Sunday, September 12, 2010

On a mission

Yes, it's been awhile since I updated this blog. And I apologize. Taking a new job, moving to a new town, adjusting to the new town and dealing with being away from the place I called home for 14 years can take a lot out of a person.

It can, and it did.

At some point, I realized I was letting some of that get to me. I was coming home at night, making dinner, sitting down on the couch and not going back out again. And I wasn't paying much attention to what I was eating.

Something needed to change.

And one day in July, I just sort of woke up and decided I wanted to run a 5K. To anyone who runs, that probably sounds like nothing. But for me, it was a somewhat outlandish goal. Even
when I was in my best shape just a few years ago, running was not within my realm of capability. I tried -- I really did -- but it never worked.

But for some reason, on that day in early July, I got it in my head that maybe I could run after all. I posted on Facebook, seeking advice from my runner friends about the best way to go about it. The Couch to 5K Running Program was an overwhelming favorite, it seemed, so I downloaded the C25K app and decided to give it a try.

I did the one thing that I thought would motivate me to really do this: I started telling everyone. On Facebook, on Twitter, in face-to-face conversations, I told people about my intention to start training and ultimately run a 5K. Most people were supportive, but some people clearly didn't think I could do it (they were polite and all, but I could tell what they were thinking).

Then I did the other thing that I knew would motivate me: I picked a race to run. I settled on a particular one in mid-October for a number of reasons: The potential for others to join me in the race, the fact that I was already planning to go to related events that weekend, and, of course, the fact that it maximized the time for me to train.

On July 10, I did my first training run, which consisted of a five-minute warmup walk, 20 minutes of one minute running/one minute walking intervals, and a five-minute cooldown walk. Winded, sweaty and beet red, I didn't even make it through all of the running intervals. It was hard, and quitting would have been easy.

Somehow, though, I didn't quit.

Every other day, I did the next training run, working my way through run intervals that lasted 1, 1.5, 3, 5, 8 and 10 minutes ... then building up to being able to run solidly for 20, 25, 28 minutes. Last Saturday (Sept. 4), I finished the program, running 30 consecutive minutes. And in the week since, I have started running a full but slow 5K.

I tell you this not because I think I am doing something amazing or fantastic by running. I tell you this because we all have something we're thinking about doing -- something that might bring the satisfaction of completing a goal, could improve your health, might even change your life. And if you step up and do it ... well, the possibilities are endless. A bonus: If you share your quest with others, you'll be amazed how many people will tell you, sincerely, that you've inspired them to take action as well. That can be some great motivation right there!

So, October 16 is race day for me. And in the next (almost) five weeks, I'm doing a few things:

- Celebrating what I've accomplished so far.

- Building up to run a solid 5K (i.e. with no walk breaks) -- and to do it in a reasonable amount of time.

- Raising funds for Special Olympics Michigan, the race's designated beneficiary. I've set a goal of raising $500 through my participation in the race. You can contribute here.

- Recruiting others to run the race with me. If you're going to be in mid-Michigan that weekend and want to run my first 5K with me, drop me a line for registration information!

To everyone who has offered supportive words and advice along the way, THANK YOU! To those who thought I couldn't do it, I thank you as well (hey, you motivated me, too ... just in a different kind of way).