The old college try

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life36 Comments
I used to be a runner.

I should clarify: I used to be a runner for a period of time in my life from the age of roughly 45 to 47. During that time I did something I never, ever thought possible. I ran places. Using my legs.

While I never attained the mythical runner’s high, I did attain the, “Damn gurl. YOU JUST RAN! HOLLA!” attitude. Long story short: it was good for my mental health, made me feel like a bit of a badass, and it gave me some calf muscles I never knew existed.

But a foot injury turned into a foot surgery and it was hasta la vista to all things running. It was a convenient excuse to not get back on that horse and ride.

But here I am a year and a half after that foot surgery, give or take, and while my toe will never bend as a natural toe bends, it can handle running. I know, because I’m testing it out by starting a Couch to 5K program. Again, clarity is needed: I’m starting a Couch to 5K program for the second time this year, but for some reason, this time I think it’s quite possible it’s gonna stick.
I know. That’s kind of ballsy to say it’s gonna stick after just completing Week 2, Day 1. But what the hell, right? Accountability is half the battle. Last time I only got to Week 1, Day 2. I’d say I’m on a bit of roll.

I just want to move again in ways that make me sweat. And I want to do it in ways that don’t cost me any money. All eyes are focused on keeping a tight budget right now. I can do this type of exercise right outside my door or using my basement on my treadmill.

So I’m putting it out there and I will check back. Don’t worry. I’m not going to go all crazy and post a bunch of before pics. I’m just lacing up and giving it the old college try.

Wish me luck. I may need just a tiny bit.

Cathy ZielskeThe old college try

36 Comments on “The old college try”

  1. #1

    You’ve got this!

    Know that for most of the other people you see out there doing it-they struggle too. This stuff is hard. And you are doing hard.

  2. #2

    best lucky, Cathy! you can do it!
    I can not run (knee injury) but I walk. I walk really fast and a lot too. It is enough. I have very strong leg muscles and I am very proud of them 🙂

  3. #6

    Yes, you can do this! The starting of it is the hard part, once you find your groove your body will actually demand you to get up and go.

    I was so sore yesterday from a 5K that I walked on Sunday that I did not plan on doing my normal 5 miles…until I realized that I was lacing up my shoes and grabbing my iPod. A few minutes into the walk and all I could do was laugh. Why? A few short years ago my idea of moving was getting in the car to head to Starbucks.

    You keep going chica, you’ve go this!

  4. #8

    Ever since the big Cathy 50-miles-in-a-month challenge a few years ago I try really hard to hit 50 miles (mostly walking, trying to add back some running too) each month… Don’t always make it but I think I will hit the goal for April! That 50 mile challenge (September 2011, maybe?) was huge for me : )

  5. #10
    Christine K.

    You are off to a great start and I am right there with you. I am on my 4th round of using this app. I also happen to be on week 2 day 1. I completed this program last year but I started slacking off on my running so I’m back in the saddle again.

  6. #12

    If I can do it, you can do it! We all have complete confidence in you and we are your personal cheerleaders! Rock on Cathy or should I say run on?! 🙂

  7. #13

    run, CZ, run! I am in week 5 and I believe it will stick this time for me, too. Committed to 2 different 5ks and am thinking a half marathon is possible. First time I have ever said that. Proud of you!

  8. #14

    I’m on Week 4, Day 2….but I had to do week 3 for two weeks because it almost killed me. I’m thinking I may be on week 4 for another week or so as well!!

  9. #16

    I’ve started to think “runner’s high” is complete bs. I ran a 1/2 marathon last fall. 13+ friggin’ miles. All at once. In all my preparation for and during that actual race, not ONCE did I get anything resembling a high. It was sheer torture the entire time. Runner’s high my @$$ – people who think it exists are just sadistic fools who derive immense inner pleasure from torturing themselves.

    Good for you for getting back on the horse. How is the toe? Your 1.5 years off is one reason I haven’t pursued getting mine looked at. I don’t think I could take the recovery period. (And I can still run and dance without major debilitating pain. For now.)

    1. #16.1
      Cathy Zielske

      The toe is what it is. It no longer flexes up, the way a normal toe does. So that makes certain things impossible. Think lunges. I could not dip. My toe does not bend that way anymore.

      So I compensate. I know I walk differently than I did before. If I had to do it all over again… man, I don’t know. Foot surgery was not pleasant. The recovery that is.

      1. #16.1.1

        Thanks for inquiring, baiss, because I’ve been wondering about the results too. Cathy, thanks for your honesty in replying. I don’t think I’ve found one person in my online research who has been super happy with the results of the surgery (and most much more unhappy that with their results that it sounds like you are with yours). I’ve never been a runner, so it doesn’t bother me if I can’t run; I can still walk fast. Can’t do lunges (or burpees or mountain climbers or even plank) so it doesn’t sound like there would be a lot to gain.

        Sending good vibes, Cathy, that your positive mojo will grow and grow as you enjoy this resurgence into the running game.

    2. #16.2

      I never found that runners high until I got off the asphalt and started running trails. I found it there.

