I’m terrible at running.

I’m really bad at running, guys. Last week I finally hit Week 5 of the Couch to 5K program. I started last fall and got to about week 3 or 4 before the snow hit the ground and running felt unsafe. I restarted in the spring and basically had to start all over again. I went back to week 2 and started again back in April. I haven’t gotten into a rhythm yet where I’m doing the three runs religiously each week yet. Part of it is because it’s not fun anymore. I keep thinking back to last fall when I loved my runs. Back when they were easy and I felt great.

Last week I did the beginning of Week 5. Week 5 is walk 3 minutes, run 5, walk 3, run 5, walk 3, run 5, walk 3. I felt sick to my stomach at the end of the first 5 minutes. I couldn’t make it through the second without major consequences. Last time I ran so hard I felt sick to my stomach I had a gargantuan headache the rest of the day. No amount of water, salt, protein, carbs, Advil or anything would make it go away. It was awful. So I walked and ran my way home, ignoring the cues of the C25K podcast.

I decided to hit the treadmill instead, since my in-laws have one and that’s where we’re staying right now. The treadmill feels like a cop-out because it’s so much easier, so I ramped up the speed. Again, I couldn’t finish the second 5 minute running set. So again, I walked and ran as I saw fit until 30 minutes was over.

The third set of Week 5, I just found a slower pace and stuck to that. I completed the whole thing!

Today, I started Week 6. I kept that same slower running pace (my husband would probably call it an almost-walking pace) and I managed to finish the whole set. I’ve decided that I will keep going even if it means I’m “running” really slowly. Once I’m able to run for 30 minutes straight at that pace, then I’ll aim for 5k total. Or something.

At this rate, I will never make it to my marathon. Like, ever. Although it’s frustrating, it’s nothing new. My body doesn’t seem to be made like other people’s bodies. Last week I ate a brownie full of real sugar and it gave me fever in the night and a vomiting spell. I’m not normal (though my doctor seems to think I’m fine. ugh.) and that’s OK. It just might take me twice as long to train for a 5k and I’ve decided that I’m OK with that.

I want to reach my goals my way, not your way or her way. I basically just want to get there. Getting there is more important to me than how, although it wasn’t always that way. I used to want to do it and be among the best. My pride hung on the fact that I arrived in decent standing compared to the best. Now, I’m at a place where I just want to arrive. I don’t want to give up because it’s hard or because it’s embarrassing that I’m kind of an athletic loser. I want to say I did because I wanted to, and I did it on my own terms. That’s more of a medal to me than any Olympic standing.

I’m growing up, people.

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  • Karin

    I love this post!

    First of all, you aren’t terrible at running. You’re out there and trying and that’s important. Plus, running is hard. It’s not like riding a bike where you just pick it back up after time off. It’s basically like starting back at square one, which totally sucks.

    In April, I completed our Corporate 5k a full ELEVEN minutes later than last year and it’s because I took time off. And yeah, that was super de-motivating to want to run again. But honestly, your goal posts and encouragement on running helped me not give up! So I’m so proud of you for sticking with it and just running slower. As the Pinterest board says, a 5 minute mile or a 15 minute mile, it’s still a mile.

    • http://jessversteeg.ca/ Jess Versteeg

      Funny, you’ve often been an inspiration to me to run, too! All your pinterest boards of running stuff etc made me think you were like a running machine and I wanted to be like you haha. Well, hopefully we’ll just never give up at the same time and one will motivate the other to keep on keeping on.

  • Hannah

    you’ll get there Jess. I started running 5-10 minutes at the beginning of the summer, now I am doing 25 pretty easily. It’s all about commitment. I’m so proud of you for keeping going even when it’s hard!

  • emeline villedary

    Yeah, I have to say that your only competitor is the course you set out to run. Be it a run walk, a full on sprint, or a snail pace (like mine!)- the point is not the time you make it in, it’s the time you make to actually do it.

    And you know, you might realize that you actually don’t want to run a marathon- that you might do a half, a 10k… or a triathlon! I just re-read a 7 year old bucket list of mine and it included “Paint a Mural”… say whaaat? Why would I want to paint a mural?

    Your goals can change- but ask yourself WHY you wanted to run the marathon in the first place…


    • http://jessversteeg.ca/ Jess Versteeg

      Triathalon! Imagine! Funny how you don’t remember why you ever put “Paint a Mural” on it. I’m not even sure why I put Run a Marathon on it. Probably because it’s not something everyone does. I’m open to getting to a half-marathon and deciding that’s enough. We’ll see. Triathalon, though. Now that would be something to behold.

      • emeline villedary

        Triathlon beats any other kind of race- hands down! You’re never doing anything for too long, and before you know it… boom! You’re done and so so so happy.

        It was never on my bucket list to accomplish anything physical, and to date, my first one stands out as one of the most memorable days of my life!

        • http://jessversteeg.ca/ Jess Versteeg


          • http://openyo.wordpress.com/ Annabelle Agnew

            I love your honesty in this post and I can relate to it. I used to be of the mindframe of “mind over matter” – that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. But sometimes “matter” REALLY MATTERS!

            I had a goal to run the NYC marathon and I managed to complete the Montreal half-marathon… the moment I crossed that finish line I said to myself “I will NEVER run a marathon.” It felt so good to let go of that goal and be really proud of everything else I had accomplished AND proud that I gave up on that goal.

          • http://jessversteeg.ca/ Jess Versteeg

            You know, I never thought I would ever be proud of people for giving up haha. But there’s no use in pushing ourselves to a point where we hate what we’re doing and we hate ourselves for making us do it and everyone else around us hates us cause we’re grumpy all the time!

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