about 45 feet about sea level -- it would be terrible if I was running in Idaho or Wyoming! Yikes!
But yes, it went well. I do think I should look into a better pair of running shoes though. I think if I can get through the rest of week 1, and maybe part of week 2, I will consider investing in better shoes. I already have some good "gym shoes" and some "walking shoes" just not actual running shoes.
So that's week one. I'm off to the showers, and then to church. Feeling good about my first day!