by Nicole Loughan
I set a goal 8 weeks ago to start running again. I announced it on Facebook and roped several friends into my scheme, inviting them to Philadelphia to take part in the Mother’s Day Susan G. Komen. I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I ran my last 5k before I had any children, about eight years ago.
It sure was easier back then. I wasn’t what you would call a “real runner.” During the President’s fitness challenge I walked my way to the finish, begrudgingly. Running was something I decided to take up later in life for fitness reasons. When I started, I couldn’t even run for a whole minute. A friend suggested I try this new program meant to get anybody into running shape, it was called Couch to 5k. Bath then the plan was a print out of an excel sheet giving intervals of walking and running, with the goal to get you running a 5k in just over eight weeks. In order to keep my time, I would hold a stopwatch in my hand and watch it to know when to run and when to walk. I would also pump up the music on my Discman, strapped around my waist via fanny pack.
That last childless summer I ran a 5k in less than 30 minutes. It was a nice flat 5k at Washington Crossing and I got that time once. My fitness journey seemed complete. Then I got pregnant.
My running came to an abrupt end after I had my first child. I couldn’t find the time, the energy or the money. I would walk with a stroller, but I never quite found my running legs. I walked a few 5ks, I jogged a little bit of one, but I was hopeless. My time was nearly 50 minutes.
I got into the groove a bit in the summer of 2012, then I got pregnant, again. My super supportive co-workers bought me a double running stroller, meant to get me out and fit again. I upgraded my running equipment determined to get back into shape. I traded in my Discman for an I-Pod Shuffle, which by that time had a downloadable Couch to 5K audio file that would shout when to walk and run over horrible off brand music. No popular music was licensed for that program and the music was always a rip off of current hits. I don’t remember the songs exactly but instead of Brittany Spears “Toxic” you would get something like Tiffany Tears “Noxious.”
To tell you how that all went I recently sold that double running stroller as lightly used. My kids were too big for it by the time I had the energy to use it.
But eight weeks ago, I decided enough was enough and set a goal to get into running again. I really put myself out there and posted my progress publicly on my Facebook page, with my friends and family holding me to account. For the last 8 weeks, I’ve stuck to the couch to 5k program through vacations, illnesses, a personal health crisis, asthma and a whole lot of weight. Today I’m 18 pounds lighter than when I started.
I’ve been running at the local high school track, on an old treadmill in my basement and at the YMCA. My five-year-old son is now old enough to come with me. He generally sits in the stands at the school and watches me run while he plays on his kindle. At the Y he goes to child watch, and in the basement, he shouts at me asking me how much longer I’m going to be making all that noise.
Couch to 5k has gotten much better than it used to be, it’s now a free app downloadable to your phone. It works with Rock my Run, also free. If you download both you can actually listen to real licensed music and get your couch to 5k prompts.
I set a goal to run my first 5k in eight years in under 36 minutes. For Mother’s Day, I woke up at 5 a.m., went into the city and readied myself for my first big race. I had just finished the last day of Couch to 5k two days earlier and I was sure I could do it. I ran, and ran and ran. When I got home I checked my time, 38 minutes, two minutes shy of the goal. I’m not quite where I want to be, but I’m going to keep trying. I don’t know if I’ll ever run a 5k under 30 minutes again, but this time I have something even better waiting for me at the finish line, an adorable cheering section.
Living with Littles is presented by The Dance Academy. Since 1987, The Dance Academy in Holland, PA has been offering professional dance training with a personal touch, instilling the love of dance to students and families throughout Bucks County. Under the direction of Miss Donnajean Kline (BFA in Dance, Temple University) and staffed by a group of highly-trained instructors, The Dance Academy has acquired countless awards and accolades each year at local, national, and international competitions. Through recitals, competitions, advertising publications, professional companies, and tours; Dance Academy students are spreading their passion for dance both here in the States as well as on international stages. It’s not too late to register for their 30th Anniversary Season!