First of all, here are some pictures documenting my journey: imgur.com/gallery/43rFr
I thought I would make a post here because although it has been a while since I completed C25K, it was that program that started it all off for me and today was the culmination of a journey started with a 1 mile jog/walk back in January.
I found C25K after deciding that I wanted to make a change in my life. I was eating unhealthily, I was woefully unfit, and being in between jobs, I had some time on my hands. On the seventh of January, I went out for a jog for the first time ever. I had done some sports in school years ago, but I had never just run, so it was all new to me. I made it 1.2 miles in 12:45 which included lots of walking, and I was completely exhausted. The next day I made it 1.4 miles at a similar pace. I was pretty disappointed in myself. I didn't know much about running and thought it would be easier than that! I read up a bit online and found out that it actually wasn't that easy and that there was a specific program made for people like me, C25K! I decided to start C25K using the NHS (British National Health Service) free podcasts and after 2 days of rest, I started W1D1 on the 11th January. At the same time I started counting calories.
The structure of C25K helped me massively. I am not a particularly disciplined person and having a program to follow made it easier to get out there. I found week one really hard and week two nigh on impossible, but I didn't fail a run and kept on pushing myself. I took it nice and slow and learnt over time that I am definitely not a naturally gifted or fast runner! I worked through the program week by week and got myself to the end of week 8 in subsequent weeks. I took a rest for a week there as I developed a really sore blister on the bottom of my foot that just would not heal. Luckily it healed in a week and I went on to finish W9D3 and the program on the 17th March. I ran my first ever 5k on W9D2 in 35:25 and ran another on W9D3 in 32:48. I was done! I had completed the hardest thing I had ever done in my life, so I then looked at how I could put myself through even more pain! I knew I didn't want to stop there so I made a plan to slowly increase my mileage until I could run 10km non stop. At this point I decided not to use B210K and go it alone, but it wasn't long until I had another program to follow. On the 4th April I took the plunge and entered a local Half Marathon even though I was definitely a fair way off from being ready for it. I knew that if I actually put some money down, I would feel more desire to actually continue.
I found a Half Marathon plan on RunKeeper (I use both Strava and Runkeeper) which had me starting on the 24th May, but I wanted to get a 10k under my belt before then. By increasing my mileage slowly, I managed to do so on the 14th May, making me feel like I was ready to embark on another training program. I also managed to run my first sub 30 min 5k during this time so increased milage is definitely the right way to increase speed! My Half Marathon program had me running 4 times a week for a total of 64 runs (including the final race) in 4 months. Through the four months I encountered a number of injuries, lapses in dedication to the cause, and other struggles, but I only missed 5 runs and kept it up. I ran a 10k race as part of the program on the 29th June (57:07) as I wanted at least the experience of racing amongst people before the big race. I ramped up my milage as per the program and ran 10 miles for the first time on the 2nd August. The program was working and although my body was hating me for it, I was seeing improvements! The program actually had me running the full distance before the race, and then tapering, so on the 22nd August I ran 13.1 miles for the first time. I ran it slow and struggled through it but I made it! I knew then that I had to be able to finish the race so I suppose it felt a bit easier from there.
The last 3 weeks of the program had me running less miles and I'm so happy it did! I was having some problems with pain in my legs and this pretty much cleared up with the tapering. I ran a final ParkRun last Saturday to see how my pace had improved, and I managed to run my first sub 25 minute 5k (24:52)!
Now to the race! I'm not going to say it was easy but the training certainly paid off. The race I had chosen was not a flat one, and was very tough. The hills really took it out of me and after starting off at a fair pace, my pace suffered due to the inclines. That said, I did finish without walking and was very close to my very far off goal of running sub 2 hours. I finished in 2:01:26 and with a smile on my face! My long journey started off with that 1.2 mile run and culminated in this 13.1 mile one. I am so proud of myself at actually following through on something and not giving up. Throughout these 8 months I have gone down from 95kg (209lbs) to 66.5kg (146lbs) and am hoping to maintain now.
I don't know what the future holds, and I can't say I am completely in love with running, but I do want to carry on and plan on signing up for a 10k soon. I want to maybe run another Half Marathon next year and if I go completely mad, I may end up running a full marathon the next year. I hope this has been a good story to read, as it has definitely been a good one to live through, and I hope it will give some of you current C25Kers some inspiration! The program works and is well worth following through. Good luck and keep it up, and if you are as mad as me, I hope to see you running a Half Marathon and more soon!