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.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I ran 5k!!!

I ran 3.11 miles today. Ran the whole thing!!! I can do a 5k. =) I am slow. It took me 43:44. But I have 29 days to get faster.

My initial goal was to do it in under 40, then I changed it to less than 35 minutes. That seems like a lot. But when I consider that 1 month ago I was so excited that I ran for 10 minutes straight, it doesn't seem beyond reality.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Goal met!!!!

I ran 2 miles straight today! Actually I ran farther than that (2.25m) as I ran for a total of 30 minutes!

Yesterday I finished my new runner training. It was so great to go out and just run today. I did want to run 30 minutes so I set my timer when I started running. But my goal was to run 2 miles or more so I was running "to" somewhere instead of just for an amount of time. Granted my running to somewhere ended up being where I started from. But instead of checking my watch to make sure to take my required walk break, I was only occasionally looking at my watch to check my pace. So much fun to move from "how much longer before I have to walk?" to "how far/fast am I running?" I feel like a real runner!

When I started this "I'm going to get healthy" journey on June 14th, I never imagined that on August 14th I would be running more than 2 miles. I feel like I have given myself this wonderful gift. Actually, I feel that God has given me a wonderful gift. I never before kept up w/ exercise consistently for 2 months in my life (I don't think I ever even pulled off 1 month.) But I never found something I enjoyed as much as running before either, something that adds to my identity. Although part of me wants to qualify it - "I am slow", "I am new", "I don't go very far" - I realize those things don't matter because they are relative and/or temporary. Instead I am now delighted to say with conviction:

I am a runner.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Plan for 8/16-9/18

I am working on my plan for next week, and the next month. I need a plan so I have an assignment to complete. I want to run 4 days per week. I hoping to start at 30 and work my way up to 45 minutes 3 days a week. Then one day I want to work on running faster. I am so not a competitive person, I really need to pay attention to challenge myself to run faster. So using the treadmill or taking the GPS I want to try to pick up the pace a little. Maybe not run quite so long, but try to get a feel for a faster pace. Of course I am shooting for somewhere between 11 and 12 minute miles here, so it is not like I will be doing "speed drills." Plus I want to keep up my pilates and upperbody workout. So the plan for 8/16 through 9/18:

  1. Run 30-45 minutes 3 days/wk
  2. Run "faster" 1 day per week
  3. Pilates DVD 3 days/week
  4. upper body workout (here), 2 days/wk

Plus on off running day I may throw in some bike rides. It helps to keep getting up and getting out there at the crack of dawn. I don't want to get used to sleeping in again.

Seeing Results !!!

OK big happy dance for running 20 minutes twice separated by 4.5 minutes of walking!!! Seeing the progress in my running is amazing! It really thrills me, and makes me curious to see where I can go with it all. However it is the progress I note in my every day life that makes me determined to continue running/exercising a very long time. Some of the rewards:

  • My posture is so improved! As a PT I know the importance of good posture for all our body systems. And I can feel my improved posture. I can tell I am standing taller, and I feel confident and look better.
  • I can run when necessary! I noticed this at the fair this weekend. On Saturday I needed to get some paperwork from one side of the parking lot to another. The faster it got there the better. I suddenly thought, "I'll just jog down there." So I jogged down and wasn't even slightly puffed (last yr I wouldn't have even considered running the length of the parking lot) Similarly on Sunday I jogged the length of the exhibit hall several different times when helping clean up.
  • Muscle control! Ok I have an advantage here. I know (or at least used to know ;) where every muscle in the body is and what it does. But now I can actually feel the muscles in my body and make them work. Especially in my upper back, abs, and hips (the core). So lifting and toting is so much easier especially my kids and all that stuff at the fair. And proper muscle control means less soreness and injury.
  • I don't feel "fat" anymore. I have only lost 8 lbs. (Or I have lost 8 lbs!) But I have toned up so much that I just don't feel like I look heavy anymore. I am still 8 lbs over my max healthy weight, but in the right clothes I don't look heavy. I wore a skirt yesterday I haven't been able to wear for years! (A classic wrap around I love to wear.)

I can't attribute all of this to running. I have been toning 3-4 times a week. But I know running works my core as well. In fact running 20 minutes I can tell. At about 15 minutes I start to get challenged. My legs and lungs are doing fine, but my middle (abs/hips) starts to struggle to keep decent form. So I decided to get back to my pilates DVD, since it is so core focused. What was really cool is that I am so much better at pilates now. I have done this DVD for several brief stints in the past. It is a beginners program, but has 2 different levels for beginners. Usually I was doing the easier level. Now, w/ the exception of teasers, I can do the harder versions of all the exercises even though I haven't specifically done pilates in a long time. I was just delighted, singing to myself "I can do the seal, woo woo woo."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Looking ahead, while looking back

I will be done with my training schedule in the next 2 weeks. I want to keep running. I think one of the things I really love about running is the progress I make. I ran for 16 minutes twice. I ran a mile and more TWICE in less than an hour. My mile times (I timed the first mile of the 16 minutes) were less than 13 minutes!! My mile last week was 13:30.

