Couch to 5K
53,107 members85,171 posts

W5R3: That "Hemingway" Moment...

Ernest Hemingway once wrote: "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

Maybe running is a bit the same. Only without the typewriter. Or the sitting down. Or the bleeding. Hopefully. W5R3 does tend to bring out the shivers with us newbies though.

We've all read the posts and listened to the wisdom. "Take it slow." "Slow and Steady." "If you've come this far then it's achievable." Believe in yourself." "Believe in the programme." But still. It feels like a bit of an "Everest" moment. (The hillock. Not the double glazing.) And it is scary. Anyone who's not a little bit scared of R3 probably isn't a human being. Or not one I'd feel comfortable being naked in front of.

Blimey. 20 whole minutes of putting one front in front of the other in a style we call "running". Hmm.

I really wanted to get this out of the way early. But the Highways Agency in its wisdom has decided to close off my bit of the A21 until 6am in order to make a hamfisted job of filling potholes. So I'm pacing around for a while. Tea. Loo. More tea. Loo. Loo again. What in God's name have I been eating? I'll never touch another vegetable again. I don't want a Paula Radcliffe incident.

Right. In the car. There are a few bollards stuffed behind hedges. The Highways Agency at its finest. Road still knackered though. Maybe they all went running. Or just ran away.

It's misty and it's been raining. A lot. There are puddles. Great lakes. I get my legs out of the back of the car; I'd stored them there for safe keeping. I look down. Can barely see my feet through the mist but they must be there somewhere.

The ever lovely and patient Sanjeev does his thing about the perfect horror of R3 and how I must be a complete and utter moron for even attempting this. Tell me something I don't know tiger.

Nothing new on the music front. Classical Dead Stuff. I stride into the Wagnerian gloom with only squirrels for company. How they chuckle. Feeling like Jonathan Harker on his first visit to Castle Dracula.

The first 5 minutes of running is awful. A total shambles. Everything groans and aches and says "I want my duvet! Now!" Trying to go really slowly is hard. Harder than whatever my instinctive running pace is. But if I don't keep it slow I'll explode in some awful shower of tea and half-digested vegetables. And no-one will turn my Heart Rate Monitor off.

The Beethoven that got me up that first hill is still with me though. Hang on. I'm further along than I was on Tuesday. I must have started running sooner. I can't be going faster can I? But I'm still feeling borderline human.

Feeling a bit better now. But only 8 minutes in. Still feels like Everest. Some Bach kicks in for me. The opening chorus from the St Matthew Passion. It had to be really. Big occasions need a big soundtrack. That glorious big, slow, comforting thing. One of the less bonkers things someone once said about the opening was that it's paced like a slow heartbeat. I settle in. Rene Jacobs in glorious Hybrid SACD sound that just wraps me up and takes me with it. I have a go at singing along. Give up. Just go with the flow, Stephen. A relentless comforting tread. Bach will get you there. Always has and always will.

I'm still going. Sitting at my typewriter and bleeding. But my legs feel kind of okay. I'm trying to breathe properly. I'm not aware that my heart rate is doing anything daft. But still. This is a long way.

I avoid falling over the gate at the end of the trail and carry on round. Another hillock. Oh, will you please just stop please.

Then more Bach. More Saint Matthew Passion. The big bass aria near the end. "Mache dich, mein Herze, rein." Something about cleansing your heart. No matter. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in 1958 at his youthful incredible best. All warmth and honey and compassionate humanity and total gorgeousness. My God, how that man could sing!

Here it comes. I knew it would. 3 minutes left to run. In gently falling rain. I'm going to do this. And great wracking sobs and I can't tell what's rain and what are the tears streaming down my face. If ever there's been a time just to let go, then this is it. I lengthen my stride and just barrel along. Feeling as if my heart's just been broken and put back together and all's right with the world.

And that's it. Done.

Harder than anything I thought possible. But I'm not a wreck. Not staggering around. I can breathe. Just.

