Running on empty

Empty of excuses, anyway.

Those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook (Hi, Mom!) may not know that I’ve started a running program, the Couch-to-5k. This is a nine-week program designed to take people from being couch potatoes to running for 5k (about 3 miles or 30 minutes). This is accomplished through interval work — alternating jogging and walking — while gradually increasing the total amount of time jogging or running. I’m now in the second week.

Physically, I’m doing better this week than last week. My first run (in the pouring rain) I could barely finish, even walking two of the running intervals. My legs felt like rubber, and my entire body was sore on Tuesday. I’m now managing to complete all of the intervals, and the only portions that tend to stay sore are my hips.

That’s probably not going to change, even at the end of the program. I am handicapped. My left ankle is fused, and I’m missing most of the calf muscle for that leg. I can’t push off with the ball of my foot, and I can’t land properly either — so most of the work is coming from the hips. Yesterday, my ankle felt sore all day, and my foot hurts.

Let’s be honest. My foot almost always hurts. I can’t walk barefoot around the house because of the pain. That’s just life. Even if I can run for 3 miles, 5 miles, or 20 miles, I’m always going to be handicapped.

Which is okay, as long as I remember it’s no excuse to stop trying.

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  1. Congrats on sticking with it! Running is NOT easy, that’s for sure. I just started a program too, week one, 2nd of 3 workouts. Hip soreness, check (reminds me of the 9th month of pregnancy), ankle soreness, check (working on my form, maybe that’ll help?), and added to that: a sore toe, results from breaking my toe back in Sept. So far we’ve just been treadmill running, but Saturday we’re hitting the path that goes past the park. I do know it’d be way hard to do this without a partner: so extra kudos to you for doing this solo.

    • Hugs on the sore toe! That must be really hard to deal with.

      I’ve run with someone else exactly once. She usually ran farther than I did, and I usually ran faster than she did — and I kept pushing the pace a bit, unconsciously, when I saw her start to get ahead of me. We were both exhausted at the end of the run.

      I like running solo, or just with the dog. I don’t have to worry about matching my pace to someone else’s, or wondering what somebody else might think of my form.

  2. Wow – you’re doing great. Getting out there and doing it when you don’t really feel like it is half the battle … 18 months into my personal running journey, I’m at the point where I finally can enjoy parts of it, most times. But there’s always the little voice that suggests the couch (or the writing desk) will be much *more* fun than slogging along in the cold and rain. Keep going!

    • Thanks. Honestly, I think feeling accountable — posting each day on Facebook that I’ve done my run, having a specific goal that I’m working toward — is helping a lot. If I have to post here and say, “Yeah, I let myself make excuses,” I’ll be embarrassed. For me, that’s a big motivator. Silly, but true.

      I’m glad you’ve reached a point of enjoyment! That’s excellent.

  3. I remember when I did this program – each week something different hurt – my knees, my abs, my thighs, my feet. Now, however, when I run I just get tired and nothing hurts, so it does get better…

  4. Good luck! I did the C25K program a few years ago – it was the first time I managed to run a decent distance without walking. Running’s my favorite exercise.

    Just a word of caution that you probably don’t need me to say – if you have pain that’s unusual for you and it doesn’t seem to go away, get it looked at. I lost several months of running before physical therapy and orthotics helped my weird legs stop hurting.

    • Thanks!

      Yes, I’ll watch for unusual pain. So far this week’s pain seems to be the sore thighs of someone who has actually been running!

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