To look back and remember how I was dreading 6 minutes just a few weeks ago, makes me wonder what I can actual do next.
  • My initial running goal was to be able to run 2 miles straight. Then I felt like that would be too easy. (I still haven't done it, but within 2 weeks that goal should be accomplished)
  • Then I decided I wanted to do a 5k in less than 40 minutes. Well I am not there yet, but I frequently interval a 5k in about 42 minutes.

I am planning on doing a 5k on September 18th. (A nearby one raising money for autism research/services) That is well over a month away. So I want to make a new goal. I want to do it in less than 35 minutes. Maybe that goal isn't tough enough. But it seems huge to me. That would be a sub 12 min/mile pace.

So now I need to come up with a training plan to get faster. ???? I have between now and August 23rd to figure it out. I know I will do better if I have a plan written down. It is easier to drag myself out of bed at 6am or earlier when I have an "assignment"

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wow a shout out!

Thanks so much to Dana at "Running Commentary" for her lovely compliments on my blog. Her blog is very fun to read and has some great info!

Finally walking (well running) my talk...

My college professor Stacie's words still ring in my ears: "If you don't at least walk 45 minutes 3 times a week, you are a hypocrite." Actually over the last 14 years they have occasionally haunted me. You see I am a physical therapist, ummm.... technically an exercise professional. In my professional life I have asked the question "Have you been doing your exercises?" thousands of times... just waiting for one of my patients to look me over and say: "Have you?"

I have finally lived up to Stacie's expectation. I finally don't need to dread that patient. I have been doing my exercises!

I had my rationale, I specialize in homecare and geriatrics. If you have a running injury you don't come see me. Now, if you can't walk or get out of chair, I come see you. So, I was not asking my patients to do exercises I couldn't do. And I was never injured and asking someone to fix me, but not complying. I was just generally out-of-shape, but not actually complaining about it. But I was far from a good example.

I had a patient who recently inspired me, just as I began learning to run. She was close to 90, and had been diagnosed many years before with a dreaded debilitating disease of old age. I was amazed at how well she was doing both mentally and physically, considering the length of her diagnosis. Near the end of my visit I found out why she still functioned so well. Her husband told me she was a runner. She had even won several big races. As I thought about it, this sweet lady would have been my age in the 50's, not exactly a time when running was a common activity for a Midwestern homemaker. She was a pioneer. Even though she couldn't really have a complete conversation with me, she was an inspiration to me to start and keep running.

This brings me to a confession. Years ago I did a brief stint in our hospital's outpatient department. On one of my last days in outpatient I had a new patient who was a runner. He had complained of knee pain and I couldn't find anything wrong with him. Eventually he reported that it only hurt after he ran 3 miles. While I am happy to report that being the professional I am I suggested he schedule another evaluation for a time when he could run immediately before his appointment. I am ashamed to say that I really wanted to say " Well, then just run 2 and a half miles." I really couldn't see the point of running if it hurt. I wish I could have that one back. (Side note: if you have a running injury please only see a PT who has extra training in sports medicine!! Actually now I would have recommended that patient be evaluated at a sports medicine clinic. Even small cities usually have those.)

Running has enhanced my professional life. I have become more keenly aware of form and quality of movement. I have personally experienced the process of building up endurance. I love my job. I love my older patients, and helping people be able to function in their homes. And, I am good at it. Even though I am learning to love running, I have no plans to become a sports PT. But running has allowed me to relate better to my patient's experience. It is something I have to physically push and discipline myself to accomplish. For some of my patients, walking down a flight of stairs independently is their 5K. And as I work on my goals in running I can better sympathise and cheer them on toward their therapy goals.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A dog and a change of direction...

On Saturday I headed out for my run/walk. I was feeling pretty good, thinking I would do 11 minute intervals instead of the prescribed 10. I did my 5 minutes of warm up and then was 3 minutes into my first interval, when all the sudden a barking dog came running toward me. He stopped few feet from me. He did not want me running past his house. After a moment of sheer panic picturing bloody limbs, I calmed down and reflected that it wasn't worth trying to pass him, especially since I would have to pass back the same way. So I turned around and prayed that he wouldn't chase after me. As soon as I turned he stopped barking and sauntered back into his yard.

This kind of threw me. I hadn't mapped out where I would run heading south through town. I way underestimated my turn around time and had to run back past my home to finish my intervals, I turned around well before the dog's place though, which meant I had to go past my house again to cool down.

