It's summer, so it's that time again...time to attempt to start a running habit before giving up when it gets really hot and humid. I've lost track of how many years I've been through this routine. ;-)
Something is different this year, though...somehow or another, I didn't have to backtrack. I ran for the first time this year back in March (after not having gone at all since maybe September of last year) and, to my great surprise, I was able to run for 30 minutes straight. No one was more surprised than I was!
With my new job and all of the other constraints on my time, I've been finding it hard to get out there to run but I've been managing once or twice a week (with, I'll admit, a few weeks where I didn't go at all). I have discovered that I am much happier when it's not hot (no surprise there) and that I feel much better about the whole thing when I am able to go in the morning, rather than at the end of a long day. Unfortunately, I can usually only manage morning runs on the weekend -- even Tuesdays, which are the day I go in late to work, are hard to manage.
Anyway, I guess I can call myself a c25k graduate now, although I think that the name of the program is something of a misnomer. Really, it doesn't get you up to running a 5k -- the final workouts have you running 30 minutes. And, well, I assure you that it will be a LONG time, if ever, before I can run 5k in 30 minutes. At my pokey pace, I'd be lucky if I managed to break 45 minutes. (Yesterday I ran my longest distance yet -- 2.7 miles -- in about 41 minutes. I did walk a bit, but it was mostly running.)
I have a complicated mental relationship with running. I know that it's just a contest with myself, and it's not a competition (sure, it is for some people, but I am not interested in being competitive), and that, as the saying goes, with every step I take I'm lapping the guy on the couch -- but I still find it really difficult to turn off the part of my brain that just wants to be GOOD at things. Even when I feel like I am doing really well and running at a decent clip, I am still, if I'm LUCKY, only going at a 14:40 pace. Despite the logical part of my brain KNOWING that this isn't terrible, I still find it discouraging. Even thinking back to the very beginnings of the c25k program, when I had trouble running just 90 seconds at a time, and reminding myself of how far I've come isn't enough to shut down that voice in the back of my head. I wish I knew how to make it stop.
Another thing that's different this year -- I finally got my act together and signed up for a race. I'm registered for the Red Dress Run for Women in Hartford on July 6 -- my first 5k! (I've walked plenty of 5ks before, but this will be my first time running, or attempting to run. I'm hoping I can run the whole thing, but will settle for the vast majority.) I'm really sad, though, that Jim won't be able to come and cheer me on, because he'll be away at a conference. :-( He's been really encouraging throughout this whole thing and I was really looking forward to having him there for my first race. Sigh.