I have never liked running, ever in my life. Even as a kid, I don’t recall enjoying a simple, quick run across a field just to meet a friend. The required mile-long runs in P.E. class when I was a teenager? I dreaded those days immensely. Plus? I was nearly always last coming back.

As an adult, I also despise running. How much? Well, as I told a friend on Facebook this week, I hate running with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. That’s pretty deep-seated, don’t you think?

So it makes TOTAL sense that, when I decided that my routine needed shaking up (again), I settled on…running.

The Couch To 5K program (Disclosure: this is not an advertisement for the program; I’m just filling you in so you know what I’m talking about) is a way to gradually build up your running ability over a nine-week period. The workout is three days per week and, as you would expect, incorporates more running and less walking as the weeks go by. When you’re done, you’re supposed to be able to run–like the title indicates–a 5K.

I don’t have such lofty goals as actually planning to run a specific 5K. You might “tsk tsk” at me because I don’t have a goal set for myself, but I would “tsk tsk” back at you for not seeing that my goal, as a person who hates running, is to finish the Couch To 5K program. That’s it. I just want to finish it.

When I started telling people that I was going to start, because that’s what you do when you want to hold yourself accountable, I immediately started getting some great encouragement. One of my biggest cheerleaders is my friend from the Great White North, Jen. (Jen, by the way, has a great new fitness blog called Shiny Healthy People that you should definitely check out for health and fitness inspiration.) Jen is, I think, a week ahead of me on this program. She’s also a Shredhead, so we always have lots to talk about when it comes to fitness: I love the two-way motivation.

When it came to actually starting Week 1, Day 1 of the C25K program, I was not excited. I loved talking about it, but doing it? Ick. In addition to the dread of the actual activity, I was a little worried about having to be a clock-watcher during the workout, because it’s made up of specific walking and running intervals. Then I did a little research and found an app for my iPod Touch (Disclosure: Again, I’m just letting you know what I’m doing. I bought the app on my own and the creator has no clue who I am, let alone that I am writing about it) that seemed ideal: it allows me to use my own music (already installed on my iPod Touch) as it gives me audio cues for each interval.

So, with that purchase, I had no excuse to NOT start.

“The hardest part of any journey is taking that first step.” (Unknown author)

And thus, yesterday I did it.

And it was DIFFICULT.

For a while, my inner voice was screaming at me, using the same advice I scream to those in my spin classes:

“Go, go, go!”

“You can do this!”

“Think about a time when you were less fit than today and what you wouldn’t have given to do THIS. You are doing it!”

“Stay strong!”

“Hang on, you’re almost there!”

“You are doing great things today!”

I was able to motivate myself like that for the majority of the workout, which was a plus.

Towards the end of the workout, though, it became harder to listen to my own voice, especially when I had thought there were only eight runs and then the ninth and final run popped up. What??? I thought I was done! Total morale crusher. But I pulled through, because one of my favorite songs popped up: “Damaged” by Danity Kane, the Friscia & Lamboy Club Mix. Although the song is about a broken heart, well, okay, I took some of my fitness motivation from what the guy (Maybe Lamboy? Who knows.) says in the beginning:

“Sometimes you’ve gotta go through the pain…to experience the joy.”

“This too shall pass…”

Whatever works, right?

I took pride in the fact that, even though it was really, really hard, I ran each sixty-second interval in its entirety, all eight nine of them. I surprised myself by getting through them all, successfully: I considered it a major win.

Today? I’m sore.

I still hate running, but…

I’ve got big plans to pound the pavement again tomorrow.

©2010 Suburban Scrawl