Before couch 2 5k, I hadn't run in 15 years. And even back in school when I used to be an athlete, the longest that I'd ever run before collapsing into a heap was 400 metres! I had convinced myself that short sprints were all I was made for.
I am 3 stone overweight now and suffer from central obesity. I took to running not just for better health, but also cos I have always been fascinated by it..something I yearned to be able to do, but thought I wasn't capable of. I am a great fan of the Live well pages on NHS (I used to live in the UK), so I accidentally bumped into the page about c25k when I was surfing the web aimlessly one day.
I was full of self-doubt the Sunday afternoon 8 weeks ago when I started the couch 2 5k program. I needed a lot of talking to and convincing that even if I failed the first week, I'd continue to repeat it until I got better...told myself that if week 1 was all I could ever manage, I'd go back every alternate day to do 8 one-min runs with Laura. I knew my journey was going to be hard.
I got through not just week 1 successfully, but every single run after that without a failure. I reached week 4 to realize that I was getting addicted to running. Come week6, I was totally hooked. I went out even as late as 11pm on days I was too busy to find any time during the day. I got to W8R3 and I ran farther and faster than ever...felt like I could run forever. I stopped at 32 minutes, although I could have easily gone on and on.
Then came week 9 and with it, loads of stress at work. For the first time, I took two days off before runs 2 and 3. I was dehydrated, stressed and tired. Needless to say, my pace reduced dramatically and I collapsed the moment Laura said I had done 30 minutes. I rested well before my graduation run - I din want it to be an anti-climax after all the fun I'd had..I still couldn't run at my fastest, but I did run the entire 5k last night. It took me 50 minutes to get there but I did it.
So what has couch 2 5k given me?
Surely, its dragged me off the couch and made me exercise regularly. I have hardly lost any weight in this journey, but I surprised myself when I couldn't care! Its given me hope that I'll one day, be my ideal weight and figure.
For the first time in ages, I was doing something I loved regularly, and it was doing good to my overall well-being. There is something amazing about overcoming your fears..fear of failure, of making a fool of yourself... I have several such doubts about my abilities that nag me all the time..but have made a start somewhere and beaten the first in the long line of 'chimps on my shoulder' hands down!
I used to hate my body before I started running. Now I realize that it wasn't my body that I hated..it was the inaction about whatever was wrong with it that led to all the self-hating. Couch25k has redeemed my self-worth, and for this reason alone, I am eternally grateful to NHS for having made the effort to publicize this program.
I had this'friend' who knew about my medical condition ( I have PCOS) and yet constantly jeered at me for my weight. After seeing such lovely people in the couch25k forum, I realize she has never been my friend in the real sense of the word! I cant thank you guys enough for your support, encouragement and inspiration. /blows out kisses
My graduation blog is incomplete without a mention of Laura..there is a kindness that drips in her voice, and it kept gently nudging me on through these 9 weeks.
I can go on and on about what I've gained, but I stop here...for I now need to make plans for the future
I am gonna do my first race on July 22 (race against cancer) and I deliberately chose it to be my first. It is a cause very close to my heart..I look forward to the run, and many more after that.
I am thinking of re-doing couch 2 5k at a faster pace..I'd like to sprint the jog bits and walk the walk bits. Well, that's the future-state as I'd like it to be, but at the moment, I am trotting off to collect the shiny badge that I've yearned for all along, but only just earned