I waited until this morning to try my first outing as part of the Couch to 5K program. Because Mollie was being Super Spastic Dog of Doom, I decided she could come along. I bundled up in my gloves, hat and headphones and we headed out the door. The program starts out with a five minute warm up. I had downloaded the MP3 files from Robert Ullrey, figuring it would be helpful to have the queues from him instead of trying to time myself while also dealing with the dog. Robert has a very mellow voice and he calmly narrates your entire workout with a catchy techno backdrop.
We got to our first 60 second running and after some instructions Robert blurted out "Ready? Go!". I had to remind the dog that we were jogging and not SPRINTING for 60 seconds, but she eventually acquiesced. Robert told us it was time to slow back to our brisk walk and it was hard to believe the 60 seconds were over already. I admit, I was happy to go back to walking for the moment, but this workout seemed like it was going to be a piece of cake. I was already wondering if I could have just skipped to Week Two.
Robert signaled for the second 60 second run and I decided to run but not go all out like the first time. We still had a long ways to go. This time the running didn't come as easy, but I was determined that this workout wasn't going to get the best of me. I'm strong. I'm relatively fit. I can do this. Robert congratulated me on my second interval done and I realized I had a tiny stitch in my side so I was just as happy to take the break. I welcomed the slower pace.
Robert warned to keep myself "loose" and kicked off another 60 second interval, or so he claimed. I swear those 60 seconds felt like an hour. My side still hurt and I wanted to quit. Had it not been for Robert and the promise of just 60 agonizing seconds, I would have quit. I couldn't wait for the 90 second "brisk walk" to hold my side and mosey along like a wounded antelope.
Those 90 seconds flew by and Robert said it was time to run again (and that I was doing great). Mollie was more than happy to oblige, but I wanted nothing to do with this. As I got 15 seconds into the run, I was cursing with every exhale. Fuck the dog with her long legs and happy smile. Fuck this running idea. Fuck these new shoes. Fuck you, Robert Ullney. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. With each stride the techno beat kept going and I was mad as all get out, but I trudged on. Robert and the dog weren't worried.
The next two intervals were pretty much the same, Robert telling me how great I was doing and reminding me to stay "loose", the dog bouncing along as fast as my pace would let her and looking pretty "loose" herself, and me heaving but obediently putting one foot in front of another. My heart was pounding and I idly contemplated if it could come out of my chest on its own like that scene from Indiana Jones.
At that point, the dog and I turned a corner in the neighborhood and it was finally time to rest again. Robert told me I should be feeling the effects of my run (boy howdy was I) but I shouldn't be tired or out of breath. I realized I wasn't feeling as horrible as I was five minutes before. The stitch was still there, but it wasn't the stabbing pain anymore. I was starting to get the hang of this whole running thing. I was still cursing but it was more of a good natured "shit, man" and lacked the venom of before.
We continued on throughout the neighborhood and it got a little easier. I was getting more tired, but my body was putting up less of a fight to the whole concept and Robert continued telling me how it would be tough but I could do it. He had faith in me and the dog made it look easy. Right about the time I started to wonder how many more of these we'd have to do, he announced we were on our last interval so I should "go for it." I pulled my hat down, loosened the dog's leash and took off.
Holy shit what was I thinking? I'm going to fall over in a heap and the dog is going to drag me into the gutter. I'll have to use the last of my breathe to call Rich to retrieve me. Robert told me it was my last 20 seconds, though, and that I could make it. I grimaced and ran the longest 20 seconds of my life.
And then it was all over. Suddenly we were listening to new age music and Robert was telling me it was time for my five minute cool down. I felt bad saying all those horrible things about him when he had so much faith in me all along. I calmly walked my last five minutes toward the house and finished my workout perfectly at the corner of our yard.
When I tracked it on Google maps, I had done 2.16 miles. By the time I got in the house, I was feeling pretty good. Maybe I would enjoy this after all, or at least not loathe it. I'm not sure if I'll ever run a thousand miles, but this first single step didn't kill me and we'll see if it gets better or worse by Monday.