Saturday, November 24, 2012

From Couch to 5 K

One Woman's Story.....

Former AVC Writing Center Tutor Abbey Fitting has been an occasional guest writer for this blog. This weekend, she joined 700-800 other brave souls for a Thanksgiving-morning "Turkey Trot." For her, this was proof that she could set a goal and stick to it: loosing weight, gaining fitness, and mastering weather, entropy, and days she had to stay late at work. After her dedicated training was over, it was here. Cold and clear, the big day had arrived.

This was the first formal, organized run in her life. She decided fairly recently to follow the "couch to 5 k" training plan. She arrived at the YMCA that morning proud to have been issued her number.

Other folks were glad to be there too, like these two dogs, re-enacting the play, movie, and tv series franchise, The Odd Couple.

"I think I am in love...."

And after the usual messages and lost children and the national anthem, the runners were off. Meanwhile, some of us had to stay behind and keep the home fires burning. This adorable little girl below I think is saying, "Run faster, Mommy ---- I'm cold!"

The great support volunteers at the YMCA were out on the course helping direct traffic, while others cut up oranges and got the finish line cones lined up. Seeing all of these earnest, slender, well-intentioned people working so hard and selflessly early on a frosty Thanksiving morning made me want to give thanks for the enduring presence of the human spirit. They also made me secretly desire a cheeseburger and a cigarette.

I know that in the modern big marathons, runners can opt to have little tags wired into their shoelaces, and those near and dear to them can follow their progress online.

Here in the Antelope Valley, we're not quite so sophisticated. You lick a finger and test the tail wind, take the occasional look at the cell phone to see what time it is, and make an educated guess when your runner is likely to show up at the finish line. In Abbey's case, encouraged by the crowd and after having trained, ate, and slept sensibly all week, she and her iPod rounded the final bend and came shooting up towards the finish line to clock her best run ever.

WOW, she says --- I did it! And then of course one must take care of necessities. What comes next, directly after a run? Kissing a spouse? Looking for the kids? Going over to the stretching station? No, of course not. What has to happen next is to get a posting up on Facebook......

Others dug around in the pile of oranges, saying (as I did), aren't there any cheeseburgers under here?

Here are her thoughts on the process, in her own words.

"When I decided it was time to lose some weight and gain a little fitness (it's really embarrassing when climbing the stairs in your own house leaves you winded!), I didn't make enough money to afford a gym membership, so I decided to find an alternative. Over beers and burgers a friend of mine mentioned that he'd done this Couch to 5K thing, which takes you from couch layabout to 5K in nine weeks. It sounded really easy (in the first week you start by walking for 5 minutes, then jog for 60 seconds, then walk for 90 seconds, alternating the 60/90 for 20 minutes and then walk for five: piece of cake, right?).  

Plus, since I already owned a pair of old jogging shoes and an iPod, it would cost me nothing but time. So, I downloaded one of the free C25K aps from iTunes, and got on the program. 3 days a week, wind, rain, or (as was more often the case) scorching heat, I went out and did my time. When I finished up the C25K program, I decided to keep it up, getting out and running 3 days a week. The result was a really good (for me) 5K on Thanksgiving day.

As advertised, running has had a lot of benefits. I have amazing energy these days, I sleep like a baby (I'm prone to bad bouts of insomnia), I lost weight, and I got an excellent (farmers) tan from all that time in the sun, but the best thing has actually been the satisfaction of knowing I could set a goal for myself and see it through even when there wasn't anyone hounding me to get it done."

The AVC blog is curated by Language Arts Instructor Charles Hood, who can be reached at It does not represent the views of the AVC District, the Board of Trustees, the YMCA of the Antelope Valley, or members of the Cheeseburger Chamber of Commerce.

No comments:

Post a Comment