Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Virtual 5k Linkup

About six weeks ago I completed my first, official, 5k run. It was awesome, and it was even RAD! I hate to say that for an entire month after that 5k I didn't do any running, partly due to the ridiculous heat of the central valley in the summer, but mostly due to the process of moving our family 700 miles away in as little as two weeks notice. 

I missed my running! I know, I know, I am just as shocked as you to be saying that. About five years ago, after my third child was born, I was at my heaviest and Erik and I started a journey to better nutrition and exercise together. At the time, I was all about the strength training, building muscle to burn more calories while at rest, and I really enjoyed it. The results were fantastic, the weight loss was easy, my body looked great. I even maintained most of my strength workout throughout most of my pregnancy with my fourth child, and I looked and felt great right after having her. Don't be too jealous, because that was the only time that happened. You see, the inherent problem with the strength training, at least for me, is that it demands a strict schedule. You have to do it on time, working on certain areas of your body on exact days of the week, and you have to have a specific plan to follow with which to measure your progress and gauge your success. You have to have a plan, and you have to be able to follow that plan to a fault, or you will not get the results that you are looking for. Well, it's hard to follow that plan when all the weights and equipment are at the gym, your baby can't yet go to the gym, your children are at home in the way if you are trying to at least maintain your current status at home, life is hard, woe is me, blahblahblah. So for a few years I went to the gym inconsistently, had a fifth baby, and was never really able to start working out again like I wanted to. And it's not from lack of commitment, there is just nothing you can do when your life just doesn't work that way at certain points in time. I think I was pretty hard on myself about it, knowing that if I could just find the time I could look and feel so much better, and everyone around me made it seem as if I could make the time if only I was more committed, but it always means sacrificing something, and I had nothing deserving of being cut from my life so I could selfishly go to the gym and work on my physique.

About a year ago, after seeing a few of my friends start running who were no worse off than me, I looked into the couch to 5k program. Cardio is not my thing. When I was weight lifting, I always knew that if I was willing to add cardio on my rest days, I would see faster results, but I just loathed the treadmill. I would prefer to do squats in a corner all day over any activity on the treadmill for any more than 5 minutes. Since there was no exercise going on in my life at the time, and running was so much simpler than having a plan for weights, I decided I would give it one really great, honest-to-goodness try. This time I researched running, watched youtube videos on how to run (since in the past I would get shin splints immediately), researched shoes vs. barefoot vs. minimal running shoes, and lastly looked at the different interval running programs out there. I made my choices and started the program. All last summer I followed my c25k program on the treadmill at the gym. I was doing great, amazed at my progress, and couldn't wait to get outside when the weather cooled down and try out my new running skills. 

Well, the weather did cool down in September, and I tried running outside, and let me be the first to tell you that you can't learn to run on a treadmill and expect to go outside and pick up right where you left off on the treadmill. No siree bob! You pretty much have to start all over with your program. I did not know that, and after a few days of running on asphalt I had shin splints and had to lay off. It worked out pretty well, since the school schedules and my lack of discipline in the mornings kept me from any regular exercise in the fall and winter. After my chiropractor introduced me to foam rollers (youtube these things, you will never regret it) and the weather warmed back up, I was ready to try c25k again, this time outside. It just so happened that the Color Me Rad 5k was announced about the same time, so I immediately signed up and had myself a deadline. I would be dammed if the 5k came around and I couldn't at least run the whole thing, even if it was a slow run. It was a few months out so I had plenty of time to work my way up to the 5k distance, and it did take about that long. I don't care what the nine week 5k programs tell you, I believe it takes most people an average of three months, and that is only if you are dedicated. The beauty of it is that you just have to make sure you get your run in, which most people can do in their own neighborhood, and it's only about 30 minutes three times a week. When I was doing strength training at the gym, including drive time, it was averaging me about two hours at least three times a week. 

The thing about running, and exercise in general, is it really makes my day feel more productive. It's a great way to get your body moving, wake up your mind, get some fresh air, and it just gives you some clarity to your day. For me, if it doesn't happen in the morning, it's probably not going to happen at all.  Much like Cari over at Clan Donanldson, when I exercise I am calmer, happier, more patient, and my daily life just seems to come together a little bit better. It also gives me focus, not just on my exercise, but it has made such a huge impact on me to have some personal goals with a deadline. In fact, after my 5k last month with nothing definitive to work towards, my running and my desire just languished. That is why I am excited about Cari's idea of a virtual 5k on the September 29 over at Catholic Exchange. Unfortunately for me, I have an important family wedding to attend that day, but I will be participating and working towards it, probably for the weekend prior to the 29th. Now that I have another deadline, I feel like I have order in my life once again. As long as I can get up and get going in the morning I will keep running. 

So long as my phone keeps playing the music, because when the music stops, I stop. Can't run without the music. It's a fatal flaw.

What are you waiting for, get going!


  1. I'm curious about what you ended up choosing for footwear. Have you seen those Skeletoes? I'm fascinated by them.

    1. I wear the vibram fivefigners. I am flat footed and traditional shoes make my feet hurt. I really am turned on to barefoot running, but don't want to actually be barefoot!