Last year, a friend of mine started running 5Ks. She told me about the "Couch to 5K" training program that she used to get ready. Even though I hate running, I thought this would be a good goal for me. I figured I could get in shape before our trip to Europe, since we would be walking a lot. The Couch to 5K program is a 9-week training program that is supposed to gradually work you up to running a 5K. About week 5, my knees started hurting, and I knew if I continued running, they would just hurt more, and then I'd be hobbling around Europe instead of walking around Europe. So I had to give up.
This year, I decided to give it another go. Jacob and I went to a running store and had them watch me while I ran. They have a treadmill with a camera on it so they can see how your feet are landing. They play it back in slow motion to see if you are pronating inward or outward, and how much. Then they recommend certain shoes based on what will help you correct your run. So $100 later, we walked out with new shoes and new hope.
I was hoping that I would learn to like running during my 9-week training. Alas, it was not to be. And even with the new shoes, my knees started hurting again around week 7 or 8. But they didn't hurt as badly as before, and I was NOT going to give up when I was so close! I decided to find a 5K that would coincide with the last day of my training program. That way I wouldn't have to keep training while waiting to run an official race, all while the weather was getting colder and colder.
This left me with two choices: Run a 5K with a bunch of dogs (don't ask) or run on a dirt trail on the side of a mountain. I chose the latter. My 5K was the "XTerra Marathon of Trail Races" held at the Cheyenne Mountain State Park in Colorado Springs. Having been to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, which was literally on the side of a mountain, we figured a mountain would also be involved in the race. We were correct.
We left at 6:00 and dropped off the kids at my long-suffering neighbor's house, and set out for Colorado Springs. Of course, wouldn't you know that the first snow of the season decided to honor us this day. It was snowing so hard that we could not see the road. It was very scary. Had I been the only one that was signed up for the race, I would have just forfeited the $25 and stayed home. However, Jacob also decided to join me, so we were out $50 if we didn't go, and I wasn't about to waste that kind of money! After a while, it got lighter and we could see the road more clearly. When we got to the race site, it was raining. I would have preferred snow for the race, but Mother Nature clearly has a rotten sense of humor.
I was surprised at how many people were waiting in the rain for the race. Most of them turned out to be the ones signed up for the marathon and half-marathon. Either they are crazy running fanatics, or they didn't want to waste their money, either. It was my goal to run the entire 5K, but it soon became apparent that this was not going to be possible. The trail was very rocky in parts (all rocks, no trail) and due to the rain, the rocks were very slippery. The trail had also turned into thick, slippery mud in many locations, and running through that would have meant a one-way ticket onto your kiester. So I ran on all the parts that were safe to run on, and consoled myself with the fact that I had in fact run two 5Ks without stopping earlier in the week during training.
Jacob had not trained at all. He was worried about being beat by girl. He actually beat me by about a minute, but I contest that it's only because his legs are longer than mine. If we had run a 5K on a paved surface in good weather, I'm sure I would have beaten him :) But no matter. I did the 9 week training perfectly without missing a day, and I never walked when I should have been running. So now I can give my knees a rest and think about whether or not I ever want to run again!
My name is Melissa Howell and I specialize in custom portrait design for your home. You can visit my official photography website at http://www.blueprintsphotography.com/ to view more of my work and to contact me to set up a consultation.