Thursday, September 30, 2010

Can I, Really?


Ufdah. The hold up on the posting is a mix between perfectionism and technology (I wanted to get the pics posted and it involved finding a mini usb and an adapter for the card reader). Last weekend, I broke my running "fast" after being sick, and ran while at the in-laws. I had mapped out a 3.3 mile route and it was a gorgeous morning all around. They have the perfect set up for a 5k training ground. The above pic is the 5 minute walk/warm up section on a hard packed dirt road.



Then, I played telelphone pole tag. I tried in the beginning to time my run, but since I didn't have my watch and just my phone, I realized the futility. Instead, I saw the line of telephone poles along the road and remembered someone saying that they used to run between poles, then walk between one. I did that, even though I can run farther than between poles. What was different was the greater distance and I was actually running half my run, not 1/3 to 1/4 as usual. I loved this change of pace.

This week, I'm back to my schedule, sort of. I missed Monday so I'm off a day but will get back on track in a few days. Today I thought I'd try the actual CP25K week 4 run, which is run 5 minutes, walk 2 minutes for about 36 minutes. It was a bear! I'm used to more recovery time between my runs. So I extended it to a 3 minute walk. I ended up not quite doing the whole thing, but still ran about 18 minutes. I may try this again on Saturday along a different route. It seems every time my run was to start, I was going uphill, and walking was downhill.


The Upcoming 5K

I've been thinking about the upcoming 5K, with October just around the corner (tomorrow!). I have 4 weeks of training left and:

  • I got behind a week from being sick
  • I haven't run longer than 6 1/2 minutes at one time
  • My mile time is still around 20 minutes, average walk/run rate
  • I haven't run longer than 1/3 mile at one shot
  • My run is often not much faster than a fast walk
October is my time to really hit it hard. I think I need to go back to the C25K running plan because with missing a week, my modified is not going to do it. I won't be able to run the whole thing right now. Even though I've seen improvements each time I go out, my body isn't there yet.

Perhaps what I'll try to do for my 5K is:

  • Run 3/4 mile
  • Walk 1/4
  • Run 1 mile
  • Walk 1/4
  • Run the rest
  • Finish
So maybe what I need to do in training, is do these 3 sections of running. Split my training into a smaller scale version and work up to it. I'll have to do some thinking on it.

October Legs


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Best Laid Plains

I was sick yesterday, so of course I didn't run either. It's too bad, I had picked a "new" route to go on that's about 2.5 miles out and back. I actually thought of running it on Sunday, but slept in so there you go. I should be good to go for a run tomorrow.

I have been pondering something, though. Whenever I tell someone that I've take up running, usually the response goes like, "I hate running" or "I used to do that until my knees/ ankles/ hips gave out" or "I could never do that" or even "have fun with that (meaning that's crazy but if you like it, then, hey)."

Why do people feel like they need to justify why they don’t run? Or dismiss it as something weird?

The more I run and learn about running, the more I’m convinced that as a people, we have really lost something great. Not merely the physical and health aspects that have been lost, but the psychological, the societal and the spiritual. It’s all wound up in this one action. So simple, yet so seemingly unnecessary in our modern culture.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I Go Hard Core (or my version of)

After a long and busy week, less than 7 hours of sleep and on a rainy morning, I head out the door. With 3 strikes against me; to me, at this stage, this is hard core. No sleeping in and snuggling under covers, waiting for tomorrow. I didn't even think of NOT getting up. Dusted off my rain coat and headed out.

Ok, so it wasn't that bad. It was sprinkling when I finally got out there and it stopped midway through. I was tired though. My runs were heavy. There was no way I was going to have another PR today, breaking my progress streak. I'd be lucky to make all my minimums.

But after my first 5 minute run, something happened. Maybe my body warmed up or woke up and realized that it needed to kick into gear. My next run just kept going, and I ended up doing another 5 minutes, 12.25 total. I knew that my PR for longest combined run time was 12.5, so I crested a hill and ran off again (when I just wanted to do my cool down walk).

I was planning on cheating. My minimum run is 2 minutes, but I only needed 15 seconds for my PR. How about just an easy 60 seconds? Nope. My body said, "we can do it, keep going!" So I did, and finished the 2 minutes.

My body continues to surprise me. Just when I think I know what it's going to do, it does something different. So I give it room to do well and still have some wiggle room in case it can't. It makes me wonder how I could ever be successful in a cookie cutter exercise program. No wonder I had so many past failures! I was trying to do someone else's version of what would work and failed again and again.

