Graduation - If I Can Do This, Anyone Can

I did my graduation run yesterday, and this was more than a year in the making.

I took up running through C25K in May 2012 and was running regularly and really enjoying it. I even went on vacation and kept running!

Just as I was about to start week 7, I got sick. Seriously sick. And it took me six months to recover, during which I lost every scrap of fitness I might have had because I didn't do anything but sit on my couch. That was hard for me on so many levels because I've always been productivity oriented and all about "accomplishing things". I accomplished nothing for six whole months.

I got better, and finally felt good enough to get back to running. But when I tried to run, oh my ouch. Not only was I cardiovascularly unfit, I seem to have lost all muscle in my legs. I couldn't run for more than a minute without my calves cramping so badly that I couldn't keep moving. I failed W1R1 because of the calf cramping.

I banged away at that for a month, completely unable to get through the whole thing. I made up a pre-C25K plan where I tried to build up to the W1 programme. And I failed. Over and over.

I started a major stretching programme and got a bunch of sports massages on my legs. I also started working to build up strength in them with some exercises. And I slowly got able to do it and moved on. Then I got to Week 5.

And I kept failing at W5 R3 - the 20 minute run hurdle. It just felt like such a massive leap and it was more than I could do for so long. I had finally made it through W5 R1 and R2 and kept hitting a wall at R3, stopping at the 10 and 15 minute marks to stretch out my calves.

Then a miracle happened. I'd repeated W5 over and over, determined to do this before I moved on. Then I had a miracle - I repeated W5 R1 for the third time and it felt /easy/ for the first time. Easy like the first time around I did this, back when I had muscles and stamina. I was worried it was a fluke, then I did W5 R2 and it was easy too. And then I tackled W5 R3 for the third time. Scared out of my mind that it was all a fluke. And I did it. I actually slightly more than did it, as I was in a rhythm and managed to run over the counter and into the cool down time. My flexibility came back around that time too, and I could actually touch my toes again for the first time since I started going through this the second time.

I carried on diligently and made it through weeks 6, 7, 8, and 9. I had a couple runs in there that felt like death and one so bad in week 8 that I repeated it because I felt like I'd stopped too often to count it.

I can't describe how happy I am. I feel like I've spent the last six months throwing myself into a brick wall and getting thrown back from it, falling every time. This programme is designed to take two months and it's taken me six. But I kept at it, kept hurling myself at that wall until I finally broke through it.

I'm really proud of myself for having stuck to it and made it through all of this. It's been over a year since I started out with the goal of being able to call myself a C25K graduate and it's been a hell of a journey, but I got here in the end.

So, all I have to say is this: No matter where you are in the programme. No matter how difficult you're finding it. Just keep plugging away - you will eventually get there.

23 Replies

  • WHAT A STORY! Well done for keeping at it - you will be an inspiration for all newbies for ever! You deserve to be really proud with yourself! Perseverance, slow and steady and we can all do anything. Strikes me so much of this is inside our heads - mind over matter and all that. Puts my feeble effort this morning to shame! Many good runs to come for you!

  • Thank you! I am very proud of myself. :) And I haven't quit - I've set myself another thirty-ish weeks of further plans, so I'm going to keep on going.

    I wanted to get this out there, as there were so many times there in the beginning when I felt awful about the whole thing, like I'd never manage it. So I wanted to offer up some encouragement for anyone who might be in that situation.

  • What an inspiring blog - its amazing what determination and a little time can achieve! I shall remember your story when i'm stuck in the middle of a horrible run between now and graduation :)

  • Thank you!

    I really wanted to put this out there in case anyone else felt stuck. I had so many awful moments in the beginning but it did eventually all pass.

  • Congratulations! You really are inspirational...and prove that sheer guts and determination should never be under-estimated :) Good luck with your future running!

  • Thank you!

    I've already drawn up several more months worth of plans. :-p I have to have plans to motivate myself, so I didn't hesitate on that one. Lord knows I do NOT want to lose this level of fitness after working so hard to obtain it again!

  • Wonderful. Everyone feeling stuck along the way should have to read this.

  • Thank you!

    I took so much inspiration from the boards here (even when I was too down to blog or even comment) and I wanted to throw this out there in case anyone else felt stuck. It did eventually pass!

  • *swallows lump in throat*

    Amazing! Here's to your courage and perseverence and continued good health!

  • Thank you very much!

    There were times when I couldn't believe I was sticking with it, but it all worked out in the end. :)

  • An amazing blog. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us.

  • Thank you! And thank you for reading.

  • An inspirational journey! Congratulations!

  • Thank you!

  • Truly amazing story! You have overcome so many obstacles and are now triumphant! Many,many congratulations. Here's hoping that your health will now continue to improve and you can start to plan a fit post-graduate programme. Every good wish for all your tomorrows. Get your green badge and wear it with immense pride. ;) Cheers, Linda x

  • Thank you very much!

    I've already planned about the next thirty weeks!!! I have to have a plan to stay motivated. :)

  • Well done you. That is a great story, and so encouraging as well. But wow, you are tough, man! I admire you.

    I think it's not so much the programme is designed to last 2 months, as it's designed to coax people through it. It's great, really. But you are amazing for sticking with it through such a tough time. Inspirational, bloodofareptile.

  • Thank you! I find that funny to hear - I don't think of myself as tough at all!

  • Congratulations - that is an amazing and inspiring story. What determination, to keep on keeping on like that. Wow. :)

    And I love your name! :)

  • Thank you!

    My name doesn't have much to do with reptiles and has lots to do with a band. :) Which you may know, but sometimes people don't.

  • What a fantastic achievement. I hope the view beyond that wall is great. Wishing you good health and happy running from now on in. Tati x

  • Congratulations on your graduation - and what an inspiring blog! Hats off to you for your determination and your perseverance - well done :)

  • Great blog. You must be made of very tough stuff! No wonder even 6 months of illness couldn't beat you. You're an inspiration! :-)

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