When I surrendered to a week without running, I did it with some trepidation. There was definitely a little voice within me estimating that I had just ended my running phase, and was well on my way to getting further out of shape once more. It sounded like a voice of fear and judgment, so I just ignored it and took the week off anyway. I took it off in more ways than I had intended to - didn't make it to my first Zumba class nor my next Kickboxing one. Didn't get out for many bike rides at all. Didn't even goof around with the balance ball and exercise mat. It really was a week of rest.
I am happy to report that things are looking good. Thursday I spent the day in a marathon resting session, sleeping and resting and sleeping and not even noodling around on the computer, for the most part. It was aggressive resting therapy. :-) It seems to have worked! I am cautiously optimistic - that exhaustion held on for sooo long that I don't want to hurry to pronounce it "over" - but...let's just say I've had 3 good days in a row, and morning 4 is feeling pretty great too.
So this morning I woke up 1 minute before the 5 AM alarm, ready to get out on the street. It felt so good to get my ugly running shoes on and head out into the darkness. I noticed something as I climbed the steep boulevard and then the giant hill...it doesn't run me ragged, walking up all of that anymore. I am not out of breath when I reach the top. I can remember breathing so hard I felt in danger of tossing my cookies at the top - now I'm just breathing slightly harder than usual. Cool!
I had wondered if I might need to go one step backward in my intervals, but I decided to assume nothing. So after my 5 minute warm up walk, I did 3 rounds of:
3 minutes slower jogging
7 minutes faster running
And at the end I walked about 5 minutes of cool-down time. I had told myself that I'd give me grace as needed. The middle round is always the hard one, as it contains the uphill portion of the run. I was prepared to let myself off with less than 7 full minutes of faster running, if necessary. And I did get to breathing pretty dang hard, chugging up that (long, gentle) hill. But I never felt like throwing up, and my legs never started feeling like jello, so I just went ahead and did the entire round as if I hadn't just been out of commission for a week. HOW COOL IS THAT?!
Here's what else: I ran just a tad bit further than I have ever run yet. Made it a full 2.2 miles! Now mind you, when I started running clear back all those months ago, the C25K promise was 5K in something like 9 weeks. And 5K is 3.1 miles. Nonetheless, I don't find this to be a failure. I'm duly impressed with being able to run continuously, no stopping, no walking, for 30 minutes. That seemed impossible when I started. I am a very, very slow runner, even when I'm doing what I define for myself as "faster running." I'm still what feels like eons away from being able to move this body 3.1 miles in 30 minutes. Know what, though? I don't care. I'm eons ahead of where I began, getting stronger and leaner, slowly over time, and that's success in my book.