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!