About four weeks ago I started the Couch to 5K running program. I probably don’t have to remind you, but I’ll do it anyway, I am not athletic. There was a part of my life (before college) where I was in good shape and actually was athletic, those days are hard to remember though. Despite my propensity to lean more toward books and movies rather than running trails and mountain hikes, I have been loving the C25K so far. I am completely committed, and so is my bank account! Over the past month I’ve purchased new shoes, a new iPod and the Nike + sport kit for said iPod.
Though I have been loving the workouts and the weeks one and two were not as horrible as I'd imagined, I had started to get discouraged. Two weeks ago I started feeling quite a bit of pain in my ankle and Achilles tendon area, which really took the fun out of running. I stopped looking forward to my workout, instead dreading the point where I would have to stop because the pain became too intense. I increased rest days in the hopes that some time off the treadmill would alleviate whatever problem was occurring. I would try to push myself through the, and I know that was not smart, but I really did not want to slow my progress.
I decided a visit to my doctor was due after waking-up with some quite a bit of pain, even after taking two days of rest. X-rays were taken and she poked and prodded and tweaked my leg for a while until arriving at the conclusion that the tendons in my lower leg are messed up. Don’t ask me how they got that way; I only walk on the things. She will be sending me to do some physical therapy in the hopes that we can strengthen them and stretch them and make them work properly. The doc showed me a couple strengthening exercises and stretches to try in the meantime, and she didn’t actually say that I should stop running.
So off I went to the treadmill, after stretching throughout the entire day, to attempt day 2 of week 4. The first half of the workout felt pretty good, with only mild amount of pain, nothing as severe as I had been feeling, mostly just tightness. I decided to push myself a bit harder for the second half of the run and it was as if I were running on someone else’s legs. Calm came over me, my breathing was even, I was expending only a tiny amount of energy. I felt as though I could run forever, and actually wanted to. It was a fantastic feeling, easily my best run of the program.
That was exactly what I needed. The workout got me reenergized and refocused. This is something I am doing solely for me; to help find focus, to alleviate stress and bring some peace to my mind. I know not every workout will be as amazing as my last, but knowing I have the ability to run so well will keep me pushing myself. Week 5 of the program looks scary; I’m not gonna kid myself, running for 20 minutes straight will be hard. However, as opposed to 4 weeks ago, I’m looking forward to it.