Couch to 5k: What Started It All For Me

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Since I’m taking some time off of training for long distance races – I felt like reflecting on what helped me develop the habit of running.

The Couch to 5k program has been around for a while. I think in the last 6 years I had started and quit it many, many times. Why? Well, sometimes lacing up your shoes and getting out the door can be the hardest thing.

In November of 2013 I had recently moved to San Francisco. At the time I was unemployed and had a lot of free time. I also lived in a walkable neighborhood that was hilly, but not too hilly. Between my time, location, and the mild SF weather – I decided to give the Couch to 5k antoher try. I downloaded the free c25k app, and got to it.

The program is built upon running and walking intervals which week by week slowly transitions into being able to run for 30 minutes straight. The app gives you audio cues for when to walk and run, so you don’t have to keep looking at a stopwatch.

A big milestone in the program is Week Five – Workout 3 – which is the first time you run continuously for 20 minutes. After I completed that workout I felt super accomplished and excited.

9 weeks later (January of 2014) – I completed the program. March of that year I signed up for my first half marathon and the rest is history!

I strongly recommend the couch to 5k program for anyone who wants to start running. Even if it takes a few attempts to be faithful to the program – when followed through it can change your life!

Race Recap: 2015 Superhero Fun Run 5k at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

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I have never ran a 5k race before, which is kind of funny because what brought me into running was the Couch to 5k program.

Last week me, my husband, and a few friends ran a Super Hero Themed fun run 5k at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. Race entry included a cape, medal, brunch buffet AND theme park admission – which was a pretty sweet deal.

This was the first race that my husband and I ran together the ENTIRE race. My husband usually picks up the pace a mile or two in, but between him taking it easy and me running straight through (no Galloway intervals) we both kept a nice, fun pace.

The first part of the 5k went through the parking lot, but once we entered the park it was a scenic route and we got a lay of the land as it was the first time we had been to this park.

I don’t know if this was a true 5k distance. I finished pretty quickly for me – 35:48 -which gave me an 11:32 pace. My Google Fit app registered it as 2.75 miles. So – if I ran a true 5k my pace was 11:35 per mile and if it was 2.75, my pace was 13 per mile. Who knows. I’m not losing sleep over it.

The brunch buffet afterwards was nice – the spread was bagels, eggs, pancakes, and fruit.

We spent the rest of the day in the park. This park was a standard “roller coaster park” with a bunch of midway rides peppered in.  No “dark” or theme rides like Disney or Universal. There also is a zoo and aquarium component to the park. I have mixed feelings about that.

However, to sum the day up – it was a blast to run the 5k and spend the rest of the day with my husband and friends.

When a daydream becomes a reality

As an avid daydreamer, I have imagined myself in exciting and fantastical situations throughout my entire life: winning  an Oscar, being awarded an Olympic gold medal, being best friends with the cast of Saved by the Bell. The majority of my fantasies have yet to be fulfilled and will most likely never become a reality. However, one of them came true last month.

As a lifelong Disney fan, I had always been dreamed of participating in a runDisney long distance race. I was never athletic and running was at the top of my list of “Physical Activities I Hate the Most”. For some reason, something clicked in me last year and I decided to train myself how to run by using the Couch25k program. The conclusion of my program conveniently fell around the same time that registration for the RunDisney Avenger’s Superheroes Half marathon opened up. I talked my more-athletic husband into signing up with me, and once the registration was confirmed, we had eight months to prepare.

We took the training very slow. We worked our way up to running 11 miles two weeks before the race. I am so grateful my husband decided to take part in this adventure with me because in addition to being my favorite person in the world, we also held each other accountable.

When the weekend of the race approached, we hopped on a quick flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles and drove down to Anaheim. We spent the day before the race exploring the Disneyland Resort and went to bed extra early in order to make the 5:30 am start time.

Looking back, the day of the race feels like a dream. It was everything I thought it would be and more. When I approached the finish line, it felt surreal and real at the same time. Surreal in the sense that I had daydreamed this moment for years and it was actually happening to me, and real in the sense that I had trained eight months for this — I earned this moment.

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Three days after I finished the race, I signed myself up for another half marathon. What once was a daydream has now turned into a hobby and an identity. I am a runner. I won’t be getting a gold medal anytime soon but I kind of like this one better.

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My pace is 14:40 minutes per mile, but hey…I run

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I have been running for eight months and I think I have found an exercise I truly enjoy.

It wasn’t always like this, running had always been synonymous with torture, but when I put the time into actually training myself to run (with the Couch to 5k plan), in addition to living in a place where the climate is pretty complimentary to outdoor exercise year round – I realized running can be awesome.

I’m super slow, but I am running, and I am starting to run long distances.I recently finished a 7.2 mile run, something I thought I would never do. I’m currently training for a half marathon.

I plan on using this blog to dump all my thoughts about running, food, traveling, not being stylish, being messy, and pretty much everything else.