On another note, I really hated to put my running shoes on my feet. I apoligized to them and promised them that this would be the last pair of running shoes they'd have to suffer through. Next year, we'll be running more minimal, just wait and see! They sighed and shuffled out the door. They have heard my promises before and were a bit cynical.

But didn't they know? All I want for Christmas...are Vibram Five Fingers.

**

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Raise Your Hand


Last night I went to Gear West to see Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run. I was thrilled to find out that he was going to be so nearby, so I had to go. There were about 150 there, coming out on a cold rainy night. Chris ran from a store in Wayzata to Gear West in Long Lake, about 3-4 miles, beforehand. I really wish I had been in shape enough to go, being curious about how he runs. Maybe someday, if I run an ultra, he may be on the trail. (Wait a minute...I haven't even run a 5k yet, and I'm thinking about an ultra? That's just crazy talk.)



If you ever get a chance to see him, I'd highly recommend it. I recorded the audio, so sometime I'll post that here (if I can figure it out) or somewhere around. I had some "aha" moments that spoke to my heart when he was talking. At one point, he had people raise hands, if they were a runner and I got to raise mine for the first time. This is it! I'm really beginning to be a part of this community. Even though I can't quite go for 1/2 mile, I'm already relating to things with runners.

I do believe, I have my Runner's Learner Permit.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Come As A Child

Good things:

  • Each run I seem to make a new PR for one of my stats.
  • I am on track for a good 5k run and able to meet my goals
  • No more heel pain or heel spurs
  • I get to go see Christopher McDougal tonight at Gear West
  • My minimum run time is now 2 minutes when 3 weeks ago, that was my longest consecutive run time.
About the heel spurs thing. When I first started running, I was having awful heel pain, so that I would avoid walking on them and often walked on the outsides of my feet barefoot. I found that when I ran, I would land mid-foot and my heels did not hurt like they did when walking. It was only recently that I realized...I haven't had heel pain in 2 months! I wonder if this is because the muscles in my feet are building and therefore are stronger. Who knew that running would cure foot pain?

Yesterday, I drove past the middle school where kids were having track & field practice. I loved seeing how they run! It reminded me of when we went to the Twins game, we stayed longer to watch the kids run the bases. They run with such joy and openness. Their feet strike the ground just about under their body, and they push off into nice heel kicks. And best of all? They do it because they want to, because it's fun.

I can't wait to be able to run like a kid again.

Monday, September 13, 2010

and then again...

My pants have been irritating me all day. I finally figured out why. They're too baggy! They've been sitting in the closet all summer and now, they're just too big. Keep having to pull them out and they're poofing out very unflatteringly.

So maybe progress is happening more than I realize.

Ho-Hum

2.2 mile route...11.5 minutes of running, did a 6.5 minute when my goal was a 5. A good run, a good morning. But I'm feeling ho-hum.

This weekend, I wondered what would happen if I just stopped running. Would it really matter? I'm not that far into it that I'd go through withdrawl. On Sunday, my husband took a very unflattering photo of my face. It showed all the fat places in their finest glory. I had thought that maybe my face was showing a difference, but it did not in the photo.

What I really want, is change NOW. Mentally, I'm already a marathoner or maybe an ultra runner. Yet when I go out, I am barely plodding along, not even able to go for 1/2 mile. In the mirror, an obese woman looks back at me. This is after 3 months of run/walking. When will the changes happen?

I know, I'm whining. And yes, I know that it took years to get this way and will take awhile to get in shape. Mentally and logically, I know all that stuff. But psychologically, it's just not so good right now. Which really, is kind of my pattern. A couple of "hey, this is great!" weeks followed by a couple of weeks of whining. Bear with me for a little while and it'll get better.

Something I've been pondering, is the affect of the mind on running. I was talking to a friend about exercise and she wants to get back into a walking program. She went through this book before, went all the way through it, something about 90 days until your walking habit. She wished there was another book for the next 90 days because She quit before after 90, and didn't make it a habit.

What came out of my mouth next, surprised both of us. I said something about if we only work on our physical self and don't address the mental issues, then you may not be successful. We also need to become more mentally healthy. I'm not sure where that came from, but I think it has a ring of truth to it.

When I started running, I had been inactive for years. I would try out different things, but they just didn't stick. I'm not sure what happened years ago that I stopped being physically active. In the last couple of years, I had been growing more in mental health; boundaries, spiritual maturity, in so many internal ways. Then, my husband went through kidney failure and we spent a year in survival mode until he got his transplant. He had just become fairly stable when I felt I could breathe again. Once I could breathe, I found I was exhausted from holding my breath so long. Through the winter, I rested as much as I could and went through a down time. But spring was coming.

