First 5K In A Very Long Time

running_08182014The last time I ran any distance greater than a 5K was March 21, 2014.

I remember that run. It was the most painful run I’ve ever endured. But I ran through the pain and completed the run. And, the very next day when I attempted to run again, the pain in my lower left leg was excruciating. So agonizing was the pain, I could hardly walk. I self diagnosed the pain as a severe stress fracture. At least, everything I read on the internet said that is what it was. I couldn’t run for the next 12 weeks, although I did try a few times but the moment I took the first stride the pain came back in force.

The pain totally faded by the first of June and I was ready to hit the road again. However, in the 12 weeks during my layoff, I gained weight and lost most, if not all of my fitness since I didn’t attempt any kind of exercise. I could hardly walk around the block. So, I decided to work through the C25K program. I stuck with the program for the next 12 weeks and worked through every exercise session and sometimes repeated weeks and sessions.

Last week, I was finally able to complete the final session, Week 8 Day 3, which requires a 30 minute non stop run. Yay! To see if I really had completed the program, I repeated that session three more times. And finally, last night, I switched back to the Nike + App and set the distance for 3.1 miles and ran non stop for 33 minutes for a distance of 3.17 miles.

Yay!!! A 5K.

My average pace was 10:27 per mile. It was a rather humid day and warm day too.

So, I guess that I’ve completed the C25K program. Yay!

A few things that I did learn about myself while working through the C25K program. The first is that I need to lay aside the ego and just run for the pleasure and benefit of running instead of the bragging rights. And two, interval training and running is something that I’m going to explore in the future. In the latter weeks of the program, where it required a 15 minute run and then a two-minute walk, that two-minute walk was really refreshing and in the next 10 minute run I was more energized than the first 15 minute run. My thoughts were  confirmed by a co-worker who followed a different interval program similar to the C25K and he said that running for five minutes and walking for 1 minute and repeating for the duration of the run allowed him to go further each week. He said the 1 minute of walking sandwiched between 5 minutes of running was better for him than non stop running.

But, the bottom line is that I was able to reach my goal of running a 5K non stop! Yay. Now, my next step is to register for a 5K event and confirm my C25K success on a measured course.

Have I Finished the C25K?

photoI don’t know if I’ve completed the program. I have worked through all the running sessions, from Week 1 to Week 8, in order.  I ran through the last session of Week 8 where you run for 30 minutes straight without stopping. I was able to do that but it was an awful experience. It was hot and humid and I was tired. It was not a very comfortable run. Plus, my neighbor chained up his pet pit bull outside and so that scary dog rushed me and barked at me the three times I ran past that house. So it wasn’t one of my better runs.

The screenshot says that I ran 3.43 miles at a 11:39 pace. But, that distance includes 10 minutes of walking. So don’t believe I ran 3.1 miles. I believe I was close. Running for 30 minutes at a pace of 11:39 doesn’t cover a 5K.

But, at least I ran for 30 minutes without walking. Yay! When I started the program back in early June, I could hardly run the 90 second intervals and wondered if I would ever have the capacity to run a 5K at the end of the 8 week program. I had to repeat several weeks because I wasn’t able to keep up. So, what should have taken 8 weeks has taken me over 10 weeks.

That is … if I really completed the program.

How will I finally know if I have completed the program? I’ll know when I run in a sponsored 5K event. When I can run the 5K course and not stop, and it be an enjoyable run for me, then I will believe for myself that I actually completed the program.

Until then, I will continue to run and repeat Week 8 until I register for a local 5K event. I really need more ‘practice’ and really need to increase my fitness until then anyways. And, cutting back on the beer could help too.