In an attempt to whip this butt back in to some resemblance of a shape, I have started a new running program called the C25K. (Couch to 5 K) My cousin Gwen sparked my curiosity about it, and after checking out the website (www.coolrunning.com) I thought that this would be just the thing to get me moving. The program is designed to get any normal old couch potato off the couch and running, ramping it up to being able to run 5 kilometers, or about 3 miles. Big enough feat, I think, but the kicker is…the program is only 8 weeks long. Now, three miles might not seem a lot to you skinny and in shape people, but to those in the 220+ crowd, 3 miles might as well seem like the NYC marathon. But since I am a glutton for pain and punishment, and I get a natural high from any sort of challenge, the inner Forrest Gump in me started chomping at the bit to prove that it can be done. Somehow I convinced my husband that we should do this together, and the poor boy actually agreed! Yay!
Every week in the program you are supposed to run three days for 20-30 minutes. The first week is 1 minute running, 1 1/2 minutes of brisk walking, 1 minute on, 1 1/2 minutes off…a total of 8 repetitions for 20 minutes. I started on Monday by myself, since Rob had to work a double. Normally I would have just waited for a more convienant time for both of us to start together, but I was excited and ready. So as soon as he left for work, I put down my coffee, strapped the baby in the stroller, threw on my hat and sneakers and headed outside, filled with thoughts of “I believe I can, I believe I can!” I was able to get about 10 minutes in, almost halfway done when I started to have tunnel vision…not really a great sign when you are running away from home with a child in your care, but darn it, I was determined! As I was trying to stay focused and upright, I remember all my wonderful decisions I’ve made so far that day… like the fact that the only thing I drank so far was two cups of coffee, or that I was running during the hottest part of the day in the hottest part in the country, or that I didn’t bring any water with me. (didn’t want to get sidestitches!) After the next minute of jogging, I was forced to steal my son’s sippy cup and try to drink some of his juice. (If you have never drank out of a sippy cup, it is not as easy as it sounds…you have to suck HARD!) I decided it was probably a good time to head home, just in case I did pass out my neighbors would know where to deposit the body. I was exhausted, sweaty, weak and almost peed my pants, but I felt alive!
Two days later, Rob and I were headed to a local park with Logan in tow, ready to do this again. We decided to run in a place with shade and I remembered to bring a bottle of water. Afterwards, while Rob jumped in the shower to get ready for work, I stripped down to my skivvies and laid on our cold tile kitchen floor under an AC vent and a ceiling fan, and giggled like an idiot. It was such a high! I couldn’t believe not only that I had survived it, but that I felt and did better than last time.
Today, however, I was not excited to run…I was terrified. It is usually about this time in every exercise program that I start slacking off. Somehow I am able to convince myself that this is okay, that it is better for me not to follow everything to the letter, that I am sore and out of shape and that I could hurt myself if I kept on pushing myself. (and you wonder why I am so big?) Today was a day that the skinny person inside me was thanking my lucky stars that my husband was with me. The fat lady on the outside was cursing his exsistance, this optimistic, happy, determined man who wants to chit chat about the squirrels we see instead of complaining and quitting. I have a very different way of motivating myself to keep going than most people. Most people either chant self affirming phrases in their heads, like “you can do this!” or “keep on pushing!” or think of happy songs and the beauty of life. My chants (at least the ones I can mention) are usually, “come on ya fatty, you are gonna need to run to California and back to make your butt stop shaking so much!” or “no wonder you are in pain…you are the size of a whale!” or other demeaning comments. I am not a nice person when I am in the middle of a grueling exercise…all my focus is on finishing, not on the beauty of the world or how great it is to be moving. My husband, however, is completely opposite. About halfway through today, my shins are on fire, my lungs are cracking, and I want to fall down and let the fat Andrea win. Rob, however, begins to comment on the beauty of the trees, how they are giving off oxygen that we need for our bodies, ‘ ahh, just breathe it in!’ So I try to change the subject by talking about the possibility of shins exploding from the pressure of supporting all my weight and about how my face feels like it is going to fall off. Poor guy is quiet for the rest of the exercise, but between each set of running, gives me a high five and a big smile. So, not only did we both survive today, but skinny Andrea recieved her first victory, and fat Andrea found her archenemy…just the way it is supposed to be.