Color Vibe – a #C25K success story

(This is my #couch2kilimanjaro story. Follow along by chapter: Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4, Chapter 5)

I started the “Couch to 5K” running program on April 1 2015. It took much longer than the prescribed 9 weeks of training for me to hit the 5K mark. Over that summer and all the traveling, I did not keep up with my 3x a week running. But I still wanted to test myself, to see if I could do what I set out to do with the #C25K program – run an entire 5K race without stopping to walk.

So I signed up for the Color Run in Baltimore. Actually it was the Color Vibe and I was jazzed that there would be some loud music and dancing involved. I talked a childhood friend into signing up with me as well. This meant I really HAD to do it, now. Accountability, and all.

September 2nd was the date. Because of my lack of consistent running I really didn’t think I was going to be able to run the whole way. I kept thinking through scenarios… ” I could just stop when I need to and then keep running so I know I actually RAN the whole 5K,” or ” I will just run until I can’t and then walk… this is still a ‘win’ for me.”

I was already giving myself an “out.” I had never run a “race” before. Ever. 

So my friend Heather and I got up at the crack of dawn (a little groggy from a mini Outlander viewing marathon the night before, to be honest) and drive north. We met the masses, collected our bags of color chalk to party with and just waited to start. I think we were in the second wave to head out.

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By the way, when I say “run” or “jog” you must understand what that actually means for me. I really should just refer to it as “shogging,” because it is truly a cross between a shuffle and a jog. Very slow. Painfully slow. Faster than walking. Mostly.

We started out at a brisk shogging pace and eventually found our stride. I had never run more than a mile at a time. Ever. This “fun run” was a big deal for me.

And guess what? We didn’t stop. And I didn’t walk. We shogged the whole 5K. I don’t know what our time was. It didn’t matter to me. I was in this for the finish line.

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And when we crossed that line, covered in a rainbow of color chalk and pumped up but the music and dancing? I felt like I was at another mountaintop. Another summit. Another goal crushed. Another step towards more mountaintops.

This was another goal I didn’t crap out on. I was 6 months into a lifestyle change that was truly paying off for in more ways than I could know. I started the journey with just a flicker of hope that “this time” I would succeed at changing my lifestyle and getting my health and fitness back. And I was really doing it.

Dancing around in that cloud of chalk was a very proud, and defining moment for me. Maybe someday I will be in it for the time, the competition. Not this time. Completion was the goal and the prize.

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It was also a defining moment for someone else watching me… Someone planning a climb up Kilimanjaro to raise funds and awareness for women experiencing the violence of war… Someone in need of a female photographer to join the team and capture the story…

Peak Warriors

(This is my #couch2kilimanjaro story. Follow along by chapter: Chapter 1Chapter 2, Chapter 3)

I don’t remember when I discovered the Peak Warrior support group on Facebook. I had never been a part of a “support group” before. I know people swear by the power of community, support and accountability… its why AA and WW are so successful. But those are “in person” support groups. How supportive could an online group really be?

 

Turns out pretty damn supportive.

During the late spring and into the summer of 2015, I wanted to jump off the #C25K program more than a few times. Running has never become fun or exhilarating to me. It’s just work. A lot of huffing, puffing work. And I don’t enjoy it. But it is a means to an end. I knew I couldn’t climb mountains without better lung capacity and cardio capacity.

So this completely random group of women online held me to it. I watched their own stories unfolding. Stories that both inspired me and pushed me to keep moving, one step at a time.

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When I wanted to skip a run, I saw Elise in Norway, faithfully putting on her warmest coat and headlamp and walking in the frigid cold and dark above the Arctic circle. My god. If she can do that, I can get my butt out the door for my 25 minute workout in mild Mid-Atlantic temps.

When I wanted to just sleep in or nap during the afternoon slump, there was Tess faithfully changing her whole life, 90lbs down and counting. No short cuts. Just good old fashioned exercise and healthy diet choices. What an inspiration.

This was no quick fix. This had to be a lifestyle change for me…. Working in exercise and activity into every week of my life, if not every day.

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The Peak Warriors now have a wonderful new blogsite… Please, please consider following and joining us on Facebook if you are in need of a little motivation, inspiration and accountability for your journey. I credit this amazing group for helping that April 1, 2015 decision to get off the couch to become an actual LIFE CHANGE event 10 months later.