A variety of inspirations happened this spring/early summer. I was so tired of being overweight and tired. I had high cholesterol, pre-diabetes and high blood pressure. And I was only mid-thirities! I also started watching Losing It with Jillian Michaels and watched other people, in far worse shape, get better. It was my turn. In mid-July, I hit the pavement.

I was mentally ready for a change. Now, I just need my body to catch up.

Friday, September 10, 2010

6.30

This week has been weird because of having Monday off. For some reason, I thought today was my hard run day. So, I mapped out a 2.2 mile route and pushed it hard.

6 minutes, 30 seconds straight! A new PR.

I also did a 4 minute, and some others for a total of 10.5 minutes of running. My last run, I could've kept going but I was running out of road and time. I'm just amazed to see what my body is able to do. This is so much fun!

Yesterday, I sat down with a bunch of free online 5K beginner plans and mapped out what they would look like for the 7 weeks left before my first 5k. It was interesting to note that I'm already out longer and farther than what they all recommend and am sort of running the same amount. So, I made up my own plan (like I usually end up doing) with the guidelines that I'm already using:

- Minimum miles on a route
- No runs under a certain amount of time
- Must run at least one run of a certain length each outing
- Must run at least a combined amount of minutes

Mondays are easy days, Wednesday are hard, Fridays are medium. The week before my 5k, I should be able to run 30 minutes at a time. Wow, that sounds so unattainable right now. But if I follow the plan, then it'll happen. I'm going to up my miles to 4 (which includes 5 minutes warm up and 5 for cool down) and then work down on my time.

An interesting note on this - I've already run my next Weds goals today. So maybe I should try to run a week ahead of schedule and add in that little grace time.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

On Par

Hot dog. I ran for 4 minutes in one swoop! Then a tiny 90 sec and then a 3 1/2. A new PR for me. I could have perhaps gone longer, but I really don't know how far I can go without risking injury. Besides, after 3 minutes of running, the roads turn into quad-killing hills.

I "passed" a couple guys out on their golf cart, they must be maintenance guys because they didn't have clubs. The one guy was looking at me oddly. Perhaps he was thinking that he could walk faster than my run. So can I.

One issue I'm having is that my right foot goes numb and then falls asleep. It usually does this between 26-30 minutes into my route. This time, I untied my laces and walked in my socks for the last 2 blocks home. Instantly, I could feel different calf muscles working and different pressure points in my right foot. By the time I walked in the door, my foot was fine. I think that because my right foot is wider, I may need to unlace my shoe a little more. That, and, learn how to run barefoot. I hope these are the last supportive running shoes I need to buy. After that, it may be ballet slippers for me!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Forgot to Mention...

...that I lost 5#'s last week. Went 3 weeks with no change and all of a sudden, 5#'s gone. I also bought a new bra and it was 2" smaller.

Funny thing, the poundage and inches don't matter as much as they used to, to me. The real changes that I'm enjoying seeing is how long I can run and and how well.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Running Is A Holiday

This morning, I got up (late) and made pancakes for my hubby's birthday. Then I went off and treated myself to a run.

I did 2 main long run stretches (by Darrel's and 3rd) and wondering if I'm to the point of doing lesser but longer runs. I also ran out of road and went out again past Alice's and around my street the other way. This week I plan on having no runs under 60sec and increase my route to 2 miles. Now that I'm up to about 2-3.5 min long runs, it shouldn't be too hard, right?

Yesterday my husband and I went to Target Field, the new Twins Stadium for the first time. I loved it! I didn't think I would, but the whole thing has a more intimate feel than the Dome. We walked around it and I felt a difference in the way that I walked. Before, it would be a trudge to see how little I could do until I could sit. Now, it was wonderful to feel how strong my legs were now and they weren't tired after all the walking and stairs. I saw some people slogging along and thought that they could use some running in their lives. So many people are like electricity, the lazy old man. I used to be that way, but now, even if there is a shortcut, I am enjoying going the long way out. It's fun, like a holiday.

Happy Labor Day! May your running be a sweet labor.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

It's Not Just Me

Today, I had a confirmation that it's not just me noticing the changes in my body. After a small run this morning (6.5 min of running, 26 min total out), my husband and I headed out to run some errands. My main errand was to buy a new bra. My old one had room enough that I could stuff tissues down there. The lady at the store measured me, and I was 2" smaller than my last fitting!

