When I was born, I was broken. I had a club foot, and I used it as an excuse. When I was a kid, I didn't have excuses for anything. As a baby, I climbed up stairs with a pair of shoes that were connected with a metal bar. I didn't know any different. When I was thirteen, I had reconstructive surgery and had to learn how to walk again. That was when I started to use my club foot as an excuse to be a lazy teenager that didn't get a job and stayed home playing video games. I used my foot as an excuse to not get a driver's license until I was twenty years old. I used my foot as an excuse to to not run, because it would hurt. By running a 5k, I would eliminate all excuses and just run.I had finished winning my second Biggest Loser competition and want to come up with a way to not gain back the weight. I wish that I could say that there was something super inspirational that happened to me that drove to me starting the Couch25K program. In fact, two things that had nothing to do with me. The first was a Chris Pratt selfie. This was a picture that he took while training for the Guardians of the Galaxy Movie. When I saw it, I was surprised that the lovable chubby Andy Dwyer was ripped. I remember thinking "if that guy can do it, why can't I?" The second thing was a post that a friend of mine had written on Facebook that said something like, "You know that you're getting old when you have to take an Advil BEFORE your run." I decided at that moment to download the Couch-2-5k App and start running the next day. This was not my first time starting this program. I had started it on two separate times when I lived in Iowa, only to be halted by winter. I laid some ground rules for myself from the onset:
1. I would only run outside during the next 9 weeks.
2. My running days would be Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
3. I would not weigh myself before starting.
4. No matter what, I would not allow myself to stop running before the allotted time.
The way that I saw it, if I could make it through the hottest time of year in Texas to do my running, nothing could stop me. As for the days, I simply wanted to establish a routing until running became a regular part of my life. I did not want this to be a weight loss plan. I wanted it to be a way to get me into shape. The fourth rule was the one I was most determined not to break.
Before I moved to Texas, I threw myself a going away party in the form of a Do-Deca-Pentathalon. This was 25 events that were meant to by mental and physical challenges as well as tests of skill. One of the events was running a mile. My six-year-old son participated in this event (along with most others). As we were running, he stayed a few steps ahead of me. At first, I thought that it was funny and decided to use him as my little pace car. Then I ran out of steam and he didn't. I know that my children will be better than me at things in their lives, but it is a humbling thing to be beaten in a race by a six-year-old. I thought about this a lot during the first few weeks of my runs. I thought about how both of my parents were morbidly obese. I thought about how much time I had left in my runs. I did a lot of mental calculations as to how many more songs until my run was over. Then a funny thing happened. I stopped worrying if I would be able to finish the run. This is not to say that I didn't think about it. At some point in every single run, I thought about quitting. But I didn't. Not once. I also never thought about my foot.
During week seven, I visited my sister, Amber in Miami, Florida. This was the third city in the second state that I ran during this challenge. One day, I was talking to my sister about what I was going to do once I had finished the Couch-2-5k program. I told her that I had no intention of running a 5k, but I would probably repeat the program again, only faster. Then she asked me if I had considered running a half marathon. This had never crossed my mind as a possibility once in my life. She told me about Jeff Galloway's half marathon training program. I wasn't really that interested.
After returning to work after vacation, I got an e-mail from my work stating that anybody that was interested in participating in the Rock 'N Roll Marathon in December, they would pay the entrance fee. Two minutes later, I got an e-mail from my sister the a 19 week training program for running a half marathon. I counted the weeks until the Rock 'N Roll Marathon. 19 1/2 weeks. The training program assumed that you could run three miles (5k) at a time. It was then that I decided that my first organized run would not be a 5k, but rather a half marathon.
Have you ever ran a 5k or Half Marathon? What recommendations would you give?