For those of you even moderately interested in what happens when a former couch potato publicly declares she is starting a running program, here's an update. Tomorrow is the last day of the program. I can't even believe it.

Oh, I've missed a few days; the one in week 3 or 4 when I had trouble breathing. The day on my trip when there was a thunderstorm. Last Friday when the temperature resulted in an "air stagnation alert" (I have no idea). I should have been done on Saturday but had to add those few extra days back in (since the program is based on building on intervals).

I am happy to confirm that I ran for 28 minutes today (well, by running I mean jogging that looks slow but totally rocks my heart rate). Tomorrow, I run thirty minutes and give myself a pat on the back (it's OK, I'm going to call it stretching). Also, I'm going to keep running.

Aside from the fact that I have obviously built lung capacity and muscle tone (which may or may not be covered by a layer of other stuff), I think the biggest change has been my state of mind. Don't get me wrong...I'm not all ridiculously optimistic when I run (though running at noon today in sauna-like heat, I did try to think of it as multi-tasking...who has time to go to the sauna anyway?). Hitting the midpoint and having the ability to "count down" rather than "count up" means my glass is exactly half full and half empty (as if there's a difference) and it tips about 15 minutes in. I need that midpoint, because it means I'm half way there. As my walking minutes tick away and I start my running minutes, I believe I still let out an audible "ugggh". But when I start, there's no doubt in my mind that I am going to finish. Even when I am adding on extra minutes, I think "well, you added on extra minutes yesterday and got through it, so just keep getting through it". And also I think "don't be a baby, other people are passing you on the track!".

I'm not sure that I will ever get to the point where I love exercise. For me, it's kind of like shopping. I like getting new stuff and shopping is what you have to do to get it. I like the way I feel after I exercise and I do feel like I need to burn off some energy every day....kind of like something is tugging me onto the track. So tomorrow is going to be the official last day of the program and now I need to figure out what it means to keep running. Six days a week seemed like a lot...maybe I'll cut back to five.

This has been one situation where my intense need to finish what I have started has paid off. Some of those laps on the track have been through force of will (seriously, I used to do NO exercise). Plus I got to buy cool new running accessories. I'm going to try to find a 5K to run to give me something to train for and I'll let you guys know if I do it. I may even provide photographic proof (whatever photos don't include a pained grimace).

To all of you that have provided encourgement, thanks! Yuo definitley gave me something to think about as I was chugging around the track.