These small changes in my body are giving me confidence, along with just feeling better and more in shape. Now, even when I walk through a parking lot, it feels like a good way to stretch my legs and not a drudgery. I may not look much different, but psychologically, I'm a shapely, slender runner. I also did something silly this morning. After my run, (and oatmeal and 1/2 glass of water) I weighed myself. I was down 4#'s. Hopefully for the official Sunday morning weigh-in, I'll still be down some. And slap my hand, but I had ice cream twice today. There goes the good and the bad. But can I help it that I enjoy both the good (running) and the bad (calories)?

Time to go to bed and get my running sleep.

ETA: I forgot to add that I had NO soreness from barefooting yesterday. I was expecting some soreness but my feet feel great.

Friday, September 3, 2010

September Legs


Getting Dirty

I never realized before how dirty my treadmill belt was until I ran on it barefoot. My feet were black when I was finished. And here I thought that running outside would make my feet dirty! Well, it probably will, but anyway.

5 minutes of combined treadmill barefoot running. I'm going to look into getting some sort of flat shoe so I can "barefoot" outside. My first run was an easy 2 minutes until my calf cried, "uncle!" Other than my calves stretching themselves into a new motion, there were no aches or pains; no arch burning or toes falling asleep.

What was most amazing, is that I didn't think about my form at all. My legs and feet naturally went into their own rhythm; mid foot or outer mid foot strike and rolling inward. I did try to pick my knees up a little more, but that's all I did consciously.

I think that I may knit some felted slippers of a sort for running outside. Wool may be a great thing to run in. It absorbs sweat, won't chafe if it's felted, because it'll form to my feet. Best of all, it give me a little bit of protection while allowing my foot to move naturally.

Since this was a light run, I'm going to go out tomorrow on another light run, this time with shoes. I know I need to build up the muscles that will help me go barefoot more. Now, if only I could convince my husband that barefooting is good.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

So...Pronation is Good?



I've been reading a book called Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. A fascinating story about the Tarahumara and how running is what they do - legs are their vehicle of choice. I've just gotten to the part about barefoot running and it's rekindling my desire.

As a girl, we never had much money for expensive shoes. My dress pair was always beige and boring, no matter what color I wore, I had to wear these plain beige shoes. So when it came to play shoes, which were often outgrown, we went with bare feet for the most part. I learned to be able to run on gravel. In our hayfields, I remember pretending to be a gazelle, leap running through our hilly hayfields and never falling. I could feel the ground as I landed and adjusted my foot placement if needed. The only times I sprained ankles was when I was walking.

I had a neighbor friend who lives 1/4 mile away, and I would run for fun down the road. I'd also run home from our bus stop, which was down a long hill. My mom would say should could hear me "thundering down the road." It made me more conscious of my running, but I still did it because I enjoyed it. And I did it in any shoes - which means cheap Kmart or Target ones.

All this to say that I used to know how to run barefoot. I didn't have to read books, articles, how-to's on the proper form. Granted, I was a kid and had a little more joint flexibility. However, I can't remember once ever having a running in jury or being sore.

Tomorrow, I'm going to do my run on our treadmill, barefoot. I think it's a good place to start because the treadmill is an even ground and is softer than asphalt. I may make Fridays my barefoot day if this works well. Eventually I'd love to be able to run barefoot, or with a flat shoe for all my runs. I remember the last time that I tried this, I felt no pain in my arches, no foot falling asleep and no calf burning. There was some foot soreness the next day or two, but I believe that was due to building foot and toe muscles. It wasn't an injured feeling, but muscle soreness.

The Tarahumara run in sandals that they make - a sort of rough form of flip flops (though more secured). Made from recyled tire treads and leather straps, they truly have the corner on green running. Ironically, you can now order these sandals using the link above for only $48.70. So much for being natural and free!


Flip Flop



I've been reading a book called Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. A fascinating story about the Tarahumara and how running is what they do - legs are their vehicle of choice. I've just gotten to the part about barefoot running and it's rekindling my desire.

As a girl, we never had much money for expensive shoes. My dress pair was always beige and boring, no matter what color I wore, I had to wear these plain beige shoes. So when it came to play shoes, which were often outgrown, we went with bare feet for the most part. I learned to be able to run on gravel. In our hayfields, I remember pretending to be a gazelle, leap running through our hilly hayfields and never falling. I could feel the ground as I landed and adjusted my foot placement if needed. The only times I sprained ankles was when I was walking.

