Couch to 5K:Parting Thoughts

5 thoughts on finishing the C25k Program:

1.  This program works.  It does, and it’s that simple.  You go from about a total of 8 minutes running (with lots of walking in between) to 30 minutes of running, but the change is gradual and as you go you build not only strength and endurance, but also confidence that you can do it.  This is the most important thing.

2. But you have to do it at your own pace.  The program is designed to be done over a 9 week period.  However, the beauty of the program is that you do it only for you.  So if you need to take a week off, repeat a week, or stop completely and pick it up 2 months later, you can.  It’s that easy!  There’s no drill sargent or PE teacher making you run.  You do it because you want to.  I was lucky in that I was able to finish right at the 9 week mark.  I didn’t have to fight a cold, overcome an injury or miss time due to a vacation.  But if you do, so be it.  The program will be waiting on you when you are ready.

3.  Find support.  My husband was great about supporting me as I spread my baby wings and started this journey.  He always made sure to ask how my run went.  But…he couldn’t be less interested about going out and doing it himself.  I was looking for a little extra support and motivation so I joined up with an awesome group of ladies on the Active.com forum.  The trials and jubliations of this group have really kept me going.  The Beginner’s group on the Runner’s World forums is another great place to look for motivation.

4. Celebrate your successes.  One thing I and many others noticed in the online forum is that we were all so quick to bemoan our misses and downplay our success.  I think this is the curse of being a woman.  However, one of the blessings of being a woman is seeing and encouraging others when they need that helping hand.  We all need to work on patting ourselves on the back more.  So your 25 minute run was hard?  Remember when you couldn’t run 5?  Celebrate what you are able to do everyday.

5.  Pick a new goal. During the C25k program I have learned that I work best with a plan.  I’m looking at a few different options for extending my endurance, with an eye towards a half marathon sometime in early 2011.  I know, that is forever away and maybe I could do one sooner, but I really want to treat my body right and slowly seems to be the best way to do that.  Of course, I also need to get in lots of swim and bike training for triathlons, but again, find what works for you and do it!

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C25k Check In: Week 9

Day 1: HOT HOT HOT.  As such, I ran slooooowly, but made it 30 minutes

Day 2: The weather was much more agreeable, I finally found a run around the neighborhood that equals 3 miles (ok, 3.15, but who’s counting?) and ran it in 30 minutes.  Go me!

Day 3: Graduation day!  I kept my time consistent from Day 2, funny thing was, my legs felt like they had more to give.  That’s new!

Now I’m off to subscribe to Runner’s World magazine, one thing I promised I would get for myself after successfully completing the program.  The other is a pair of real running shoes with a professional fit, which I will take care of later this week.  Excited!!!

Check back later for my final thoughts on the C25k program.

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An Active Weekend

Not much to report on for this upcoming weekend.  Patrick is graduating from Vet School on Saturday so we are going to be busy celebrating!

Check in Monday or Tuesday on my personal blog to hear all about it!

Have a good one 🙂

Photo Credit.

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Quick Note

Just had to drop in to say that today I finished the C25k program.  I kept it to 30 minutes, but the weirdest thing happened, my legs kept speeding up and my brain had to slow them down.  Maybe I won’t be a 10:00/mile runner forever after all!

The full week’s wrap up will be on Monday like always, and check back Tuesday for my final thoughts on the C25k program.

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C25k Check In: Week 8

Ok, one more week to go.  Hard to believe!  Here’s how last week shaped up:

Day 1:  I counted this as my race.  Read about that here if you missed it the first time around.

Day 2: My iPod died, taking my C25k podcasts with it.  I back to where I started, got home and mapped out (MapMyRun.com is awesome!) that I ran 2.77 miles, so 27-28 minutes.

Day 3: This time, I was set on running 3 miles.  I added an extra road to my route, but the heat got to me (again) and I ended up walking a bit to keep my heart rate under control.  I need to get used to this heat now!

One more week of runs until I am a C25k graduate!  I can’t wait to celebrate this running victory!

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Take 5: Articles for the Week of 5/3/2010

I had to skip a couple of weeks of sharing articles since I’ve been to busy to do a whole lot of extra reading, but I’m glad to be back this week sharing some of what I have found.

A Beginners Guide To Buying A Bike – Active.com.   This covers all sorts of bikes, from top of the line Time Trials to Beach Cruisers.

Figuring out Your Sports Diet: Tips for Label Readers – Beginner Triathlete.com.  Your nutrition can really make you or break you.

Ironman Life: What It’s Really All About – Ironman.com.  A truly inspirational tale of an Ironman.

15 Things You Wouldn’t Want to See While Running a Marathon – Buzzfeed.com.  Except the beer, I don’t think I would mind seeing that.

Video of Andy Baldwin setting up a Triathlon Transition – EverymanTri.com.  Ok, this is really just for the eye candy.  Hello Dr. Baldwin!

Take 5: Fitness Articles are a round up of interesting articles I have found over the course of the week.  We might talk about yoga, we might talk about strength training, we might talk about calories and nutrition.  We also might just talke a tour around blog land and look at what others are up to.  Articles were not necessarily published in the week of  this blog post.

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Race Report: Second Empire 5k Classic

On Sunday, May 2nd I competed in my first race since 4th grade Physical Education, the Second Empire 5k Classic in downtown Raleigh, NC.

It was a hot day for a race, with temperatures in the low 90s and high humidity at 2pm.   There were a lot of sweaty people roaming around Hillsborough Street.

