In a previous life, I worked in federal law enforcement, which meant that shortly after graduating college, I went to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center for a 16 week basic training. In this training, we learned laws, we learned how to use firearms, we learned self defense, and of course... we ran. A lot.
When we first got there, we had a timed mile with a ridiculous time limit... I think we had to finish in 17 minutes, which meant, that I could (without any training) run the timed mile and within the time limit. At the end of the 16 week training period, we had another timed mile, which was supposed to show progress, or really just allow those who hadn't made it within the time limit the first time around to finish within the time limit the second time around.The timed mile at the beginning and end of my training were cake compared to the runs we were forced to go on 5 days a week.
For 2 hours every weekday, we would run cadences around the base. I was always at the back of the pack, unless they wanted to torture everyone and have me lead... which meant that not only did we run at a snails pace, but we were also screamed at repeatedly for being slovenly, for being so slow, and reminded that if we didn't pick up the pace and we were in the real world, the bad guy might kill our friends.
During that time, I hated life. I did what I had to do, but I hated everything about it. There were no run/walk intervals, no music, no real knowing how far you had gone. Just a bunch of screaming at us to pick up the pace, lots of blisters, and mountains of self loathing. It sucked.
Flash forward to January 2012 and I had just seen Ray finish his first Disney Half Marathon and I had set a (soft) goal of running my first half marathon the following year at Disney Marathon Weekend (2013). But I couldn't do it without getting off the couch, and now I was almost 60 lbs heavier than I had been during my FLETC basic training.
Thinking back to my time at FLETC, I knew that it worked to set a timer and force myself to go. So the Monday after we returned from Orlando, I set a timer for 2 hours (remember, I set unrealistic goals and make bad decisions), and put on some running shoes. I think I made it a tenth of a mile before I thought I was going to die.
I turned around, tail between my legs, kicked off my shoes, and said "Screw this, I'm never running again."
See? That 0.1 will getcha!
Ray gently reminded me that great things take great patience, and with his encouragement, I tried again the following day. And the following. And the following. And it didnt work. Sure, I managed to do 6 miles my second day out there, but once again, I hated life.
And I realized that I needed to stop being so stubborn and use the tools that were available to me. So we downloaded the NHS version of the Couch to 5K podcasts and after a weekend of rest, and some time to get my head back on straight, I started over. This time, following a plan that was designed to make you feel good about running.
At the end of C25K week 1, Ray came home from work and told me he was signing us up for my first 5k race. I barely had time to protest. It was only a couple of weeks away. I certainly wasn't ready. But I couldn't tell him that.
So on February 4, 2012 (during my 3rd week of the Couch 2 5K program), I ran the Walk/Run for Wishes 5K to benefit the Make a Wish Foundation. It was awful. I was still running really short intervals and huffing and puffing the entire time. I was NOT prepared for this race and every mile felt much longer than the miles I had measured in my neighborhood to train with at home. But... I WAS a rockstar!
At least in my eyes, I was a rockstar. I finished in 49.02 with an average pace of 15:25 (the mileage was closer to 3.18 rather than 3.1 miles, but that is neither here nor there).
The point was, I did it. And I was left feeling really proud of myself.
But I had another goal on the horizon... I wanted to get to the point where I could run an entire 5K without stopping to walk at all.
*sorry i don't have any photos to share with this post. normally I would, but I'm not sure we took any that day.