I started the “Couch to 5K” running-workout a little over four weeks ago.
Until this morning, the only physical feat I could claim after these aerobic jaunts was:
I felt a little less like I was going to die each time I did it.
Four weeks of a prescribed combo of walking and trotting (some people get to call it “jogging”), and with a grand total of 25 K under my feet; that was as good as it got for me.
Public Service Announcement to anyone considering your own Couch to 5K journey – Here’s a little something the runners haven’t told you yet:
In place of that elusive “runner’s high” you’ve heard so much about, you will find in its stead, a 10-15 minute recovery period which feels very much like lung failure. There will be red-faced, fish-out of water attempts to regulate breath, all the while, waiting eagerly for those wily endorphins to show up and dazzle you with their hypothalamic magic. You will soon discover that your endorphins are selfish and lazy deadbeats. So, you will huff and puff and sweat to the rhythm of your wildly arrhythmic heart, mad at no one in particular, but everyone all at once, muttering things like “Born to run…? My bare-flippin’ foot.”
You’ll start singing Huey Lewis songs and deeply consider pursuing a new drug, because apparently, your pituitary shoots blanks.
Then, something will happen.
It’s a very subtle thing… but it’s something you have waited for your whole life, so, pay attention.
A few weeks in,you will realize, as I did today, that you are standing on the threshold of something bigger than you thought yourself capable. It is a threshold as much mental as it is physical. A threshold so bold and awesome that its implications may frighten you.
You will realize, in no uncertain terms, that the investment you’ve made in yourself, is starting to pay you back.
That knowledge is as much an accolade as it is a responsibility. Because you understand with a clarity that is irrefutable, that you just kvetched and sweat through all your excuses. It will be hard from here on-out to imagine not succeeding in anything you set yourself to do.
I’m not sure if this is what all these runners mean by “high,” because quite frankly, I know several ways to get higher faster and with far less effort than all of that…
But I can tell you, that the feeling born of crossing through a threshold of your own design – is strong, strong medicine. And at least for now, it feels like it will be a hard habit to shake.