And I let myself do that thing. That collapsing onto my knees and kissing the ground thing. That "I never thought I could do this and I bloody have and it was hard, but it was great at the same time and I never knew I could do this but I bloody have" thing.

Daft bugger me. More an emotional wreck than a physical one. But I've climbed that Everest. This was the big one really. If I can do this I can finish the programme. I know that now. More than halfway through and it's like the first five weeks was about piling huge bricks one on top of the other. And the second five is about taking the bricks off, one by one, run by run. And there's a podium behind there with my name on it. With a damn big cake. And all you lot who have been on the journey with me and made me smile and laugh and wince. And laugh a bit more.

What a fantastic day it's been so far. I'm never going to be one of those "Well I thought it might be a bit tricky, but it seemed really easy and I ran for a few more hours afterwards" people. But this has been a bloody marvellous journey.

Thanks for sharing it with me xx

108 Replies
oldestnewest

CONGRATULATIONS!!! Amazing!! This has made my morning and given me faith for next Tuesday where I face the 20 minute run!! I have also worked out that I will be graduating couch to 5k on the day I also graduate (well have my final exam) at uni!!!!

4 likes
Reply

Aww. I suspect I may spend a lot of today wiping away the odd tear. But hey you!! It's going to be fine. But it will test you. And your double graduation is going to be bloody awesome!! Let us know how it all goes xx

Reply

I will report back on Tuesday, I am at home and my Mum has said she will be at the end with water and banners and the dogs...I can't help but feel she should save that for week 9!!

Reply

Nah! Stuff W9 for the time being. You will not believe yet how good you're going to feel on Tuesday when you grind that 20 minutes under your heel. Make sure Mum brings cake too. Can't celebrate without a fistful of cake!!

Reply

A star is born 🌟🌟🌟

Well done mate! Great read as ever and even greater run!

Which reminds me. I got a whole load of complete strangers to run yesterday.

If you ever want to liven things up at a railway station, take a whistle with you!!

Onwards to the podium and cake you blubbering mad man!!

#you can do it

1 like
Reply

Wouldn't have got there without you young Matty! Blubbering all the way to the tape now!!

Reply

Awesome awesome awesome! Please tell me you are gonna be a runner who writes, or a writer who runs...I’d pay to read your nonsense!!! Well done you...I am going to do w6 r2 today or tomorrow... I think I did R1 too fast after w5r3 (be warned!!) ..... but this has made my day happy!!! Kat

2 likes
Reply

Careful you or I'll cry again :-) I'll keep pounding the streets and pounding the keys don't you worry. I am just having the most fantastic time!! And I'm hearing you loud and clear on W6. Forewarned is fore-armed. And possibly four-footed :-)

2 likes
Reply

I laughed out loud at this. Brilliant post! Many congratulations to you and very well done. As you say, this is the biggie and you've just conquered it 🤗

I can't wait for your graduation post, no doubt epic 💪💪💪

Reply

Glad you laughed. That's always good! I'm feeling pretty darned happy right now. Who knows what kind of epics will happen over the next month or so. But I'll keep going hon xx

1 like
Reply

Well done Sallenson!!! You cracked the mother run and now it’s all plain sailing!! Well kind of. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼😎

1 like
Reply

Bring on those fog banks and shallow drafts. I am a Conquering Hero now. I shall not be afraid. Apart from when I am... xx

2 likes
Reply

The report of a great event deserves to be well written. Well done!

That run is the foundation that will get you through weeks 7 and 8 without problems. You’ve just got to negotiate the new bricks of the first two runs of W6.

Remember, as the man holding the music for the conductor said, I’ve got your Bach.

4 likes
Reply

Nice!! And thank you young man!! We loons will conquer the world!!

1 like
Reply

Young? 🤣🤣🤣🤣

Reply

You'll always be young to me...

