Photo by Jennie CanzoneriWhen I started training for my 5K in January, with the help of the Couch to 5K program, I started with 60-90 intervals. I ran for 60 seconds and then walked for 90, and I repeated those intervals for 20 minutes. I can remember well how difficult that simple workout was for me. My lungs, in fact, remember quite well.
The closest I had come to running 60 straight seconds in the past ten years was when I stumbled upon a wasp's nest in our yard. In short, I was not a runner before three months ago. I wasn't even a brisk walker. I was a TV-loving, carb-loading, coach-surfer.
But I stuck to the training, even though I was entirely unconvinced I'd turn those 60 seconds into 3.1 MILES. I stuck with it. And this is the only piece of advice I can confidently give anyone, about working out or any other aspect of life, because it seems to always, always work for me. Just stick with it.
This past Sunday was my first 5K, the one I had been training for since January, the one I felt foolish signing up for the moment I hit "purchase" and continued to feel foolish over for the next few weeks. I even felt foolish standing on the starting line. But then I started running and kept running and somehow ran the entire race and finished in just over 40 minutes. (I'm not breaking any speed records with that time, but I did it! And I didn't walk at all!)
I have another 5K already planned for May and a 10K planned for August. Next week I'll offer a few tips that helped me cross the finish line with an actual smile on my face.
Also, because it feels really good to say this after all these months of training: I am a runner.