Some of you may be asking, "So, Shannon, how's the running going?"
Well, no, you probably aren't asking that, but I'm going to tell you anyway.
Six weeks ago I started the Couch to 5K running program, which is a workout plan that guides you through a series of walk/run intervals. You do the prescribed workouts three times a week, and each week the running gets longer and the walking gets shorter, so that in 9 weeks you are supposed to be able to run a 30-minute 5K.
The first few weeks I could totally keep up with the workouts. But around Week 4, I kind of started to fall apart. Run for 5 minutes straight?! But then I went and watched the marathon, and after seeing 38,000 people who are vastly superior to me, I was motivated to stay on track and at least finish a 5K.
Providing further motivation, my friend Farrah lovingly nudged me toward registering for the Hot Chocolate 5K, which takes place on November 6. Let me tell you about this race. You run a 5K, and then you get a gift bag consisting of chocolate, chocolate, more chocolate, and a windbreaker. The goody bag was rated the best goody bag in the country by Runner's World magazine, which is something I know because I obviously subscribe to and read Runner's World regularly, and not because I read about the goody bag on the Hot Chocolate race's website.
So, now I'm in this race, and I'm determined to keep training, except there's one drawback:
I kind of suck at running.
I think running is one of those things, like driving or mothering, that you just assume you would automatically be good at. Everybody else can do it, right? I mean, my Facebook feed is filled every day with people talking about how far they ran. And it's like, at least 6 miles every time for these people. With a double jogging stroller. And a broken leg. (Okay, I made up the part about the broken leg, but the jogging stroller part is true.)
And I'm like, what's wrong with me? Why can these people run so far when I can't?
Here's the answer to that question. Listen carefully, because this is a very shocking revelation:
People are different.
I may not be what you would call a "natural runner." I may "get tired when I run 50 feet." I may "be better suited for sedentary, indoor activities like typing." Perhaps my ancestors weren't running away from warring nomadic tribes, and instead were doing things like hiding out in basements distilling bootleg alcohol and making witty observations.
And so, I'm not a very good runner. Of course, there are also two other explanations for my running challenges, and these are not to be discounted. These explanations are (1) I haven't practiced that much, and (2) I really need to lose some weight.
Reason (2), I admit, is the reason I keep running. I know it burns a lot of calories, and I know focusing on a goal (like a 5K) is a really good way to stay on track, exercise-wise. In actuality, I am really a lot better at swimming, and I enjoy it more. But in my limited knowledge of exercise sciences, I have concluded that my body has gotten too efficient at swimming, and therefore it takes a lot longer to burn the same number of calories as I would running in a short period of time. Also, the last few times I've gone swimming (for exercise, I mean), I have gotten so hungry, and I mean hungry on the level of "I may not be able to walk to the locker room unless I eat a snack on the way" hungry. It's very unpleasant, and last time it led me to going to the McDonald's drive-thru on the way home because it was the fastest way I could get lunch into me. (Though, admittedly, the gym has a vending machine, but I mean, that stuff is bad for you.)
So, until November 6 at least, I will be running. After that I'd like to keep running on the treadmill at the gym, because that's a short, convenient workout that can be easily worked into my scheduled, and because I need to make sure I have indoor-based exercise in the upcoming dreaded season that starts with a "w" and rhymes with "splinter."
But I also think I need to go back to swimming, too. It makes me happy, and it's very peaceful and calm, at least when there isn't some kind of turf war going on at the pool between old people who take aquacize and old people who do water-walking.
So, I'd like to somehow work out a schedule where I run twice a week, swim twice a week, and go to my spinning classes twice a week, and then somehow fit in some weight-training in there too. And ... hahahaha, like I'm really going to be going to the gym 6 times a week!
It's a goal to strive for, at least.