Remember how I started the Couch To 5K (C25K) program? And remember how, when I started it, I said that my only goal was to finish it but in the fastest change of heart and mind the world has ever known, I signed up to do the Blogher 5K this August? Well, I thought I’d give you an update, not only because many of you asked me to “keep you posted”, but also to continue holding myself accountable.

When I started the program, I decided not to stick with the three days per week that the program prescribes. I decided to do what my friend Jen is doing, and go every other day. That way, some weeks have three C25K days, and some have four.

Well…here’s what happened to that plan. Rather than doing an “every other day” in the literal sense, I’m doing four days every week. The reason for this is because, had I just done every other day, every other week I would need to run on Tuesdays. I teach a spin class at 9:30 a.m. every Tuesday. Though I could probably physically do the class with no problem after doing the run, as an instructor there is a lot of mental stuff that goes on and I was worried about being “up” and motivational for everybody in my class after a C25K workout. Therefore, since I started Week 1 Day 1 on a Wednesday, my workout plan for each week is:

Day 1: Wednesdays
Day 2: Fridays
Day 3: Sundays
Day 3 again: Mondays

I made the decision to stick with Day 3 twice instead of starting Day 1 of the next week’s workout on Mondays because I don’t want to hurt myself by pushing too hard with the second consecutive day of running being way harder, as well as a new challenge. Make sense?

So here I am, getting ready to do Week 2, Day 3 for the second time, when I get up tomorrow morning. I have to say, my legs feel fried right now. This morning’s run was very, very difficult for me. I was really excited when I did Week 2, Day 1 on Wednesday, because for me, it was so much easier than the first week, mentally. In Week 1, you have 9-one minute runs. In Week 2, you have 6-90 second runs. Same amount of running time, but my brain liked it so much better. It’s so much easier to “rah rah” yourself through a workout when you have less sets to count. That’s mind game #1.

In Week 1, I put a bunch of songs that really inspire me to work hard on my playlist for running, and let the app shuffle them as I went. What I learned was twofold. Number one, many songs that inspire me while spinning do NOT work the same way when I run. Number two, not knowing which song was coming up was mentally tough. What I decided to do for Week 2 was make a playlist and shut off the “shuffle” function on the app. I chose an eclectic mix of songs that inspire me in different ways. Here’s my Week 2 playlist:

1. Bad Romance (Lady Gaga): Warmup
2. Chelsea Dagger (The Fratellis) (Timely, since this is the official song of the Chicago Blackhawks, 2010 Stanley Cup Winners!)
3. Turbo Lover (Judas Priest)
4. Hanuman (Rodrigo y Gabriela)
5. Temperature (Sean Paul)
6. Devil in My Car (B52s)
7. Boom Boom Pow (Black Eyed Peas)
8. American Boy (Estelle, featuring Kanye West): Cool Down

I have one extra song on there, in case one of them doesn’t “work” for me on any given day; I can hit the fast forward and keep going. In addition to just knowing what song is coming up, the repetition of this playlist during the entire week has helped me mentally. Also helping my brain cope with this workout is the fact that I am doing this workout on exactly the same route every time, for now. Since I’m in the infant stages of running, the familiarity of the route is more soothing to me than going a different way everyday. I’ll probably change it up in a couple of weeks.

I have still been able to complete all of the runs without stopping, which I am really proud of. I find myself dying to look at my iPod Touch to see where I’m at in the run and how much time I have left, and I decided to let myself look only one time. Another mind game. That way, I put it off as long as I possibly can, knowing that I have restricted myself. Don’t laugh. It works.

All of that said, today was difficult. My legs feel fried. I was screaming all kinds of things to myself, in my mind, just to get through. When the final run started, I imagine it would have been amusing for some of you to step inside my brain, if that were possible. Though I maintained good running form, my mental state was a crazy, mixed bag of motivational phrases, some bordering on ridiculous. I even yelled (mentally) at myself, “LET’S DO THIS THING!”

I am proud of how far I’ve come, even just finishing up Week 2. Sometimes, for seconds at a time, I really feel like a runner. I do my best to think positively, and though I am, admittedly, terrified to start Week 3 on Wednesday because it includes 2-90 second runs AND 2-three minute runs, I’m not going to let my fear stop me. I imagine how accomplished I’ll feel over the next few weeks, and it puts a smile on my face.

In addition to the C25K, I’ve started being a little more careful about what I eat. I’m not going CRAZY; I will tell you that my family ate dinner at Fuddruckers on Friday and I enjoyed that burger and fries immensely. Also, Jim and I went to see a movie this evening and I had about a truckload of buttered popcorn (one of my favorite snacks). But in my normal day-to-day, I’m trying to cut out added sugar, and I’ve given up soda (even diet). It’s all paying off so far: I’ve lost five pounds since I started C25K and these dietary changes.

And so I tell myself that I am doing great things, and I continue to be motivated.

©2010 Suburban Scrawl