I did it! I did it! I DID IT!!!
For the last 9 weeks I have been working on the Couch to 5K program in preparation for my church's annual 5K on May 4th.
Some history: I am not a runner. I have never been a runner. Especially since I hurt my back in 2002, running has been difficult. I've always envied runners, though. Especially the calories burned per minute in a run versus the walking that I do. Last year at this time, I was barely able to get out of bed. At night my arms and shoulders were so uncomfortable in any position that I was barely sleeping. I woke up every day with fibromyalgia-like pain. In July of last year, I re-injured my low back, requiring a return to physical therapy. Sometime during the course of physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, and a visit to Duke Integrative Medicine, I learned that I do not have fibromyalgia, just chronic pain disorder or some such nonsense. The effect is the same-chronic unexplained pain. I also learned that the best way to combat the pain was through intense exercise. My low back is also less likely to hurt when my core muscles are strong. I started exercising. A LOT. Through the course of exercising (and carrying my non-walking son until he decided to get on his feet at 18 months old), I injured my upper back. I wanted to cry with the hopelessness I felt. All the exercises I had done for my low back and to combat the chronic pain now hurt with the new upper back problem. I am blessed because God knew I would face that moment. I used to see one particular therapist at this physical therapy office. It just so happened that, the week I re-injured my low back and returned to PT, he was on vacation and I had to go with someone else. I started seeing Laura and she has been amazing! She has been extremely supportive emotionally as well as therapeutically and full of suggestions as I has to return to low level exercises to try and build my strength up (again) without causing more problems or aggravating the ones I have. She helped me through the beginnings of the Couch to 5K program when I decided to start the program 3 months ago. She helped me when I started to add upper body exercises back into my routine and gave me the confidence to try some harder workouts
Today I finished the Couch to 5K program. In the last week, I did 2-30 minute runs on the treadmill and one 30 minute run in the real world. Today, I ran past the 30 minutes for the final C25K run and RAN 3.2 MILES at a 12 minute mile pace!!!!!
I cried. I'm not completely clear. I stopped going to physical therapy at the end of March but didn't DC completely so I could go back in case of further trouble. I am happy to say that I have had NO PAIN beyond the usual sore muscles. I did go back today because my sleeping is deteriorating some without the weekly PT treatment. We changed my plan to include weekly massage of just the upper back and neck to help combat the problem. (I have a prescription for massage, which is AWESOME by the way. :) )
Even with those issues, I am crying because of where I have been and how far I have come. My next test is the actual 5K next week but I am feeling just a bit more confident now that I have actually run a 5K distance.
Praise to God for the goodness he has worked in my life these past few months. I hope I have finally learned the lesson he has been trying to teach me for the last 11 years since my first back injury.
If you're local, come cheer me on at the 5K next week. If I'm crying, don't mind me. I'm just celebrating my victory.