A Journey From the Couch to 5K…and Back Again

A Journey From the Couch to 5K…and Back Again

For several years now I have wanted to learn how to be a runner.  And I’ve been telling myself it’s going to happen.  I’ve tried several different methods and I’ve run (mostly walked) in two 5Ks.  But every time I’ve gotten myself on another running kick, my motivation and willpower evaporates.  Why is this?  Probably because I hate it.

Yesterday, I started with day one of my “Couch to 5K” plan.  The whole time, I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to move from a perfectly comfortable couch to running a 5K.  My thought process looked a little like this:  “People actually find this therapeutic.  Why?  What is therapeutic about feeling like your legs were recently dipped in a chemical bath?  What is soothing about the sensation that there is an unseen force stabbing my rib cage repeatedly?  Is this normal?  I’ve only been running for thirty seconds.  Should I already be having this much trouble with the whole breathing process?”  When I started with my warm-up walk, it was about 50 degrees outside and I was a little chilly.  By the time I finished, it was 900 degrees and I was suffocating.  After the first mile, I started audibly telling the little woman inside my 5K app to stop telling me what to do.  I don’t want to run.  I want to stop and sit on the pavement until some kind neighbor drives by, feels sorry for me, and gives me a lift BACK TO MY COUCH.

So, why do people do this all the time? What are the benefits of running?

I asked the Internet this question and these are a few of the answers.

  1. Running makes you happier/eliminates depression:  I think I might be doing it wrong then.  I was having trouble really getting into a “happy” mood when my legs were screaming obscenities at me.  I think I actually became MORE depressed thinking about the fact that I agreed to run a 5K at the beginning of April with some friends.  Excuse me, no.
  2. Running makes you skinnier:  Yes, but so does only eating lettuce for an extended period of time. And I can eat a lot of lettuce while sitting on my couch.  (Should I market this idea and call it “From 5K to Couch?”)
  3. Relieves stress:  The only reason I’m not stressed about my to-do list anymore is because I’m stressed about the fact that I can’t breathe.  But you’re right.  Feeling like your lungs are in the strong grasp of a jungle python does put some things into perspective.
  4. Running adds years to your life:  In these extra years, is running a requirement?  If yes, then I don’t want them.  Thanks, but no thanks.

I really want to love it.  I want to be a runner.  And it does make me feel a little bit better sometimes.  Until feeling returns to my legs and then I considered amputating them with the nearest sharp (ish) object.  

There is no philosophical point to this rambling blog post.  It’s simply me telling you that I completed Day One of my plan to become a runner.  If you aren’t sitting at your computer, clapping for me and nodding your head in silent but reverent respect for my willpower, you’ve missed the whole point.  Scroll to the top and try again.

Day One is done.  I deserve a reward, right?  Maybe a day or three off?  Yes, I think so.

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