1 like
Reply

You’re wrong about the bleeding 😎

Mwaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhha 😁

I’ll show you the photos 😃

Well done. That was epic 💪😃🏃‍♂️🏃‍♂️🏃‍♂️🏃‍♂️🏃‍♂️ Cue ode to joy 🎶🎵

Reply

Aww. Thank you hon. If not Ode to Joy then certainly Sonnet to Slight Satisfaction... I cannot begin to tell you how much I'm loving every minute of this!!!

Reply

It’s a complete and utter blast. Free fun! 💪😃

Reply

I actually lolled at “and no one will turn my heart rate monitor off” 😂😂😂

Very very well done 👏👏👏🙌

1 like
Reply

Thx Jenny. Not the easiest twenty minutes of my life, but among the best. And I did remember to close the session down on my HRM. Polar Flow is telling me that that was a "Demanding" session. No shit Sherlock!! :-)

1 like
Reply

Great run Sallenson!

Wk5r3 is just an opportunity to prove to yourself you can do it, a PMA is the essential accompaniment on the way out to this and all further runs.

Glad the roadies didnt stop your great moment!

Reply

Thank you!! The roadies would have been in big trouble if they'd tried to get in the way of this runner!!

Reply

Fantastic read sallenson and fantastic run! You have cheered up my morning and I'm off to conquer week 6 run 1!

Reply

You'll be a Conquering Hero too!! And we can form a band!! Go crush it for us!!

Reply

Thanks! Wouldn't say I crushed it but I squished it up a bit, wk6 run 1 wasn't easy but I'm convinced the worst battle is with the mind!!!! Look forward to reading how you get on with it. Keep running and keep entertaining us with your writing. I keep chuckling about you getting your legs out......

Reply

Doesn't everyone keep their's in the back of the car? So much easier.

Go and squish some more for us!!

Reply

Fantastic! It was never in doubt in my mind that you would do it! You keep rolling along every other day like juggernaut with no brakes going down a hill!

I think you are over producing endorphins! If only you could feed the excess back into the grid for the rest of us to enjoy!

Brilliant recounting of events! Thanks for taking the time and sharing. Well done for the run! No stopping you now!

🏃🏼‍♂️👏🏻🏃🏼‍♂️👏🏻🏃🏼‍♂️👏🏻

1 like
Reply

Grinning loon juggernaut me!! Not sure it always felt high at the time. Or unstoppable. But it's bagged up now.

And you my chum are going to spank that treadmill!!

1 like
Reply

Thank you! I’m feeling strangely confident about R2 tonight. Done a lot of research on how to run so know the principles better. I will of course not let confidence = speed. Nice and slow!! 🐌🐌🐌🐌🐌

Reply

Well done fabulous sir, great post and am really interested in listening to some of that music you mention, sounds very inspiring, beats Laura me thinks. Awaiting your next instalment👍

Reply

I think Laura's musical accompaniment would have made me bite my own arms off!! Thanks for the hug, now onwards and upwards into glory!!

Reply

You have to listen to Laura. It’s gotta to be done. After which, anything is possible. No Laura means no Julie, and you simply must let her into your life 😎.

Reply

This Julie character seems to have made impression on people. I'll check her out. But only because you say so and you are wise and wonderful!!

Reply

Listening to Audiofuel will make you hardcore 💪 It’s monumentally awful but strangely hypnotic after it's seeped in to your brain. It carries on with the C25k+ Stepping Stones podcasts too. Another treat for you

I must be a sucker as I actually paid real money for Audiofuel marathon training. Sadly, no Julie. You say goodbye to her when you move on from C25k.

1 like
Reply

Very well done to you! A great write up too :-)

It's probably just me, but I can't get on with Hemmingway. Read a Farewell to Arms and found the nurse character incredibly annoying - put me off reading any of his other stuff 😕

Reply

Fischer-Dieskau beats Hemingway any day!!

Reply

Now you've got me googling again!

I'm learning German as well as running so you've already had me looking at the libretto to the Bach "auf Deutsch" as practise. No wonder I never get any housework done 😂

Reply

Eliot Gardiner used to make us sing the SMP from memory without scores. That was pretty brutal.... Please don't make me do that again....

