Friday, December 11, 2009

5K Done!

I've been procrastinating writing this last entry in my blog because I was hoping for it to be some monumental, victorious, over-the-top statement of achievement. But, uh... nope. I finished the 5K. Actually, two of them. I'm doing another one on New Year's Day. Big whoop.

Ok, ok, that might be a little smug. In all honesty, I was completely thrilled when I finished the 5K on Thanksgiving morning. I was even more thrilled when I looked at my race results and saw that I ran a 12:35 pace. (Official chip time: 39:05) If you've been reading this blog, you know that my initial runs were around a 15:00 pace with the walking intervals, but even my running pace starting with the dreaded W5D3 was still in the 14:00's. I think I dipped into the 13:00's twice. I know that I've said that time doesn't matter, but that's just something slow people say. Haha, I'm such a bitch.

Anyhow, as promised, here is a picture from this year's Feaster Five, next to last year's. I'm about 30 pounds lighter than last year's photo, and hopefully next year I'll be 30 pounds lighter than this year's photo.

Thanks to the people who followed this blog and offered encouragement along the way. Running can be a very isolating sport, so I really appreciate everyone's support and interest. I look forward to following your progress in your blogs and in the C25K community. To end with a quote from one of my favorite running songs from my C25K journey: Don't Stop Believing!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Week 8: You know who's back up in this mother f**ker?

Compton, Long Beach, Englewoooood! Another awesome run inspired by the songs on my ipod. Today's credit goes to the D-O-double-G and the mother f**king D-R-E (Dr. Dre, mother f**ker!)

I think I left off on Week 8, Day 1 like 2 months ago or something like that. I haven't been running or even walking in all of this time, but I have lost about 25 pounds, and apparently I've turned into a wigger. Wow, I haven't used that word since 8th grade. But I digress.... Today I drove to Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield which is a flat 3 mile loop. I finished the whole thing with NO WALKING and with a time of 40:29 (13:30 pace).

I don't know if I will finish the C25K as written, but I feel like if I can run 3 miles non-stop, then mission accomplished. I do have 2 5K's coming up: one on Thanksgiving morning and another on December 5th. If I happen to run anytime between now & then, I'll blog about it, but if not, I feel no shame. I'll post a full race report for the Thanksgiving race, hopefully with photos. Here's the finish line photo from last year. My time was 49:47, a 16:02 pace (and I feel like I ran most of it.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Random post for a random run

I ran 2 days ago, and am finally getting around to posting about it. The run wasn't long enough in time or distance to be considered a week 8 run so I don't feel it appropriate to put it in that category, but I'm still going to blog about it just so you know I'm not sitting on the couch watching tv and eating cheetos.

Picture it: Saturday morning, North Reading, MA. I put my 5K mix and the whole New Kids on the Block "The Block" CD on my ipod shuffle. I really don't like the 2 mile out-and-back route that I do (perhaps you've heard me complain about it...) so I decided to do the old standby 1.6 mile loop. I ran the whole thing without stopping, and I finished in just under 21 minutes. It felt good to know I haven't regressed in my training to pre-W5D3 ability. It also felt good to realize that I just ran a 13:07 pace. That's about a minute off of my pace from my last run. Pretty good for slacking off for 3 weeks, eh?

I really need to finish the last 2 weeks of this C25K program. The annoying thing is that one of my co-workers wants to start the C25K program and because I'm not good at saying no to things I don't want to do, I somehow agreed to run with her 3 days per week. What? I don't have time to do my own workouts 3 days per week, and now I'm going to start over at week 1? Plus, she wants to run after work which is miserable, and she's rearranging her schedule to do it, so now I really feel obligated to do it with her. I had a dream last night that she had a doctor's appointment and told me that she'd be unable to run with me. Of all the dreams that I could wish would come true, I'm actually hoping it's this one.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Week 8, Day 1: So much for muscle memory

I finally made it to Horn Pond tonight, a day late, after being a week late. I got out of work late, made it to the Pond by 5:08, and had to make a phone call at exactly 5:45pm, so I knew I only had 37 minutes to complete the run. My run was only supposed to be 28 minutes, but knowing I only had 37 minutes eliminated the possibility that I would scrap the run and turn it into a leisurely walk. I thought the pond was 2 miles around, but I tracked it on the USATF site and it's only 1.92. It took me 29:39 to complete the loop. I'm not going to lie, I walked a lot. I told myself not to take my first walk break until 10 minutes in, which I did, but then the walk breaks were about every 2-3 minutes until I finished. I know in one of my previous posts I vowed to finish the program as written and without walk breaks, but I'm still counting this run at W8D1. If I don't, I'll never finish the program and I'll give up before running a 5K.

The tricky thing for me to do is to keep running 3 days per week. Daylight is shrinking and I feel like my schedule is getting busier. Those of you who me in real life will be shocked to know that I haven't watched any fall TV this year, so it's not even like I can cut useless TV watching from my schedule to find more time. (Ok! I lied again! I LOVE GLEE! But that's the only show I watch. Honest.)

Emily, Jane, and Michelle - who's up for a nice & easy 15:00/mile run on Saturday or Sunday?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Week Huh? Day What?

I can't believe it's been a whole week since I last ran. Although after the run I just had, maybe I can believe it. Week 8, where I should be, is 2.75 miles or 28 minutes. I planned to do my 2 mile loop, which had previously taken me 28 minutes. I included the 5 minute warm-up walk in that 2 miles, and then figured I'd add on distance at the end if I needed to meet the time. Buuuuut, I ended up walking about 20 minutes into the run, and then never got back into the groove. I walked a lot on the return home. My total time for 2 miles was 33:51. I obviously can't count this run for week 8, so I'll have to try again this week. I think I'll try running Horn Pond after work one night, because it's too dark in the morning and this 2 mile course is too damn hilly. Tomorrow night, I'll run Horn Pond tomorrow night. Thanks, Blog!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Week 7, Day 3: Ok, I get it, NO WALKING!

After my last run, I got some feedback about the walk break debate, and the general consensus is that I need to be doing the program as written, which is to say no walk breaks. So, to prove to myself and others that I can do this, I went out today and ran for 25 minutes with no walking. So there.

