The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

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February 23, 2024

Couch potato trades TV marathons for 5K program

You know that scene in “Forrest Gump” where Forrest decides to go for a run and doesn’t stop? That was my summer. But instead of running for three years straight, I tried out one of those Couch-to-5K programs. And I didn’t grow a beard.

Some days it felt as if I’d run coast-to-coast though.

When I initially pitched the idea of doing some light jogging, my friends and family were shocked. Being a known sloth, I couldn’t blame them.

To put their reaction in context, I once jokingly told my brother that I wanted to come back in my next life as a koala because, besides being my all-time favorite marsupial, koalas sleep 18-22 hours a day.

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“Is that going to be enough?” he asked, with the trademark Shernisky smirk.

So yes, I enjoy a certain level of laziness. A jar of Nutella and a “Gilmore Girls” marathon don’t mean I’m depressed. That’s any old Wednesday for me, and those closest to me know it.

They were supportive yet doubtful. So was I. Despite that, I gave the program a shot. I went to my local park for my first 30-minute session, which alternated between periods of walking and jogging.

The first few minutes were bearable, but I soon started gasping for air. My sides cramped, my calves burned and my heart was beating so fast it felt like it was going to fly out my mouth.

I tried to keep my suffering discreet. The people around me were at the park to enjoy a peaceful walk and playtime with their children, not watch a horribly out-of-shape college student wheeze. I looked less like Forrest Gump and more like a reality TV contestant. It was twice as embarrassing because in a tiny hamlet like mine, every other person I passed was a former teacher or neighbor. Nevertheless, I stuck with it – even when it rained, even when I didn’t want to, which was most days.

No one was more shocked than I was to see real improvement. I felt healthier and more relaxed overall.

The strange thing is that when you make a lifestyle change, even a positive one, others expect a reason. Even stranger, it seemed that the reasons I had weren’t good enough.

I started running to lose a few pounds and strengthen a heart whose workouts usually came as a result of “Grey’s Anatomy” cliffhangers. But that logic was apparently too vain or boring, so I lined up a more unusual response: I’m preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

The most concise argument I came up with – besides the fact that I didn’t actually need one – was, well, why not?

I’m not a runner. I don’t have the petite, wiry build or taste for low-fat yogurt inherent to runners. But I could definitely reap the benefits: decreased anxiety, extended lifespan and a reduced risk of cancer.

Now I have to figure out how to work the running into my class and work schedules here at school, which isn’t too daunting. If a slug like me can start running at all, anything is possible.

Still, I think I’ll stick to “Gilmore Girls” marathons.

 

APRIL SHERNISKY

[email protected]

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