Turns out I suffer from the same delusional arrogance that probably afflicts many people who've been practicing the 'couch' portion for the better part of the last decade. Until I moved to
The first week is three sessions of running (jogging) for 60 seconds followed by 90 seconds of walking, for 20 minutes total. (You can measure by distance or time.) This sounds like child's play, right? So I walked a few blocks away (brisk 5 minute warm up and cool down are part of the plan, too) to a fenced empty lot in a quiet part of the neighborhood circled by sidewalk I could use as my track. It's just an overgrown patch of gravel and dirt but it’s in a quiet area. Wouldn't want any pesky scenery distracting me from my goal!
I did the 1st Run for 60 seconds, using my BlackBerry's stopwatch feature, without any problems, although the last few breaths felt a little wheezy. Still, I felt fully recovered by the end of the walking portion.
2nd Run- a little tougher. Starting to find this ugly loop monotonous already. I'm in the Hasidic part of South Williamsburg now and the only people sharing this stretch of sidewalk with me are a few men in shtreimels and the occasional kid, so it's a good spot to run despite it's lack of visual appeal- they don't raise any eyebrows at my ugly sweats. Unlike my last walk/run over the
3rd Run- yikes. I've been counting in my head just to distract myself, first to 50, then to 30, but now I'm down to 1 through twelve. On this run I have to dodge a hideous part roach, part cricket, part bumblebee thing that crawled onto the sidewalk. Yuck. This time I'm panting before I'm halfway through. The 90 second walk isn't enough for me to catch my breath either and stretches to 2 minutes.
4th Run is torture. My counting is down to 1-2-3. I guess physical exhaustion has become mental as well. I encounter the creepy pinky finger-sized roach/bee again. He hasn't moved since I last saw him but scuttles a few inches when I approach, then rests. Perhaps he's on a Nest to 5k program?
Nevermind him. I'm dying. I make it the full minute, panting the whole time, and realize I might not make it the whole 20 minutes. The program said not to push yourself too hard in the beginning but I hate to be a quitter. I give myself an extra 45 seconds of walking before I start Run 5, but I still don’t make it to the end. The only plus side of quitting is that I won’t have to see the insect beast again, but otherwise I feel pretty defeated. I check my watch and realize that I still somehow made it almost 15 minutes, so I shouldn’t beat myself up, but wow. I don’t live in the best part of town, but the walk from the subway to my apartment is short and I always figured that if I was close to my house, I’d at least have a shot at outrunning an attacker. Now it’s clear that a toddler with a butter knife could take me down in less than half a block. This is not a comforting realization.
I stumble home and lay down for half an hour, fighting nausea. At least Day 1 is over. It’s a 9 week program, at three days a week, so- 26 to go!