After finishing up week six of the “Couch to 5k” program, I have to say I love the flexibility. Just three days a week doing a workout that can be done in a variety of places – treadmill, nature path, indoor track, or outdoor track. And, with the exception of a treadmill, I’ve tried them all. So easy to fit into my busy schedule.
Wrapping up week six yesterday, my goal was to simply run for 22 minutes straight. Easy-peasy, right? This time, I brought my runner son, Christopher, along to keep me company. Typically the slowest of my boys, I thought it wouldn’t be too difficult for him to stick with my snail-like pace. After all, the goal of the day didn’t say anything about speed, just 22 minutes or 2.25 miles.
The weather was sunny and unseasonably warm. I suggested the nature path, but Christopher said he preferred the outdoor track at the high school. Deal. Off we went.
Now, I have been running on the indoor track at our park district building (12 laps/mile). It’s been easy to calculate the mileage for each day’s plan. A quick recalculation on the outdoor track told me that I’d have to run nine laps on it to reach 2.25 miles – or 22 minutes, whichever came first.
We set out, chatting along the way and doing our best to dogde the goose poop littering the track. After four times around, a quick glance at my watch told me that it had taken 11 minutes. Not bad. I would’ve given anything for a swig of water, though. The sun didn’t feel like it was beaming down on us with that much heat when we started, but I felt like I was starting to roast. I kept trudging on, though, not aware that I had slowed down considerably.
That I was able to carry on a conversation with my son should’ve been a clue. We covered everything from favorite classes to possible Christmas presents to what’s going on in Libya and why. After completing three more laps, I glanced at my watch and saw that we had hit the 22 minute mark.
Parched, I stopped dead in my tracks, bent down to grab my water bottle and gulped half of it. We walked the remaining two laps as a cool down.
Cheating? I don’t think so.
“And that’s why you’re my favorite,” I explained to my bewildered boy.
“Next time,” I continued, “go as fast as you like. Once I get the distance down, I’ll have to work on my speed.”
But that, my friends, is an entry for another day…
Six weeks into this program, one thing still stymies me. When I was in college, my roommate and I ran the circumference of our rambling campus quad for a half an hour, six days a week. At the end of six weeks, I had lost my freshman fifteen and a little more.
Granted, this time around, I’m a little (cough, cough) older and only running half as many days/week, but the results I’m seeing are no where near as drastic. I’d like to blame my lack of a thyroid gland, or even that I’ve had five kids, but the plain truth is, I’ve been sedentary for too long. Still, the simple observation that my mid-section is no longer expanding horizontally is enough to keep me going.
And it is getting easier. After every work out, I feel incredibly accomplished. Building up my endurance is just adding to my already awesome super powers, right?
This notion is starting to have a positive affect on other areas of my life as well. The thought of plowing through five loads of laundry is no longer daunting. Challenges at work are kept in proper perspective. Four people speaking to me at once no longer riles me and, best of all, I think I’m calmer in traffic (except, of course, when I encounter people who have no intention of doing at least the speed limit while driving in the left lane, people who text and drive and all of those fancy-schmancy cars that apparently don’t come equipped with turn signals).
OK, so I have a little room for improvement. Onto Week Seven. Three days of running for 25 minutes straight?