Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sorry I have been gone/ Quick life recap

Since I actually had followers I really feel like I should apologize for suddenly dropping off the face the earth for several months.  Life got in the way of both consistent running and blogging. Yet, I still feel badly about not saying, "by the way I am taking a break for a bit." Also, I can see now how the blogging helped w/ the consistent running part.
So, I am back.

Here is a quick recap since my last post in October:
  • October - End of October I had a flare up of an old SI injury and had to stop running for 2 weeks.  I was somewhat demoralized as I had just joined one of tall mom's challenges. Didn't feel inspired to blog at the time. Then some biggish "possibilities" came up in our life and I didn't have the time or focus to blog.
  • November - got back to running. Ran 5.5 miles the Saturday before thanksgiving.  Hoping to run six miles with my brother over the holiday.  But nasty weather, and sickness cut that to about 3 miles. 
  • December - Winter decided to set in early.  Not much time for running in the holiday busyness.
  • January/February - Lots of snow. With no sidewalks, snow and ice covered roads w/ 3 to 4 foot walls of snow along the side - I decided it just wasn't a safe place to run. Especially in the dark early am, as during tax season that is my only option most days. I did some interval work on the treadmill sporadically. I did some weight training sporadically.
  • Last wk of February - the weather started clearing, and I had gained 2 lbs since November. As I started flirting w/ 170lbs I decided I needed to get back to running. I was delighted that I could still run 2 miles!
  • March - I was not impressed that after 2 weeks back to running I had gained 4 lbs!! Went to bed frustrated, only to wake up just after midnight in horrible abdominal pain followed by trips to the bathroom that left me shaking on the floor. Found out the 4 lb weight gain was an ovarian cyst, and the cyst ruptured in the night.  Spent several days on vicodin. Took 2 weeks off running.  
  • April - I resumed running sporadically by the end of March. But with 2 weeks until my 37th birthday I was determined to lose the 5 lbs I needed to officially be at a healthy BMI.  When I weighed myself in on April 14th I was 164 lbs. My official maximum healthy weight!  That is the first time in more than a decade I wasn't overweight.  Of course with 3 birthdays, Easter, and Mother's day in the next 2.5 weeks I gained back 3 of those 5 lbs.
  • May - my running was still somewhat sporadic. I decided I needed a plan and a goal like I had last year. I also encouraged myself that in May 2010 running wasn't even on my radar, and now I could run 2 miles (my very first goal) easily.  I knew my goal would be to do a 10k in September. For my plan I found a 8 week beginner and 8 week advanced beginner 10 training program.  With a few modifications I put them together to make a 15 week training plan.
  • June - weather again has been a factor. A week of frequent storms threw me off schedule. That week was followed by vacation (which I had planned to "take off") So this week I am back at it and back on track. 
I ran 3.54 miles this morning in 48 minutes. Not a fabulous time. But since this time last year I thought I would die running 6 minutes straight, I am reminded how far I have come.  

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

5 miles!!!!!!

I ran 5 miles!!! I ran 5 miles!!!!!

Yesterday was a beautiful morning. Hubby wasn't leaving for work at any specific time, so I headed out around 6am. It was still dark, but there was a rosy glow on the eastern horizon. I felt pretty good. My long run goal for the week was 4.75. But I new 5 miles wouldn't be impossible since it would only be about a 10% increase over last weeks 4.5 miles. I like to get my long run in as early in the week as possible so I don't have to be pressured if things don't go well later on in the week.

My adrenaline got pumping a little bit when I saw a smashed pumpkin in the subdivision behind us. Then all down our road south of the subdivision I saw vandalized pumpkins. Many smashed right in the middle of the owners' driveways. I was so angry at the obnoxious brats that have fun at others expense, I wasn't surprised when my mile time was 12:40. However as I crossed the bridge and turned off our road the rest of the pumpkins were intact, and I calmed down. But I still was at about a 12:40 pace.

