Couch to 5K: Sandy's story

Editor’s note: Various “Couch to 5K” programs have gained popularity across the nation, promising they can get “just about anyone” to literally move from sitting on the couch all day to running a 5K in a 9-week span. Starting today, we’ll chronicle the journey of one local woman looking to accomplish the feat.

Sandi Owen doesn’t look like the most likely candidate for a Couch-to-5K program. For one thing, she barely has time to sit on the couch.

Owen, 32, of Spring City, Pa. is a single mother to two daughters and a son who she describes as “active in just about everything.” Over the past year, Sandi dropped about 45 pounds out of a desire to be more involved and active with her kids.    

“But I still didn’t feel physically fit,” she admits. “That’s when I decided to try the Couch to 5K program.”

One small problem remained—Sandi hated running. And not in the way that most people find running difficult—this is a woman whose clearest recollection of running was breaking down in tears every year in high school during the one-mile run in gym class.

But after going through a trying divorce, she says she realized she was tackling things in her daily life that were far more challenging than running one mile. “Look, sometimes things get hard. But you still need to take care of yourself,” she reasons. “My real motivation for doing this is my kids. I want to teach them how to set a goal and work hard until you achieve it.”

Earlier this summer, Sandi’s sister sent her the link to a Couch-to-5K SmartPhone app. By downloading the App and linking it through to her social media accounts, Sandi is able to not only track her own progress, but share it with the world. The sharing option offers an added means of keeping her accountable for her progress.

The SmartPhone App tracks overall pace, distance traveled and calories burned. Sandi says she’ll be able to listen to music on her headphones while running, while the App offers instruction on how to complete the workout. But she has one other minor detail to figure out.

“When am I going to run?” she asks. “I guess I’ll just work around the kids’ schedules.”

It seems the easy thing to do would be waiting until the kids return to school to begin training. But doing it the easy way would defeat the entire purpose. Instead, Sandi’s registered for the September 14 Run/Walk to Break Silence on Ovarian Cancer in Fairmount Park.

“My grandmother passed away from ovarian cancer,” she shares. “Running for that cause just offers me added motivation.”

Sports Doc will check in on Sandy’s progress periodically leading up to the September 14 5K race.


Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.

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