Reply

I can never remember the words when I have to sing from memory. Music fine.. Words even if they're in English - no chance!

Are you Tenor or Bass?

Reply

Bass. He said in his best gruff and manly butch voice.

Reply

Haha! Think my boyfriend genuinely could have been a Countertenor with training - instead he plays screamingly high trumpet.

I'm an alto of sorts - I've no real technique so can't really get past treble C. I'm quite loud in my lower register but can't transition into my head voice - it's amusing at weddings and funerals.

My boyfriend on the other hand can sing top A's (above the stave) and it doesn't sound like a falsetto.......think we might be slightly off topic again 😂

Reply

There's nothing wrong with being off topic. Though people may be talking :-)

Your bf didn't sing with The Rubettes did he? Now that was an awesome sound. Eat your heart out Andreas Scholl...

Reply

I do like Scholl. I'll always remember the Proms (think it was probably Last Night) when they had Brian May doing some presenting and he made a comparison to Axl Rose. Hmmm no not really 😂😂

Reply

Well Done Sallenson, you should be a writer (or maybe you are). I haven’t downloaded classical onto my playlist because I didn’t think it would go with running - it obviously does! 🏃‍♂️🎼🎧

Reply

It seems to work for me!! I'll go back to "proper" music for W6 tho :-)

Reply

Oooh yer. I think a bit of The Onedin Line theme tune by Katcha wotsisface is a good one. Or what about O Fortuna. The Carmina Burana thing by Carl Orff, you can singalong with that one. Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody is good too

Reply

Bohemian Rhapsody only if I can re-enact the scene in Wayne's World! DaveB46 and I could do a double act....

1 like
Reply

Yes. Count me in. 😂

1 like
Reply

That has to be one of the best W5R3 posts of all time.........and St Matthew Passion is going to have to go on my phone now......brilliant!

Look out for tricksy W6R1 and remember to keep it slow.

Keep running, keep grinning like a loon.

1 like
Reply

You lovely, kind, wise man. Thank you.

All my tech is telling me my pace is going backwards and I don't care a jot. I'm fitter. My heart rate is coming down all the time. I'm loving doing this bonkers stuff.

I'll keep it nice and slow. And trust me, the Bach helped!!

Reply

Well done!! Amazing...and so encouraging for me! I have been following your posts with interest (and amusement), I am one week behind you having just completed week 4. I struggled with 60 seconds running at the beginning, so the fact I am this far along (& getting hooked) is huge! I am trying to believe in the programme to get me through this week...it certainly seems like a mountain to climb! Well done you...you've proved you can do this!!

Reply

Anyone who says "I just tossed off W5R3 really easily" is deluded or borderline mad. It's hard. But all the weeks are hard. But it's doable. And the thrill of breaking that tape is, well, read my post. It took me to pieces :-)

1 like
Reply

I love the bit where you wrote " I got my legs out of the back of the car " Ha ha ! :-)

Really Well done , this is such a milestone in the programme, and you nailed it ! xxx

Reply

I tried hon, I tried. There's some weird part of my brain saying "You know what, you should do that again for the fun of it". Just shows how addled I am...

1 like
Reply

Well done that man! Such a huge and momentous occasion. I was thinking of you last night, first run back, egging me on. I knew I had to report in to let you know....so I didn't stop. I'll let you read the post!

This is fantastic for you mate, that podium is just over the next hillock! Big (man) love and congratulations!

1 like
Reply

I'm zooming over to read your update right now. Right now I feel like a broken, rebuilt and very happy bunny...

This running shit is well weird...

1 like
Reply

Sallenson you have the most fabulous writing style I've ever encountered - and running style too by the sounds of it! Massive congrats on conquering w5r3 and best of luck for the upcoming week 6 runs.

1 like
Reply

Aww hon, you mustn't!! I'll go all sobby again. I hear W6 is another lunatic ride. But right now I say "Bring it on!!"

More a running anti-style possibly. But it's getting me there so far...

