Catching the Bug – Guest Post

Hey everyone, today I have a special treat for you! My good friend Alanna recently started Couch to 5k and I asked her to share her tale. I’m so proud that she took this step and can’t wait until we have the chance to run together. Please enjoy her post and make sure to leave some loving!

So, I recently took up running.

As a woman of size my entire adult life and most of my childhood as well, taking up running was one of the least likely things I could have imagined myself doing. I was a fencer in my teen years, and since age 24 I’ve been dancing regularly, but running? Clearly for masochists and fitter people.

Alanna rocking out at a recent dance show, little did she know this pose was going to prepare her for her new running career!

I was inspired to run first and foremost by a friend who was a non-runner (though an avid hiker and no slouch in the fitness department) up until February of 2011, when she started training and turned herself into an unapologetic half-marathon junkie. Her passion was and is tremendous, and she had been preaching the gospel of running to me throughout last summer. “You’ll love it,” she enthused, “you should see the races: all sizes, all ages.” I was skeptical.

Finally, at a get-together in late September, the subject came up again. Seeing her physical and emotional satisfaction had started to intrigue me, and I finally asked her how she started training in the first place, anyway. “Couch to 5k!” she exclaimed, and proceeded to fill me in on how an iPhone app had started everything off. They make one for Droid too, thank goodness. I promised to look into it, nothing more. “You’ll see,” she promised.

Back at home, I spent what might become the most important $2.99 of my life and purchased the app for Droid. The first workout had jogging intervals of only 60 seconds, with 90 second rests in between. Even I could hack that, I thought. Surprisingly, my husband wanted in, and just as surprisingly, I was game to have him along. I usually like to sweat my balls off in private, but this looked unintimidating enough for me to agree to the company.

We went for our first 30 minutes session. It was incredibly sweaty, huffy, and puffy, but we both made it. My natural jog pace is pretty reptilian, but I decided to embrace that in the interest of not over doing it and possibly causing injury and/or loathing of the enterprise. My husband came along the whole first week, but after our 3rd session he bowed out due to some joint soreness. I carried on alone.

Somewhere in late week 2 to early week 3, I came to the end of my session and actually wanted to CONTINUE RUNNING. I had never had that thought before in my entire 28 years. Run more as opposed to stop running? Really? It was nothing short of amazing. I’m still amazed! I also experienced what may have been a runner’s high, but again, at my pace it’d be more accurate to term it slogger’s high. I came in after a session and was bouncing around all over my house, gleeful and elated and clearly “up.” It was a truly great feeling.

I registered for a 5k race the will take place just as I’m completing the C25K program. As a lifelong procrastinator and project-not-finisher, my dogged devotion to training for this race is pretty much shocking to me and everyone close to me. I apparently really want to do this!

So the take-away from all this is that if you hate running and always have, you might not actually hate it if you do a really easy start on a program that is completely self-paced. It’s just you and your shoes and your phone. No coaches, no faster kids, no driving to the gym, no hassles. And! All those people you know who run “for fun” are not actually crazy, because liking running is a real phenomenon.

Stay tuned for a post-race update, folks. Thanks for reading!

About Michelle

I'm an engineer living (and running) in Palo Alto, CA.

Posted on November 13, 2011, in Running and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I love this post! Congrats on catching the runners bug!! 5K’s are super addicting, as soon as you cross the finish line you’ll be planning your next race! Can’t wait to hear about your first 5k!

  2. Thanks for the good wishes! I’ll be back after Dec 10: 5KDAY. :-p

  3. Good luck with your first 5K! I just started running about a year and a half ago (three cheer for C25K!) and I still have such happy memories of my first race :) Have fun!

  4. Good luck with your first 5K! I, too, started running with C25K and loved it. I will tell you to just take your time and don’t start out running too fast at your 5K! Just enjoy the day and know you’ll set your best personal time no matter what since it’s your first race.

    I hope you catch the racing bug that so many of us have caught since running our first race.

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