I went back to my old, original route today. While I like the exactness of the 2 mile route I'd been doing lately, it's much more hilly, which I think was contributing to my need for walk breaks. It was also taking me 28+ minutes to complete that loop, while the W7 workouts only call for 25 minutes. I feel like I've been in a state of indecision about the time vs. distance dilemma for too long, so I'm putting my foot down and making a declaration.

I, Effie of, will from here on out, finish the C25K program based on TIME, not DISTANCE. I will also RUN, not WALK the entire time. After week 9, when I'm done with the program as written, I will continue to increase my distance up to the 5K distance, or I will be bold and just sign up for a 5K and see what happens. This declaration is starting to sound wishy washy. I declare an end to this declaration.

I think I need to run a 5K before Halloween. It's getting really dark out in the morning. I might not even be able to finish C25K outside, unless I want to either run in the dark, or be late for work. I looked up 5K races again, and found this one, which takes place about a week and a half after I finish the C25K program. Pros: It's close to my home, and it's advertised as a run/walk. Cons: It looks like a first annual, which may mean poor turnout and/or poor organization. I also found this one on the next day: which is even CLOSER to my house and it's advertised as a flat course. I like flat. My decision could all come down to who plucks at my heart strings more: an old guy with dementia, or developmentally disabled children. Hrmmm... tough call. Is it rude to choose based on who has better post-race food?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Week 7, Day 2: To walk or not to walk?

Week 7, Day 2 completed today, 2 miles in 28:12, a 14:06 pace (and NO bathroom emergencies today. Yay!). I'm almost under a 14:00/mile pace! I took quite a bit of walk breaks on today's run, at no planned intervals or for a planned amount of time. I just walked when I felt like walking, and made sure to start running as quickly as I felt it possible. The end result? A faster time than the W7D1 run. I definitely felt myself running faster on the second half of the run (which is when I started taking the walk breaks).

I remember from my former life as a runner the age-old debate of walk breaks. Proponents of the walk break, namely Jeff Galloway, say that it's a good thing because it allows your body enough of a rest to be able to run faster & longer. Opponents say that if you need a walk break, you're probably running too fast, and slowing your pace down a bit will yield the same results. Then there are those elitists who are anti-walk break for the sole purpose that they are RUNNERS not WALKERS but for the intents & purposes of the walk break discussion in this blog, their opinion is too far out there to even be considered. So what do people think about walk breaks? And has it ever been suggested in the C25K program that we will be running a 5K without walk breaks? I'm interested to hear your opinions.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Week 7, Day 1: Cat Stevens, are you mocking me?

I felt good going into Week 7. I actually thought about the week and how I would attack it. I made two small adjustments. First, I cleared all the songs from my ipod and then made a 45 minute mix of songs that I wanted to hear on my run. I even put them in a logical order to try to match my psychotic moodiness. The order of the songs ended up being perfect, for reasons I'll explain later.

The second adjustment I made involves the timing of my runs. I decided that I would do the 5-minute warmup walk as a separate part of my loop, and then start my watch again when I started the run. I basically walk 2.5 minutes away from my house, then turn around and come back. The new route I've been running is exactly 2 miles from the top of my driveway, so doing the walk separately lets me actually RUN for 2 miles, and it allows me to time myself just on the running so I can compare my pace from day to day. The week 7 workout is the same every day: run 2.5 miles or 25 minutes. (Really? How many Couch to 5Kers are running a 10-minute mile?!) So I'm a 1/2 mile short on my runs, but that's pretty consistent with the whole program up until this point so I'm not sweating it. Today's 2-mile time was 28:40, which is a 14:20 pace. I'm resisting the urge to make a comparison here (thanks for the advice, Gift of Isis) so instead I'll just say that 14:20 sounds like a great starting pace upon which I can improve.

As my cousin Lisa says, I'm not afraid to talk about the good, the bad, and the poop. Brace yourself people, because it's time for another poop story. So the new 2-mile loop that I'm running is all residential. There are only 2 tiny wooded areas on the run, which are within 1/2 mile of each other. These are my only bathroom options, and neither of them are very appealing. I think one is a swamp, and the other one, I found out today, is a thicket of thorns. I passed the first bathroom option, willing my body to keep it together until I got home, but when I approached the second bathroom option, I knew it was now or never. There was one tall pine tree, and it was surrounded by a tall thicket of thorns, which I didn't realize until I got really close. My only option was to crawl underneath the branches of the pine tree to get behind it and hopefully out of sight of passing cars, kids waiting at the bus stop, people walking their dogs, etc. I was literally on my hands & knees scooching under branches. At one point, my headphones got snagged on a branch and got pulled off my head and then when I turned around to retrieve them, my shirt got caught on another branch. I'm lucky to have gotten out of there alive, people. Let me tell you, the suburbs are a very scary place. So anyway, I got far enough in to do my business, then had to crawl back out. LUCKILY, I'm fairly certain no one saw this 240-pound woman wearing sweatpants and lopsided headphones crawling out from underneath the pine tree. If they did, I'm dying to read the blog post they are writing right now. But wait! I have to tell you the best part! While all of this crawling and pooping was going on, the song on my ipod was Christina Aguilera's "Dirrty", which apparently is so dirty you need to spell it with 2 r's because that's the sound you make when you're doing dirty things, like crawling underneath a pine tree to take a dump. So that's pretty funny, right? Well it GETS BETTER. The very next song on my ipod that starts playing is Cat Stevens' "Can't keep it in", whose lyrics go, "Oh, I can't keep it in! I can't keep it in, I gotta let it out." How perfect is that? And more importantly, how did I not see the irony in these lyrics before? I've never made the connection in the hundreds of times I've listened to the song, but today, I swear I could see Yusuf Islam sitting on his prayer rug laughing his ass off.

Here's to hoping for a sub-14:00 pace and no bathroom emergencies on the next run.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Week 6, Day 3: Guess who's back?

That's right, bitches, Effie's back. (Sorry, that was rude.)

