My original intent for May was to start the Couch to 5k training program. I've been wanting to do a 5k since I saw my friend Consuelo complete one last year. I was so proud of her, and she was so happy -- she had trained for so long, and had done so well, and it was amazing to see her accomplish one of her goals. I was envious, and I wanted in on the race circuit. So I stuck it on my bucket list for this year and decided to make it one of my monthly goals.
Just four hours after my first run, I am already starting to question this decision.
About two and a half years ago, when Maraea was still a baby, I started working out again with the trainer that was training me before I got pregnant. He had me doing all the usual stuff -- cardio, weights, etc. I was doing some time on both the treadmill and the EFX machine; and I was, for the first time ever, starting to enjoy my time on the treadmill. I felt as though I was developing good running form and I was actually running and not jogging. I felt it working. But after about 6 weeks of restarting my workout regimen, I started having severe pain in my knees; so bad that I couldn't even do the EFX machine at the gym (which is much easier on knees than treadmills are). Like, I'd be walking down the stairs and one of them would buckle in pain - as if someone had stuck a knife right through my kneecap. I almost fell several times from buckling pain like this. The pain got so bad that I saw my doctor, who immediately ordered me to 6 weeks of rest -- no exercise, and as little on my feet as possible. (How possible is that with a baby in the house?!) He diagnosed me with patellar tendonitis. Apparently it's pretty common, but, whatever. Pregnancy had really destroyed my knees; I'd had a lot of knee pain late in my pregnancy but attributed it to all the swelling I was experiencing in my legs and the extra 40lbs I was carrying around.
Several months later, I was getting restless. I'd taken all this time off from working out and felt like I needed to start doing something to be active. One night, I had a dream about running. A very vivid dream. I dreamt that I was running and nothing hurt and nothing jiggled and it was just pure glorious healthy activity. I woke up totally energized and thinking that maybe it was a sign I could start working out again. Later that morning, I saw a LivingSocial deal for RowZone. Instantly, in my gut, I felt like this was what my dream was steering me towards. So I sent the studio an email and got one back the same day from the best trainer ever, Mike, who convinced me that rowing would not only be easy on my knees, but it would be good for my knees and help strengthen them. After several classes, I was sold - and after about 6 weeks, I'd dropped about 15lbs. I've been a member ever since.
I love rowing, and I love that it's made me fit to a degree, but I really have been wanting to do this 5k thing. I thought after almost 2 years of rowing fairly consistently, maybe my knees would be strong enough to handle it now. After all, now I could do squats and lunges with ease, where before it was so painful.
So today I did my first run. In case you're not familiar with it, the Couch to 5k program is a running program that helps you build endurance to run a 5k (doy). Every week you do 3 workouts, and you gradually build in intensity. The first week is a 5 minute warmup walk, and then 20 minutes of alternating between 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking. So I get up on that old trusty treadmill, confident that this time I'm conquering this sucker, and about halfway through I'm starting to worry about my feet and my form. I just felt sloppy and clunky. Easy enough to attribute to being ungraceful, but.... no pain really. I told myself I'm just getting used to it. I made it through the workout. And physically, at first, I felt fine. I endured it well, my endurance is pretty good from rowing. I was not totally wiped out. I felt pretty good.
But now I'm sitting on my couch and my knees are just throbbing. No, I haven't iced them, or done anything like that, but I did pop some glutamine hoping for some healing. I AM going to rest my legs for the rest of the night though (good thing I don't have any laundry detergent, otherwise I'd be up and down the stairs doing laundry). My feet are a little sore. I'm sure I need better shoes to jog in. But before I invest in shoes, I need to really figure out if I should be running in the first place or not.
I wonder, how normal is this? To be sore in the knees after running for the first time in years? Should I give it another go? I'm scheduled to row tomorrow and Thursday, and was going to do my second run of the week on Friday. Should I see how I feel on Friday? Should I rest? Should I quit now before I hurt myself?
I don't really know the answers to any of those questions. And I don't think I'm ready to answer them yet. Maybe I need to see how I feel tomorrow.
To quit a goal when I've barely started is about as monumental a failure I can think of. I'm not ready to quit yet but I have to be honest with myself and say that I really didn't think my knees would feel this bad after 25 minutes on the treadmill.