Badass Clare on Completing Couch to 5k
ME A RUNNER?
Yeah, me a runner, well I’m trying to be, no, I am a runner. I squeeze into my super tight leggings, oversized top and lace up my newly acquired running shoes, plug in my earphones and listen to some northern lass coach me through a running workout. Whilst listing to some horrendous playlist I threw together last minute, I head out of the house to return 30ish minutes later red faced and smiling.
Lockdown 1 seems a long time ago now, but that’s when I thought it was about time to shift my baby weight. Almost a year after Ann our beautiful little girl was born, I was ready to be me again. Following a well-known double lettered diet plan I lost 2 stone - yippee!
During that Lockdown I started walking more and more, pushing myself with distance, hills and time. I’d always liked walking, but I needed to do it to get out of the house and break the day up for me and babba. We would walk for an hour or so each day spotting the Rainbows and Teddies in the windows while enjoying the unusual quietness, apart from the occasional huffy runner passing us. Runners always seemed a little crazy to me, but now I totally understand.
Summer ended, Christmas came and went, but Lockdown stayed, hmm no chance of using my Christmas present now; a year’s membership to the big scary gym literally on our doorstep that, until now I’ve managed to avoid. Seeing posts on social media about friends’ New Years resolutions I thought why not make a promise to be a fitter, healthier and happier version of myself. Which is where I got the idea to try Couch to 5k. January 18th I headed out for Week 1 Run 1 with my shiny new Garmin watch and brand-new pink and purple Brooks, look at me trying blend in from the start! What’s the saying ‘all the gear and no idea’.
Now you will do a light jog for 60 seconds. You’re having a laugh, oh alright go on then.
Before I knew it, I was heading back through the door to Hubby. “How’d you get on” he asked. Through a rather large smile I said “alright, think I might quite like this.”
Looking back at that first week of running I feel I’ve made so much progress, I struggled to complete a minute without being out of breath and desperately needing that recovery walk. Now I can’t wait for the walk part to be over so I can get back to running again. Must have caught the running bug!
Oh, the first failed run, that was enough to make me cry. It was supposed to be a 25-minute continuous run for the end of Week 6. For some reason that afternoon when I headed out, I just couldn’t put one foot in front of the other.
I normally go out a few hours after dinner, and when my daughter is in bed. But today the sun was shining, and Hubby was happy to have the little one after work so I could enjoy a daylight run.
I started off with the 5 minute walk, felt absolutely fine, the sun was out and there were more people than other times I’d been out. It kinda felt nice after months of not being part of a community and running scared in the opposite direction if someone so much as raised a hand to mouth in preparation of a cough.
I started off on the run and I felt different, my legs felt heavy and stiff and not moving in the rhythm that I’d gotten use to over the last 6 weeks. My mouth felt dry and my breathing was fast and not in time with me. After 3 minutes I stopped.
I was screaming at myself, why??
Around the corner, part way to recovery I tried again, nope. Still the same feeling and it was even harder. Stop. Stop. Stop.
Right let’s walk and re-evaluate.
I want this, I’m not talking myself out of this, so why can’t I do it. I walked for a bit, crossed the road and took a different route.
3,2,1 and off. I maybe ran a little further this time but still just wasn’t in a rhythm.
Right one more attempt.
Reset the app found a good song and, off!
This time I made it round the small park and one of the adjoining streets. By this point I was tired, and my legs were even heavier.
Walk, just walk. Just keep moving. So, I set about finding my way home.
There goes the athlete hurtling past not even breaking into a sweat. I’m not jealous, honest!
Oh, and there’s Grandpa and Grandma off out on their evening 10k. Seems everyone I passed in my shamed walk home was out running. I could have cried.
Right pull yourself together and just do this!
I started again, one foot in front of the other but no I still couldn't put it all together to pull off even a remotely half arsed attempt now.
Sod it, home.
The walk home seemed long and uncomfortable, everyone was looking (I’m sure they weren’t, I’m sure they didn’t even care) at the Lycra cladded idiot waking along at a slower speed than that of a sloth. Hubby was supportive when I got in, but I still felt I’d failed. I rested for a few days, did a bit of gardening and forgot about running. Sunday night I asked if Hubby minded if I went out, ‘nah go for it’. Right this is my chance to do this.
I didn’t bother with the app, I just wanted to run and see what I could do. I started walking, easy, a little faster and then I was off running, it felt better than last time, more controlled.
I ran to the end of the road and the next road, looked at the watch 10mins, not bad just turn round and run back, so I did. But I didn’t stop I kept going and going, I saw 20 minutes flash up and then 25. Admittedly I did have to stop, I had a killer of a stitch, so I walked between lamp posts (so not too far) found how to put the distance up on the watch.
Ohhh 3.5k wonder what it will be if I run to the end of the road, 4.5 shall I try for 5k? Yeah, why not.
I did it, I did a 5k in 33.5 minutes, well a 5.07k.
The smile on my face must have said it all and I’m still smiling now. I’m so pleased with myself for just giving it another go and not quitting, that would have been the easy thing to do. I’m looking forward to the next run, not sure I’ll be able to repeat it, but I know not every attempt is going to be a winner. You just win by getting out there and giving it a go.
I’m Clare a 36-year-old full-time Mummy. I live in Newbury, West Berkshire with Ian my supportive Hubby, our 19-month-old daughter Ann and the Dog Frank who is definitely not a running dog unless it’s for a biscuit.
I’ve finally found a hobby that I like, never thought it would have been sport related, I’m more for painting by numbers and baking!
You can follow Clare’s story and see more pictures of Frank the dog on her Instagram.