I completed day 3 of week 6 today, a 25 minute run with no walking. I did walk for 1 minute at about 22 minutes into the run, but that was on a short uphill and I purposely kept the walk to only 1 minute. For the past couple of days and up until the minute I left the house this morning, I've been indecisive about what workout routine I would do next. (Side note: I just realized I may have had this conversation with myself before. I am sort of alarmed that I didn't notice this until right now.) Anyway, I didn't think I was ready to do 25 minutes, and somehow I got off schedule for the past 2 weeks where my day 3 run is occurring on Monday morning which really messes me up. But as I started walking this morning, I decided I'd just do the 25 minutes, or the best I could in trying to do it. I think walking for 1 minute is pretty damn good. I also ran a new route today, which I think helped me mentally. The new route is 2 miles total, so I'm still coming up short on the distance since I'm supposed to be running 2.25 miles, plus the distance of the 5 minute warm-up walk. I'm excited for week 7 because every day is the same, so I'm planning to run that same route and hopefully I'll see an improvement over my total time by the end of the week, and then I can increase the distance for week 8. Yep, I'm definitely back.

Today's time: 30:40 including warm-up.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Week 6, Day 2: The Bad and The Ugly

I finished today's run as written: 5 minute walk/10 minute run/3 minute walk/10 minute run, but I don't feel pride or accomplishment or relief. I feel fat and slow and like I could be doing permanent long term damage to my knees. I haven't lost any weight since I've started, and my running pace hasn't gotten any faster. I'm running slower than most people walk. Part of me thinks that even if I quit today, I wouldn't be disappointed in myself since I feel like this whole program is not worth it anyway.

I'm not fond of this post, but I'm leaving it in anyway because I said I'd blog honestly about each and every run. Here's to hoping the 25 minute run on W6D3 will be awe-inspiring.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Week 6, Day 1: Redemption

Today was attempt #2 at Week 6, Day 1. I did it, but I sorta cheated, but also possibly made it harder than it was supposed to be. The workout called for a nice symmetrical pyramid of 5run/3walk/8run/3walk/5run. I did the 5run/3walk but then stretched the 8run into 12run, but skipped the second 3min walk. Basically, in the middle of the workout, I decided I wanted to just go home, so I ran all the way. I finished 4 minutes shy of what was supposed to be the total time, but 3 of those 4 minutes were walking minutes. It's not really worth debating if this is "ok" or not. I did it, I'm counting it as a completed workout, and I'm moving on. I don't know why I sound so defensive right now.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Week 6, Day 1: Pity Party for 1

Today sucked. I was supposed to do 5 run/3 walk/8 run/3 walk/5 run, and instead I did 4 run/20 walk. I felt fine physically, but mentally I had a lot of self-doubt going on. I was disappointed in myself for something else (I don't even remember what it was) so somehow decided that I should rob myself of any kind of personal acheivement. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go find a shrink.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Week 5, Day 3: Don't Stop Believin'

I DID IT! The 20-minute uninterrupted run! I did it, I did it, I DID IT!!!!!

Just like Jan, and Nike, and everyone on the C25K program says, you just do it. My legs felt exactly like they did on the W5D2 workout, and that is, SORE. After the first 5-8 minutes of running, I really wanted a walk break, but I knew it wasn't an option, so I just kept on going. I also knew from W5D2 that at 18 minutes, I felt like I got my second wind. Of course, that was after a 5 minute walk break, but it didn't matter. I told myself today that once I got to 18 minutes, then it would be easy. And it was, sorta. My legs felt better and the urge to walk was greatly diminished. Plus, the last half mile of my route is a gentle down hill. It's also remarkable that no matter what song comes on my ipod at this point, it's always the BEST SONG to run to. Today it was Journey's Don't Stop Believin'. Oh my god, all of a sudden I was powered with piss & vinegar, and a whole lot of cheese (not like cheddar, but like, 80's hair band cheese.) For that last half mile, I had a stupid grin on my face, and I may have even high fived myself at one point. I finished my loop in 25:29, which means I ran 29 seconds more than I needed to, and honestly I felt like I could have run for another couple of minutes, or at least until the Journey song ended and John Denver's Sunshine on my Shoulder started.

YAY me!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Week 5, Day 2: Take Two

I completed Week 5, Day 2 this morning by the book. Lessons have been learned. I didn't drink or smoke yesterday, got a good night's sleep, and went to the bathroom plenty of times this morning before heading out the door. That's so common sensical of me.

The run was good. It was a nice cool day, and it's early enough on a Sunday that I barely saw any cars or people, which I liked. I added on 1/10th of a mile by going up a different street in the middle of my loop and then connecting back to my regular route, which was perfect because I ended at my driveway just as the stopwatch clicked 26:00. So my loop is 1.7 miles, and that includes the 5 minutes of walking. I've had this conversation with myself before... the distance really isn't long enough. Tomorrow's 20 minute uninterupted run is noted on the C25K program as 2 miles or 20 minutes. For me, it'll be more like 1.3 miles, or 20 minutes. Which is fine, I suppose, except the program is called C25K not C230minutes of running. Oh well, I can worry about that later.

Some boring details about today's run: the first 8 minutes of running really hurt my legs. I (felt like I) was carrying around 250 pounds of booze-drinking, fast-food eating, cigarette-smoking sloth. The second 8 minutes, though, that was good. My legs felt better, I actually felt like I was running faster, and I was even having visions of me running in a 5K race with people cheering me on. I love these endorphin-inspired visions. It usually involves me doing something impressive, like running, and my ex-boyfriend or some snob that I hated in high school is inevitably standing on the sidelines with jaw dropped, in total disbelief that I'm so awesome now. And then they read this blog and realize, Nope! She's still just a fat loser!

Speaking of a 5K race, I might do one tomorrow morning. I know, I know, I'm 4 weeks early. But I think I'll try to do my 20 minute uninterrupted run and then just walk the rest, or I'll walk the first mile and try to run the rest. We'll have to wait and see.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Week 5, Day 2: Lessons Learned

Today's run was going to be really good, but fell short because of a few very preventable reasons. It might be time for a formal Lessons Learned review for me.

Lesson #1: I'm not a drinker. I drink maybe a few times per year. This week, I've consumed alcohol 4 of the last 7 nights. Last night I ordered a martini, which is 100% alcohol. (Ok, so maybe I ended up dumping it into a big red plastic cup that I asked the waiter to fill halfway with Sprite, but still....) Even without getting drunk, trying to get up and run the next morning is hard. Your body just wants to sleep in and eat Devil Dogs for breakfast. More than usual, I mean.

Lesson #2: I don't smoke either. (except when I drink....) I don't really need to elaborate on this one, do I?

