It's been several weeks since I've posted about my couch to 5k progress. I have been on the mat so to speak wrestling with the program. It took me 6 tries to nail w5d3 and that was my hardest goal to accomplish in terms of number of tries up to that point. On to week 6, I switched from the time goals to the distance goals so that I could master a 5k by graduation. D1 and D2 of W6 went by smoothly but it took 7 tries to succeed at D3. Seven tries! The distance goal was 2.25 miles and took me approx 28 minutes of running. Still, I refused to give up and I faced each session with a new dose of determination. It never occurred to me to consider quitting.
Then....then I went out to tackle W7d1 (2.5 miles) and failed spectacularly. I cramped up before even a mile. I was going backward in progress! So I tried again and made it just 1.5 miles. And again going 2 miles. Just the week before I'd done 2.25 miles and now it was a struggle to even get to 2! What was going on?! I was frustrated, but dug in and keep trying. I was now in New Mexico on vacation and dealing with higher elevation and regressed back down to a HALF MILE before I had to resort to addl half mile intervals. UGH PATHETIC. Next try, in NM, did a mile. I was so disgusted and angry with myself. The rest of the tries ranged from 1.2 to 1.6 miles before I felt frozen- either my calves were burning or I felt dizzy and pukey. I tried different routes and different times of day but nothing made an impact on performance. Every failure led to more anger and frustration. I felt completely defeated and would burst into tears as soon as I reached my wall and cry all the way home cursing myself. Running was stressing me out, when it's supposed to clear your mind and be restorative. I was so close to quitting.
Sat was a running rest day but I try to cross train on such days so I did a zumba class at the gym. Felt like a loser there too because while I've worked to isolate my hips and move them well independent of my abs I don't have that ability with my shoulders at all. I move like a stiff robot and wherever my shoulders go my abs follow when they're not supposed to. SO FRUSTRATING. I did a half hour of strength training after that and then came home. I was in an emotional funk all weekend. At some level that day I had totally given up on being able to EVER do c25k even though I'd not said so out loud yet and it made me sad and hate myself a little. I spent most of Sunday crying and feeling sorry for myself.
This morning I woke up and physically felt great. I really can't explain why. I don't think I suddenly did anything different. I went out to run but refused to get my hopes up that I could make it. I tried to pretend I didn't care and display a 'this means nothing' attitude. I told myself I was going to just run for 30 minutes regardless of the distance it would mark. And i did it. And still had oomph so I kept going until I got to 2.5 miles. I won't say it came easy, but I never hit a wall today. So of course I am feeling a renewed encouragement and a sense that I.can.do.it as long as I don't give up. Ok, so it might take a million tries but I.will.do.it.
My hope is that this long and winding monologue will not only expose a little bit about what makes me tick, but also encourage you not to give up on your fitness goals. I want to offer up a different perspective from all of the rah rah rah running is great and easy if you stick to it articles. Running is hard work. You have to push yourself to break through your goals. And you have to find a better way to dissipate your emotional responses to bad run days then I do - because I can assure you first hand that turning on yourself in anger and frustration just makes it worse and builds up stress. Obviously I am still working on that.
I'm on dailymile.com (sort of like facebook but focused on fitness and you can share your workout details) if you're using the free site to track your workouts and would like to add me as a friend: http://www.dailymile.com/people/jenniparks