It may seem odd to be writing about New Year's Resolutions at the end of July, but I am pretty excited about this year's 'resolution'. In January I decided what I wanted to do was to very simply be able to run one-half mile, without stopping, without hurting my knee. Since then I have been running a minimum of three times a week - with months off for anemia and knee ouchiness.
For the last 7 weeks I have been following the Coolrunning.com Couch Potato to 5 K running plan, which is an 9 week program designed to take even the most novice runner into a smooth 30 minute 3 mile run. I have attempted this very effective and rational running program three times in the past and each time I have lost patience and overextended myself causing my knee to screw up and putting me on the special 'no running Joy' program for months. This time I held myself in check. I've followed the program diligently and with only overextending the teeniest little bit - but only in the last few weeks as I've felt stronger and stronger.
Just before I was diagnosed with anemia I had gone through the fourth week of the plan for FOUR weeks and simply could not complete it. It was demoralizing as hell. I was grateful to find out it was not that I'm just a big pussy, but that I really was lacking in oxygen which would have made running pretty damned impossible for anyone. You kinda need the air for the running. It's a thing.
So here I am on my last day of week 6. According to the plan we should be running 25 minutes or approximately 2.25 miles. It did not occur to me until today to note just how long it took me to do my 'resolution' 1/2 mile -- and to see if I in fact walked any of that distance. Well hola amigos! I am actually running non-stop for 2.95 miles! I am doing a slow, but steady and non-injurious 1/2 mile in 6.25 minutes. Not a racing pace by any means, but I'm not looking to race (yet). I just want to be able to DO it consistently. To be able to keep moving, at any sort of pace, for an extended time to cover a decent distance and NOT hurt my knee.
And I've done it!
I'm actually kind of delighted. It's funny that I set this small, but I hoped, achievable goal for the year and have not only met it but exceeded it and I wasn't even paying attention! I was just so happy to be able to run - especially after the exhaustion I was going through with the anemia - that no goals were of any consequence. Other than the simplest goal of just being able to keep moving and not ending up in bed for the rest of the day... and night... and day after.
I've always been a big all or nothing type. Moderation, not my thing. The trouble with that all or nothing mentality is that if you don't hit the 'all' you end up with nothing at all. And that can be disheartening, to put it mildly. This time, because I had been halted in my attempts to run by an illness I could not control, I accepted less than 'all' because I could not bear to accept 'nothing'. I wanted to run - and I stopped worrying about my own competitive (with myself here) nature. So I ran, and ran, and ran and stuck to the program and didn't try to push myself too hard (just a little) and I ended up actually doing more than I had originally hoped! I think that's a pretty good lesson for me to learn. I'm sure there are a lot of people just like me out there - the all or nothing types - I don't know that anyone could tell us 'slow and steady' and we'd believe it. I think it's one of those life lessons you just need to learn first hand. Maybe it takes an illness. . . maybe it doesn't. All I know is I can run a half mile, non-stop, and my knee feels TERRIFIC.
Now to work on speeding things up.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Slow and steady. I got it, I got it!!!
p.s. haven't had a cigarette in four months. Somebody high-five me already!!!