Sometimes, you need to do things to remind yourself you are alive. For me, that thing is climbing outdoors, or really, doing anything that involves stepping out of my comfort zone.
Outdoor climbing is not super safe. You will fall and scrape your knee at least once in your tenure as a climber. If you haven’t, then you probably haven’t taken the proper risks involved (or you are climbing below your skill set). It involves technique and thought, two things which are practically given to you on a fake-rock plate at the gym. It involves hanging out in a beautiful place. It involves a healthy dose of adrenaline.
Yesterday, it also involved a long, steep hike to the “underworld,” a cold climbing destination in Castle Rock. I’m so sore today! But I also feel happy to be able to do these things, and grateful for the reminder of what is possible.
We’ve had some weird weather lately. Sunday, I spent a good chunk of my afternoon sitting at the beach, trying to reason with myself that I should leave (it was just too warm and beautiful to want to move, but eventually the desire for food got to me!). On Monday and Tuesday, it was 80 degrees. The past few days…very chilly. Right now, it’s 50 degrees. Granted, 50 degrees is not bad. But the 30 degree difference makes you feel as if it’s downright winter. The only consolation? My run/walk yesterday was filled with beauty. I normally prefer mornings, but wanted to try something different. I’m glad I did.
A few days ago, I started the Couch-to-5K training plan. I’m a big fan of it, or at least the concept of it, as it makes running accessible to people who don’t run. And it makes recovery easier! This morning, I woke up at the crack of dawn (which is, actually, pretty easy for me to do, with daylight savings time working in my favor). And I ran. And I walked. This repeated for awhile, until my training app told me to cool down. At that point in time, I was just finishing my favorite mixed-path loop around Golden Gate Park, and I knew I had about a mile-ish left, so I continued the run/walk pattern until I was about five mins from home. Maybe this is cheating, but it just feels normal to run/walk for longer than 30 minutes. Also, I feel great! One of these days, when I’m old and frail (or if I get injured again), I might not be able to run anymore. But until that day comes, I vow not to take it for granted.
Well, it’s official. I have clearance to use my feet in weight-bearing activities again! Given my few attempts at run/walking have ended in frustration, I’ve decided I’m going to take it easy and go the “couch-to-5K” route.
The concept behind the Couch to 5K plan is pretty simple–you gradually build up the endurance to run by doing a combination of run/walking over a period of 9 weeks. Eventually, you’re able to complete a 5K run. It’s intended for beginning runners, but that’s how running feels to me, after being away from running for awhile.
Sunday, I tested out the waters, and it went surprisingly well. A few things I like about it:
- Being told what to do. OK, I don’t always like this in general. But in this case, it was encouraging. And it took the thinking out of when to start running/walking.
- Interval training. Interval training is really great for keeping things interesting. It didn’t really feel like I was running, actually.
- Easy plan. 30 minutes, three times a week. That seems very manageable.
I don’t know how long I’ll be able to start and stop running like this. I might eventually cave and just run for longer than the app tells me to. But I’m convinced this is a great way to start running again.