1 like
Reply

W6 is basically W5 all over again, and if you did W5 then you can do W6 :-)

Reply

Well done. Great job!

Hemingway also said "We’re stronger in the places that we’ve been broken"

Reply

Thx Helen. It's been a good day. And for all his macho posturing there's something about Hemingway that I can't help liking.. And "The Old Man and the Sea" is a terrific book too :-)

Reply

Oh yay! You conquered your Everest. I had absolutely no doubts at this end that the outcome would have been anything other than what you achieved. This truly is the big run and the rest will be smooth sailing 😀 Good work, soldier 💪

Reply

Only conquered because my buddies we cheering me on. I wasn't going to let you down!! I hadn't quite reckoned on the emotional meltdown at the end, but I'm a grown up now. I can cope with anything :-)

1 like
Reply

Yep, that’s the spirit. Come on 💪

Slow and steady, obvs 🙂

Reply

Aaaand....BOOOOOOM!!

Awesome post and awesome feeling innit?

Respect W6R1 but bask in your glory. It’s a massive mind changer conquering that 20 min run. You now start to feel you actually can do it.

Enjoy, see you in W6. I’m off for run 2 in an hour, this’ll spur me on.

1 like
Reply

You'll BOOOOOM dat ting!!

1 like
Reply

Fabulous well done 👍🏼

I didn’t realise i would be running 20 mins on my next run 😫

1 like
Reply

Thanks Amanda!!

You'll have been saved the days of mental anguish!! The bad new is that it's not easy. But none of the runs is easy.

The good news is that barring some awful unforeseen event like Alien Invasion or All the Lights Go Out you know how do do this. It's just your lower limbs and your head that will need a bit of convincing.

Just remember that Slow is Your Friend and you'll be fine!!

Reply

Thank you x I find the first part the worse I had a moaning conversation with myself then had chest pain (reminded myself that my heart is on the left so I’m not dying) and then tried to sing to rod steward (don’t judge me it was a classic) and suddenly it all settles down 👍🏼

Reply

Early Rod Stewart is fantastic!!

First 5 minutes was grim for me too. Legs all over the place. Like a geriatric Bambi...

1 like
Reply

Well done you! 🎉🌟🎉🌟🎉🌟You are amazing, awesome, bonkers, sensitive and very good at writing and making me laugh! 😂😂

Reply

I'll settle for making you laugh Bridget. Everything else is either accidental or just icing on the cake.

Speaking of cake.... :-)

xx

1 like
Reply

See you did it again 😂😂

Reply

I'll do pretty much anything for a handful of cake. I'll even run around in the rain...

1 like
Reply

Oh this is amazing and I have strangely looked forward to reading this after work all day! I can feel the crescendo in both your writing and music that is at it’s simultaneous best-truly marvellous!! Well done Stephen, this is an epic account of a remarkable run which is a mind over body matter. I’m now hearing Chariots of Fire! I’m feeling emotional for you and all of the fellow runners and plodders (me!)on this amazing forum.

It’s the Week 6er club now-hooray!

🌟🏃‍♂️🌟🏃‍♀️

1 like
Reply

Hoorah for W6ers!!

If you've been looking forward to reading this then I fear for your sanity. But that's another matter entirely. Just sit down on this nice couch for a while. Lol

We all hanker for that St Andrew's beach and Vangelis really. What a great moment....

1 like
Reply

No sitting on the couch- we are C25K now!! 😂

Reply

No sitting on the couch- we are C25K now!! 😂

Reply

Jane, what happened to you, my love? You're a zealot!! :-)

Reply

That’s it you’ve just inspired me !! I was trying to think who else to put on my post week 9 playlist .. Vangelis !!! Of course!! I was listening to rick wakeman Journey to the centre of the earth in the car and trying to decide if I could run to that..... but Vangelis ..yes I could 😁😁

Reply

I'm hoping that I'm not tempting fate in starting to think about my W9R3. Stevie Wonder "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" is an obvious. LedZep "Celebration Day" is another. Vangelis is starting to sound an attractive thought... Any other hints and tips welcome.

