Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

Training update

Still running over here.

Tonight, I finally beat my 5K time. Hopefully the same will hold true for the race next Saturday.

I am having quite a bit of trouble with shin splints. A new pair of insoles are helping a little, though the exaggerated arch seems to wreak havoc with the rest of my legs. I suppose it will take time to adjust to those. In the meantime, I’m finding 800 mg of what Tom calls “prophylactic Advil” to be the biggest help.


Well, I did walk, but it didn’t feel like a failure.

I left home at 5 am this morning, stopping along the way to pick up my friend Sarah. I soon discovered that I arrived at the park about 75 minutes earlier than necessary. But, we had a nice time talking to other race participants and checking out the staging areas for the duathalon. There were about 275 participants, and I lined up near the back of the group. By the time we were out of the park, I was tired and wishing I was back in bed.

I tried to focus on very short distance markers—even just thinking about the next power line pole, or in some cases of extreme desperation (or a seemingly mountainous hill), the next fence post. I lengthened my stride downhill, taking advantage of the easier segments to improve my time. I decided to walk just before the first mile and a half, and I gladly accepted two cups of water at the turnaround point. I would guess it was roughly 13 steps before I began to regret that.

I walked a couple more times on the uphill portions of the course on the way back, though I did try to keep my speed up as much as I could. However, most of my energy was spent trying extremely hard not to lose all that water. Come to find out, it would have been less traumatic to lose it on the course, than, oh, say 100 meters from the finish line…

As I ran down the last turn, I saw Sarah, and then promptly puked. SIX TIMES. The incredibly bored medics all jumped to my aid—I had to fend them off while trying to avoid my shoes and actually finish the race. Once that was out of my system, I felt like a million bucks.

I crossed the finish line at about 41 minutes, meaning I must have averaged just under five miles an hour. I may have some photos to post later tonight—the photographer seemed to think my behavior near the finish line was worth documenting.

Overall—and even despite not meeting my intended goal—I enjoyed the whole process very much. The group was friendly and collegial, and that alone made it a pretty great experience. So much so that I’m planning to sign up for two more 5Ks—July 24 and August 28. And, believe it or not, I’m looking forward to Monday’s run.

Training update

Last night, I ran the final workout in my Couch to 5K training program. It was an easy, 30 minute run on the treadmill—quite a difference from what awaits me tomorrow morning.

I made the mistake of doing a trial run on the actual 5K course last week. It went about as well as could be expected for a course nicknamed the “prairie punisher.” Between the hills and the heat, I struggled during the last half, walking quite a bit in order to finish. It took me more than 45 minutes, and was actually harder mentally than physically. And now, having that failure in my mind makes this Saturday that much more daunting.

But, I came home, rested a couple of days, then ran 3.2 miles on my treadmill. There were no hills—not even an incline—and no heat (in fact, I had a fan, and an air conditioned basement). But, in one respect, I’ve met the goal of the training program. It just won’t feel that way, though, unless I can run the entire distance tomorrow.

I picked up my race packet last night, and for the first time, I felt truly nervous. I stood next to actual athletes who intend to run a 5K, bike for 30K, and then run another 5K, just for fun. And here I am, agonizing over what’s basically a warm-up run. It was humbling and a bit demoralizing.

And therein lies the real problem.

I am realizing that while the training program prepared me from an endurance perspective, I still have a lot of work to do within my own head. I spent some time yesterday reading about the mental game behind running, and I found that some runners use mantras to push themselves. I don’t think I could memorize a quotation by Gandhi and use it effectively, but one “mantra” stood out to me:  “Just keep running, just keep running, just keep running…” a play on the “just keep swimming” line from Finding Nemo.  It’s no wonder that one appeals to me—go with what you know, I suppose.

I run at 7 am tomorrow. Here’s hoping…

Training update

I closed out week six with a 25 minute run today. I OWN that high school track.

…Well, at least as much as a 32-year-old mother of two whose idea of “training” is to limit herself to two glasses of wine the night before she runs could own a track.

But yeah, in that way, YES.

Why I quit at week five last time.

What a way to kick off week six!

This morning, I followed up my successful 20 minute run with a bit of a failure. I thought today’s run would be easy, at least comparatively speaking:

  • Run 5
  • Walk 3
  • Run 8
  • Walk 3
  • Run 5

Instead, I found myself seemingly near death during the last five minutes. I made it around the track once, and with nearly two-thirds of that last five minutes remaining, I just shut down. I kept telling myself that as awful as running felt, quitting would feel worse. And yet, I did. I can’t figure it out—why was today so hard?

On another, related note, I signed up for the Scale Down Challenge today. It’s a community-based weight loss tournament. You pay $50 to register, $5 for each of 10 weekly weigh-ins, and $1 for each pound gained. At the end, if you are in the top half of competitors in the terms of percentage of body weight lost, you break even or win up to several thousand dollars.

