As of about five hours ago, I have joined the ranks of the graduates! Huzzah! (How do I get my spiffy little "GRADUATE" banner?)
For me, Couch To 5K was an international journey. It began in late August -- the 24th, to be precise -- at my home in Oxford, where I ran for my first four weeks. Right from the start, I took to running outside; in Oxford, there are always other runners around. For each of those first four weeks, I set a different course, just to keep things interesting. In Week One, I started by heading South; in Week Two, I started to the East; in Week Three, I my "brisk walk" pointed North; and in Week Four, I moved to the West. This helped shake things up, and it also made each week more distinct from the others.
In mid-September, I flew to Japan for work. I was there for two weeks, so that is where my Week 5 and Week 6 runs took place. Not being as familiar with the roads, I stuck to mostly the same route for those six runs, with a little extra exploring here and there. These were my first "long" runs (by which I mean "over five minutes"), and I saw quite a difference when I returned to Oxford for Week 7 Run 1!
I didn't stay long in Oxford, though. I was only home for two days before flying to the States for personal reasons. Week 7 may have begun in Oxford, but I finished the week out in the Chicago suburbs, running in a stunningly beautiful environment -- the Morton Arboretum. At this time of year, it is particularly gorgeous, as the Autumn leaves take on an array of exotic colours. I had to laugh at the start of the Week 7 podcasts when Laura suggested that we try choosing a different running route to break up the monotony. I suppose moving it to a new continent counts, yes?
A nine hundred mile road trip East meant that I started Week 8 in upstate New York. On the return journey, I did Week 8 Run 2 in Pennsylvania after stopping to rest for the night. Week 8 Run 3 was back in Chicagoland, in the same Arboretum, as was all three runs for Week 9.
Thus, we have the breakdown: Thirteen runs in Oxford, Six in Japan, Six in Chicagoland, one in New York, and one in Pennsylvania. Five locations, spread out amongst three continents -- not bad, huh?
Of course, at the end of the day, only one number matters... and that number is 30, as in "thirty minutes of continuous running!" True, I am already thinking of the future, looking forward to re-igniting my relationship with Laura in the 5K+ podcasts, improving my speed, and building a bridge to 10km. Ultimately, I want to complete an Olympic triathlon by the time that I turn 40 (I'm 37 now)... and Couch To 5K has provided the perfect start to the running portion of that challenge!
Hard to believe it wasn't so long ago when running for sixty seconds was difficult, and I spent Week One thinking: "Please let this minute end before I die!" Now it's half an hour at a time... with hopes to double that number soon!
Thanks to everyone who gave support... and thanks, in particular, to whoever designed the plan and the folks who decided to make these podcasts!