About a year ago I started C25K, but after completing the first 2 weeks, I had to go out of town on business for a month. After that, I always had excuses as to why I couldn't restart. No more excuses.
Week 1 was hard, but I'd done it before, so mentally it wasn't much of a challenge. Physically I felt like I was just about at my limit. The worse thing about this week was the weather. Windy with temperatures in the 16-20 degree F range. The weather made an uncomfortable experience even more uncomfortable.
Week 2 was easier for me than week 1. I preferred running a little longer each interval, with 2 fewer intervals to run. The weather was still very cold and windy this week.
Week 3 was about the same as week 1. The best thing about that week was it was the first time I can ever remember running 3 minutes without walking. My legs were starting to feel sore by the end of that week. Mainly tendons in my ankles, my calves, and shins. I decided to take 3 days off before week 4.
Week 4 was the first time that I thought I might puke. The first 2 workouts were very difficult. The hills were really tough on me. The 3rd workout of that week was a little easier. After week 4 my weight went from 244 at the beginning of C25k to 229 pounds.
Week 5 seemed like the most intimidating. Especially since the final workout included a 20 minute run. The first workout of week 5 was while on vacation in Branson. I got to run by the lake on relatively flat ground, so that was nice. Days 1 and 2 were the easiest days since I started the program, but Day 3 was still looming out there. I was starting to wonder if days 1 & 2 were just the calm before the storm.
When I started the 20 minute run of day 3, I started to think my fears were warranted. The first 5 minutes was very difficult. My breathing was labored, and my legs felt heavy. Then things started to get easier. By the halfway point I had settled into a nice groove that lasted to the end of the run.
Overall, the week that I feared the most turned out to be the easiest week so far. I can't believe I was able to run 20 minutes! For the first time, the possibility of actually running a 5k actually seemed within reach.
Week 6 started off great. Day 1 was easy for me. I was really starting feel like it was all downhill for the remainder of the program. Then the day after day 1, I was sitting backstage on the play I was directing, when my left foot started throbbing. By the end of the play I could barely put weight on it. After driving home, and hobbling inside, the pain got so bad that my wife and I decided I better go to the hospital. About 5 minutes from the hospital, my foot started feeling a little better, and it felt like a cool tingling sensation in my leg. My arms then went tingly, and then my head. By the time we got to the ER, my hands were seized up, and I was barely conscious.
Then things started to get better. They checked me out and everything seemed to be fine. The doctor didn't know what caused my foot pain, and they said the other symptoms were a result of hyperventilating. Sounds good to me!
For a few days after I was still kind of shaky and dizzy, but my foot felt fine. This resulted in me not running for 5 days.
I soon started to feel better, and decided to resume week 6 where I left off. Day 2 was easier than I expected, especially after the extended time off. Since my schedule had been interrupted, I was a little worried about the long run on day 3, but it wasn't bad. The 2nd half of the run actually went by pretty fast. It felt good to be back on track. I was also happy that in spite if the delay, I'm still on pace to finish a couple of days before a 5k I signed up for. I had a little more shin and calf pain after this week than what I had been having, but nothing severe. When I first started C25K, I weighed 244. At the end of this week I weighed in at 226 pounds.
Week 7 is off to a rocky start. Did I say that it was all down hill after week 4? Not quite. I wanted to quit almost from the start of this week's 1st workout, and I struggled for the rest of the run. I just stayed focused on my goals, and kept putting one foot in front of the other. Usually, after the 5 minute cool down walk, I'm feeling pretty good. Not today. I think the warmer temperature played a factor. It was in the 70's today, and I was drenched in sweat by the end. One thing that surprised me is that my pace was actually faster that my last workout. It sure didn't feel faster
Day 2 was much easier. Up until this point, 95% of my running had been on gravel, but today the village graded the roads, which made walking or running very difficult. It was like walking on big marbles. As a result, I ran today on a asphalt road heading out of town. Having a more solid surface made things a little easier. The change of scenery was also nice.
Almost the first half if this new route is uphill, which made the second half of my run downhill. It was nice to get the uphill section out of the way earlier in the run. I started feeling better about the final workout of week 7.
The last workout of week 7 went well. I significantly improved my pace and distance. Including my warmup and cool down walks, I covered 3.08 miles in 35 minutes. That gave me confidence heading into my first 5k in 11 days. Just 1 week of C25K left!