Our town is really small, I don't know if we even have 5 miles of roads. (The opposite corner of town is only a 1 mile run) I went about 3 miles snaking through town. I felt so good I decided to try for 5 miles, so I circled the "neighborhood" on the opposite corner of town until I was up to 4 miles. Then I just had to run home. I was amazed my pace was still about 12:45, but I knew the last quarter mile would be uphill so I didn't expect to keep it up. I was amazed at how good I felt at 4.75 miles. I had told myself I could walk then if I wanted, but I felt so good I decided to run faster.

I ran 5 miles. My time: 63:10!

That is a 12:38 pace! I kept that up for 5 miles!

My goal for October was 5 miles. I think I will "rest" next week. Meaning I won't try to add distance. But I will still be well on my way to my goal of 6 miles by Thanksgiving.

I never ever thought I could or ever would run 5 miles. Just WOW!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Solving Problems...Learning...

I have been running for more than 3 months now. And I don't intend to quit!!! Yesterday I ran 4.5 miles in 58:14. Which means my pace was 12:56 per mile! So great to begin to move out of the 13's. And I am learning ways to keep going even when obstacles arise.

In order to run that 4.5 miles I had to get out in the cold, dark, predawn world. It was so cold! Frost was on the ground, I could see my breath, and I need warmer running clothes. (See problem/solution #1) It was also dark. I didn't know if I could run in the dark. My hubby isn't thrilled with the personal safety aspect. And, my concern is being able to see what I am running on (see problem/solution #2)

I have also been working with my treadmill. I say "working with" because just straight running on it can be tedious and grueling. (See problem/solution #3)

So here is how I have worked through some of my obstacles:

  • Problem #1: I need warmer running clothes, but don't want to spend big bucks. I am finding that running gets expensive. And oversized long sleeve cotton shirts weren't cutting it. I can't even find long sleeve running clothes at the local super store where I got my other "wicking wear". I thought this was going to necessitate a trip to the sports store, where stuff is way more pricey. Solution: The thrift store! I found a long sleeve tech top in good condition, and a nearly new running jacket. Total price $4.90! I had read this suggestion online, but was still surprised at the amount of great stuff there.

  • Problem #2: It is dark in the morning now. Really the only consistent time I get to run outside is if I can get out before my hubby leaves for work. But it is dark outside until after 6am now. Our little town is pretty safe as far crime. I have never heard of any "stranger danger" at all. But our little town only has scattered sidewalks and street lights, posing dangers to feet ankles and other body parts since you can't see the surface you're running on. Solution: A headlight! While I may look like a dork, this is a great solution. My parents put all kind of handy/goofy gadgets in my hubby's Christmas stocking. Last year he got a headlight. Basically it is a light on an elastic strap. And it even tilts down so I can aim it at the ground. It even gives my some added safety when it comes to "traffic" (I usually see at least 2 or 3 cars on the road.)

  • Problem #3: The treadmill. I have had to deal with the fact that I will have to get used to the treadmill. Running on the treadmill is hard. I thought about it a lot. One of the hard things for me is the repetitive motion. Outside you have terrain changes varying the demands on your muscles. With the treadmill it is just the same thing over and over. Mentally and physically it is boring. Solution: Focus on exercising, not running. I had to shift my paradigm. Distance is not the point. Working up a good sweat is the goal. I do my own version of speed work. Not because I am driven to be speedy, but it is a way to challenge myself. The treadmill is actually fun when I run a mile in less than 12 minutes. My treadmill also has programs where the speed and incline varies. It can actually be fun to do these, even though they include some walking. And I can speed them up if I want. So, even though I don't focus on running, I still run.

Perseverance, creativity, discipline...running is helping me to develop these characteristics. I am so thankful God chose to bring running into my life. ( BTW I love that I am only 1 pound from my pre-1st baby weight as well ;) )

Monday, September 20, 2010

My "official" 5k results - LOL

Here is information copied from the "official" race results:

Note: A large group of runners took an 'alternate' route on this course. If you passed the 1 mile timer you were on the official course, if you took the 'over the bridge' route you ran a slightly shorter route.

Place Name /City/ Bib No/ Age /Age Group /Time Pace

153 Anna M*******/ Bloomington IL /8757 /68 /9 F 50-99 /38:26.1 12:21/M

My a 5k sure ages you. It says I am 68 years old! Of course the first glaring error is that my name is not "Anna"!!! Oh, and by the way I don't live in Bloomington either. (My bib # was 8757, and my name and age were correctly marked on my bib.)