Lesson #3: I need to use the bathroom before I start running. I have learned this lesson many, MANY times, but knowing and doing are two different things. Don't get me wrong, I do try! But unfortunately my brain and my colon have about a 10 minute delay in the transfer of information. So today I did my 5 minute warm-up walk, then I was supposed to run for 8 minutes. I ran for 4 minutes, then I had to walk, but not because my legs were sore, or my body was dehydrated from alcohol, or my lungs were weak from the smoking, but because I felt like I was going to shit my pants. I walked for a minute, then ran for another minute or two, then walked the rest of the way to my new BFF, the port-a-potty.

The schedule for today was 8 minutes of running (I did about 5-6 minutes sporadically, with clenched cheeks), then 5 minutes of walking, then 8 minutes of running. Luckily, I made it to the port-a-potty with about 20 seconds left on the 5 minute walking segment. Once my visit was done, I happily ran the last 8 minutes home. I didn't even really notice that I was running for that long. So, damn, today could have been awesome! I'm definitely repeating today's workout before moving on. Partly because I feel like I need to, and partly because I'm scared of the 20-minute uninterrupted run. I'd like to say that I'm getting back on track and will have a great run tomorrow, except I'm going out again tonight with the intent of getting shit-faced. So, Sunday then?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Week 5, Day 1: Sweet Relief

After last week's botched run on day 3, I was wondering if I'd start week 5 or repeat week 4. I decided that my mind isn't allowed to hold me back, only my body is. So I started week 5 today knowing that if it was too much, then I'd back off and repeat week 4 if I needed to. I really liked the simplicity of today's workout. Alternating 5 minutes of running with 3 minutes of walking for a total of 21 minutes. I finally felt like what I did could be considered running. 5 minutes is just long enough to get into a groove. My legs didn't hurt as much as they did last week during the 5 minute segment, which is even more impressive when you consider that I did three 5-minute segments today.

But actually, that's not entirely true. Something interesting happened during the middle of my run, interupting my second 5-minute running segment. It was a very remarkable sight. The sky opened and the earth shook, and I couldn't believe my eyes. The padlock on the port-a-potty was NOT THERE! And! And! There was TOILET PAPER in the port-a-potty! Man, there is nothing better than a good bathroom break.

Back to negative thoughts and self-doubt -- this is the first week where every workout gets progressively harder. I may have mentioned that the 3rd workout this week is a 20-minute uninterrupted run. I'm going to try to complete each workout as is, and if I can't do it, I'll repeat it until I can. Hey, that wasn't really negative or self-doubting. That's progress.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Week 4, Day 3: There's good, and then there's good for me

This update is a day late, and is about to be a dollar short. I ran yesterday morning and it was rough. I was lacking energy and felt really sluggish and slow(er than usual.) I did the first half according to schedule, but then I got really tired and instead of pushing through, I just decided to walk when I wanted to walk and run when I wanted to run. I had to make an effort not to beat myself up about it. I don't look at it as if I've failed, I look at it like I was having a tough day, but I listened to my body, and I still did walk/run for 25 minutes which is more than I could have done a few weeks ago. I'm undecided as to how this is going to affect week 5. I might continue on, or I might repeat week 4. I'll see how I feel Monday morning.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Week 4, Day 2: Halfway there!

I'm officially over the hump of the half way point. I don't feel like it should be half over. I can only run for 5 minutes at a time, and by the end of next week I should be up to 20 minutes? Huh? Is there some worm hole at the end of week 4 that I don't know about?

Today's run was good. It's getting darker in the morning already, and it's still August! It was nice and cool today too, although I was still sweating like crazy by the time I finished. I did NOT, however, smell like seaweed. The best part of the run was when I ran up the steep little hill. Normally my walk break starts when I'm halfway up the hill, and it can never come soon enough, but today I knew I'd be at the top of the hill before it was time to walk. Amy Ray's "Bus Bus" was playing on my ipod, and hot damn! That song is definitely a keeper if I ever get around to making a mix specifically for running. Right now there is just random crap on there, and as much as I love John Denver, I don't really feel like a running superstar when he starts singing "You Fill up my Senses."

Does anyone recommend any good running songs? Some of favorites from training runs past include:

Rage Against the Machine, Killing in the Name Of -- a little rough, but on hills when my body is yelling at me to stop and walk, I say back "Fuck you I won't do what you tell me!"
Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood, Squeeze Me In -- I wouldn't have ever thought of this as a good running song, but when I heard it on one of my runs last week, it really kept me zooming along. And by zooming, I mean like a sub 15:00 pace!
Rascal Flatts, Praying for Daylight -- Not a super motivator in the emotional sense, but it's got a good groove that puts a pep in your step.

Who's got more? I'm tired of doing all the talking...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Week 4, Day 1: Week 4, Really?

I can't believe it's week 4 already, and after the next run, I'll be more than halfway done. What? Can that be right?

Today's workout was so confusing I had to write it on my hand in pen. Following the standard 5-minute warm-up, it was 3 minutes of jogging, 90 seconds of walking, 5 minutes of jogging, 2.5 minutes of walking, 3 minutes of jogging, 90 seconds on walking, and then 5 minutes of jogging. Confusing as it was, I actually liked these intervals. 3 minutes of jogging is what I did last week, so I knew I could do that. 90 seconds of walking is the perfect amount. 5 minutes of jogging was killing my legs today, but I did it, and it was nice to feel a bit of a struggle. It was also nice to walk for 2.5 minutes after that. I don't want to psych myself out too much, but the last workout for next week is a 20 minute run with no walk breaks. I'll be damned if I don't cherish every one of those 150 seconds of walking this week!

I also had to add some distance to today's run. During my last 5 minute run, I knew I'd reach home before the time was up, so I added a short cul-de-sac and that was enough. My overall pace is still slower than most people's walking pace, but that's including the 5 minute walk at the start, and oh yeah, time doesn't matter.

I like the back-to-back Monday/Tuesday runs, so I'm going to try to run again tomorrow. I definitely don't want to leave this week's last run to the weekend again. That was miserable.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Week 3, Day 3: The Tuft of Kelp

I just got back from my last run for Week 3. I shouldn't have waited until Sunday. I shouldn't have had 5 drinks on Friday night. I shouldn't have eaten McDonald's for lunch yesterday. Also, the whole neighbhorhood smelled like seaweed. Or maybe-- and this is just occurring to me now-- maybe I smelled like seaweed and was just breathing in my own stink the whole time. So basically, I'm a fat smelly proscrastinating loser, but at least I did it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Week 3, Day 2: Slump Busted!