Can it really be week 8? Yes! Running the 28 minutes of day 1 wasn't much of a problem, although I was tired from helping deliver my wife's baby. The biggest issue was some developing heal and ankle pain. I'd had a little twinge of pain my last couple of workouts, but nothing big. Then today, at the very end of my run, I started to get a sharp pain in my right heal and ankle. I limped home, put an ice pack on my foot, and started googling to find out what was up with my foot. I eventually diagnosed myself with an abductor hallucis strain. It's not every week that I get to pretend to be an OB and a podiatrist.
After my rest day I knew I wasn't going to be able run. This was a depressing thought so close to the end, and with my first 5k quickly approaching. I decided to take 2 rest days between day 1 and day 2 to try to help my foot recover. With 1 rest between days 2 & 3, that would give me 2 days rest between my last workout of C25K, and my first 5k. If it hadn't been for the upcoming 5k, I would have just taken a week off to rest my foot, but I wanted to run this 5k so bad. My goal was so close!
Thankfully it was the weekend, so I was able to keep my foot and ankle iced and elevated most of the day. I also did some hard massage on some trigger points in my foot.
After 2 days rest, my foot was feeling better. I was excited to be able to run again! I never thought I'd say that! My warm up walk went fine, but as soon as I started running the pain really kicked in. I thought I was going to have to stop. I decided to keep running for a minute to see what would happen. I also payed particular attention to my form. After about 45 seconds of running, the pain started to subside. By the second half of the run there was almost no pain. I was really happy to finish the run, and with less pain than when I started!
Day 3, the last day of C25K! I really can't believe I made it this far! 8 weeks ago the idea of running 30 minutes straight seemed like an impossibility. Today it is a reality! I also never would have imagined that I could be 21 lbs. lighter in just 8 weeks, but I am.
Today's run started off slow. I'm was still having some issues with my foot and ankle, but like last time, as the run went on the pain subsided. My pace also increased as I went on. My last mile was my fastest mile, and at the end of the run I felt like I still had gas in the tank. It felt awesome! Now I have 2 days to rest and heal my foot before my first 5k. I'm not going to consider myself graduated until I run across that finish line!
I woke up excited to run in the KC Temple Run 5k. It was a beautiful sunny day, with a temperature of around 60 degrees at race time. Perfect!
I had a bowl of oatmeal, and 2 bananas for breakfast. I also made sure to drink a lot of water the day before, and I drank another quart of water with breakfast.
I got dressed, taped my sore ankle, and got the family loaded in the van. The race was about a half hour away, and we got there about an hour early. We parked about a half mile away from the start location. It was nice to have a little walk to get warmed up.
After getting checked in and pinning my number on, I made sure to go to the restroom. All the advice I read beforehand mentioned that you should relieve yourself, but not wait till the last minute when everyone runs to the restroom. I'm glad I did, because the bathroom already had a line.
After that, I hung out with my family until about 10 minutes before the race. I ran a little to get warmed up, and then made my way to the start. I didn't want to start too close to the front of the pack, as to slow down faster runners, but I also didn't want to start too far back. I kind of sized up the people around me, and put myself amongst those that I thought might be around my pace. It turns out that I should have been a little closer to the front.
The starting gun fired, and we were off! I had to do a lot of dodging and weaving at the beginning, due to all the slow people at the front of the pack. A couple hundred yards after the starting line, it started to thin out.
I quickly settled into my groove, and maintained a nice even pace. The course had some pretty good hills, but I had trained on some steep hills, which really payed off. It felt good to be able to maintain my pace while others were slowing down or walking up the hills.
At the halfway point I was feeling good. My sore foot wasn't hurting much at all. I didn't feel like I needed water at all, so I just ran past the water station.
Not long after the halfway point was a good stretch of uphill. It was a bit of a challenge, but I just focused on my breathing and pushed through it. After that hill the rest of the race was pretty easy.
When I was about 500 yards from the finish, there wasn't very many runners around me. With about 100 yards to go all the spectators were cheering. That have me a nice little energy boost at the end.
When I was about 50 yards from the finish, I heard the announcer encourage the person behind me to try to pass me. I wasn't going to let that happen! I kicked it up a gear, and ran as fast as I could across the finish line with a huge smile. I finished a 5k without walking at all! My chip time was 31:29, which beat my goal of 35 minutes!
To think that just a couple of months before I could barely run 100 yards before needing to walk. Now I'm able to run 3.1 miles! I never would have believed it was possible had I not done it myself. C25K helped turn this couch potato into a runner!