So, as planned after W9R2 yesterday, I got up with the intention of completing my C25K journey this morning as my partner is going abroad for work for a month tomorrow and I really didn't want to spend my graduation day alone. My legs felt fine but I made sure I did a LOT of stretching before I set out. I didn't want what should be a great experience marred by a silly injury.
I was just about to set off when I decided to leave my garmin at home. Heeding everyone's advice yesterday, I knew I didn't need to go chasing times or pace or distance and when I wear my garmin, I'm always checking it to see if I'm on track. So off with the garmin and out I went, determined to finish my journey on a high.
I had decided to just do my normal close to home laps that I have been doing since the end of week 7. But I didn't. I just set off and when I started running, it felt easy and relaxed and I just ran. I had no idea where I was going to go but I didn't care. I just wanted to enjoy myself.
And so I ran and ran and ran and quickly realised that I was touring all my old running haunts from the beginning of the programme; places I hadn't seen in a few weeks. As I did so, I started to reflect on the journey I've made, remembering the complete non-runner who was huffing and puffing after 60 seconds in a thick hoodie, crap trainers and jogging bottoms. The running wannabe who invested £££ in some cracking running shoes and thought he could conquer the world in week 5. And then the injured, tired and listless runner who struggled so hard to make it through weeks 7 and 8 and desperately just wanted to chuck the towel in, thinking he had met my match and wouldn't ever be able to run 5k or 30 minutes.
But here I was at the final hurdle, running on air, in no pain, breathing easily, feeling relaxed and above all enjoying myself. The whole thing just flew by and when Laura said I had 60 seconds to go I just started sprinting; really sprinting with a huge smile on my face because I could, because I've learnt something, I've achieved something I never thought I would be able to.
And now it's over, I'm strangely elated and bereft at the same time. I need new goals and one of those is to replicate what I did today - run without my garmin. No pressure, no time trials, no distance tracking, just running because I can and because I want to.....for FUN!!
I have another more important goal to achieve. I've never mentioned it before but I am a smoker and because I'm crap at multi-tasking, I figured giving up AND doing C25K would be way too much for my little old brain and nervous system to deal with. So now one target is met, another begins so today marks the last day of my life as a smoker. As someone who associates smoking with calming nerves and is generally quite highly strung, I'm in for a bumpy ride. But I promised myself that if I achieved this then I would stop smoking. That's the deal and I can't go back on it. Wish me luck!!
Here's a before and after pic to show what C25K has already done for me. The before was the last night of my holiday in Turkey in August. I started C25K the day after I arrived home. After is this morning after my run, complete with chocolate gold medal as promised.
Thank you to ALL the wonderful and inspirational people here. This is without doubt the most friendly and caring online community I have ever found and there's no way I could have achieved this without all the support everyone here has given. Good luck to all of you in your continued running endeavours.