First off, I didn’t end up running on Monday. By the time I got home with the kids and got dinner done it was still too hot for me to want to go. I didn’t want to set myself up to fail or be miserable just because I was mad for resting another day.
So I got up Tuesday morning and ran. The Couch to 5k app has W5D2 as walk for 5 minute warm up, run for 8 minutes, walk for 5 minutes, run for 8. Up until this point in the program, the longest interval I’d run was 5 minutes. 8 scared me. And 8 felt like FOREVER.
Until today. Today was the day I’d dreaded for the last 5 weeks. The entire program is built upon the foundation of run/recovery (walking). It’s a great way for us newbies not to push ourselves too hard by just thinking we can go out and run and then get hurt or frustrated by doing too much too fast. The running intervals lengthen gradually from one minute, to 90 seconds, to 3 minutes, to 5, and then to 8. Then week 5 ends with a full 20 minute run book-ended by a 5 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down.
20 minutes? No way. There’s no way. Because 5 weeks ago the thought of 90 seconds of running pretty much scared me enough to give me anxiety the night before a workout. 20 minutes was out. of. the. question.
This morning I got up after a great day with family and friends for the 4th of July (and a night in which I only got just barely 6 hours of sleep) and got dressed and put the leash on the dog. He cooperated by handling his business in the backyard before we headed out so I wouldn’t have to stop for him. Got my C25K app and my GPS app going to track my mileage and turned on my running playlist. The warm up walk was where the doubt kicked in. Could I do this? How would I feel about it if I couldn’t? What if I had to walk? Would I be able to not beat myself up about it?
And then all of a sudden the C25K lady’s voice comes on and says “start running.” Oh crap, we’re there already? Why didn’t you warn me? So the dog and I take off. I didn’t want to worry about my route so my plan was to run down the main road until the halfway point time-wise then just turn around. As I got to the halfway point I realized I was going to be running home INTO the wind. I had felt pretty good through the first half, and realized that even if I DID end up having to walk I’d already run a longer interval than I ever had to that point so I’d done well. We turned around and I slowed down a bit hoping that it would be enough to help me recover without the walking interval. I tried to watch the clock so the slowdown wasn’t any longer than 5 minutes. But I couldn’t really track the timer so I just followed my body. My GPS pacing shows that my slowdown lasted actually less than 3 minutes.
My goal was to hit the bridge around the corner from my house by the end of the 20 minute run. I was at about minute 18 when I realized I was going to be pretty close to that, and that was also when I realized I really was going to make it 20 minutes. There was no way I was stopping now. The dog probably thought I was yelling at him when I said to myself out loud, “Come on!!!!” (Yes, I talk to myself when I run lol). With a minute and a half left to go I picked up the pace a little. I looked at the timer and there was about 30 seconds left and I started to count down in my head. As I hit the bridge the little voice in my app said “begin your cool down” and I started to walk. The very second my pace changed I started to cry.
I cried the whole five minutes back to my house.
All I could think was “I’m free. I’m not paralyzed by fear, by ‘what if,’ or ‘I can’t.’” I did this. I did. I can show my kids that if you work at something you can do it. Infertility takes that from you. You can try and try and try and try forever and never get there. It takes away your belief that if you work hard and give something 100% you can get there.
I believe it again.
**For the record, in addition to my little 20 minute PR, I also managed an 11:15 mile. Which is now my current PR for my fastest mile. It’s a small victory, but I’m counting all the ones I can get my hands on right now.