The most immediate, specific lesson I learned this summer is “running doesn’t suck.” I always knew it did. I was wrong.
More generally, I learned “you can do more than you think you can.” And as I walked away from the race, feeling happy and not exhausted, I realized that could be shortened: “you can do more.”
Throughout the program, my mind kept returning to this advice from the inestimable AB Chao:
The biggest tip I have [for beginners] is, start with Couch to 5K and DO NOT GIVE UP no matter what. It will hurt and suck and be hard and you will hate it, but one day, a couple months from now, you will realize that you can run 3 miles without stopping. Then, sign up for a race so you don’t lose momentum. After that, sign up for another race. You will feel great about yourself and sometimes, superior to others. These are good things. Also, your legs will be super hot.
It only hurt and sucked for a little while (when my knees were killing me) and I’ll leave the hotness question aside, but she’s definitely right, I feel great about myself. And there’s even an occasional, weird sense of superiority. That’s okay, I don’t take it seriously.
So what am I going to do next?
Okay, not exactly. But here’s the thing: I’m done running for the calendar year. I’m done running until next summer. This is Montana; the mornings are dark and cold, soon enough the sidewalks will be icy, and I hate running on a treadmill. But most of all, it’s about the time commitment. Three mornings a week out of the house, by myself, for 30 or more minutes is simply asking too much for myself right now. My wife doesn’t want to be left home alone with two boys when she doesn’t have to be.
I do intend to stay active, though. From January through May of this year, I worked with Mark Lauren’s You Are Your Own Gym programs. He outlines full-body strength-training routines using no special equipment, so I don’t even need to leave the house. And unlike with running, if one of the kids wakes up (and it’s usually the younger one), they’re welcome to hang out with me while I exercise.
I couldn’t be bothered to blog about #YAYOG this spring, and I don’t imagine I’ll be posting about it this autumn either. So consider this my farewell “Fitness” post for now. I will return to my regular schedule of posting pretty much never. If you began following this blog because of the “C25K” tag, maybe I’ll see you next spring, when I will ask “How do I start training for a 10K?”