Running Against Time

Because I work out pretty regularly, I was under the impression that training for a 5K would be relatively easy. Not that I don’t have a huge amount of respect for runners – I do – I just thought it would be a fairly easy transition to go from one form of fitness to another. I was, as most runners will already know, completely wrong in this assumption.

I started out trying to run on the treadmill, but that didn’t go especially well. I have issues with balance that make it difficult for me to really focus on my running technique. Mostly I just have to concentrate on not falling off. I found that it was hard for me to really pace myself or to get very far. I would get winded quickly and lose my motivation.

Running outside was better, but it was still difficult. For my first run, I chose a relatively easy route without a lot of major streets to cross. I thought it would be a good place to start, but also a pretty place to run. I’m glad I picked a pretty route because I ended up walking a lot of it. I had trouble with my pacing and managed to run for about the first 4-5 minutes (just enough time for Tom Cruise to sing “Paradise City” on the Rock of Ages soundtrack). I got to the first set of lights and had to start to walk for longer and longer stretches. I’d walk for a few minutes, run for a bit, walk some more and then run a little more.

It was not pretty and I was hugely embarrassed when I’d see other runners (and there were many) going by. The little old couple that passed me at one point really stung. I had thought I was a fit person, but I had gassed so easily and so quickly on a route that was barely 2K. I limped home to Shawn (who is currently kicking butt through the P90X series) and he assured me that it would just take time and more practice. Your first run is never going to be your best run.

And so I got back out there a few days later and I did it all over again. This time I tried to slow my pace and that helped me make it much further before I had to stop and walk. I also set goals ahead of me when I’d transition. I could walk to the white flowers, but then I had to run to the fire hydrant at the end of the street. It helped. I was less winded, less sweaty and felt less awful overall. I still have a looooooong way to go before I will be ready to run the 5K in September, but at least it doesn’t feel as totally unattainable anymore. I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.