There may be a whole new post in there!!....

Reply

Well done! It was a real mountain of a session for me...I'd really built it up on my head about getting through it. And I, and thousands of others, did! Good luck out there. 👍👍👍

Reply

Cheers. It's a biggie. And it's kind of right that people get a little bit knotted about it. And I'm not going to tell anyone it's easy cos it's not. But we all got through it somehow and came out wiser people than we went in...

Not sure about the wiser tho :-)

1 like
Reply

Brilliant! So pleased you did that one. It was my favourite run so far but then I am on the horrible W6.....

1 like
Reply

What was nice was not having the constant interruptions. Tho the app seemed to go a bit barmy at the end.

Ooh err for W6....

1 like
Reply

You'll be great. Like you said - you're (we're) in it for the long haul now. There's no going back.....

Reply

Only 12 runs till Christmas!!

1 like
Reply

Really?? Wow 😳

Reply

Well. Until the end of the programme. Fewer for you. And then we do the "Now What?" convo... :-)

1 like
Reply

Ha ha! Thought it must be more than that to Christmas. Yes I think I want to work on my speed when I graduate rather than distance but we'll see. Also - don't fancy the podcasts much coz I don't think you can play your music & I have to have my music.

Reply

On the music front, me too. Probably obviously. If I didn't have control of that I'd go even more bonkers than I am already. I'm eyeing the B210K tho...

Reply

Funny innit? Everyone seemed to have a real block with this run and I loved it ( found the 2X 8 mins harder) but I felt as though once this one was out the way I knew I could do the rest. Mind you there have still been tears along the way and I’m sure there will be more to come over the following weeks, but I think once you’ve cracked THIS run you’re on your way and nothings stopping you.

Well done

1 like
Reply

Thanks Lou! I wouldn't quite go as far as saying I "loved" it. But it was certainly a fairly major experience. And I'm dead optimistic about the remaining 41% of the programme. Yes, I worked it out. Sad....

1 like
Reply

Yes! (I shout) you did it. I'm soo proud of you. 😊 Big smiles all round.

Now on to Week 6 we go. That graduation full of tears is getting closer.

1 like
Reply

Don't know about you my love, but I'm going to be a basket case by the time we get there. Party on Garth!!

Reply

Forget the tissues, i'll bring along a towel instead. Think that maybe needed with all the tears.

By then we would've worked soo hard, stuck with it for 9 weeks throughout all the ups and downs. I for sure may cry but with the biggest smile on my face.x

Reply

Is it okay if I jump up and down too? And can we get a Bouncy Castle?

1 like
Reply

Bouncy castle lol 😂😂😂

And why not! 😊

Reply

Brill!! Thx hon!!

1 like
Reply

Amazing read. Congratulations! It truly is a great feeling. I didn't cry but I did whoop out loud in public! Classical music sounds like the way to go...I never thought about that before...always thought I needed a fast beat to keep going. Am going to try it on my next run tomorrow 🙂

Reply

I went the Classical route for a number of reasons. It's my background so it doesn't scare me and I needed something that would just slow me down. Wasn't sure it would work. But it did for me.

I'll be back to normal service for W6. I've missed LedZep this week :-)

And thanks for the kind words!! Keep on truckin'

1 like
Reply

Well done!!! I’m glad to see I wasn’t the only one that was over emotional about this run! Keep up the good work you’re doing and keep updating us on your progress. Very proud of you! X

1 like
Reply

Aww hon. Feeling's mutual. We're beating this eh?

Reply

Damn right we are 😁

1 like
Reply

That was a fantastic post for a fantastic run- enjoy week 6!

1 like
Reply

Thanks you hon! I'm certainly going to try!

W6R1 on Saturday....

1 like
Reply

Just read your W6 R1 post- you made it through, well done! (Sorry I'm a bit behind the times!)

1 like
Reply

You may also like...