Saturday, January 23, 2010

Getting off the couch... AGAIN!

So there I was... all geared up, ready to run, and I can't even put weight on my right foot. It was horrible. I googled my symptoms but couldn't find anything that matched up, so I just used the RICE method, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

While I waited, I did a lot of reading online about running. I realized quickly that the problem was my shoes, so I made a plan to get new shoes ASAP. Now, I'm one who loves Payless and cheap shoes, but I decided that with my history of bad knees and delicate feet, I needed to invest a little more money. I didn't want to spend TOO much money just in case I gave up, though. I went to Dick's Sporting Goods and tried on a couple of pairs of shoes. I found some shoes on sale for $40 that seemed to feel good. That was more than I had ever spent on a pair of shoes in my entire life! LOL

In the course of my reading, I also learned that I was going to have to keep my feet low to the ground and go very slowly when I started, in order to avoid aggravating my knee. This would serve to be the very best information I would come across in those early months of running!

After a very long 6 weeks, I was finally ready to begin anew. On October 21, 2008, I started Couch to 5K again! During the time I was injured, Austin had had another seizure (while on the medication) so I wasn't comfortable leaving him at home in charge of the girls. I was going to have to get my training in when my husband got home from work. This was going to be tricky because he would get home just as the sun was going down. I'd wait at the door, all stretched and ready to go, and would dash out the driveway as soon as he pulled up! It was also hard because I don't like "cold" weather, which to me was anything below 60 degrees! LOL

I gave myself a goal of running a 5K race in December 2008: the Jingle Jog for Autism. I wouldn't be completely done with the program yet, but I thought this would be a fun goal, even if I had to walk part of the way. And the race was a fundraiser for summer camp programs for children and adults with autism, so it really was a win-win situation! :)

The changes were slow and, at the time, I didn't even really notice they were happening... but I was becoming a runner! When I started, I was running 60 seconds at a time and looking at my stopwatch for the last 30 seconds! Within a few weeks, I was running for 3, and then 5 minutes at a time. It seemed impossible looking at the schedule on paper. 8 minutes. Then that absolutely terrifying 20 minutes of nonstop jogging!

It wasn't always a straight line of progress. I remember the next session after the 20 minute one. I expected it to be easy because it was broken up into two smaller sessions of running. Instead, it was terribly difficult and I felt really exhausted and defeated. But I didn't give up. That alone was changing me from within, regardless of the physical benefits of the exercise. The mental and emotional changes were as powerful. I was even running in the rain!! And in the cold!! Like REALLY cold... 30s and 40s!

And that was a good thing, because the day of my first 5K - the Jingle Jog- was a very cold day. It was around 40 degrees. I was very nervous! And when the gun sounded and everyone took off very fast, leaving me far behind, I had decided that I had probably made a big mistake! LOL

But I didn't give up. I kept going, slowly but surely. And I surprised myself by running the entire time! Here I come! Ok, so it's hard to see my face... but trust me!! I'm VERY excited!!

My husband and kids were there to see me cross the finish line and it was SO cool. My husband made me a delicious steak dinner that night to celebrate!

I officially graduated from the Couch to 5K program on December 28th! All that was left was to figure out where to go from there! :)


  1. Jen this is really inspiring me. I have got to get my asthma under control. But I may just give this a shot. I'm scared! Rhonda

  2. You should definitely give it a shot, Rhonda! Just make sure your asthma is under control. But I've heard lots of folks talk about carrying inhalers with them when they run, so it could be done. Also remember that the Couch to 5K plan is a framework, and you can repeat weeks as needed. Or you could start off by walking a few days a week until you are ready to start adding some running. There are lots of options!