For the past few months, I’ve been quietly training for a 5k Night Race, using the Couch to 5K program. During May Long Weekend, my lovely and beautiful (and very fast marathon running) friend Lynn texted me to ask if I wanted to do the Night Race with her and, if there is one thing I’ve learned from my constant announcements that I was going to start running it is that I need external motivation to do anything, so I immediately said yes.
And then immediately panicked.
I’ve been announcing that I was going to start running for forever, but my cardiovascular fitness is not awesome and I still get mini-PTSD from childhood activity-induced asthma. What if I couldn’t do it? What if my cardio limit was the little 2-3 minute cardio bursts in barre classes? Yeah, I can elliptical and recumbent bike with the best of them and I can make my way through a 50 minute spin class only sort of turning bright red, but that is all totally different.
I had to do it, though, because there was an end event. And someone else involved. So I quietly threw myself into the training program, without telling many people just in case I fell flat on my face.
The Couch to 5K program is awesome, though. It builds up your cardiovascular fitness in such a consistent, subtle way that you don’t even realize that you’ve improved until suddenly it tells you to run for 20 minutes straight and you can do it. It never stops being just a little challenging, which is great, because that is how you keep getting better… and also what appeals to my competitive nature.
So, I no longer dread running days. That is awesome! (I still like to wear my “I Hate Running” shirt while I run though.)
It wasn’t all fun and light – I did used to get some really serious runner’s rage at the beginning, until one of my friends at work who is an incredible runner, pointed out that I was probably running too fast and not long enough to burn off all my aggression and stress. I spent a few runs on the treadmill, figuring out what my ideal pace actually felt like, then I was ready to take it outside again.
On Thursday, the beautiful Lynn and I hit Prince’s Island Park to run a sample 5K. Full disclosure, we only managed 4.8 km before all the Pokemon Go-ers got in our way and we had to walk. Still! We were ready to go for our 5K!
Yesterday, we met at around 6pm, grabbed our race packs, picked up a ton of glowsticks (so much fun) and enjoyed a delicious dinner at The Chopped Leaf. We were double ready to go!
And then the monsoon hit, lighting so bright that it was like daylight and thunder directly overhead. We got so soaked walking to the race booth to see if it got cancelled that my mascara made me unable to see. Obviously, the race was cancelled.
So I still haven’t run a 5k.
It’s always a tricky one, deciding on buying a spin bike for home, as they inevitably take up space so you have to be sure you are going to make good use of it. But if you have space and love to spin – go for it!
To avoid GI distress while running, try to at least three hours before a run. Avoid caffeine, and artificial sweeteners, spicy, gassy, or any other food that can irritate the GI tract. If you have time to wait for a bowel movement before a run, then plan your route along a good stopping spot when you usually have the urge to go. In my experience, that’s typically 20 to 30 minutes in.