The friend who inspires me to try this running thing sent me looking at pages about "penguin runners." The term refers to people who are slow runners, basically - people who are working to get fit or to challenge themselves but probably not to win any speed races. But I enjoy the term because it kind of typifies my own running style. Penguin. Feet barely clearing the ground. Not particularly graceful. I also enjoy it because penguins are my daughter's favorite animal, so I get a grin every time I think of it.
Following the "penguin" links eventually led me to the C25K stuff. I suspect I was one of the last human beings on planet earth who hadn't heard of C25K. The term (in case you are ALSO one of those last few holdouts) means "couch to 5K" and the promise is that this can be achieved within 9 weeks by simply following the schedule.
5K is about 3 miles; the website I read was pretty relaxed about that. It basically said shoot for the distance OR shoot for 30 minutes running. Considering a 10-minute mile was enough to make me feel like I was going to collapse and/or throw up even back in my sophomore year when I was the much skinnier girl who could do all that stuff from my recent "used to could" list, I like the latitude in choosing the time rather than the distance. It's a penguin runner thing, I guess...one of the things I appreciated about the penguin forums I read was all the people whose mile time is more like 16 minutes.
Since what I am aiming for is loving my body by getting it into a healthy condition, I could care less about whether I actually go the official distance. 30 minutes of exercise, on the other hand, is a concrete measure of adequate exercise. This, I can do.
My plan of walking 3 minutes, running 1, and repeating etc. segues well into the C25K plan. This week I am walking 90 seconds and running 60. These times are loosely defined as I am counting in my head rather than clock-watching. But I can feel progress happening already in my body - I am less out of breath during/after the running parts than I was last week. Also, getting out of bed is easier; my body has decided to daily beat the 5:30 alarm by 10-12 minutes, which means I'm about 3 minutes from walking out the door when my wake-up alarm finally starts going.
Progress in a week: just another reason to be amazed by this machine/gift that is my body.