Taking it to the streets

I posted a few weeks ago about my new healthy living resolution - taking on the Couch to 5K challenge. While many of you have seen my periodic twitter updates, I thought that I'd do an update on how I've been doing so far.

Let me start this by reiterating that I am NOT a runner. I have never been a runner. In fact, in middle school my primary reason for becoming a goalie in field hockey was to avoid running. The only reason I ever broke a 10 minute mile was because it was a requirement to get an A in PE in high school. I've always been willing to do almost anything to get my A...

Since high school, I don't think I have ever run. Not once. I've done a variety of types of exercises along the way - like yoga and kickboxing - but never running.

What was I thinking when I decided to start this routine? I'm honestly not sure. Maybe it's the lovely influence of all my twitter friends and their daily #RunTeacherRun tweets. Maybe it's the fact that I've hit a mid-life crisis at 40 and wanted to see if I could do it. Whatever the reason, I'm four weeks into the program and feeling a wee bit discouraged. I'm hoping writing this up will help encourage me to stick with it to the end.

My workouts, up to yesterday, have all been on my home elliptical. It's been easier on my knees, but harder to keep track of the actual distance. It seems like I'm going a shorter distance for each workout than I should be, but I'm not sure if that is because the elliptical is different. I've spent most of my workouts watching episodes of Doctor Who on my iPad, which seems to interfere with the function of the elliptical's tracking software. I consider the trade off worth it!

I'm following the plan at this link http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml

Week One: 
Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Cool down walk of 5 minutes.

Reaction - Hey! This isn't half bad! I'm actually sweating! I'm pretty sure I can do this. I even extended some of the jog intervals because I'm just that awesome.

Week Two:
Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

Reaction - I can totally do this! I'm a running goddess! Okay, so it's mostly not running... but I'm having no problems with this at all! Way to go me!

Week Three: 
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:
Jog 90 seconds Walk 90 seconds Jog  3 minutes Walk 3 minutes - Cool down walk 5 minutes. 

Reaction - We are doubling the running time? Really? Is it normal for my feet to get all tingly? Internet consensus says this is common on an elliptical, and recommends better shoes and tying my shoes more loosely. This helps, and I take my little self out to an actual sports shoe store to buy actual running shoes. I make it through this week with flying colors. 

Week Four: 
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then: Jog 3 minutes, Walk 90 seconds, Jog 5 minutes, Walk 2-1/2 minutes, Jog 3 minutes, Walk 90 seconds,  Jog 5 minutes, Cool down walk 5 minutes.

Reaction - Umm... what? We are going from 9 minutes of jogging last week to 16 and I'm beginning to panic. I almost decided to go back to week three, but I bit the bullet and plunged into the deep end. (Yes, I know, I mixed my metaphors dreadfully there). I did three of these workouts on my elliptical, and I survived .. barely.

Taking it to the streets... 
So Saturday I laced up my sneakers, strapped my iPhone into my brand new arm band, and went outside. The only way I'll ever be able to decide if I can do an actual 5K is to see if I can do this while actually running, right?

Wow, was I in for a surprise! First, a technical glitch (read - me pushing the wrong button) resulted in me taking on a week 2 workout for my first outdoor adventure instead of week 4. I didn't realize this mistake until I was almost halfway through the workout, but I'd like to believe this was actually my personal Guardian Angel trying to ensure that I survived the experience.

My first jog interval felt great! I was surprised at how short it felt, and I was ecstatic and filled with a sense of personal power. (I've mentioned that I was doing the incorrect workout, right?) A few intervals later, I realized my mistake and the full extent of my "not a runner" status began to dawn on me. I'd also  apparently discovered a whole new set of muscles. Muscles that had not been toned by four weeks on the elliptical.

By the time I dragged my sore, aching body back into my driveway I was feeling a bit defeated. This was the tweet I felt compelled to share...

Several hours later....

Now it's the next day, and I'm still really sore. My plan yesterday was to hit the streets again today with a week 3 workout. Today? Today I'm just planning to walk to help loosen up my muscles.

This week I plan to redo week 4, since the week 5 workout has me jogging for an entire 20 minutes by the end of the week. I'm pretty sure I'm not ready for that yet. My next outdoor workout will be a week 3, and I'll build my way back up. Not giving up. Just modifying the plan...


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