It was weird too, I had never seen this dog before. His apparent home is the next house after ours, but about 1/2 a mile away. We've drive past this house several times a week, and have never seen the dog since either. At first I thought he was a little vicious demon. I even cried a little as the adrenaline drained from my system and I felt shaken. Then I started to wonder. I had been considering running through town, but was too embarrassed. I had some concerns about the safety of running 2 miles in the country w/ only 2 houses, on a 55 mph road. I'd been saying it would be nice to have someone to run with, but never actually ran in a place where I might see someone else running. Makes me wonder if he was a little messenger dog, sent to make me turn around. Either way, now when I head out I am running south.


I actually ran for an entire mile!! It took me 13:30, but I did it! And the amazing thing is that I didn't collapse after! Instead I walked 2.5 minutes then ran another 12.5, walked 2.5 minutes, then ran another 12. The second interval was tough, but as I was running on the bridge over the interstate a pick-up below honked (cheerfully), that really gave me a boost for the next few minutes.

I feel like I have tons of energy, I am so pumped from "really" running.

Friday, July 23, 2010

It is all so worth it

It is ridiculously hot and humid outside. We skipped a park day we had planned. But the girls wanted to play in the back yard for a bit. They wandered to the back of the yard, and suddenly I was inspired to run over to them. And I ran across the yard like it was nothing, w/ nary an extra breath. So I grab a couple balls and my 2 year old, Holly, and I played kick the ball around the yard. She had so much fun running back and forth with mommy, and Heather (1 year) had as much fun toddling around after us.

Five weeks ago I wouldn't have done that. If I had to run across the yard to rescue someone, it didn't kill me, but I would be a little puffed. And chase the ball was a game where I "directed" more than participated. I would throw the ball and the girls would do the chasing. But today, I played. I ran around and had fun, and didn't get tired or even slightly short of breath!

When I started this fitness journey I had a vague notion of it being beneficial for my family. Today I have a concrete example. I have never delighted in playing with my girls so much. Tomorrow when I run I have even more inspiration to keep going!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why I hated running

The memory is vivid in my mind. The searing pain in my ankle, the tears and humiliation as I practically collapsed after my first lap around the track. It was early in 1986. I was in 6th grade. I had just moved to California. Back home gym had been kick ball and hula hoops. At my new school P.E. was serious business.

I hated running ever since that day, and the subsequent required runs in Jr High. We ran a timed 440, 880, and mile at least twice every quarter. We were graded on our base time, plus our improvement. But I don't remember ever being taught how to run, or build up to running the mile. The warm-ups consisted of me uncoordinatedly trying to follow some 8th graders as they led a series of exercises w/o instruction.

The recurring pain in my ankle, and wanting to die and never ever run again after the mile, are my strongest impressions of running. My parents did take me to a Dr. about my ankle. He took an x-ray, said he couldn't see anything wrong. But he told me "Some people aren't built to run." I latched on to that as my excuse for the next 20+ years. "I just wasn't built to run."

As I have discovered the joy of running I look back on that time w/ a mix of shock, amusement, and disgust. Shock that we were just expected to run and improve our running with no training, and no instruction. Amusement that I would be labeled "Not built for running." With my long legs, and (at the time) thin body, I was built just right for running. But what most disgusts me is that neither the gym teacher nor orthopedic surgeon thought to suggest maybe I needed to stretch before I ran. And that, plus a few ankle strengthening exercises, could put an end to that burning stabbing pain.

I don't tend to spend a lot of time on regrets. I briefly wonder what it would be like to have learned to run properly, maybe I could have... But in high-school and college I enjoyed my role as brainy academic non-athlete. So enough of looking back, I will rejoice that I found running, that I got a second chance to find my inner athlete. I will reclaim those years, by proving how cool it is to be in better shape at age 36 than at age 26 or even 16. And I have finally triumphed over Jr High P.E. class!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

10 minutes!!!

Did my 10 minute intervals today!! I was sucking wind a bit after the first interval. I had to remind myself halfway through the 2nd interval that the second one is the toughest. After that I started to feel good, and I ran for 11 minutes in the 3rd interval.. I think I went about 3.4 miles in 44 minutes. (I need to break out hubby's GPS, then I could have a definite time and distance.) That put me at 12:56 per mile!!! Ok not amazing or anything, but for me, it is great to break 13 minutes. I even had to stop for about 20 seconds to fix my sock. (Note to self, wear socks that stick out above shoes...)

It is getting hard not to just keep running. I would really love to get out there and just run w/o walking. But, I realize that I have a training regimen for a reason. And I am going to stick to it. Besides running today was challenging, but definitely doable. And to think less than 3 weeks ago I was wondering how I could possibly do 6 minute intervals. Next week I get to run for 12 minutes, that might be a whole mile!

Monday, July 19, 2010

How I found running...

Providence: a manifestation of divine care or direction.

Providence, that is how I found running. God organized a collection of happenings that led me to running north on my country road.

