Only 3 more days til I finally complete a 5k race, and it still has not really sunk in. I have mentioned it numerous times the last week as it is a major focus of my week. When I started on the journey I am now on, my only goal was to complete a 5k race. How crazy is it that everything has skewed in so many other directions since May, as I now prepare for a triathlon next March. But, completion of a 5k has remained a major milestone goal. It did not get buried, instead the triathlon was added to it. Running yesterday and having some time off has left me reflecting on some of the lessons I have learned running.
Back in April of this year, I was in bad shape. I had diabetes, problems with blood pressure and cholesterol My weight was better than previous years but it was still terrible at 320 pounds and a 52 inch waist pant size. I had replaced smoking with vaping, taking in nicotine only without the smoke. I could barely run 30 seconds. I was not in good shape. But then I started the couch to 5k (c25k) program aiming for time and not distance. I realize now that was the smartest way to go.
When I started my heart rate would easily shoot up to 170 or higher with very little stress. Furthermore it would take minutes to get back down to an acceptable 120 bpm. By aiming for being able to run for 30 minutes instead of a specific distance mark, I believe I prepared myself for the stresses I introduce in my current run programs. Slowly building up the total time I ran taught my heart how to recover and made it stronger. Furthermore the lungs got more economical in their usage of oxygen. In the early days the muscles and mind learned what limits were mental and what was physical. All these changes happened as the total time ran continuously increased weekly. I am not sure the same thing would have occurred if I was pushing for distance.
Once I was able to run for 30 minutes I found I was still not running anywhere close to a 5k distance. But my heart rate showed greater consistency and recovery occurred within seconds instead of minutes. I also began to mentally grow as a runner, learning how my body responds to different stresses and situations. I also discovered my true body limitations and the points I could push those limits. This process still continues and is ever undergoing improvement. Slowly I built the mileage up and the speed began to come along as well as I got stronger mentally and physically.
And that is where I am today. My longest run now is close to 4 miles. My fastest 3 miles can be ran close to 45 minutes. I have grown mentally as a runner where I can regulate pace and utilize changes in terrain as an advantage. And most of all, I am running a 5k on Saturday, something I never thought I would ever do or want to do. Somehow in the last several months I have become a runner and I truly love running. I also have realized it might be time for a new photograph, I have not taken one since August of this year!!! Til next time.