I had a neighbor friend who lives 1/4 mile away, and I would run for fun down the road. I'd also run home from our bus stop, which was down a long hill. My mom would say should could hear me "thundering down the road." It made me more conscious of my running, but I still did it because I enjoyed it. And I did it in any shoes - which means cheap Kmart or Target ones.

All this to say that I used to know how to run barefoot. I didn't have to read books, articles, how-to's on the proper form. Granted, I was a kid and had a little more joint flexibility. However, I can't remember once ever having a running in jury or being sore.

Tomorrow, I'm going to do my run on our treadmill, barefoot. I think it's a good place to start because the treadmill is an even ground and is softer than asphalt. I may make Fridays my barefoot day if this works well. Eventually I'd love to be able to run barefoot, or with a flat shoe for all my runs. I remember the last time that I tried this, I felt no pain in my arches, no foot falling asleep and no calf burning. There was some foot soreness the next day or two, but I believe that was due to building foot and toe muscles. It wasn't an injured feeling, but muscle soreness.

The Tarahumara run in sandals that they make - a sort of rough form of flip flops (though more secured). Made from recyled tire treads and leather straps, they truly have the corner on green running. Ironically, you can now order these sandals using the link above for only $48.70. So much for being natural and free!

So...Pronation is Good?



I've been reading a book called Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. A fascinating story about the Tarahumara and how running is what they do - legs are their vehicle of choice. I've just gotten to the part about barefoot running and it's rekindling my desire.

As a girl, we never had much money for expensive shoes. My dress pair was always beige and boring, no matter what color I wore, I had to wear these plain beige shoes. So when it came to play shoes, which were often outgrown, we went with bare feet for the most part. I learned to be able to run on gravel. In our hayfields, I remember pretending to be a gazelle, leap running through our hilly hayfields and never falling. I could feel the ground as I landed and adjusted my foot placement if needed. The only times I sprained ankles was when I was walking.

I had a neighbor friend who lives 1/4 mile away, and I would run for fun down the road. I'd also run home from our bus stop, which was down a long hill. My mom would say should could hear me "thundering down the road." It made me more conscious of my running, but I still did it because I enjoyed it. And I did it in any shoes - which means cheap Kmart or Target ones.

All this to say that I used to know how to run barefoot. I didn't have to read books, articles, how-to's on the proper form. Granted, I was a kid and had a little more joint flexibility. However, I can't remember once ever having a running in jury or being sore.

Tomorrow, I'm going to do my run on our treadmill, barefoot. I think it's a good place to start because the treadmill is an even ground and is softer than asphalt. I may make Fridays my barefoot day if this works well. Eventually I'd love to be able to run barefoot, or with a flat shoe for all my runs. I remember the last time that I tried this, I felt no pain in my arches, no foot falling asleep and no calf burning. There was some foot soreness the next day or two, but I believe that was due to building foot and toe muscles. It wasn't an injured feeling, but muscle soreness.

The Tarahumara run in sandals that they make - a sort of rough form of flip flops (though more secured). Made from recyled tire treads and leather straps, they truly have the corner on green running. Ironically, you can now order these sandals using the link above for only $48.70. So much for being natural and free!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

3:30

My SIL has recently started training to run a 5k and she is up to a 5 minute non-interval run. I couldn't help but compare myself - I am only doing a measly 2 minute run. Is there more in me that I am holding back on? Could I possibly go farther? Am I not pushing myself enough? Time to break out of the Twilight Zone.

Along my route today, I walked around a block instead of doing a run interval - to conserve my energy. On Darrel's street, I shuffled off into a run. End of street came, and I decided to keep going...cross street...2:30...along next street...3:00...end of next street and up a slight hill...3:30!!

But wait, there's more!

I had only gone 6:30 and my goal was 7 this morning. So at the top of the hill, I shuffled off again, aiming for that 30 seconds even though I was tired from the last interval. Next thing I knew, it was 1:30 and I had blown through my expectations.

All this, and I almost stayed in bed, procrastinating. The rest of the morning, I was cheerful and singing a little while my hubby (who stayed up really late working) grumped about. What a change, I'm usually the grumpy, bumbly person.

Who is this woman?

In other news, I've noticed my butt is less firm and a little saggy now. Great, just what I've always wanted. And of course, I've also noticed that I'm losing weight in the area that women hate to lose - the bust area. At this rate, I'll need to buy new bras in a few weeks.