Wowee, that last post did the trick! My run this morning was great. I went solo today, with my iPod, and completed the loop in the fastest time yet, 24:59. I think writing the post last night took my mind back to being a runner. Instead of thinking, "I'm doing this! I'm really doing this!" like on most previous runs, I was not thinking about it, I was just doing it. I'm definitely ready to move on to the next week. I have one more day to complete for week 3, which will likely end up being on a weekend day. I really don't have much else to report on from this morning. And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go look up 5K races in October.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Slump Buster

Week 3 is halfway over, and so far I've just done 1 day, and it wasn't a very inspiring day at that. I've decided that before I officially fall into a slump, I need to recharge by writing a (hopefully) motivating post about why I want to run. I've decided to list a few of my most memorable road races. In no particular order, here they are.

1. Claddaugh Pub, March 3, 2002. 4 miles, 37:32 (9:23 pace). The thing I remember most about this run was the anticipation of it. Emily and I decided at Christmas of 2001 that we would run a marathon. I don't really remember the conversation, except that somebody mentioned the word "marathon", and Emily who is ever-enamored by a new plan and who can be very persuasive in convincing others to join her in these pursuits, was there to hear said word, and that's really all it took. Neither of us were runners, but we immediately started a slow & steady training program. By March 3rd, the day of the Claddaugh Pub 4 Mile Road Race, neither of us had run that distance, and we were both terrified. The longest either of us had run was probably a 5K or maybe 3.5 miles. I remember one of my dad's running buddies saying with complete confidence that if we could do 3 miles, we can do 4 no problem. I'd probably say the same thing to someone else these days, but at the time, those words of encouragement sounded far-fetched at best, and absurd at worst. If you can run 3 miles, then you can run 4 miles? At the time, I thought, No, if I can run 3 miles, then that means I can run just that. 3 MILES. Maybe I'll be able to walk/crawl/roll the last 1 mile. But of course, we all know how the story goes by now, we DID run 4 miles, and it was all good, just like it always is.

2. Bonnell Ford 5 Mile Bunny Hop, April 27, 2003. 47:04 (9:28 pace). I remember two things about this race. I ran the fastest 1 mile of my whole life in the first mile of this race. I think it was like 7:53 or something. I felt so impressed with myself for having done that, but also knew that I had 4 miles of hell ahead of me since there was no way I could sustain that pace (proof: my 9:28 pace). The middle of this race is a blur, but the second thing I remember about this race was that the during the final mile, I had my dad in my sights and I was trying my damnedest to beat him, something that has never happened still to this day. I was huffing and puffing and trying everything to inch my way up to him before the looming finish line. There was one woman between my dad and me, and she totally thought I was racing her because she'd look over her shoulder and turn on the juice. I stayed right behind her, and then she started huffing and puffing and was determined not to let me beat her. If I had any extra energy or breath left, I would have told her that I wasn't trying to beat her, I was trying to beat the guy in front of her, but I suppose it was good for all of us to run until complete exertion. And by "all" I mean me and her. My dad was shuffling along happily, totally oblivious that I was about to pass out trying to catch him. In the end though, he finished only 3 seconds ahead of me. Maybe if I didn't run a sub-8:00 first mile, I could have caught him. Say what you will about running just for fitness, but even the back-of-the-packers can experience the thrill of competition sometimes.

3. The Great Stew Chase, February 2, 2003. 15K (9.3 miles) 1:44:00 (11:10 pace). . It's funny, I never knew this race was called the "Great" Stew Chase. I must have dropped the word "Great" from my memory because this was THE. WORST. RACE. EVER. Basically it was snowing and sleeting and freezing rain, and I was dead last. A 96 year old man with a limp passed me. The ambulance and the police cruiser were creeping along right behind me. For over 9 miles. If someone had told me that in less than 3 months I'd be sprinting to the finish with my dad in another race, I would have said no way can that happen because I'm never running again. For the last 2 or 3 miles of this race, I ran with a runner who already finished but had circled back around to do a victory lap (I will never understand that.) He must have seen how miserable I was and ran with me out of pity. That's the only explanation I can think of. I kept telling him that he could leave me but he stuck it out, and I'm glad he did because the last few miles went by much more quickly. Had he not run with me, I probably would not have ended up sprinting to the finish line 3 months later. I also passed another runner in the last 1/10th of a mile, so HE ended up being dead last. Sorry Robert Levine of Lynn, MA. Consider yourself bamboozled.

4. Vermont City Marathon, May 25, 2003. 5:33:40 (12:44 pace). Of the two marathons I completed, I remember the second one, Vermont City, more. Sure the Chicago Marathon was my first, and I will always cherish those memories in a special place in my heart, but let's be honest, popping your marathon cherry can sometimes hurt and your memory of it is nothing more than you closing your eyes and gritting your teeth and waiting for it to be over. Now the second marathon, oh yeah, now we're enjoying ourselves. Wait a minute, should I be horny right now? Probably not. Uhhh, so, moving on.... Vermont City Marathon. What a great race. Emily and I signed up for this race because we didn't want the high from finishing Chicago to fade. Unfortunately, our training fell by the wayside. Besides the Awful Stew Chase, I think we may have done one 12 mile run, and that was pretty much it for training. The course map for the VCM was a cloverleaf through downtown Burlington, VT. We decided that since we already paid for the registration fees, we would still go to the marathon, and drop out downtown on our third pass through, which would roughly be mile 15 or so. We figured this would be the height of the post-race festivities since most of the runners would have already completed the full 26.2 miles at this point. But when you're hyped up on starbursts and oreos that they were handing out at mile 12 and you're charging up a steep hill at mile 15, you think, Hey? What's another 11.2 miles? And so on we went. The second half of this race was euphoric for me. I can't explain why. The runners were really spread out, and Emily and I separated. I think I was just in some sort of zone and was just cruising right along. I ended up beating my Chicago Marathon time by about 14 minutes, and considering the lack of training we did prior to this race, I have to give most of the credit to muscle memory. (And a little to starbursts and oreos.)

