I am an "old" C25K graduate; I began my very first attempt to run in my entire life almost exactly 2 years ago, on my 34th birthday. It was very hard work for me, but I was unusually motivated.
It was so important to me because I was literally "running away from my cane". My health previously was really poor, with serious joint problems, asthma, obesity and a number of other issues which ultimately meant that I needed a cane to walk, starting at the ripe old age of 31. Yes, I was a feeble, old woman at 31. I was maybe 60 years "ahead of my time" in that respect.
About 6 months before my first C25K experience, I started a diet which actually worked for me (hurray!), began regular strength training, and got myself a weight management doctor to oversee my progress. I lost around 35-40 pounds, was walking easily without a cane, and wanted to continue my progress. I wanted to keep turning back the clock until I could be in reasonable shape and able to participate fully in my own life - like one might expect of a person in their mid-30s.
So I started C25K. I posted regularly about my experience, so if you are interested, look at my older posts to follow that saga. (Spoiler alert - I graduated! I even ran a full 5K, although it took closer to an hour than 30 minutes. It felt like I was starring in my own after-school special, and also like I was a real winner, in spite of it all.) I kept running for another few months after that as well, until I started replacing the running with other sports and activities.
Over the course of my quest to become healthy, I got pretty close to my goals. I lost a total of 75 pounds over 15 months, exercised 6 days a week, learned to eat well, became strong enough to dance, rock climb, hike, and run. I was within 15 pounds of a "healthy BMI" and very close to my goal weight and body composition. At 5'4", I went from a starting size (North American sizes) of 24W to size 8-10. I gave away all my old clothes, keeping only clothes that fit me, or were only a little too big. I was a success story.
Then I faced an obstacle that seriously derailed my progress.
One of my doctors prescribed a medication that caused me to inexorably gain weight (a side effect). A lot of weight. In spite of continued exercise, dieting and careful oversight by my weight management doctor. I tried really, really hard to keep going. But week after week, month after month I kept regaining the fat I had lost. After several months of fighting it as hard as I could, I eventually gave up. I stopped logging all my food. I let my workout regimen slide. I wasn't completely sedentary, nor did I return to eating total junk. But I stopped really trying.
Of the original 75 pounds I had lost, I regained 45 in nine months, half of that during the time I was still working so hard to combat it. I couldn't participate in nearly any of the previous sports and activities I had so enjoyed. It started to hurt to my knees to walk again. None of my clothes fit, not even the slightly bigger stuff I'd kept in reserve. I had already given away all my really large-sized clothes.
Eventually, in consultation with a couple of my doctors, I got off the medication causing the tremendous weight gain, and was able to replace it with medicines which did not have that dramatic side effect. My weight stopped climbing, and after a couple of months, it started slowly coming off again.
I wasn't all the way back to square one, but I still had to return to first principles. I started again my easiest strength training workouts. I logged all my food, and ate very carefully. I lost around 15 pounds in 3 months and regained some of my strength. I also regained the ability to walk without pain.
And so I am back again, starting C25K for a second time. I expect it will be a little easier this time around, with the confidence that I managed to do it once before. But then again, who knows? Life can be funny that way.
Will you join me? Will my "cheerleaders" from last time come back to encourage me? Can I encourage you?
If I have learned anything from any of this so far, it is this:
***You don't fail until you fail to try.***
However long it took me to get back on the wagon, no matter the reason I fell off, all I have to do to is overcome my fear and inertia and try again.