So who is 68 y/o Anna M? Well - follow this- she would be my husband's uncle's ex-wife. As far as I know she was not at the race. She may have some time in the past done a 5k, been in the results company's computer, and someone clicked the wrong M******. Whatever...

It says my time was 38:26, I thought I was a little less than that. The guy I finished 2 steps ahead of finished 2 seconds sooner. But his manual bib # enterer might have been a bit faster than mine. (There were 2 people furiously punching buttons into little boxes at the finish line. My gal looked pretty overwhelmed, although no one had crossed just ahead of me.)

I placed 153 out of 172, but as noted a large number of people ran about 2/10's of a mile less than I did - so who knows. I actually placed 8/12 in my age group.

I am glad I am not competitive. I can just laugh at all the messed-up-ness.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Autism Society 5k race report

Did my first 5k race today. It was the Autism Society 5k, at a local park/municipal running trail. I went to the race all by myself as my husband is harvesting. My mom came over to watch my girls and brought them at the end of the race. They didn't quite make it in time to see me cross the finish line. But I don't think they would have easily found the finish line anyway.

3 other gals from my MOMS group came together to run the race. They graciously let me hang out with them before the race, and I even started running with them. But they are faster than me so I dropped back after a bit.

We crossed the starting line at 17 seconds into the race. It wasn't chip timed so I made sure to notice that. My previous fastest 5k time was 39:49. So when they called out 10:37 for my time at the 1st mile I knew I needed to slow down. But I was impressed that I could go that fast without being wiped out. I dropped to my comfortable pace. I decided to focus on my race and not worry about people passing me or how far behind I might be. And actually, now that I think about it, after about the 1st half mile nobody passed me, but I passed plenty of people. I was pretty much running with lots of room the last 2 miles.

Unfortunately the race was very poorly marked. There were several Y's where people went both ways. There were no race volunteers to direct people the correct way. So lots of people ran the route incorrectly. I however had looked over the online race route, so I thought I knew where I was going.

I did follow the right route. Except there was a turn around point. It was supposed to be at a different park connected by the running trail. They must have figured the distance wrong originally or something. Because well before the next park I passed 2 blue arrows facing each other. After I passed that I noticed that none of the runners coming towards me up ahead had race #'s on. A lot of people seem to use that running trail on Saturday mornings. Also I knew where the next park was and it just seemed awfully far based on where we had run already. I looked back and saw people turning at the blues arrows so I ran back. And people didn't seem to know for sure if that was the turn, but they were turning anyway. When I finally passed some race volunteers, I asked them if that had been the turn. They say "yeah" and "it was obviously a problem". Can't imagine how much extra I would have run if I actually ran all the way to the next park . I probably spent 30 to 45 seconds extra missing the turn around.

Fortunately at the next turn they did have someone telling you where to go. They had someone calling out your 3 mile time, which I thought was goofy since you only had a tenth left. My 3 mile (plus some) time was 37:05. Which was impressive considering I went past the turn and I started 17 seconds in.

I was so confused by that time, I didn't remember that that would be the time to sprint toward the finish. I did speed up. I think I crossed the finish line at 38:14. I don't have the official results, though they should be posted online sometime in the near future. A lady was standing in the way to rip off my little tag just a few feet past the finish line so I was trying not to run her over. I think it was 38:14? I figure I can at least subtract the 17 seconds from the start, which would give me a time of 37:57? Speedy for me. And yet in reality I was even faster!

All in all it was a good experience. I ran the whole way. As I passed people walking red faced and breathing so hard, the important of pacing really hit home. I also discovered I can run faster than I thought! So I am going to push myself a little more. Since I will be using the treadmill mostly, I have a better idea what I could set it at. I actually had pretty low expectations for the race. I already knew I could run that far. And I knew I wasn't going to place. So I didn't quite see the point of doing but to say that "I had run a 5k" Now I see how doing the race pushed even my so non-competitive little soul. Now I have a set point to see how much I improve. (I do wish I had a more accurate time, but it will be easier to improve ;)

After the race my mom treated the girls and I to Panera. My chocolate pastry tasted soooo good!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Problem solving needed

I want to scream, cry, or whine. But what a waste of energy. I just need to solve these logistical problems.