5. Curley Goulet Trail Run, who knows when or where or how long. When I cleared my mind and asked myself, "If you could do any race again, what would it be?" and this was the first and only race that came to mind. Race is too strong a word. I still don't know what this was, and the closest I can come up with is that it was an inside joke that Emily and I walked into blindly. We had never done a trail run before, so we didn't know if it was normal that the registration booth was in the woods, and that people were being mysteriously silly, and that there was no course map. Once we started running, we quickly found ourselves in a clearing in the middle of the woods drinking beer. This was no race! It was a front for a secret society of nature happy beer drinkers! Sure, I could do this now, but I'd probably be arrested like a white trash loser who drinks in the woods. Slap a race number and a pair of sneakers on me though, and suddenly I'm untouchable. I want to be untouchable. I want to be a runner.

Weeee!!! Is it tomorrow morning yet?!?!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Week 3, Day 1: 3 minutes? Is that all you got?

Craig and Lucy and I completed Week 3, Day 1 of C25K today. The schedule for today called for the usual 5 minute brisk walk, then 2 repetitions of 90 seconds jogging/90 seconds walking and 3 minutes jogging/3 minutes walking. According to my calculations, this equals 9 minutes of running, which is the same amount of running we did last week. Last week our time to complete 1.6 miles was 25:15, but today our time to complete the same distance, with the same number of minutes spent running, was 28:34. I know time doesn't matter. I'm just sayin'...

The three minutes of running was fine, except that I kept looking at my watch every 10 seconds. Once I get a feel for how long three minutes lasts, I'll hopefully be able to time it better and it won't drag on so much. I can't believe I'm going to say this, but 3 minutes of walking was too long. It felt like 1 step forward, 2 steps back. Maybe I need to run faster. Wait-- no! Maybe I just need to be happy that I completed today's program and do it again twice more this week.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Week 2, Day 3: Movin' right along...

...footloose and fancy free. Well, something like that. Today was the last workout of week 2, which was alternating 90 seconds of running and 2 minutes of walking. That same part that killed me on Tuesday killed me today, the running between 19:00 and 20:30, but I think that's because it's uphill. Other than that, every other part of the workout was fine. My legs feel fine, my feet aren't sore, my breathing isn't too labored. I'm almost ready to say that I'm almost ready to move on to next week. I looked at next week's schedule when I got home from the run and it involves running for 3 minutes. I can't do 3 minutes! But, hrmm, I probably can.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Week 2, Day 2: Pump Up the Volume

Today is the first day I ran alone, and with an ipod, and Holy Cow what a difference. I didn't think I was running any faster, especially because I was noticing that the landmarks at my intervals were about the same as yesterday, but I must have miscounted yesterday towards the end and skipped the last running interval (though I don't see how that's possible) but anyway, I ended up finishing the loop in 25:54, compared to yesterday's 30:17. 4.5 minutes off of a 1.6 mile loop? I know, I know, time doesn't matter; but, but, 4.5 minutes off of a 1.6 mile loop! Who rules? Effie rules!

For those of you doing the math at home, I told you I was painfully slow! And also, you should download Craig's PaceMate application here which makes it easy to calculate your pace AND your projected race time for 5K, 10K, marathon, etc. The downside of this joy is that I already have to start thinking about increasing the distance. I knew in my head I'd have to do that eventually, but I didn't think that it would happen so soon. I'll probably just keep the same 1.6 mile loop, but add some down & back side streets or even just pass my house for a few minutes and then turn around. I'm not ready to do two full loops, which probably won't happen until the very last week of the program. Two full loops is 3.2 miles, and a 5K is 3.1 miles, so eventually the goal is to be able to run 2 full loops. I think I'm giving myself a panic attack. Back to the present now.

I started feeling the beat down at about minute 17 of today's run. My 90 second running intervals were getting longer and longer and my 2 minute walk breaks were getting shorter and shorter. The last running interval was downhill AND there was a great song on my ipod (Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood's "Squeeze Me In") so I totally rocked that and almost continued running all the way home for the last minute or so, but then remembered that I'm fat and lazy so I walked it instead. Today was the first day that felt like a run. I was out of breath and sweaty when I got home, and that felt good.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Week 2, Day 1: New Shoes, New Woman

I wish this blog had the capability to play background music because you'd all be totally hearing the theme from Rocky right now. Do do DO do! Do do DO do do! Do do DO do... well, you get it.

I feel like Thursday was so long ago, so I'm glad I was able to jump up early on a Monday morning and knock out the Week 2 program for C25K. I wasn't really nervous about it. I looked at the program last night to see what was different. 90 seconds of running compared to 60 seconds from last week, but the walking interval also went up to 2 minutes instead of 1.5 minutes. I was looking forward to doing the longer intervals, and it felt good while I was doing it too. I felt like I could get into a groove more, instead of always looking at the watch and starting & stopping every minute. That being said, 90 seconds definitely felt like a long time to be running. I wasn't dying at the end of each spurt, but I always welcomed the walk break. I'm curious to see if I still feel that way after Day 3 this week. Craig and Lucy came with me again today. At about the 20 minute mark, I said to Craig, "This feels good, right?" and he said, "Yeah, except for the pain. And the lack of pleasure." C'mon, Eeyore, only another 1/2 mile til we're back at House at Pooh Corner.

Kidding aside, part of the reason for Craig's pain was his new shoes. We both went to Marathon Sports on Saturday to get new running shoes. A word of advice for anyone thinking of running: Go to a good running store and have a knowledgable sales person help you find a shoe. It's hard to resist those $30 sneakers in the bargain bin, but when you have to buy 4 pairs of them until you find one that doesn't cause pain, you're better off spending $100 from the start. The people at Marathon Sports will watch you walk and pick a shoe that fits the motion of your foot and how it strikes the ground. I've suffered from plantar fasciitis in the past, so good shoes are exceptionally important to me. My favorite running shoe of all time was the Adidas Supernova. I did both the Chicago Marathon and the Vermont City Marathon in Adidas Supernovas, but then they changed the design. For the past year, I've been wearing the next closet thing to Adidas Supernovas, the Adidas Supernova Sequence, but that design has also changed. When I tried it on in the store, I immediately felt like it was too cushiony, which the sales rep confirmed when she watched me walk in them. I ended up with a pair of Asics that I tried out Sunday morning on a very brief walk/run, and my plantar fasciitis immediately flared up. It was the first time that the thought of an injury even occurred to me. So I returned those shoes and finally ended up with a pair of Brooks Adrenaline, which I tested this morning, and had no problems with. Phew, that was a really long paragraph about footwear.

