Friday, March 25, 2016

Ya Gotta Have a Plan

So I’ve decided to train for a 5K. If my knees and feet will sustain me, I will run it. If not, there’s always walking. No matter how I cover the distance, I will finish. And to do that, I need a plan.
There’s a program that’s been recommended to me by a number of people who have tried to convince me of the joys of running and that anyone (even I) could do it. The program is called C25K, also known as Couch to 5K. It’s a gradual approach for non-runners to train to run. The challenge looks doable, the weather is cooperating, and I am determined.

Last spring during training for my half marathon walk, I battled snow and ice covered sidewalks, miniature lakes of melted snow blocking lanes at the cemetery (a local walkers’ haven), icy winds, and lack of daylight after work in the evenings. This year, I’m starting a bit later and very glad that Daylight Savings Time has returned. I’m also happy to say that our atypical winter has left no snow on the ground and spring melt is minimal since much of this winter’s precipitation was rain rather than snow. All this adds up to good conditions to begin training.

The really good news for me is that my target 5K is 11 weeks away from this coming weekend. The training program is intended for 9 weeks. Sure, I could jump in and be ready two weeks early. But I’m not kidding when I say just how out of shape I am, especially after a long, idle winter. Those two extra weeks can provide an extra cautious start to the program, more walking and less running.

So here’s to a slow, steady start and completing the race.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Another Year, Another Mile

Spring has arrived, bringing with it a time of renewal and reflection. With another birthday at hand, I’m pondering everything from additions to the garden to what this next year in my life will bring. The one thing I am certain of is that I intend to look forward, seek out challenges, and explore my talents. In my life thus far, there are doors that have closed and some that never opened, and some that, regrettably, were passed by. Some doors remained locked tight despite my attempts to enter. Those are best accepted and left behind for what they are. But best yet, there are doors still to be considered, doors to knock on and doors to throw open wide.

So today I’m setting goals and making plans. My first goal? A challenge.

Last year I walked a half marathon: the Steel Rail Half Marathon on the Ashuwilticook Rail Trail that runs from Lanesboro to Adams. Quite a feat for someone who was 58 years old, overweight (very) and out of shape. It took me just shy of four hours to complete the half marathon (13.1 miles!). Though the official timekeepers were done for the day by the time I crossed the finish line, I celebrated with friends and coworkers who had gathered there. I had walked (did I mention) 13.1 miles. It was darned tough at times, but I did it. 

Walking that half marathon was a personal victory that is mine forever. But my training for that very long walk had a price: I fell behind in other springtime work and spent the rest of the warm weather months playing catch up in the garden. I won’t make that mistake again.

This year, my goal is more modest and, perhaps, more sustainable. I will be a cheerleader for those friends and coworkers taking the Steel Rail challenge, and I will set my sights on something a bit different. I’m going to train for a 5K. 

Of course, for this to really be a goal, I need a plan, and to format the plan, I need a target date. Otherwise, procrastination will take over and I’ll never run more than a step or two. In a moment of serendipity, I was browsing Facebook this morning and happened upon an announcement for a local 5K in June. The timing is right. The location is ideal. So my plan is set. 

Perhaps this is the best birthday gift of all.