C25K: The Struggle Continues

Today was W5D2 for me, which involves 2 8-minute runs with a 5-minute walk in between. I was dreading this day because 8 minutes seemed like an ETERNITY compared to 5 minutes. But I knew I wasn’t going to make progress by staying on day 1 indefinitely, so I just tried to prepare myself for the torture. I’m so optimistic, aren’t I?

I decided to do today’s run at a local park that has a walking trail that is 1.3 miles long and is not completely flat (although the maximum grade is only 4%). The course I’ll be doing for the 5k in May is comprised of “rolling hills” (not really sure where in Humboldt even HAS rolling hills, but whatever), and so I knew I’d need to do some training on incline surfaces. It was sunny, about 76 degrees and slightly windy, and when I got out of the car the loveliness of the weather welcomed me and actually made me slightly excited about the run. Then I started my warm-up walk, and before I knew it, the time for the first 8-minute run arrived. It just so happened that the run began right around where the first downward slope occurred, so I enjoyed a nice, breezy pace for a few hundred yards, until the trail sloped upward. I instantly felt the difference, and my calves tightened up. I have hardly noticed my calves in past training runs, but today they were really tight, I’m guessing because of the inclines. I jogged on, passing 4 minutes, then 5, and then I started feeling tired.

Running is as much a mental activity as it is a physical one. I don’t know if I felt tired after those 5 minutes because I was genuinely tired or because I knew that was the longest I’d ever run, but I had to repeat Philippians 4:13 (I can do all things through Christ to strengthen me) to myself every few seconds until I got to the end of those 8 minutes. I have never been so relieved for a recovery walk! But like always, it went by much too quickly, and even though I didn’t feel ready for the next 8-minute run, I started out again. During the previous run, my heart rate was consistently in the upper 170s and low 180s, and while for the most part I felt okay, during the second run I didn’t feel okay at all. I tried doing the talk test, and I could barely gasp out Phil. 4:13, and my HR didn’t dip below 180, so I decided to stop jogging after just 3 minutes.

I was SO disappointed that I didn’t finish. I began wondering if I would ever be able to run for more than a few minutes at a time, if I would ever even be able to run 1 mile, much less 3. Shouldn’t my endurance be improving by now? I feel like I’m stuck, or even moving backwards in terms of progress, and that’s really discouraging. All of these thoughts were running through my head, and at one point I thought I might cry out of sheer frustration.

However, I decided to attempt one last 5-minute run so that if nothing else the total amount of running time would still be 16 minutes. So I began jogging again, and I had to cheer myself on almost immediately. I was hot and could feel the heat in my face, and my legs felt like lead. I told myself I would run to the next bench I saw, or for 5 minutes, whichever came first. Turns out 5 minutes and the bench came at the same time, and then I told myself I could run to the end of the trail marker, and then 6 minutes passed, and I told myself I could surely go 2 more minutes.

SO I DID!

I ended up walking/jogging 3.9 miles in 50 minutes, which is a 12:49 mile. I’m happy with that. My goal when I do the 5k is just to finish in 40 minutes, and while that is a really slow pace, for me I think it’s realistic. I know that no matter what, even if my calves tighten up and my face feels like it’s on fire or I just can’t run a single more step, I’m going to finish that 5k. Even if I have to walk part of it, I will not be ashamed of that. I need to stop beating myself up if things don’t go perfectly. I need to remember that it’s amazing that I’m running at all. I ended up running for a total of 19 minutes, something I never thought I’d be able to do!

On day 3, which I will do on Saturday, I’m supposed to run for 20 minutes straight. I still have no idea how in the world I’ll manage it, but I know if I can’t do it, it won’t be for lack of trying!

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6 thoughts on “C25K: The Struggle Continues

  1. That is so awesome that you didnt give up! Even if you didnt follow their plan exactly, you still did it. And? You probably went farther and longer than if you had simply run the 8 minutes after the break. That is awesome! When you cross the finish line of that 5k, you will look back at all of these struggles and know that they were worth it!I have a similar problem with my calves. I am always on my toes – I walk on my toes and I stand on my toes. I never knew I was doing it until I paid attention to it. It makes my calves a lot tighter than they should be all the time. So make sure you stretch well. And pay attention to how you stand/walk/reach for things. Making an effort to stay flat footed during your everyday things might help with the calf pain while you are running.

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  2. YAY FOR YOU!!!! I am so proud of you for your perseverance–Phil 4:13 is the perfect verse to keep your head in the right place. I tried to jog some while on my walk with Butchie yesterday and I only made it the length of about 3 houses…I really pushed myself on my bike ride last night though!You are definitely a motivator for me!

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  3. Way to Go!!!! You’ve inspired me to run, and I’m running for 30 minutes, twice a week. But I can’t go for more then 2 miles, and I can’t run more then 1 or so. I’m going to have to push-it, Erin style!How do you monitor your heartrate? I use the treadmill at the gym, and mine never gets above 150 or so. The chart on the machine says that is the optimum spot for my age. Can’t wait to hear more success stories from you!!! ~ L

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  4. <>Sarah<>, it’s funny because I’ve never noticed a problem with my calves, but running on an incline definitely makes me notice them more. I am trying to be more intentional about pushing off of my heels, which helps. <>Lauren<>, I use a heart rate monitor to measure my heart rate. It’s great! And it sounds like you are doing great with your running! Good for you!Thanks for all your encouragement, everyone!

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