I still haven't picked set running days. I want to run again tomorrow. I don't know why, but I feel so pumped up from my Monday morning run that I don't want to wait two more days to run again. Did I really just say that? YES! I! DID!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Week 1, Day 3

Craig and Lucy and I all ran together again today. This time we did the full training schedule with 20 minutes of jogging/walking instead of 15. It wasn't that hard, since that's really only 2 more minutes of running (and 3 of walking), and we'd already been covering the distance so we didn't need go around the block one more time or anything. I don't feel like I'm that far behind, although we may still go for a run on Saturday morning which would be the 4th workout for the week.

One of the biggest challenges today was my feet that are hurting more and more with each run. I still need to go buy new running shoes. Other than foot pain from bad sneakers, I haven't really felt any pain anywhere else. I know my pace doesn't matter but part of me feels like I should be running faster. I also feel like I shouldn't feel that way.

I have a lot of doubts this morning, not that I can't finish the program, but that I'm going to trudge through it and be done with it and nothing will have changed. What happened to the Effie from last night? I want her back.

The Facebook Note heard 'round the world

I know it's only been three days, but I'm sort of obsessed with this new plan. I think the reason I'm so excited for it is not so I can run a 5K race at the end of 9 weeks, but it's because I think my whole life will be different. Maybe it will, and maybe it won't, but I need to believe it will otherwise I'll never get off the couch.

Actually, I need to stop myself right there because I've already noticed something that is changing this time. Things won't just be different, I'm going to have to make them different. I was having a conversation with my cousin Emily the other day about how we've always felt that any change in career or relationship or living situation made us think, "Ah ha, NOW I'm going to lose weight/get healthier/be happier." While an external change might be the catalyst, all of the power needed to change a situation still comes from inside. I know that sounds dreadfully banal, but I'm just catching on to this theory now. I feel like John Candy in the Planes, Trains & Automobiles scene when he & Steve Martin are driving on the wrong side of the interstate and the people on the correct side of the interstate are yelling, "YOU'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!" John Candy looks at Steve Martin dumbfoundedly and says, "How would he know where we're going?" And onward they go until they are faced with two oncoming semis. Talk about an Ah-ha moment.

So what is my Ah-ha moment? At what point did I decide to take this sinking ship and point it home? (Planes, Trains, Automobiles AND BOATS!) Honestly, I think it's when I read Jan's Facebook note. That girl has inspired the shit out of me-- quite literally, if you read the comments in my last post. So instead of me gushing about it some more, I'll let you have a read for yourselves. Enjoy!

Yes, after 9 weeks of all of you putting up with constant status updates from me about this program, it is finally finished. I did the last day of Couch to 5K this morning. So I thought I'd write a little bit about what this program has involved and what results I've seen since I started.

9 weeks ago, I started Couch to 5K almost on a whim. The first week's schedule is a 5-minute warmup walk, followed by 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking, repeated for 20 minutes. I was winded by the time I finished my 5-minute warmup walk, and I thought the first 60-second run was going to kill me. My heart was pounding, I was out of breath to the point that I couldn't even talk, and I was thinking that maybe I would need to repeat the first week's schedule, oh, maybe a dozen more times, before I would be ready to move on.

But I kept on going. I didn't miss a scheduled run. I was never unable to complete a scheduled run. Every week, I thought to myself that I wouldn't be able to finish this week's scheduled intervals, and then every week I did it anyway. I started sleeping better. I found that I became more flexible. I discovered that I could run up several flights of stairs without getting winded, could chase after my toddler without feeling my heart race.

In week 5 of the program, I completed a 20-minute uninterrupted run and felt like I had climbed a mountain. This is big-time stuff for me. From childhood I have thought of myself as basically sedentary and unathletic, someone who likes reading books but isn't very good at sports and definitely isn't any good at running. But there I was, out on the trail, running for 20 minutes. I started revising my inward opinion of my unathletic nature.

By the time I got the final week, week 9, I was no longer saying things like, "I don't think I can do this week's schedule," or, "I hope I can finish but I probably won't." I had come to realize that my body can do pretty much anything I want it to, as long as I train it slowly and gradually. This morning, I ran for 2.5 miles and felt good at the end. Good! No kidding!

I'm still overweight but I've lost 14 pounds since I started. I've lost 4 inches from my waist and 2 from my hips (but none from my thighs, possibly because I'm building muscle there?). I'm running a 5K in September, a 5-miler on Thanksgiving, and a half-marathon next May.

I think this program is the best thing I have ever done for myself.

So that's my report on Couch to 5K. It probably goes without saying that I would highly recommend this to anyone who is considering a fitness program, especially one involving any sort of running.

Wow, Jan. I got goosebumps all over again. Can't wait for my run tomorrow morning!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Week 1, Day 2: A Family Affair

Finished Week 1, Day 2 today. I am so motivated to do this, so I ran back-to-back days. I'm still trying to decide on what days I want to run for the coming weeks. Maybe a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule, or a Monday-Tuesday-Thursday schedule. I don't want to plan to run on the weekends. Instead I'll use them as spillover days in case I need to play catch-up.

Today's run was good. The highlight for me was that Craig (my husband) and Lucy (our dog) also ran! Despite the fact that Craig turned to me during one of our running spurts and said, "I feel like I'm running in place," it was a successful run for all of us and we generally stuck together (except for one brief moment where I had to uh.... "go look for something" in the woods.) I was the keeper of the watch, and I felt like the intervals came and went a lot quicker than yesterday. Maybe it's because we were running together that time didn't feel like it was dragging on. I'm almost looking forward to running and walking longer intervals next week.

