Some time just over 4 years and 3 months ago (on February 26th 2006 to be exact), I swore that I would never again work out. Well, I swore that I would never again run as long as I lived. I really doubt corpses run so I swore off running for good, for ever and ever. Why the specific date, you ask? Well, that was the day I was (honorably) discharged from the US Navy. I had been in the Navy for a month short of 5 years at that point and I had been in remedial (read mandatory) PT (physical training) for over 3 of those years. I could do my sit ups just fine; I could even do my push ups just fine. It was the run that killed me. I failed 2 of the semiannual PRTs (physical readiness test) because I couldn’t run.
To say I “couldn’t” run is a bit misleading but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I hated running, it was physically painful because I have arthritis on my knees and it’s really bad on my left knee. Those failures landed me in mandatory PT and I couldn’t get off the program until I passed two PRTs in a row. I kept failing these PRTs despite the remedial PT. I actually passed my second to last PRT so I was halfway to getting off the program. I failed the next one so I was on remedial PT until my enlistment was up.
Needless to say, none of that instilled any sort of love for running in me. As a matter of fact, I hated it even more. I hated it because it had landed me in remedial PT, because it was painful, because I simply couldn’t master it, and most importantly, I hated it because I was FORCED to do it. Nothing quite like being forced to do something to make you hate the very thought of it. So, the day I walked out of the naval base in Norfolk, VA I swore that I would never again run and I kept that promise to this day.
“This day” is key because this day, today, I did the unthinkable. I actually…. gasp…. ran. Why? I’m certain I have truly lost my marbles now.
Since having the surgery (actually, since before), I’ve been seriously thinking about an exercise routine that I can keep up. I need to get in shape and there is no point in having spent all this money getting rid of my tummy and losing nearly 30 pounds before that if I’m going to just put it all back on again. More importantly, I realize that as much as I hate exertion, it is healthy to exercise and it will be beneficial in the long run. I considered doing Body For Life but I’m still not able to work my abs so I will leave that for later. I also considered doing Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred. I tried the first day of level 1 and I made it through 6 minutes before I collapsed on the carpet.
So, that left me with C25K. That’s part of the cryptic title and it stands for Couch To 5k. It is a program designed to help couch potatoes, like me, go from not running to running a 5k in nine weeks. I am certainly a couch potato so I figured I’d give it a shot. I was concerned about my knees and the horrid Miami summer weather but I’m indoors in a treadmill so that takes care of that. I also worried about my hatred for running but this time it’s different, I’m not being forced to do it, I’m doing it because I want to. I am doing it for ME, not to please some institution nor to be humiliated by running in public 3 times a week for my inability to run. That, I think, makes all the difference in the world.
I started today. I really didn’t know what to expect but I had visions of me falling off the treadmill, passed out, and being discovered hours later by the cleaning crew. When I got to the gym (at the clubhouse) I called my husband and told him in no uncertain terms that if he didn’t hear from me in an hour he should call 911 to the clubhouse. I was half joking but also half serious. Not as serious as the heart attack I was sure I’d suffer though.
I got the gym and only one of the three treadmills was working and there was someone on it. I thought that was, for sure, a sign I should go back home and blow this thing off. I didn’t do it, I didn’t leave. I waited until it was my turn. The wait, the anticipation, was the worst part. Once I actually got the treadmill, after some buff guy helped me turn it on, I got to it. The first day of week 1 (W1D1), actually, the whole first week, you warm up for 5 minutes and then alternate 2 minutes of walking with 1 minute of jogging for 20 minutes. It was actually not bad at all! I made it all the way through and although my heart rate was certainly up and it was a work out, I wasn’t huffing and puffing like I thought I would be. I did not have a heart attack and fall off the treadmill. I did not, in fact, fall off the treadmill at all. I lived. I actually lived, I didn’t die. I was still alive and kicking after the workout even though the only workout I’ve had in over four years is carrying my son up the stairs. I guess I wasn’t in as bad a shape as I thought.
I actually accomplished taking that first step, getting over my fear, my hatred, my (yes) laziness and you know what? It felt good.
Disclaimer: I am still high on endorphins so I make no promises I’m actually going to stick with this program but at least taking that first step is much more than I would have ever thought I’d do. If I quit, blame my knees and don’t hold it against me 😛