      Cathy – you are one of the people who convinced me that I could try running. I’m still going, and loving what it’s doing for my mental health. thank you.

  10. #17

    So glad to hear I’m not the only one who has never experienced a runner’s high! I wish it would happen then maybe I would run more. I ran for a few years – nothing fancy but I did do two 5K runs and was super proud of that. I’ve started up a little, my new thing is run the curves and walk the straights at my oh so convenient community center track. Plus, it’s a cushy all weather track and I live in California where the temps are never too cold to be outside!

    Go Cathy!!

  11. #19
    Kim L.

    Good Luck Cathy! I had to stop running due to sciatica about a year and a half ago,and I miss it terribly. Luckily I was able to complete a 5K before I had to stop. It was truly a stress reliever for me, and my emotional health has suffered just as much (if not more) than my physical health since I had to stop. I am rooting for you; I know that you can do it!

  12. #21
    Paulette Sarsfield

    yup. we gotta just keep gettin’ back on the horse! good luck Cathy! (and just so you know, it was YOU convincing ME I could keep doing this !)

  13. #25

    Man I wish I could run! Picture the elephants from Fantasia in sneakers! No I am not as big as an elephant but my running style makes me look like one!

  14. #26

    I know the post was about running and everything, but our beat to hell hard wood floors in the dining room look kind of good in a photo, nails and all. I think it contributes to the verisimilitude of the post. And it’s makes it look more badass.

    1. #26.1

      Verisimilitude Dan? I had to look up this ‘new to this immigrant girl’ word.

      You’re right, we are great lovers of reclaimed wood in our home. Your floor looks awesome and so totally Cathy, badass! 🙂

  15. #27

    LOL Dan. Yep, my feet look great on our floors too. It’s just the getting out that’s hard!

    Cathy, not matter what’s ahead, you’re doing something. That’s progress. I had to stop walking at 6 months post knee surgery because my effin bone spurs had a flare up. Now with a nighttime boot, and a gel pad for the heel, I think I can start walking at the gym again on the rubber track. It’s not easy to go back to the good things I find. I still have the fear that the bone spurs will start killing me again but I’ll never know til I try. Trying’s a start.

  16. #28

    Cathy girl I’m in awe that you get on those shoes and are going to try again.

    I’m just a tad worried when you wrote that you walk differently. Walking differently and running differently are 2 different things 🙂 Make sure you do not put more weight on your other leg to correct for the difference and so create a whole new sports injury. I’m not kidding here. 🙂

    It’s hard to belief looking at my useless body now but I used to be a runner, tracks, sprint 100 meters and endurance training in the summer for speed ice skating in the winter. After all I’m a Dutch gal. And we skate, a lot.
    But that was in a different life where I was stubborn and learned about sports injuries the hard way.

    If you ever want or can splurge, I don’t know the brand runners shoe(this is not going to be very helpful:-)), but that brand shoe let you run on a computerized mat so they can correct your shoe for injuries, so your body doesn’t have to. I will try to find out what brand that is.

    I can not run. I got myself a chi-machine. You lie down, put your ankles in the holder and the small machine moves your legs back and forth. Documentation said 15 minutes is the same effect as running 5K 🙂 Marketing:-)
    I’m using it for circulation. Have a blood clotting problem so moving is good.

    Like others have said; you got this girl! Showing up is half the journey.

  17. #29
    Jamie Barba

    Go Cathy!!! You are awesome! I’m gonna share my $.02, feel free to ignore it! I find the C25K method hard. There are some big jumps in running time. I used it a couple of times and struggled, and I had run marathons previously and was getting back into running. Now I’m a big pusher of the Galloway Method of run/walk/run intervals. By walking from the beginning & consistently, you’re able to run the same distance & feel much better.

    Don’t get me wrong, I fought this method, but once I started using it, my running life was so much better! Now I coach a running group using it! It might be worth a try. You can find info at There’s nothing wrong with C25K & I think it’s awesome that you’re doing it, I just find the Galloway method easier on the body & wanted to share!

  18. #30

    Echo you. Forced to stop running for awhile due to injury and then laziness, and now am currently on my 3rd round of C25K, week 4, day 3, on my faithful Sole treadmill. Not a fan of sun, public exposure, or athletic endeavors, so this works for me. YOU are the one who inspired me to start running way back when. And, YOU can totally do this–just don’t over think it to death. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays: crawl out of bed, pee, brush teeth, run, eat banana. Done. The rest of the day is yours, and you’ve already made it a good one.

  19. #31

    Go for it! & don’t give up – it can be done. With 50 fast approaching, me & a friend went along to a walk-to-run group in the spring of 2012. It promised to get you from 0 to 5k in 12 weeks (if you went every week!). Well…we did it, and went from not being able to run for more than 30seconds the first week, to running the 5k (slowly, but steadily) 9 weeks later. It was amazing. Then, in 2014, we ran the London Marathon!! Again, we didn’t run it quickly – it took us 6 hours, but we actually did it & enjoyed it & raised over £3,000 for a charity.
    I can’t say I’m now addicted to running, but I can say that I feel better for my once or twice a weekly runs.

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