11:12pm on Good Friday, April 2, 2010. That is the precise moment that I will always remember when I think about finishing the C25K. I actually benefited greatly from the program. The biggest advantages that I walk away with are more mental than physical perhaps, but I believe I improved my bodily self greatly so that is saying a lot.
I can jog for thirty minutes straight. My endurance and leg strength have increased. My cardiovascular system loves me. I have trimmed three and a half inches off my waist since beginning this program (although I do know that the C25K was only part of that equation). I got to spend some great time with my husband doing something that tested both of our limits. I am extremely proud of him and of myself for pushing through and finishing something that was very difficult at times. I am beginning to think about how I might eventually master other such endeavors which I wouldn’t have dreamed of in the past. I have discovered a type of self-confidence that I don’t think I ever knew I could have. Conversely, I conquered a huge amount of self-doubt. And I believe in myself even more than I did before.
I think that the C25K is a genuinely good place for beginning runners to start. In all fairness I have nothing to compare it to, but nine weeks ago I certainly was not sure that I could finish it. Yet here I am now, fully graduated. I think that at 266 pounds it would have been much more difficult to complete – not impossible, though – as I don’t know that I could have gotten through it all with the low fitness levels that I possessed back then. I don’t think it was the extra weight that would have stopped me, but the basic lack of health. Fortunately, through simpler exercises like walking, I was able to get in shape to a point adequate enough to feel like I could start the program back at the beginning of February.
It was a much more fulfilling process than I ever suspected that it might be. And it meant more to me to finish that I could have guessed. When I burst out crying as I slowed to my final cool down walk, I was totally surprised by the deluge of emotions. I honestly didn’t know how much it would mean to me to complete this program. It was a much bigger deal than I would have originally presumed.
The finale to the endeavor was amusingly orchestrated by Mother Nature. I ran the entire thing with gale force winds pushing against me, seemingly trying to hold me back. Who says the universe doesn’t have a sense of humour? With my hair whipping across my face and rain pelting my body for the majority of the run, I forged on. After battling my own emotional, mental, and physical boundaries for the past nine weeks – or eight months, actually – it was nothing to brave forty minutes through the extreme elements that the great outdoors decided to throw at me.
My husband – who, thank goodness, is a much more reasonable individual – decided to wait until the weather was more cooperative, and so he finished the program this evening. He went to the park with me on Friday though, dutifully sitting in the car as I ran around the local track, and got out to high-five me when I finished my run. He walked my cool down period with me, holding my hand, allowing me the silence I needed to work through those final, overwhelming moments. He let me cry and later on, when I was ready to hear it, told me that he was proud of me. I got to reciprocate that high-five and expression of pride tonight when he concluded the C25K himself. I don’t think either of us can even begin to say how wonderful it feels to know that we have successfully completed this life-changing nine week program. I am sure, however, that this is one Easter weekend that neither of us will ever forget.
FOOD & BEVERAGES:
- 12 glasses of water
- 1 pan-fried banana and light peanut butter wrap on a soft tortilla shell
- 1 1/2 cups strawberries
- 3 cups spinach salad with cubed cheese, croutons, dried cranberries, yellow pepper, mushrooms, and calorie-wise Greek feta and oregano dressing
- 3/4 cup fat free field berry yogurt with 1 cup Fiber 1 honey clusters cereal
- 6 potato and cheese perogies with bacon pieces, onion, and light sour cream
- 1 pear
- 3 cups celery with 1 light Laughing Cow wedge
- 1 chocolate
- 55 minutes of jogging with walking warm up, intervals, and cool down (40 minutes of actual jogging)