I’m hoping to fall squarely into the “break even” group. I’d like to see a 20 pound loss over 10 weeks. I’m about 10 pounds higher than my normal weight, and about 10 lower than my all time high (a point at which I conveniently ended up pregnant with Olivia. She was worth it, but that was not fun.)

So, 20 would put me at a decent place, and one that might make running a bit less awful.

Trust the program

Every time I express my sincere doubt that I will be able to complete a 5K in under 45 minutes and/or while running, Bryan says, “Trust the program.”

For days I have dreaded the first full 20 minute run—no walking—and I have honestly doubted whether or not I could do it. But, I woke up to gorgeous (and cool!) weather, and I drove myself over to the high school track.

This was my first workout in a week that didn’t involve the treadmill, so I was concerned that once my choice became something other than “run, or fly off the treadmill and hit the wall behind it,” I’d falter.

Nevertheless, I gave it a shot.

I was extremely happy to find the track to downright cushy, and I ran the entire length of time with almost no pain in my shins or feet. I still believe that the whole thing would be much easier if I could lose 20 (okay, 30) pounds, so I may try to refocus on that effort.

Afterward, though, I felt fantastic, which is . . . new.

So, with four weeks left to work the program, I feel as though a 5K in the above parameters might actually be possible.

Training update

I’m halfway through week four on the Couch to 5K program.

It’s awful. I hate it.

No! No. I don’t mean that. It’s just . . . challenging. Weeks one and two were great—not too hard, I enjoyed the time outside (by myself), and I felt good about what I was doing.

Now, a couple of weeks later, the pain has set in. Here’s this week’s plan:

  • Warm up – 5 minutes
  • Run – 3 minutes
  • Walk – 1:30 minutes
  • Run – 5 minutes
  • Walk – 2:30 minutes
  • Run – 3 minutes
  • Walk – 1:30 minutes
  • Run – 5 minutes
  • Cool down – 5 minutes

I’m officially running more than walking, even counting those luxuriously long warm up and cool down periods. And, while my lungs seem to be doing just fine, my legs are paying the price. By the time I hit the cool down, I want to crawl the rest of the way home just to rest my poor shins.

I decided the concrete wasn’t doing me any favors, so I tried the treadmill in the basement this morning. On the plus side, the pain was lessened due to a cushier surface, and I could watch Law and Order.

On the other hand, I missed being outside, and now I have actual proof of just how slow I am. I did not need that MPH information just yet.

I really am trying to be positive about this. No one is making me do it. (Although believe me, if I hadn’t posted it here—and on Facebook, and told everyone at work what I was doing—I would have quit days ago.)

I am still somewhat doubtful that I will actually be able to run the entire 5K, but the program is working so far. We’ll see . . .

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to find some Advil.

Trading stilletos for sneakers

Maybe it’s a short attention span, maybe it’s the price of having small children, but I have a bad habit of picking up new activities only to drop them a few weeks or months later. Bryan calls our guest room closet “the place hobbies go to die.” You’ll find knitting needles, oil paints and paper crafts in there, and that’s just the start.

They’ve all been abandoned for one of my more current pursuits, most of which I recently realized involve food or alcohol—cooking, beer-making, gardening and (especially) golf. I’m not saying I’m going to give those up, but I really do feel like I need to add something to the mix. Something that would be good for me.

So, a couple of weeks ago I downloaded a Couch to 5K program for my phone, and I signed up for a 5K on July 24. I reasoned it would help me better manage stress, not to mention the aforementioned food and alcohol. Plus, I just got myself a whole two hours of alone time every week!

When I started, the 5K was eight and a half weeks away, which seemed like a tight but reasonable schedule to get into some sort of shape. I’m not exactly starting from the couch, but definitely the proximity of the living room. I have to take this pretty seriously if I actually intend to run three miles (in succession!) next month.

The program, which strongly suggests training every other day, provides verbal cues over your music of choice. The first week, I started with 60 seconds of running, followed by 90 seconds of walking. Repeat for 20 minutes, and add in 10 minutes for a warm up and cool down.

This week, I’m running for 90 seconds and walking for two minutes. Totally manageable, though not entirely enjoyable. I looked ahead to next week (which starts for me on Sunday), and see that I’ll be running for three minute increments. I am afraid to look much beyond that.

I am not remotely athletic (though my new running wardrobe just might suggest otherwise). I have a pretty reasonable amount of doubt that I will be able to run the complete 5K without walking, but that’s my goal.

Given my inability to stick to much of anything, I created a new category and will post my progress here. Help keep me honest.

Two weeks down, seven to go.