First, about 5 weeks ago I was fed up. I knew I was out of shape and anywhere from 15 to more like 30 pounds overweight. It was a little more than 10 weeks to my oldest daughter's 3rd birthday. I wanted to get back to my pre-pregnancies weight, actually I wanted to weigh less than my pre-pregnancies weight. So I made a goal to lose 15 pounds in 10 weeks. That would put me at 165, the highest healthy weight for my height, and 5 lbs less than when I became pregnant with Holly. However I did not want to go on a diet. I didn't want to change anything temporarily. I wanted to build permanent habits. So in addition to losing 15 pounds my goals were to exercise for 200 minutes a week, eat 5 fruits/veggies a day, and drink at least 20 oz of water a day.

The first week I walked (outside and on the treadmill), did some toning work outs on TV/DVD, and talked my hubby into a family bike ride. My treadmill time was limited to about 1/2 an hour during naps so to boost it up I jogged a few 1 minute intervals. I knew I hated running "distances". I had only run a complete mile twice in my life, and of course thought I was going to die after those. But those little one minute intervals were fun. And, one day I decided to see how long I could jog. So one day after a short warm-up I jogged for 5 minutes straight. I was tired but proud of myself. However, it still didn't click that running could be more than just a few minutes to pump up my walking.

In the spirit of my healthy lifestyle, when we out to eat with some friends that Friday, I suggested we walk on our municipal trail after dinner. It was a beautiful June evening, so the trail was busy with bikers, walkers, and runners. Though I hated running myself I have always been fascinated by those who actually did enjoy it. And I especially took note of two girls in "Lake Run Club" T-shirts since 14 month-old Heather called out a loud "Hi" and waved at them from her stroller.

At one point we passed an interesting woodsy area, with dirt trails off to the side of the paved trail. On the way back I wanted to check out this "Hidden Creek Nature Sanctuary" So I jogged on ahead a little bit. when I started walking through the side trail I noticed it was a bit dark in there, and though the trail ran roughly parallel to the main trail, I wasn't sure how far I had to go before I caught up with it. So I started to run. That is where it clicked. I was running, and I was enjoying it! I only ran for about 2 or 3 minutes before I caught up with the trail. But I was hooked.

As I thought about how fun it was to run, I remembered those girls and the Lake Run Club shirts. From the back of my memory banks came the idea that the Lake Run Club had a non-runner to runner training class. (i think I read about it in the paper) A quick online search, and i found them. I was disappointed to see that the class runs from Feb through April, but excited when I found their training regimen was posted online. I read through it and knew I could do it.

That was four weeks ago. Tomorrow I start my 10 minute intervals (10 min run/3 min walk : repeat 3 times) I don't think I have ever run for a total of 30 minutes in one day, let alone in one hour. And I am looking forward to it! I have even found that if I get up at 6am I can "run" outside, by myself before hubby leaves for work. I am no longer not a morning person.

I feel like tomorrow is a big day. Running for 30 out of 39 minutes, that could be the equivalent of a 5K, or farther. Looking forward to heading out my door and running north in the morning.

Friday, July 16, 2010

No more flowers, but a new discovery

As I headed out on my easy day walk/run this am. I was disappointed to notice that my flowers were gone. The roadside had been mowed. Only hearty thistle looking flowers survived. Nearly all of the delicate white flowers were gone. It was mostly greenish brown grasses, with all the white and purple gone. But then I looked closer. Along the edge were baby ferns. There intricate patterns were fascinating. I'm sure they were there all along. It is amazing what you don't see underneath the pretty and the obvious. It was easy to admire the flowers but more work to find the ferns. There is some type of deep thought in there.

Since I don't have an ipod or mp3 player, my walks/runs are spent praying, thinking, and singing hymns in my head. I guess that is another part of what I love about running. It motivates me to get up and spend time reflecting and talking to God.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Up before the flowers

I actually got up before the flowers today to run/walk. Today my hubby had to leave just after 6am. Which meant in order to get my training in I had to be out the door by 5:20. I am yawning now just typing this.

At midnight and 3am, when my 1 y/o was fussing I thought there was no way I was going to be able to get up at 5:15. I had not set my alarm, I asked God to wake me up if he wanted me to do this. Well my clock said exactly 5:15 when Heather cried out again and fussed just long enough to wake me up. God provided a cute, though occasionally irritating, little alarm clock.

When I got out there I was glad I had to start so early today. It was oppressively humid, but since the sun was just starting to rise it wasn't too hot yet.

We have a lot of nice wildflowers along our country roadside. There is one that looks like lovely delicate white scalloped bowl when I am out running in the early morning sun. But today they were still curled up like little trumpets. I was awake before the flowers.

I think I went about 3 miles. I definitely went farther than Tuesday. It took 42 minutes, including warm-up and cool-down. Not a fabulous time, but good for me, and I can only get better right?