So! Last week, I signed up for a 5K run as part of a local athletic challenge involving 100 central Indiana businesses. Yes, you read that right. Me, the girl who often gets winded just from climbing up a flight of stairs, the lazy-ass who hasn't run regularly since high school (thank you, varsity soccer) and who has never labeled herself a runner of any kind AND who can't even follow through with a commitment to exercise for twenty minutes a day, has committed to flailing around Forrest Gump style on a 3.2-mile course this September. In front of her coworkers, no less!
I'm nothing if not ambitious. And stupid.
First, some backstory. One thing I've learned in this half-hearted quest to become a healthier me is that I get bored with exercise pretty quickly. For instance, take the Shred. I heart the Shred. I love that as of 5:45 this morning I can say I've lost ten pounds since the end of May. I see the difference in the fit of my pants and the shape of my face. You don't have to convince me that smart eating habits and regular workouts do a body good. I'm living proof, even if on an extremely small scale.
But when times get tough, all this knowing is not enough to inspire the actual doing. So instead of continuing to try and push a square peg into a round hole, I'm simply going to admit that I'm just not into the Shred right now and pursue something that will rejuvenate my interest in fitness again. Which right now is taking the form of a 5K.
Part of me wonders if I'm an idiot to even attempt this. Aside from my above-mentioned stint with varsity sports, my only other experience with running took place about six years ago while I was living and working in Rensselaer and a coworker and I got together on a semi-regular basis to jog through town. On colder days, we ran the track inside Saint Joe's field house. It didn't last long, and I never once progressed beyond the constant huffing and puffing that plagues those at the beginner's level. I never kept track of my speed. Hell, I didn't even LIKE it half the time. But I did enjoy how good it felt to move my body, and I've always admired those actively engaged in the sport--how focused they are on their goals, how dedicated they must be to follow such rigourous training schedules, how effing COOL they look wearing their branded shorts and headbands.
A leaner, stronger body would be nice, too. Running it is.
One thing I've got going for me that I didn't with the Shred is the benefit of a living, breathing partner in crime right in my very own home. Luke used to run in college, and while we can't go out together because of the kids (also, he and his six-foot-four-inch frame would totally leave me in the dust, speed-wise), we've already mapped out a rough, every-other-day schedule to follow, with him starting today and me beginning tomorrow. As Parents draws to a close and we completely revamp our budget to accommodate the loss of income, we can't afford a gym membership or a treadmill, so we'll use the walking trail that curves behind our subdivision. Also a no-go is the purchase of any fancy running gear or clothing, and at first I was fretting over this, because how can I be a successful runner if I don't have a wrist watch to clock my distance or shorts that won't bunch around my thighs or cute little tee-shirts with Nike logos embroidered on them or blah de blah blah blah. Finally Luke was like, "BREAIN. It's called RUNNING. All you have to do is run." Thank you, husband of mine/perspective. At least I have new sneakers, a comfy pair of running shoes I bought last month just before getting the Parents axe.
Like the shredheads before me, I'll attempt to follow the six-week couch-to-5K program outlined here, only it'll be more like seven weeks because even though my first race is slated for Saturday, September 26, I don't want to wait any longer to get started. Luke has one of those Everything Running books I can flip through to figure out what the hell I'm doing, and I'll have the added wisdom from the shredhead archives, too.
Though I haven't even started yet, I already know this endeavor will prove to be a good thing. Not only am I pumped about exercise in a way I haven't been since June, I'm also psyched to do this with Luke. For the last couple of months, we've been allowing the logistics of our everyday lives to get in the way of spending any meaningful time together, and I love that we can use this as a way to stay connected and also get back in touch with our pre-baby counterparts, too. Not that complaining about the size of my ass while watching The Soup in pajama pants and eating sorbet straight from the carton isn't romantic in its own right. (Nothing but love for you, Joel McHale.)
Wish me (us) luck. Or, if you're one of those seasoned runner types, a few tips to stay on track and injury-free.