[Well, hello, sports fans! I know it’s been, oh, dear, soooo long since I've written. What can I say? I’ve been BUSY! Anyway, here I am again, and I’ll try to be more assiduous or at least less lazy. Enjoy!]
I stand at the window, and I stare out moodily. It’s cold, the snow is coming down like a bear, and that makes me mad. I never minded the cold in previous winters, but last fall I began the Couch to 5K program, and now I’m losing it, I’m losing it all.
Couch to 5K is a program of incremental training designed to get your tushie off the couch and work you up to running five kilometers. Five K is not as far as it sounds, a kilometer being rather shorter than a mile, so it comes to about three miles. Now, I never thought of myself as a runner. In fact, I’m not a runner now. I go for what I euphemistically call “a run,” but I wouldn’t strictly even call it much of a jog. Let’s be honest, I go for a shuffle.
The program begins by having you run for 60 seconds. Heck, I thought, I can do that. And I could! I could run for 60 seconds, then walk for 60 seconds repeating for 20 minutes (with a 5 minute warm-up walk). I did it! I got excited!
I began “running” in old leggings and older shoes, but the conventional wisdom is true: you need good shoes to jog. After two sessions of shin splints, I hit Neiman Marcus’ Rack and came home with well-cushioned Nikes wide enough for my feet. That triggered the understanding of what the program is all about. Like ballet, it’s about having a reason to buy cute exercise clothes. I bought fleece leggings and two jogging shirts that make me look like I’m going fast even when I’m standing still, breathing hard.
My son kindly told a friend that “Mom and I are doing Couch to 5 K.” This is such a lie. David is doing Couch to 5 K. He goes to the gym in inclement weather. He runs for a full 25 minutes (the maximum programmed time), and is working on increasing his speed. He DOES Couch to 5K. I shuffle along in my spiffy outfits, intermittently jogging and walking for a total of 25 minutes. I think I make about a mile and a half.
I thought jogging would be the perfect complement to ballet. I dance three days a week, and, I thought, those days I don’t have class I can just pop out the door for a little sunny exercise. I steeled myself to tough it out through the cold. I was thinking 40 degrees, but the weather witches had it in for me this year. We hit teens and single digits here in the DC area. The temperature was parallel to the popularity of Congress. We‘ve had either wind or rain or ungodly cold almost every day. I’ve made it out once a week most weeks, but this week is going to be a bust, and that makes me mad.
After half a summer, all fall and most of the winter of hitting the pavement (remember, I shuffle; there’s very little chance of damage to the knees), I was running for two minutes at a shot. TWO MINUTES! Scoff, if you will, but those are two hard won minutes. I’m proud of those minutes. The thought of having to go backwards, to go back to running 90 seconds at a time is HORRIBLE!
The thing is, running makes me feel good. I don’t know if it’s endorphins or sun on my skin or just the feeling that, yes, I’m off the couch. On days like today, I glare out the window thinking of the two minutes I’m surely losing. So, yeah, I’m cranky. Wanna make something of it? I’m ready to fight, and I can run two minutes to catch you.