I feel like I will never be able to run more than 3 miles!! Not because of lack of ability, but because of availability. With the changing of the season the sun has started sleeping in until almost 6 am. And my hubby has started to need to leave for work by 6:30. 30 minutes is just not enough time.

I tried starting just before sunrise, but our sidewalks are hit and miss (both quality of sidewalks, and existence of sidewalks) Lighting is pretty hit and miss as well. So besides the traffic issue, I have a hard time seeing the ground. It just seems like a good way to get injured. Also, my husband does not like the idea of me running in the dark.

That leaves the treadmill. So I decided to just get on the treadmill this afternoon while my 1 y/o was napping. Once when I did this I just set my 3 y/o up with a movie and she promptly fell asleep, it wasn't too bad. Well the last 2 times I have tried it, I am constantly being interrupted. I guess this is more of a behavioral issue w/ my child. But it is hard for her too, my running on the treadmill a few feet away is distracting. And I just don't deal with distractions well when I am running so I become frustrated and "mean mommy" comes out. I don't like running in the afternoon that much anyway.

Maybe tomorrow I will try getting up at 5:15 for a date with the treadmill. I really wish I had an mp3 player so I didn't have to entertain myself, while I stare at our paneling. I used to have no problem when I walked on the treadmill, I would read. But I haven't figured out how to read while running yet. Alas, I will probably have to wait until Christmas for the mp3 player...sigh...
I think I will type up a few super-large print Bible verses, tape the to the paneling and memorize them while I run. I actually have some posted, but they aren't quite large enough. Maybe I can find some dealing with perseverance to keep me going....

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Struggles and Accomplishments

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday I was going to write a blog post titled "struggles". But I was too tired to bother. Today is a different day where I want to write about my accomplishment!


That was my time for the first 5 kilometers I ran this morning! I accomplished my goal! Then I ran for another 5 minutes, so I know in a race situation I could even finish faster. I ran a total of 3.5 miles. (3.76 miles including my warm up and cool down walking)

I noticed how long it has been since I posted. Life got busy, between my 3 y/o's birthday, vacation, new computer training at work, my mom's group starting back up, etc....etc... But, I have still been running, some days better than others. A lot of the time I have been struggling. But struggles are a part of life, an integral part, as that is where we learn. So here is what I learned about running through some struggles of the last few weeks:

  1. If you eat badly, you will feel badly when you run. I discovered this on vacation. The first morning I ran I felt pretty good. Then after eating too much food, and food that mostly fell into the categories fried, rich, or sugary; I felt awful when running. Plus I gained 4 pounds. It took me a couple of days to recover, and I still have 2 pound to go to my pre-vacation weight. SO: eat well to run well!
  2. Sleep is crucial. This one I couldn't control much this week, but sometimes I can. My 16 month old threw up in the middle of the night 3 nights in a row. When I tried to run on 4 hours of poor sleep I just ran out of gas. I probably would have been better off with a nap SO: sleep well to run well
  3. Don't run where you know you might run into obstacles. I decided to try running north again, the first time I didn't encounter the dog, but I did burn some time and energy watching for him. The second time, sure enough he came blasting/barking out into the road, and I twisted my hip in my quick turn away from him. Truly my best runs have been my runs south. That route lets me concentrate on my running form etc... not on what I might encounter along the way. SO: Choose your route wisely.
  4. A few bad days or a bad week doesn't reflect reality. I went on vacation and thought I had set myself back for weeks, but then I had 2 really good 3+mile runs a few days after I came home. This week I had a really bad 3 days of running, then today I met my goal! SO: keep running it will get better.

My new goal is to run 4 miles by October 1st. I don't think that should be too hard to reach. The trick is that I usually only have about 45 to 50 minutes to run (including warm up/cool down). So I need to get a bit faster to run 4 miles in that time frame. But I'll just keep running until I get there.