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.