I just looked at the schedule, and realized I've made a terrible error. I accidentally ran 5 minutes shorter than I was supposed on both days. I was counting the 5 minute warm-up as part of the total time, but now I see it's a 5-minute warm-up PLUS 20 minutes of alternating walking/jogging. <mini panic attack> Maybe this isn't as easy as I thought it would be! Can I do that for another 5 minutes? Do I need to start over completely? Should I just delete this blog instead of publicly admitting my mistake? Is anyone else picturing the scene from Airplane! right now with a group of people lined up slap me? </end mini panic attack>

I've decided that I'll just do the correct training schedule the next time I run, which will likely be Thursday morning. Maybe I'll do a 4th workout this week as well, but if I don't, I don't. It's all good. I need to remind myself that I can always repeat a week, so if next week comes and kicks my ass, then I can keep repeating the workout until I'm comfortable to move on. Craig had a moment during our run this morning where he said, "I'll never be able to run 3 miles!" but I told him what I told myself. We're going to do this like the alcoholics do, and take it One Day At A Time. We don't need to be able to run 3 miles, or even 20 minutes instead of 15. All we have to do is go out there and jog until it's time to walk, then walk until it's time to jog, and so on. I hate to sound like a Weight Watchers leader here, but a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I need to end this post now before I quote another program's motto. Until next time, Be All You Can Be.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Week 1, Day 1

I knew last night that I was planning to run this morning. I did a load of laundry with my only two sports bras last night. I put everything in the dryer, then went to bed. This morning when I went downstairs to get my laundry, everything in the dryer was still soaking wet. Really? An excuse not to run on the very first day? Not so fast! I've got two words for you: Gung Ho. Or how about: Backup Bra. Now let's get this show on the road.

Today's running program called for a brisk 5-minute warm-up, then alternating 60 seconds of jogging/90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. I was actually surprised by how quick the time went. I thought I'd jog for 10 seconds and look at my watch thinking the minute must be over by now, but that didn't happen. In fact, a few times I looked at my watch and found that I had gone over by a second or two.

The main reason that I found it fairly easy is that my jogging pace is so........... slow............. I've actually done C25K in the past but have never finished it. I think I always had too many expectations, or pushed myself too much. I'm taking Jan's advice and I'm just going to "do it anyway." If that means going at a snail's pace, then so be it. And honestly, I don't give a crap about time, so it's really not an issue for me this time. If that changes in the coming weeks, then I'll point myself to this post. Hey Effie: TIME DOESN'T MATTER!!

A few things that do matter? Sneakers. I need new ones. Knowing my history with running shoes, I have to go to a speciality running store like Marathon Sports or Whirlaway Sports and have the experts pick a pair for me. I've tried buying shoes on my own, going by feel and style and research and reviews, but I end up with sore feet every time, and they still cost $80-$100. I might go after work some night this week and splurge for a new pair.

Also, Routine. I feel like I need to pick set days to run. I can't wake up in the morning and then decide if I want to run or not. I need to know the night before, and (lesson learned) have my clothes laid out and ready to go. Being on auto-pilot is the key. I can't think about what I'm going to be doing. I just need to think that I'm supposed to get up by 6am. Then I'm supposed to put on these clothes that are stacked neatly on the dresser. Then I'm supposed to put on these sneakers and go outside. Then I'm supposed to walk briskly for 5 minutes. Then I'm supposed to jog for 60 seconds. Because really, none of this is difficult. 60 seconds of jogging? That's not scary. And then I get to walk for a minute and a half. I can do that. It's when I think about it like, "Tomorrow is the day that you have to do your training run! There are only 3 days per week that you have to do this, and tomorrow is one of them. There are 4 more days in the week that you could push this off to. Wouldn't it be nice to sleep in tomorrow and then eat a pound of bacon for breakfast?" No, auto-pilot is the way to go.

Day 2 and Day 3 this week are the same as Day 1. I like that, because I already know I can do it. Now I just need to pick the days.

C25K - Prelude

I started the couch to 5K program this morning. I was inspired to do it after reading my friend Jan's note on Facebook about how she completed the program. Jan writes, "Every week, I thought to myself that I wouldn't be able to finish this week's scheduled intervals, and then every week I did it anyway." I want to feel that sense of accomplishment. I've gotten lazy. Not just physically lazy, but mentally & emotionally lazy as well. When I see people who I haven't seen in years and they ask, "What's new?" I say, "Nothing." Then, realizing that's a lame answer, I desperately try to think of a better answer, but besides, "We got a dog", there is nothing else for me to say! That's just one reason that I'm excited to do this. Here are some more:

1. I used to run, and I miss it. More accurately, I miss being able to do it. No, I take that back. I miss running! I miss going to road races and seeing familiar faces, and picking out a filly from the masses and mentally deciding that SHE is one I'm going to beat.
2. I want to be able to participate in conversations about running. A few weeks ago at work, I found myself in the middle of a conversation with 2 other people who were talking about running. They were both fit & healthy people, and even though the girl was bemoaning about how she was so slow, it was still a conversation that seemed out of my league. If I had any confidence, I could have chimed in, but I didn't dare speak up. The way I saw it, I was either going to embarrass myself by being a fat, out of shape person talking about running, or by being a fat, out of shape person talking about how she used to run. Either way, I'm a loser.
3. I like pizza. I'm not gonna lie; being able to consume more calories without guilt holds a lot of appeal. I realize that this habit, combined with the lack of running, caused me to gain 80+ pounds after my last marathon 6 years ago, but THIS TIME I'll be more conscious of what I'm doing.
4. I enjoy exercising for free. I'm a strong believer that gyms are unnecessary. Fifty years ago, no one went to the gym. They walked to work, carried their groceries, shut their own car doors, went into stores to go shopping instead of clicking a mouse, etc. I'll still keep my $10/month Planet Fitness membership, because let's face it, that's so cheap it's not even worth the phone call to cancel it. But no more $40/hour personal training sessions or joining expensive gyms because then I'll feel guilty if I don't go (no, I won't).

I'm sure as the next few weeks progress, I'll have more reasons for wanting to run, and probably even more reasons for NOT wanting to run, but I'll post them all here. I'm not going to romanticize any of this. If it sucks, I'll say it sucks. If I get weepy with emotion because I constantly hear the Chariots of Fire theme song playing in my head, you better believe I'll post all about it. Mostly this blog is my motivator to keep me on track for the next 9 weeks. I promise at least as many entries as training runs for the week, which is 3 entries a week. All of a sudden, I just doubled the amount of pressure I'm under. Oh well, here's to hoping it works!