Tag Archive: Couch to 5K

Running for my Life

Ok. So, I talked about starting Couch to 5k earlier in the summer. Well, I think the universe heard me because we got some really hot weather down here after that. Now, I grew up in Georgia, so I am used to functioning in typical Georgia heat. Normal Georgia heat is no problem for me, but when I was growing up, I only once remember having the kind of heat we have had over the past few summers. This well-over-one-hundred-degree heat with roughly-one hundred-percent-humidity makes me want to hibernate. Bears hibernate when it is cold, I tend to hibernate when it is hot, which is also the reason I haven’t posted much to this blog in the past few weeks.  No, I don’t hibernate in the sense that I eat a lot and then sleep for a long time, for that would defeat the purpose, since eating creates energy and energy creates heat. I’m only half kidding. Sort of.  I do stay inside the house, where the air conditioning has some chance of dispersing some of the heat.  I grew up in a house that wasn’t air conditioned, also in Georgia, so I figure I’ve paid my dues. I am very hedonistic in this matter.

Needless to say, then, I tried to get myself in gear to run in that type of heat, but it didn’t work. I tried running early in the morning, when the temperature was a balmy 88 or 89 degrees, with roughly one hundred percent humidity. I tried running later in the evening, when the air had cooled from the heat of the day, or even after we had had a shower to dispel some of the humidity. That didn’t work either, largely because I don’t find it motivating to exercise in a sauna, where the air is so thick that breathing is difficult, nor do I find it particularly beneficial to expose myself to heatstroke for the sake of staying healthy. Kind of defeats the purpose, in my opinion. In fairness, one of the reasons it was so difficult is the extra weight I am carrying. When I came back from Peace Corps seven years ago, I was used to running regularly there, and I drank plenty of water, so I had my own type of internal air conditioner. But, I was also in my late twenties, and that was before I spent years working too long in my classroom, and caring for a terminally ill family member (the events otherwise known as gaining sixty pounds). So, that was the state of the C25K program in my life until recently. I thought my 5k running adventure had ended before it really got started.

Enter Chubby Jones. Chubby, whose real name is Mia, has created a series of podcasts (or three) for the iPod, with voiced over music for the C25K program. They are really nicely done, and I find them quite motivational. Since the unusual weather pattern we are having means that the heat has subsided into a wet and very nearly chilly-in-the-morning August, (shh, maybe the universe won’t hear me) I started the program again. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. It only sucked a little. I am pushing myself, but I am also going at my own pace, acknowledging what my body’s limitations are. I still run like Forrest Gump, but at least I am running. It is one positive change that will lead to others.

What kinds of obstacles do you face during your exercise routine? How do you overcome them? I will look forward to reading your stories in the comments section below.



ImageImageImageThis past weekend, I hiked to the bottom of Amicalola Falls in Dawsonville, Georgia. “Hiked” might not be an accurate term, since I really walked down the 425 iron steps to the bottom of the main falls, and then back to the top. Amicalola is a Cherokee word meaning “tumbling waters”, and the falls are the tallest east of the Mississippi river, at 729 feet high. Starting from the top, the hike down was easy, but I found my legs shaking when I got to the walkway at the bottom, and I had to keep moving periodically because I felt I might fall if I didn’t. The hike back up was not as bad as it could have been, but much harder than it should have been.  My goal was to stop  two or three times during the hike back up, and I ended up stopping a bit more than that (think every landing). I had a stitch in my side, and I was breathing rather heavily. I made the mistake of being somewhat unprepared, since it was a spur of the moment trip that my family hadn’t planned on taking. The plan was to go to Tellus, the science museum in Cartersville, GA, but somehow we got turned around and passed the falls, and decided to go there instead, since we were lost.

 The weather was perfect for a morning hike, with none of the summer heat and little of the humidity indigenous to Georgia having set in yet,   and the scenery made the trek down as pleasant as any hike I’ve been on.  The signs marked the difficulty of the trail as strenuous. As much as I’d rather not admit it, with all the other things going on in life, I’ve become something of a weekend warrior. Seven years ago, when I returned from my two years of Peace Corps service, the trail would have been rather easy, but that was before the seven years of 60-80 hour weeks in the classroom, the fifty extra pounds I have found in the interim, and my grandmother’s illness for which she required round the clock care for two years before her death.

Since I am not teaching this year, I am making a special effort to get back to that same level of fitness I once enjoyed. This weekend’s hike reminded me that there is room to do more on that front, although I do try to stay pretty active. I walk regularly, play catch with my brother and my niece, and am learning to play golf. I had considered Couch to 5 k last year, but because of work, it didn’t fit my schedule, so I dismissed the idea. That was before I learned that iTunes carries podcasts of the C25k workouts, so I could do it on my own. So, I plan to start this week.  I’ll let you know how it goes, as the weeks pass.

What places do you like to visit with your family? What do you do to stay active? I’ll look forward to reading about it in the comments below.