From Couch to 5K to Surgery

woman running

As a retired champion smoker, I decided it was time that I began doing something to make amends to my lungs for years of mistreatment.  What better way than to begin running?  And what better way to teach the kids the importance of a healthy lifestyle then forcing them to come along?

No need to worry about cartilage damage in my knees—doctors and their high-priced education and years of schooling just tell you that so you keep coming back. They just get it all off of Wikipedia anyway. I was fine.

So, I bought myself a quality-jogging stroller, Graco’s finest—you know the one with a place to put your iPod.  And, I downloaded a “From Couch to 5K” app—because smartphones haven’t invaded my life enough and even getting in shape requires some type of device with a plug.  Everyone in the past was doing it wrong.

And so began my gradual, three-day-a-week demise…

Let’s Work out The Kinks and Get a Routine—Week 1

Geared up and ready to go, stroller intact, little guy strapped in, ear buds and iPod tuned to the workout playlists, I began with a brisk five-minute warmup walk.  Before I could begin alternating 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking, little guy chimed, “I have to go potty.”   Of course I ignored it, for as long as I could, but he was being really loud and people were starting to stare.

Ok, so we stopped and took care of business.  I looked at the app and scratched my head.  There was no bathroom break in the directions.  I thought, “I’ll just try again tomorrow.”

After 6 different attempts at week 1, I finally managed to squeeze in the full work out.  Nothing like starting out right. I was dressed for the work out and showed up, so it’s close enough to count. Onto Step 2.

All Right!  I am Ready to Get in Shape—Week 2

This week things stepped up, and the wheels of my jogging stroller were ready for the heat.

Again it was a 20-minute workout, and completing the three-day cycle only took 5 days with interruptions this time.  Ice was also introduced into the routine because that knee I was warned about had some swelling—obviously related to something else. I’ll just ignore the signs; I still know what’s right.

We Will Need to Mod out the Stroller—Week 3

This week got a bit harder, but my stroller and my little dude were ready—we cut down the interruptions this time.  The knee was iced and ready to begin a bit more of the running.  I was good to go.

The “From Couch to 5K” app seems to have come with a free set of delusions.

After beginning with my 5-minute warmup walk, I was to repeat this cycle twice. Jog 200 yards then walk 200 yards, then jog 400 yards, then walk 400 yards—because counting, measuring, jogging, and pushing a stroller all that the same time, all while being in horrible shape, is a great way to spend the evening…if you want to sound like Darth Vader.

At the end, I decided that an oxygen tank should be mounted on the stroller—the lungs were pretty upset about the abuse they had suffered in college.  The little dude was laughing at my panting.  “Mommy, your face is very red.” It’s easy to feel like a failure as a parent when you want to tell your kid to SHUT UP but don’t have the breath to do it.

I am Considering Trading the Stroller in on a Wheelchair—Week 4

Now the running really got hard.  I had to jog for ¼ of a mile and then follow that up with a 1/8-mile walk.  Then I had jog a ½ mile and walk for ¼ of a mile.  Next, it was ¼ mile jog followed by 1/8 mile walk.  Finally, it ended with a ½ mile jog, and then a b-line to the couch to elevate and ice my knee.

Like most good parents, I decided that dismissing and self-treating the problem is far easier and cheaper than facing it.  If you refuse to acknowledge the problem, you don’t have to pay the doctor’s bill. Still, my knee was starting to feel like two millstones grinding together. And the little guy agreed, “Mom, is my stroller ride hurting your leg?”

Suck it up and Buy a Knee Brace—Week 5

This week was a full-blown run.  Jog for two miles after that brisk 5-minute warmup walk.  Then, off to the sporting goods store for a knee brace I will never completely admit I need. It’s a fashion statement that makes me look like one of those cool, hardcore runners.  I thought, “I’ll swing by the 1.5-mile mark of my run, grab the lung I coughed while running, and then head over to get that brace.”

I should think about getting some of that cool running gear, too.  We should look the part.  I wonder if they make “Mommy and Me” running gear.  They make all kinds of clothes for wannabe athletes.  Hey, look at this iPad holder…that’s athletic, right? I’ve worn yoga pants for years, and haven’t started yoga yet, so I’m justified in getting a bunch of running gear.

Maybe I Should Have Asked Doctor What’s His Face to Tell Me the “Right” Knee Brace to Get —Week 6

This week just added on to last week.  Now we are up to 2 ¼ miles following the 5-minute warmup walk.  Oddly, the brace was making my knee swell more. By the end of my run, it looked like a partially exploded can of biscuits.  I wonder why my self-diagnosis didn’t work.  That minimum wage, part-time, high-school kid who worked at the sporting goods store swore it would.

Flying Ace Followed by a Marred Crazy Woman—Week 7

Keep adding a ¼ mile after that warm up, and keep adding to the swelling and dismissing of the knee pain.  I was in more denial than an American factory worker thinking they were going to have their job until they retire.

The little dude, on the other hand, was loving the cool attire, and his tricked out jogging stroller complete with iPad holder.  He even supplemented with some swim goggles.  He looked like a flying ace with an uncoordinated, marred, crazy woman pushing him along while he ate up data and watched really bad Netflix cartoons.

Bad Cartoons Really Are Motivation to Run Week 8

Now we are up to 2 ¾ after our five-minute warm up.  My knee is killing me, but I have to finish so I don’t have to see these stupid cartoons in my peripheral vision anymore. The pain was messing with my mind though. Because as soon as we stopped our jogging routine, I’d walk through the door and see those wretched cartoons on the 55” flat screen with surround sound.

Time to Schedule Surgery—Week 9

We made the 3-mile mark!  Except for my knee. It only got 2 ¾ miles before it said, “#@*& You!” and quit. It’s a good thing I took my little guy with me.  At the end of the experience, my ACL and my meniscus was torn, and little guy wasn’t the only one riding in the stroller.

Think those ridiculously expensive strollers that charge you extra for every single piece have a wheelchair add on?  For the price they charge, maybe one could serve as a wheel chair/stroller for me after my knee surgery?

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