Couch to 5k – Week 1 Reflections

Couch to 5k is a program to help beginners train for a 5k. It is also part of a joke I often use when talking about the first (and thus far – only) two 5k’s I ever ran. I wouldn’t call myself a “couch potato” by any means, but I have never been a runner. When I ran those previous 5k’s, I had a pretty active lifestyle – going to the gym a few times a week, walking a lot, sometimes even running a mile on the treadmill before a work out. But those 5k’s crushed me. Hard. Both times, I signed up with people who ran. I’m pretty sure my sisters were running 5k’s everyday and could not be any less phased by this event, which they saw as a fun, social way to support the city we grew up in. I was a little hesitant, but sure I was in good enough shape to keep up. Well, keep up, I did not. I ran for probably less than 2 minutes and then walked, slow and defeated, all the way to the finish line. Run it back, and I did the exact same thing with my (now) husband and some friends in college. He literally came back along the route to find me and make sure I was okay. I was fine but I did not run – or even brisk walk – the whole way, which was the unspoken goal.

Last year, as soon as my city went into lockdown (remember March 2020?) I started running around my neighborhood. I was teaching high school biology from my living room. The job that used to have me shuffling around a classroom almost 6 hours a day, now had me sitting at my desk, recording myself give lectures and emailing parents, begging them to send their kids to my Zoom office hours. Life was *different*. I had swapped my Uniqlo matching sets for leggings and sweatshirts. Instead of shooting-the-shit with my coworkers in the break room, or walking down to Charlie’s for a lunch special, I was doing IG Live workouts and calling my mom as I walked around the block. The decision to run was easy. Literally everyone in the world was doing it, and I lived in a gorgeous, runner-friendly city in Greater Boston. Why the hell not? It was great. I ran a few times a week, never timed myself or measured how far I ran. I described myself as a squirrel once, and never felt better.

Then, we moved to an apartment in even GREATER Boston (about 10 miles north), and we lived right next to a beautiful trail. The Northern Strand – such a lovely name for an even lovelier path. I was walk/running a few miles about 4 times/week and doing tons of burpees and other crazy exercises in my living room. And then, I wasn’t. I got pregnant and the first trimester hit hard. How hard? I-didn’t-lay-out-in-the-sun-on-a-hot-day-in-August hard. During the rest of my pregnancy, I did a ton of walking, but no more running; plenty of yoga practice, but not much strength and conditioning (until I was 35 weeks pregnant, cause why not?)

My sister-in-law also has a little nugget, so as soon as I was able, we started going on weekly walks (strollers included) on Monday mornings. Somewhere in there we decided we should train for and run a 5k together. Maybe its because my husband is training for his first marathon, or maybe we are just new moms, looking for some exciting way to get in-shape for cheap. I think I can speak for all moms when I say – we want to be able to play with our kids well into motherhood and move through life with strength and ease. So, we challenged ourselves to complete this training program, and run the Beach and Back 5k in the Cape this year.

On Monday, we ran one minute/walked one minute for 20 minutes (plus some extra walking before and after). It felt okay.

On Thursday, we ran two minutes/walked four minutes for 30 minutes (plus some extra walking before and after). It was way harder.

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