I've fallen off the wagon for the past four or five months. I was doing Pilates a few times a week but I started skipping it and before I knew it, I had a new routine: not exercising. I've been looking for something new to do and I always hated running. I thought I would give it a try, see if I could make myself like it.
A couple months ago I read about the "couch to 5k" program on Lifehacker and for some reason they were talking about it again a few days ago, so I clicked through to Cool Runing and read up on it. It didn't seem to be too hard, and was specifically designed for people (like me) who aren't runners but would like to give it a try. The fist paragraph spells out why most people are turned off by it and quit and how to avoid those pitfalls.
The clincher was a set of podcasts that were produced specifically for each stage of the program, with voice prompts telling you when warm-up was over, when to run, when to walk and when to cool down. Sounded bulletproof to me! I didn't want to run around looking at my watch the whole time... plus that would make it too easy to sneak another 30 seconds of walking between sets.
I started on Monday, I was undecided as to whether to drag my ass out of bed at 6am and do it before work when the temperature was only 80f or to do it when I got home from work, when the temp was 90+ and I was worn out from work. I didn't get to sleep til late Sunday night so that decided it for me. I laced up my shoes and hit the road with the Week 1 podcast. I actually made it. 5 mins of warmup, 60 seconds of jogging, 90 seconds of walking, repeat seven more times then five minute cool down.
My shoes look brand new, but I bought them six years ago when I was at home. I only ever wore them in the gym, so that was maybe 40 or 50 times in five years. Despite their pristine appearance, the sole had come unglued and I could hear it flapping around on each step so when I got back from Run #1, I busted out the Gorilla Glue and glued it back on.
The other conclusion I came to today was that my Sony MDR-EX71 ghetto headphones are no good for jogging. These are the headphones I bought about two years ago for $50 at Best Buy. The rubber all rotted off the wires within a couple months, as did Seb's and Jean's who I recommended them to. They still worked, they just looked terrible. There's a little blob of plastic where the left and right earphones split out and even though it weighs less than a gram, it weighed enough with momentum to make a THUMP noise as it pulled on the left ear WITH EVERY STRIDE. I switched to some "street-style" behind the head phones because they fit under my scooter helmet so I'm going to try those out on run #2.
Run #2 almost didn't happen. I was feeling like ass today, and my eyeballs hurt. I was already looking at the calendar to try and figure out how to do it every third day for 18 days before moving on to week 2. In the end I sucked it up and did it anyway. Gorilla glued shoe performed well but now I see that the same thing is happening to my other shoe! By the end of the nine weeks, if I ever get up to 5k twice or three times a week I'm going to be running on Gorilla Glue with some shoelaces threaded through my toes. The street-style headphones worked 1000% better than the in-ear phones did, too.
Today I took a different route, I did the Loop from Hell as opposed to the West Bay Civic route. The Hell route worked out almost perfectly for the week 1 podcast length. I finished the 9th segment in front of the Hell Texaco and walked home + 1:30, downed a glass of cool water I pre-positioned and stretched out for awhile. The one stretch I didn't do Monday night was putting the soles of my feet together and letting my knees drop towards the floor to stretch out my adductors and BOY HOWDY did I pay for that Tuesday and this morning.
The West Bay Civic route was down Town Hall Road and followed it around to the 4-Way Stop (just as an aside, isn't it kind of cool that it's such a small town that "the four-way stop" is a geographic location that everyone knows?) and turned left down West Church Street all the way to the West Bay Police Station, left again up Reverand Blackman Drive to the West Bay Town Hall/School/Playing field, twice around the playing field and then exit down Town Hall Road back to the apartment.
The Loop From Hell started off the same way, down Town Hall Road, but this time I took a right onto Northwest Point Road and followed that around to Watercourse Road (Crack Alley) and then along there until I hit Hell road, hung a right which brought me back up to the playing field/school/West Bay Town Hall but from the north this time, then back down Town Hall Road to home.
Run #3 took me around the Hell loop again. Shoes held up OK, but I'm going to have to get the gorilla glue out again for the right shoe this afternoon so it has about 24 hours to cure before I go out again tomorrow. I got through the whole workout this time without feeling winded until near the end of the last interval. Good stuff. Instead of moving on to week two already, I'm going to repeat week one, just to make sure that my body's ready for more abuse. I noticed that after run #2 I didn't hurt as much and I was not sore on Thursday or Friday. After last night's run I was a bit out-of-energy but I think that's probably because I had an earlier lunch than I normally do. This morning I feel great, no soreness in the muscles and no fatigue.
So far I'm liking the program and hopefully I'll continue on with it and get to the 5k goal by the end of the summer.