The Couch to 5K program was definitely tough, but I decided to stick to it. After about three weeks it seemed like it took a dramatic jump in the length of our runs. Still, I kept going back.
We were meeting at 7:00 pm, which in the Midwest is the hottest point of the day in the summer. We ran in all kinds of weather. Mostly hot and humid out in the blazing sun without a lot of shade. We never reached the century mark, but did run one day that it was 98 degrees. Sessions would only be cancelled due to lightning, and we did have that happen once. Many times I thought I would drop. Still, I kept going back.
As time went on, our group became smaller and smaller. Finally, there was a group of 10-12 of us that actually finished the program. When we met for our sessions, we became three smaller groups. There was the fast and furious, the average runners, and then us slow pokes. Eventually, all the other slow pokes dropped out and I was the only one left. I became my own group! Still, I kept going back.
I had at least two days out of the month that I knew I was going to miss due to a prior commitment. I was scared to death that if I missed any sessions that I would fall behind and never catch up. Any sessions that I missed I ran another time at home on my own. I called it “the neighborhood freak show.” Still, I kept going back.
I kept going back because the people in the running community are the most encouraging people I know. No one ever laughed at me or made rude comments. It was quite the opposite.
There was always a coach with each group, and no one ever ran alone. This meant that I always had a coach running with me, encouraging me, getting me to stretch myself further than I ever thought I could go. When I finished my run, everyone else in our group would be waiting for me cheering, clapping, and yelling. Afterwards we would do some stretches together. We were becoming a close-knit team.