I’m training for the first ever Lifexcel 5K. I have to admit that when I started a month ago in the worst shape I have been in for years. I opened Lifexcel in October of 2013. At first I had time to juggle running my business and maintaining my exercise regimen. I love group fitness classes at my gym. I like to jog. I throw in the occasional yoga class. I have a bicycle in my garage that gets dusted off every summer. I’ve been a regular exerciser for ten years or so. As Lifexcel got busier the hours I was working increased and I found myself exercising only on weekends. When I’d get done with work at 6:30 pm or later I just wanted to go home, eat dinner, shower and rest. When the opportunity to train for the 5K arose I decided to commit to it and make the time for it. I am a firm believer that you make time for things that are important to you. Do I have time to train for a 5K? Gosh no. Can I make time to train for a 5K? Yes.
I did good the first several weeks. I completed my 3 runs on schedule. I would say some of the runs were easy and others pretty challenging but doable. Then last week life caught up to me again. Monday night I had dinner with a friend visiting from Florida. Tuesday evening I had a meeting, Wed I worked til 8:30 pm and Thursday I had to go out with family for my nephew’s birthday. On Friday I knew I had 4 days to complete 3 workouts. I cleared my calendar for Friday night and got busy.
I needed to run 1 mile in 10 minutes, walk for 2 minutes and repeat once. No problem I thought. I ran the first mile in 9:55 and thought my lungs were going to explode. My mind started making excuses. It’s so hot. It’s the end of the day. I’m probably dehydrated. Maybe I should have eaten more before I ran. Then I just faced it. It is what it is. Mile two began and I knew it would be tough. I kept going even though I had to slow my pace to breathe. I told myself “whatever you do, don’t stop running.” Mile two ended in 11:05. Oh well, not the best. I was disappointed that I could not meet the standards Jackie gave me but proud of myself for pushing through the side stich and the immense desire to stop and walk. Besides, who would have known? Answer: Me. That was enough to keep me running.
Saturday around 10am I set out to do workout 2. I looked at this one and I knew I was in trouble. Run half a mile in 4-4:30 minutes. Walk for 2 minutes. Repeat 5 times. I do know that training for this 5K should not be easy. If you aren’t challenging yourself then you aren’t getting as much out of it as you should. I ran the first in 4:22 and thought again that my lungs were going to explode. Round 2 took 4:30 on the nose. The last 4 rounds…well, let’s just say it was dig deep time. I made sure I did not take more than the allotted 2 minute rest even though I wanted to make it 5 minutes. I made sure I did not stop running even if I slowed my pace. There were times I grunted out loud and I’m sure people thought I was nuts. At the end I cried out and thanked Jesus. One reason I committed to the 5K is that I know I would never make myself run this hard. Half mile sprints are not fun. As I struggled I wondered if other participants have faced these same challenges. How do you handle it?
Sunday brought more of the same. I had to run a straight 3 miles with no stops. I finished in 32:12. It was not easy. Again I had to fight through the urge to stop and walk. Long runs are very different than short sprints or even half mile jogs. When I am struggling in a long run I check in with my body and ask myself why. Is it because my legs are tired? Is it because my lungs can’t keep up? Do I have a side stich or ache elsewhere? More often than not the answer to my question is that I am simply bored. This is one reason I always run with music. I have to fight through the boredom just like I have to fight through a side stitch.
There is so much to learn about yourself in training for this 5K. You have to make yourself do your runs when you’d rather sit on the couch. You have to be honest with Jackie about your times and adjustments on your runs. You have to learn that it’s OK for you to be physically uncomfortable sometimes. You have to learn to push your body beyond the point of being comfortable. The fact that your legs ache or you breath is short is not a reason to stop. Take it one run at a time, one mile at a time. Push through these challenges and what will await you on the other side is so worth it. I have a magnet on my refrigerator that says,
The way you build confidence is to stare in the face the thing you think you cannot do and then do it.
My goal is to celebrate my commitment to this 5K along with all of you on August 1! Who is in?