These shoes were made for running…

Look at my newest friends:

You can tell I went by feel and not by looks, because these things are butt ugly!

That’s right, I am the proud owner of my very first pair of real running shoes!

I have heard so many women blog about doing the Couch to 5k program, which seemed impossible to me. I mean, really, a 5k? Five is a big number! That’s overwhelming! But I’ve been looking for a way to get in shape, and I know myself and that I do better when I have a program of some kind. So Sunday I googled it and checked out their website. The opening immediately turned me on:

Too many people have been turned off of running simply by trying to start off too fast. Their bodies rebel, and they wind up miserable, wondering why anyone would possibly want to do this to themselves.

Well, gee, I have a “friend” who has wondered that exact thing many times. I read a little more and was even more encouraged:

It’s easy to get impatient, and you may feel tempted to skip ahead in the program, but hold yourself back. Don’t try to do more, even if you feel you can. If, on the other hand, you find the program too strenuous, just stretch it out. Don’t feel pressured to continue faster than you’re able.

I loved the emphasis of taking it slow, easing into things, not jumping ahead and working at your max. I liked that it was only three times a week, not something I had to try to fit in every-day, just the right amount of flexibility. So even though 20 minutes of “running” seemed incredible to me, I figured I’d give the first workout a try. I downloaded a free app to my phone so I didn’t have to think (and couldn’t make bargains with myself to make it easier. No amount of wheedling will make the “ding” come any faster), uploaded a bunch of music and made a running list, and headed over to the track right across from my house.

And I almost died.

But I didn’t!

I will admit, after that run, I was not motivated to run again. It was hot. It was somewhat miserable. My exercise-induced asthma didn’t act up, thanks to the heat, but still, not my idea of a good time. But I was proud of having done it. And I figured I could slog through it again.

I set Wednesday as my goal. Wednesday came. Wednesday went. I did not go running.

Wednesday evening I was hanging out with my friends (and long-term students) after dog class. These people are nutso. One does triathalons. Approximately every-other weekend.  The other is more sane, but still runs half-marathons. They have talked about running before and I have been intrigued. While we were chatting, the topic of what races they were going to run came up. The saner one mentioned she was going to be doing a 5k with her 7 year old daughter in October. I asked when, and they both jumped on it, asking if I wanted to run it. They had seen I had run on Sunday, and are just the kind of encouraging, awesome people who would welcome a newbie into their circle.

I agreed to run this 5k “with” the saner runner and her daughter (“with” = we’ll both sign up for the same race. I refuse to hold anyone back. They can beat me and cheer for me at the end :-).

(Eeeeeee! I’m running a freaking 5k! Or, you know, walking. But still!)

Which means I have a goal to work towards.

Which meant that this morning I woke up early, grabbed my dirty running clothes and old, beat-up junky shoes, and headed over to the track to do day 2 of the C25k program.

And you know, this time I felt less like dying at the end.

In fact, I can’t wait to go and run tomorrow (sporting my fugly new running shoes)!

Dang, maybe what people say about running being addicting is actually true…I never, ever thought I would look forward to going for a run!

In closing, I will leave you with my lessons-learned when buying a pair of running shoes:

1) When you buy running shoes, in order to test them out you will have to actually, you know, run.

2) Given this, do not go running-shoe shopping wearing jeans and a normal bra. Nor anything fresh out of the washer. Especially if the store you are going to is on a hill and it is the hottest part of a hot day.

3) I also do not recommend going the same day you already went for a run. It gets awfully hard to test shoes when your legs refuse to run anymore.

4) Save your shower until after you go shopping. After all, the salesman is going to see you all hot and sweaty after the 6th pair of shoes, anyway, why start him out with any expectations?

A big thanks to Kathryn, Lauri, Corey, and anyone else who talks about their running on their blog. After two years of reading/hearing other people say how positive it is in their lives, I finally started to doubt my assurance that it was nothing but a grueling form of torture.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “These shoes were made for running…

  1. Kathryn

    Good for you! Taking it slowly is a really good idea, plus that way, distance kind of sneaks up on you and one day you’ll sit down after a run and think “Did I just do that? Huh. That’s cool! When can I do that again?”

    I’ll also say that I don’t really enjoy running, at least not the physical one foot in front of the other part. That part is boring and sometimes painful. The part I like is the making a challenge for myself and then meeting (or exceeding- I haven’t had to crawl to get to the finish line yet! (Also, that’s a little joke. I don’t know anyone who has had to crawl to get to the finish line. Limp there, yes, crawl there, no.)) that challenge. Also, the endorphins are super nice. I like that part. And the being done and taking a nice shower part. I like that part, too. And feeling like I have more energy. And the fact that for me, running is a huge stress reliever. So pretty much I like everything except the actual running, which I’ll tolerate because of the everything else, if that makes sense.

    Also, in my defense, I’ve only run one half marathon. (And I didn’t die or have my legs fall off, which was nice!) Usually I run 10k’s. Hmmm… I guess I do have plans for at least one more half next year, don’t I? But that’s after a few years of running. And I do like to run in races, even though I’ll never medal like some other person we know, because I am not fast. It’s nice to get a surge of adrenaline when passing someone in a race, and it feels amazing to cross the finish line! (Plus, all the races I’ve been in give out free t-shirts to the runners, and most have some kind of food to eat at the finish line. It’s easier to get to the finish line if you know there are some pancakes waiting for you there!)

    It gets easier to run in the cooler weather. Like 60’s versus 80’s. Chew gum while you run and that will help with the asthma (it does with mine, anyway). Take it slowly. There’s no need to run fast, unless you have a tiger or bear or monster chasing you, which you don’t. We will totally cheer you on at the finish line! Loudly and exuberantly so that you’ll hear us and know we’re cheering for you!

  2. suebarber

    I am looking to get started too. Keep on posting your progress!

  3. Wow, good for you! I know it’s been a while since I’ve commented, but this post caught my attention. I am currently training for my first half marathon, so I talk about running on my blog a lot too. I’ve run several 5Ks, and whatever posessed me several months ago (*cough* friends twisted my arm) I signed up for a Disney half marathon on October 1st.

    Best decision I’ve ever made! I’ve found myself running distances I would have NEVER thought possible. Every time it gets easier. TRUST me on that. The more you run, the easier it gets. I agree totally with your friend Kathryn who commented above… the enjoyable part about running isn’t putting one foot in front of the other, it’s the sense of accomplishment and strength you feel. I am following a training plan, and last weekend I ran the farthest distance of my LIFE – 11 miles. And it felt GREAT! I feel like I can do whatever I put my mind to, and you can too!

    KEEP IT UP! You’ll be great in the 5K!

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