Last week I started running. Well, jogging really.
I had not planned to tell you about it yet.
I had tried intervals of jogging in the past (which I wrote about most recently here) and was put off from continuing by various aches and pains. But always in the back of my mind I wondered, intrigued by how many bloggers were having success with the “Couch to 5K” program, if I could do it too. If I could run a 5K. Just me, on my treadmill, alone, not a race, but a 5K all the same. But because of past foot problems (which you can read about here) I was very hesitant to commit. I wanted to try. But not so much that I was willing to risk injuring myself or cause recurring problems.
So I kept my plans a secret. And I intended to share it on my blog only if I was able to report that I was going to meet that goal. If I found that it just wasn’t working for me, I would quietly stop, with no need to feel that I had let anyone down. I was going into it realistically. It was not that I did not think I could finish the program; it was that I was afraid that it would just be too hard on my middle-aged body and not worth the potential risk. After all, I was already consistently exercising on average more than an hour a day. So this was going to be the icing on top of my end-of-the year cake.
I started strong. Last Monday. It went so well that I actually accidentally did more jogging and less walking than the plan called for. But I quickly backed off, realizing that I did not want to overdo things. My little 5K training was a marathon, not a sprint. And the next day I felt my legs aching, just a bit, in places they did not usually ache. But it was a good ache: an “I worked muscles” ache. Wednesday was harder. My legs were very sore from walking lunges I did in class the day before and they protested loudly. But I got through it. And I felt great. My feet bothered my while on the treadmill but the discomfort didn’t last once the workout was over. Maybe I could really do this! Friday was day three. I had ridden longer than usual that morning on my bike, but it did not deter me from an afternoon “run.” Week one of C25K was over and I was optimistic and pleased.
Later that same day my lower back began to hurt. There was no moment of onset. Just a gradual realization that something was going on. I didn’t pay much attention. I suspected that it was probably the combination of running after the long bike ride; I figured it would be gone the next morning. But it wasn’t. And it hurt enough to keep me off my bike all weekend. And to drag out the heating pad. And to wonder if maybe I was not going to run that 5K after all. Today it is noticeably better. So far. Knock on wood. But I am cautious.
So today I am not going to start week two of the program. Nor am I going to jog at all. Fingers crossed I will at least be back on my bike. I am not totally giving up on C25K for myself yet. But I am going to think long and hard about it. Is it worth it to me to risk hurting myself? Do I want to risk giving up my bike riding and other exercise for the potential of running? Probably not. But I’ll wait until my back feels 100% better before I decide. Maybe I will try again. Maybe not. Maybe I will wait until after bike riding season is over and just train on days I don’t do other cardio. I’ll see. Maybe the back pain is unrelated to the jogging. I really don’t know for sure what caused it.
So rather than writing a triumphant post about my training, or writing no post about my failure, I am writing about how my couch to 5K experience landed me back on the couch. I never expected to be disappointed about this – the idea that I can’t train to run. Really. I have never aspired to be a runner. Yet here I am, sad at the thought of giving up. Regretting that I won’t get on the treadmill today. Who is this person and what did she do with the Karen who has never run a mile and didn’t care to?