In September of this year, I'm going to turn 35, and I decided I want to be able to run a 5k for (or around) my birthday. There are all kinds of reasons to want to do this, not the least of which is the fact that I'm pretty sure the Doctor will never take me in the TARDIS if I'm incapable of running a few hundred yards without collapsing. Because running is the third most common thing companions do, with "being awe-inpsired" and "redirecting the crazy Doctor" being the first two.
I'm not at all physically fit; it's even worse now than when I worked in an office. I'm a freelance writer--I sit at my desk or on the couch with a laptop most of the day. We've also just come out of a crazy-long and cold winter, so my body is more accustomed to curling up under a blanket than jogging. When a friend posted about the Couch-to-5k training app on Facebook, I thought I'd give it a go. I rarely pay for apps, but this one was $2 and totally worth it.
You can play your music through the app and a trainer voice pops up and says things like, "Let's warm up with a brisk walk," or "Walk" or "Annnd, jog!" There are 27 days of programs that you are supposed to do over up to 9 weeks. You start out walking 1.5 minutes, running 1 minute. Each week, the app takes you up a level until, hopefully, you're running three miles.
So, I took my phone and app out to the local park where there's a little gravel track. My brother-in-law suggested I might be happier running on a nearby hiking trail where there are no people and it's scenic. I took a pass on that suggestion, though. You guys, tree roots are not my friends. I think we can all agree that the biggest downside to me attempting to run is that I might break a leg. Or, at the very least, twist my already screwed-up ankles. I definitely don't need to add tumbling down a steep incline in the woods to my safety issues.
The little gravel track is peaceful and scenic enough and comes with the added benefit of being made of pretty small gravel. So, I feel like when I fall, it'll be a softer landing.
I took the virtual training app for a test drive yesterday. The workout was thirty minutes, and about half way through, I thought I was going to die. Surprisingly, not because I couldn't breath and I felt like a giant was suturing my side (although both of those things were true). I felt like I was going to die because the back of my left heel was on fire. Almost, but not quite, literal fire.
I do a lot of web writing on all kinds of topics, and I've read a ton of articles on this type of thing. They all say things involving the words "pain" and "gain," where pain is the horse you have to put before the cart. So, I kept running. At some point, the heel stopped hurting, and I congratulated myself for "hitting my second wind." You guys, is it super apparent at this point I have no idea what I'm doing?
Anyway, I finished the run/walk, and the trainer girl from the app said "Way to go" or something similar. I drove home, and the first thing I did after walking through the door was take off my shoes. Because one of my feet was feeling super sweaty. I took off my sock, and thought, "Wow. How'd I get so dirty..."
But then I realized that it wasn't brown dirt or mud caked on my sock. It was blood. My heal hadn't hit a second wind, it had died a slow and horrible death. I buried the sock in the garbage, but I revived my heel with peroxide and a hot shower.
Then...I did it all over again today. But in different shoes.