Sunday, January 29, 2012

Learning to Run

So I know it's been a while, but I haven't had much to share. However, I do have some news finally, and a recipe I'll probably share later in the week. But for today, I want to focus on one thing:

This week I started a Couch to 5K program!

Let me explain why I find this significant enough for a blog post. Running is something that I used to absolutely hate. I did it when I had to for gym or marching band, but I despised every second. It was hard and it was boring, and I just didn't see the point.

My running buddy Jacob on laundry day!
And then, something called drum corps happened to me. Suddenly, fitness became incredibly important in my life and running was a huge part of that. I had to run all the time. We ran back to our sets. We ran to get water. We woke up every morning and ran for PT. I even found a "running buddy" in the corps who ran at exactly my pace. And by the end of the summer, I didn't hate running any more.

My feet, however, had other ideas. My left foot developed a habit of cracking, like you would crack your knuckles, while on tour. It hurt, but it didn't prevent me from marching so I basically ignored it. When I got home though, I realized that my left foot was swollen and probably had been for most of the summer. I kept running for a while after that, but not as frequently or to the same intensity as I had during tour. Eventually I sort of stopped altogether, and started working out on elliptical trainers and doing low-impact "Turbo Jam" workouts.

At the height of my running prowess. I was also quite tan.
And then, finally, last spring I went to see a podiatrist. He examined my feet, took some xrays, and watched me walk around barefoot. And then he told me something I didn't know: "You have flat feet."

Ok, so what does that mean? I found out that it's something I was born with and something that won't change. It's not harmful or bad, it just means that running or being on my feet for a long time can hurt! So, he took molds of my feet and had orthotics made that I now wear in my shoes. Since then, my left foot has stopped cracking and both feet are much happier.

Flash forward to now. This week I started a Couch to 5K training program and did my first three runs, pain-free (for my feet, anyway!). I'm using a great app called 5K Runner which tells you when to run and walk at various intervals. You can even listen to music with it, and it will lower the volume of the song to give you instructions! (Maybe I am easily impressed, but I appreciate that they thought these things through!) The app has made the transition into running much easier than if I'd been doing it by myself.

I've also gotten a lot of support from friends. I posted about my first two runs on Facebook and got a lot of "Likes" and comments--thanks for the encouragement! I now feel accountable for my workouts, and I'm planning to get through the whole program and maybe even run a race someday.

My running shoes with one of my magical orthotics.


  1. Interesting! A couch to 5k program can be tough. I  admire you for taking on such an endeavor. I, too,  joined a similar program a few years back. I was at a point in my life where I wanted to take my life and my health in a different direction; but was a former runner--so running was not some, new, foreign concept to me. I was,  instead, trying to find that balance  again where I could make  running a part  of my life-- but more specifically, my weekly schedule. I enjoyed running and still do. So it saddened me to hear you say how much you "despise" it, or used too. I think it's because you just never gave it a chance!!

    But I guess my purpose in commenting on you blog was to, write, because I like to write, but more importunely to share with you how wonderful running is. As you can tell, you've reached a topic close to my heart. Running, for me, can be a time for reflection. My mind usually wanders freely while I run,  and I--as strange as it may sound--often  can come to some sort of revelation about myself, school, or just life in general while I run.The wind in my hair, the solitude, the tightness of my hamstrings ( well, ok, maybe not that last part) are some of the many things I enjoy about running.

    So, I say keep running! Maybe there's a 10k or half marathon in your future!?--Well, ok, baby steps. Good luck!

  2. You are probably right about my never giving running a chance earlier in my life! I wasn't much into sports, or even exercise for that matter back in middle/high school/early college. That's one of the reasons I think drum corps is a great activity, though--it can take a resistant person like me and turn them into an athlete.

    Good for you, for bringing running back into your life too! It's always great to hear from people who are so dedicated to the activity, and it encourages me to keep going. I'll get back to you on that 10K, though... =P