Since the race wasn’t until early afternoon, Patrick and I got up and headed to church like normal.  We left after Sunday School and dropped into Starbucks for a little caffeine bolt.  I had been trying to convince Patrick to run with me, but he maintained that he is simply not interested in endurance events (he, the guy who going mountain biking for a whole afternoon).

We got home around 11:30 and I got really nervous out of nowhere.  I guess there are a few reasons for this.  1) I haven’t actually run 3 miles in years.  2) I don’t know any logistics for the day…parking, registration, etc,  making this sever Type A person extremely unsettled.  3) It’s hot (did I mention that already) and I know its going to be a tough day.

Finally I get dressed, eat a sandwhich and pronounce myself ready to go.  On the drive into downtown, Patrick teases me by saying that maybe he will run afterall.  I get excited, but question his lack of suitable footwear, and he pretends to be upset that he can’t run in flip flops. 

We get downtown, park easily, get my race bib and timing chip easily, and walk around easily.  I get geared up and am ready to go.  All that worry for nothing.  We do a little people watching, listen to the speakers talk about adoption (the race was raising money for an adoption related non-profit) and soon it was time to line up.

Everyone lines up facing the Capital and we wait.  Gun time isn’t for 10 mintues.  Since I don’t have a running buddy I keep people watching.  There is a guy near me running in Vibram Five Fingers and it was amusing to listen to people around us wonder what the heck he was doing in a foot glove.  He had earphones in, so people were wondering that very loudly, it was pretty funny.  Also, I kinda assumed that race shirts were like concert tees.  I mean, you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing the Tom Petty 2010 concert tour shirt at the 2010 concert (I think tour etiquette is 5 years?), but maybe this isn’t the case with race shirts as lots of people were wearing them.  I’m still learning the ropes of racing, but I don’t see myself ever doing this.  I was feeling excellent up until the point where the announcer said that there was one minute to go.  Why couldn’t we just go now?  The last 60 seconds were ticking by slowly, but finally we were off!

I had positioned myself towards the back of the pack so there was a bit of shuffling around the walkers and people starting slower than I was (not sure how that is even possible?). 

Now, I’m a researcher at heart, so from all of the race reports I have read I knew that I would sub-consciously want to run faster than I needed to starting out, and my legs did indeed feel ready to go.  I kept telling myself to keep it fun and easy and finally I found my groove behind two girls running together.  They were definitely keeping it easy and around half a mile I realized that I was doing little more than a bouncy walk and passed by them.   We passed the old Capital building and headed back up Hillsborough Street to the main crowd and the first water stop.

This seems as good as a place as any to mention the intentions I set for the race.  First and most important, I wanted to keep it loose, easy and fun (as mentioned earlier).  Since this was my first race I knew that it was important to come away with a positive experience and be ready to go again.  Second, I wanted to walk as little as possible, preferably only through water stations.  That was all, not much of a game plan.

Coming up to the first water station, I tried to keep just faster than a walk, but couldn’t drink anything so I had to completely stop to take a sip, but after that was able to keep going.  I had just passed Patrick taking pictures, so I wanted to look tough :).

Running up Hillsborough Street was super hot.  They just put down new pavement on most of the street, so it was nice and black and reflecting the heat up.  All I could think was about the marathon portion of Kona, and how this is basically what they run 26.2 miles in.  Somehow, that didn’t make me feel any better.  I did felt better momentarily when I saw the first place runner because I thought that must mean the turn around spot was close.  Then I saw how fast we was running (he finished around 16 mintues) and realized that the turn around was probably far, far away.

So, I’m truding along and a nice race volunteer (thanks volunteers!) tells me that the next water stop is right around the corner.  I figure I could use a little break to catch my breath so I can actually drink some water this time, so I start walking, turn the corner and see the water stop…waaay off in the distance.  Oh well, the walking felt good, so I did it until I hit the aid station.  This second stop was in the roundabout at Pullen Street, and possessed a beautiful sight…a guy holding a water hose with a spray attachment!  It was heaven sent.  I downed a cup of water, got in front of the water hose, raised my arms and began to spin.  Keeping it fun!  Finally he told me to move on, which is good or I might have stayed there all day.  Feeling refreshed, I picked up running again, this time on the sidewalk where it was much cooler, if not that much shadier.

The run back in was slow and uneventful for the most part.  It felt a little cruel that we could see the finish line from so far away, like a mirage in the desert.  I had to stop a couple of  times and walk a few paces to wipe sweat out of my eyes or take an extra deep breath, but for the most part I was moseing along nice and slow.  I could feel my legs pick it up a bit when I got maybe and 1/8 of a mile from the line, I could see Patrick (who went for a beer in the middle of the race, what a guy) and I was ready to be finished!  Finally I crossed the finish line in 35:56, well behind hundreds of runners including about 15 kids, 2 moms pushing strollers and a few people old enough to be my grandparents.  It’s all good though, I finished and I was proud!

The volunteer had a hard time removing my timing chip, and standing there while she struggled with it was the only time the whole day that I felt like throwing up.  I needed to keep moving and get something to drink.  Once out of the finishing pen they gave us water bottles and cold wet washcloths which were absolutely divine.  A friend I saw on the course came over to chat about the heat after she finished with her boyfriend, then I went to grab some food.  They had a good spread of bagels, bananas, grapes, apples and Gatorade.  I filled up with a banana, apple and bottle of Gatorade and we found a shady spot to watch the kids 100 yard dash.

I feel like I can smell the sweat just by looking at this picture.

Those kids were so stinkin’ cute!  A lot of moms and dads ran with them which was even more adorable.  I’m glad that we stayed to watch.

Oh and the best part? On the way home Patrick says, “I wish I would have run it now, just to see what I can do.”

The seed has been planted my friends.

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