Trying to give my life a sense of balance, I created a calendar of things I want to do over the next 16 months. I made the calendar several weeks ago and put "Start running again" under the first week of September. Today was my deadline to start.
Several days ago, I went through the Couch to 5k plan to see where I thought I should try to pick up. I decided to start with week 6--close to where it's running only, but still with intermittent walks in the runs. I wasn't sure how much stamina I had lost since I stopped running in the July heat. I set up my mp3 player with the music and beeps for Run 6A.
Yesterday, in anticipation of the run this morning, I set out my running clothes and shoes on my dresser. I put my mp3 player on top of them. Whenever I saw them, I mentally psyched myself up about going for a run today, and I could feel it working. I felt excited about getting back to that part of my life.
I woke up at 6:30 a.m. The room was dark, and I was disoriented about why the alarm was going off when it was still dark outside. Then I remembered the exercise, and I inwardly groaned. Luckily, my husband has decided he's going to work out at the gym when I run this fall, so as soon as I rolled out of bed, he did too. He turned on the lights and made the bed while I was in the bathroom, so when I got back to put my running clothes on, I felt less tempted to crawl back in bed.
I worked on pumping myself up with positive thoughts this morning. That might sound silly, but I find the frame of mind around exercise can be just as important as the physical elements. "I can do this." "I'm up this morning taking care of myself." Things like those statements were going through my head as I turned on my mp3 player and began stretching.
Ten minutes later, I went outside. I had been worried about the dark, but with streetlights, there was enough light, and there were other people exercising in the park. There was never a time when I couldn't see someone else exercising near me, which was good for safety reasons. A number of homeless people were also present in the park; living in Midtown Atlanta gets me hit up for money regularly, but people leave me alone when I'm running. And anyway, it was early enough that the homeless people were mostly (sadly) stretched out on benches sleeping.
I walked my 10-minute warm-up and then started a slow jog for my first run. After the 5 minutes of the first run were up and my mp3 player beeped for me to switch to a walk, I was amazed at how good I still felt. "I could run more!" I thought excitedly. But I stuck to the program. At the end of my exercise, I actually kept running for a couple of extra minutes and increased my speed a bit.
I'm definitely a bit sore now, but not painfully so. I'm very excited about getting back on track with my running! I am aiming for a 5k at the end of October now to give myself plenty of time to get ready.
For those of you who have been thinking about doing C25k, if you are in the US, you would be hard-pressed to find a better time to start than with the temperature drop of fall. (Atlanta is not cool right now--it's 90 degrees at the moment--and it's very humid. But it's much more comfy than it was even a week ago.) I walked daily for a couple of months before I started C25k, and that gave me a decent base level to start from. I'm excited about finishing the program this time, and with winter in GA being mild, I should be able to keep running through the year. (Until NEXT July, maybe--we'll see.) As I get more fit from running, I also have other fun stuff in my schedule for later, like hiking, weight lifting, rock-climbing, and kayaking. I plan to keep at this program--even if I have to take intermittent breaks for whatever reason--until I am comfortable in my body like I was as a child.