Running for freedom, y'all...

One more run (tonight) and I will have completed Week 2 of the Couch to 5K running program and starting Week 3. It really is a great program that breaks training down into manageable steps so that at the end of 9 weeks one is ready to do a 5K run. It’s going well, but here are some things I’ve learned:

1. This old body needs a lot of stretching in order to do the run without having an unreasonable amount of pain in the shins, hips and butt. So, I have to do 20 minutes of yoga before I run if I want the best results. Thankfully, I found this guy (ok so his name is Chaz, but I can live with that given the circumstances) and his free podcast of YOGAMAZING Yoga for Runners (available on iTunes), which is perfect for warming up to run.

So…now I have to find an hour every other day to do the program, because I have to add 20 minutes of stretching on the front of the 31 minutes of the training. It takes a lot of willpower (and thankfully, in my case, desire not to lose face…because I have told everyone about this) to stay on the schedule when the craziness of life creeps in. And this week is a crazy week.

2. The C25K app for the ipod touch/iphone is worth far more than the $2.99 I paid. With it, I can listen to my own music playlists and a very friendly person will interrupt briefly to tell me when to switch from warmup to walking to running to cool down. The guy even tells me when I have reached the half way point and when my last run is coming up. No looking at my watch or counting…and each day’s cues follow the C25K program perfectly.

3. The right music is key, in my case, to those bursts of energy I need to get through the 90 second running intervals (yes, it is only 90 seconds at a time right now. Next week it will be 3 minutes, yikes!) My current playlist is:

Confessions/It’s My Life – Glee cast version
Single Ladies – Beyonce
Minority – Green Day (this is the best song for running in my opinion so I have it start just as the first run begins. But don’t download it if you dislike swear words!)
That’s Not My Name – Ting Tings
The Sweet Escape – Gwen Stefani
99 1/ 2 – Mavis Staples
Get the Party Started – Pink
Friday I’m in Love – The Cure

This is where I get to for the time being. Soon, I’ll be running long enough to also hear these songs…

Better Way (War Mix) – Ben Harper
Rehab – Amy Winehouse
A-Punk – Vampire Weekend
Canary in a Coalmine – Police
Lose Yourself – Eminem
Heart of Glass – Blondie

As some of you know, I’m dedicating my run (which, granted, is only a 5K, but for me it is a BIG challenge) to my sisters in the Michelle Project. These women are courageous and inspiring and they have encountered some incredible obstacles, only to keep moving forward. They are my friends and family. If you would like to know more, click here.

If you want to sponsor me (any amount is fabulous!), please make a gift to the Michelle Project through their website (PayPal) and be sure to add a note through PayPal that you are making your gift because of my 5K run. I need the collective strength of all of your encouragement in my mind when the going starts to get really tough, and it will soon!

In the words of the incomparable Mavis Staples (see song lyrics below), I’m running for freedom, y’all…freedom from fear, freedom from poverty, freedom from self-hatred, freedom from doubt, freedom from thinking small. And I’m running towards joy.

I’m trying to make 100, because 99 and a half just won’t do.

My Michelle Project sisters are just one more reason I can’t stop.

Michelle Project Retreat, April 2010

Lyrics to 99 And 1/2 :
(Traditional with additional lyrics by Ry Cooder & Mavis Staples)

Well, I’m runnin’
I’m tryin’ to make 100
99 and 1/2, it won’t do
I’m runnin’, runnin’ for freedom y’all
Cause 99 and 1/2 just won’t do
Now, if your God won’t help you
You better try mine
My God is a freedom God
He’ll make a way for you,
In a weary land,
He’ll give you rest,
When you’re tired,
Protect you on a danger zone
He’ll guide you down a rugged road
And bring you out on the bright side
I’m runnin’
Tryin’ to make 100
99 and a half, it just won’t do
It’s a rough and uphill journey
Lord, I’m tryin to make 100
99 and 1/2, it won’t do, no, no
Down in Mississippi
It just won’t do
Brothers in jail
It just won’t do
Uneducated children
It just won’t do
It’s the 21st century
It just won’t do
It feels like it’s 1960
It just won’t do
Broken levies
It just won’t do
Lyin’ politicians
It just won’t do
Runnin’ through hatred
It just won’t do
Homeless babies
It just won’t do
Freedom now
Lord, I’m runnin’
I’m tryin’ to make 100
Cause 99 and 1/2 just won’t do
Aha, my God’s a freedom God,
My God is a peaceful God
He’s a livin’ God
And He’s a merciful God
He has a kingdom, you know
And a city called Heaven
12 gates to that city
24 elders in the city
48 angels in the city
The streets are paved with gold
Have you heard of a city?
And don’t you wanna go?
The address is 100, I gotta make 100
You see, I got 99 and 1/2
But it just ain’t quite enough
I wanna go to that city
City called Heaven
No more cryin’, no more hatred
Always Howdy, howdy, howdy,
And never Goodbye
Oh, that city
Come on, don’t you wanna go?
I tell ya, the address is 100, 100, 100
See, 99 and 1/2, it just won’t do
No, no, no, no, no
99 and 1/2, it just won’t do
I’m here to tell ya that 99 and 1/2,
99 and 1/2,
99 and 1/2, it just won’t do
I can’t use it