I’m Free*

I finished my Couch to 5K program today!

I did noooot want to run this morning. I haven’t been sleeping well lately–I fall asleep quickly, but then I’m restless and in and out of sleep from about 2am on. I have these weird vivid, fragmented dreams and don’t feel like I’m getting in a deep sleep.

I wore a watch that tracks sleep patterns last night, and it told me I got a whopping 52 minutes of deep sleep. I am a tired mama.

So, I didn’t want to go, BUT, I also really wanted to finish this. I got off to a late start, but I made myself go and I’m really glad that I did. I really pushed myself and I got my average pace down to 7:15min / km and I’m SO close to the 7 minute mark now.

As I was rounding out the last kilometer, I actually got really emotional… even though this is not my first time finishing a C25K.

…but it was the first time in YEARS that I’ve finished it without pain.

P is turning 4 in three weeks. That means I’ve been living with hip / back injury for just shy of four years. I’ve had periods where it’s been really good, like last summer when I tried to run the C25K again. But like my previous attempts before it, my C25K last summer ended in debilitating pain. I would build up to the point where I could run the 5km again, but at the end of each run my back and hips would ache… and eventually my hips would go out and I’d be laid up for days.

It was SO defeating. It felt like every time I tried to exercise or strengthen my body, it “failed” me.

So I’d give up. I’d stop running until I was ready to try again… then the cycle would inevitably repeat. It happened again this past February when I tried to start running again. Everything was great for a few weeks, then just as the pandemic hit my hips went out again and I had to stop.

This time, we were all stuck at home in self-isolation and I couldn’t book an appointment to see an Osteopath, Chiropractor or RMT. After days with one hip hiked several inches higher than the other, I was so fed up that I finally decided to do something myself.

Enter yoga.

For two months I exclusively did yoga almost every day. I could barely even do most of the poses in the first beginner video I tried, but each day got a little better. I felt the ache in my back and hips dull, and for the first time in YEARS I realized that I was exercising without pain.

So I decided to try running again.

I took it slow, and I alternate days with yoga. I never run two days in a row, and I always leave a generous cool down period after each run (a very helpful suggestion from my osteo). Even with this, I was almost dreading each week of the C25K as I worried it would end in pain as it had before time and time again.

Except this time it didn’t. As I finished the full 5km at my best pace yet, I realized that my back wasn’t hurting. My hips felt great. I made it to the end with no pain and I can’t even begin to describe how amazing that feels. I’m sitting here crying again as I write this because it was SUCH a big deal for me.

For the first time in YEARS, I don’t feel like my body is going to fail me. I feel capable. I feel powerful.

I feel strong.

I feel… free.

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