Monday was my first run of C25K, after my success with the program 2 years ago. In my most recent post, I wrote about what happened that led to me stopping running, and ending up pretty much back where I was the very first time I did this.
In many ways, I expected this second kick at the can to be easier than the first. I am about 5 pounds lighter than when I started the previous time. I have the benefit of experience, having learned a little bit about pacing and technique. (Ok, not much about technique actually, I run really goofy, but better than the very first time, I guess.) I know what to expect and don't have to get too stressed out about each milestone.
And I have the confidence one gets from succeeding before. I did it two years ago, so of course I can do it now, right? Easy-peasy.
My very first run was in fact both easy and hard. The weather was not my friend. It was -10 Celsius with a bit of wind and blowing snow, and my lungs are not used to breathing cold air when exerting myself as I have hid indoors all winter. There had been several days of significant snow, and my favored path was completely covered. I couldn't even see where the path was, and just had to guess. I had dug out all my old gear, but couldn't find my inhaler for my exercise-induced asthma, so I just tried to do without.
Running in snow seems to me sort of like running in sand. It is seriously hard work. Fun, granted, what with creating your own special tracks and kicking up light, fluffy whiteness with every step, but also really hard. It helps to run where others might have tamped down the snow, but this stuff was so new that it hadn't happened much yet. I was blazing my own trail. And wheezing and aching with practically every step. (I was really, really, really missing my inhaler. My chest hurt so bad!)
My neighborhood is hilly, and there are rather pleasant tree-lined bike/running paths, so I did get the whole "communing with nature vibe" which was delightful. I also remembered how much I liked the transition into spring and summer my previous attempt at C25K afforded, which offered extra motivation. Plus I was mentally (not physically!) used to long running intervals, so 60 seconds came and went very quickly, even with all the wheezing.
I had it in my head that this would be lots of fun, this time around. Run 1 just didn't live up to the hype. It was pretty, but it HURT and I was SLOW. I felt some apprehension that maybe it wouldn't be all the manageable after all....
Run 2 was a great improvement. The weather got so much warmer that much of the snow melted. The sun was shining, and I wasn't all stiff from the cold. I could breathe easier in the warmer air too. And it is soooo much easier to run on a hard, dry path than a blanket of snow! There was a real hazard with patches of ice, which led me to run on the road in some places - rather than the paths and sidewalks, but by and large I had a much better time of it. I was able to go faster, and covered quite a bit of ground considering my previous ultra-slow pace. I enjoyed being out in the sunshine, and felt all happy and cheerful. My asthma bothered me again, but less so, and I wasn't in so much pain. I am back to thinking this could end up being a really great experience after all - doing this again.
Who knows, maybe my almost-famous "slightly-bouncy-walk" running gait of truly sloth-worthy speed will be improved this time around and I will be able to run 4K in half an hour instead of topping out at about 3K? (In the 6 months of regular running I did 2 years ago, I never got much past 3K in half an hour. I did run 5K once or twice, but I had to go for almost an hour to do it.)
Most important of all - I am back and doing. I once again am happy to be taking control of my own health and pushing towards my goals. This summer, as before, I plan to be able to hike and climb and dance and jump and do anything else that tickles my fancy. I will be fit enough to fully participate in my own life.