My mostly unplanned training

I’ve been up and down with my running lately.  Starting, stopping, starting again, not getting enough sleep so running is harder than it needs to be…  I know I start Couch to 5K again, but the stubborn part of me wants to figure this out myself.  So, instead of following a specific plan, I’m winging it.  The goal: complete a half marathon in 3.27 hours.  That’s about a 15 minute mile.  Right now I can do a 5k at an average speed of 11:30 min/mile with a combo of walking and running.  I just need to translate that to longer and longer distances.

I think I can handle running for 3 minutes and walking for 1 minute at a time.  I’ll do that during my training and plan to do it during my races too.

I’m only willing to run 3 days each week, so that’s what I’ll do.  My non-running days will be spent walking, doing strength training, hiking, or resting.  Maybe I’ll do some yoga too.

Each week I’ll increase my distance by 0.5 miles.  If I’m not up to an increase or if I do poorly one week, I’ll just repeat the previous week’s training.

My neighborhood is all hills… well, except for the street I’m on and the (very) busy street my apartment backs up to.  Even though hills are great for building muscle and training your body to work a little harder in a run, I’ll have to research different trails to drive my happy little butt too for some running.

Here’s to training to run 13.1 miles in Disneyland in January!

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Anxious

It’s another “Mom Friday” which means that I’m taking care of Mom right now… until about 1pm.  Today’s a little longer than normal so that my Sister can have time to work on my niece’s birthday quilt.  She’s almost done piecing the top together.

So… until my sister gets home, I’m here waiting.  Anxious.  Ready to run.

I looked again at the course that I’ll be running in January.  My first half marathon (if I don’t magically do one before then).  My excuse to go to Disneyland in just a few months.  RunDisney has the course mapped out, with mile markers in place.  I counted… all 13.  Can you believe it?

Now I’m nervous.  What makes me think I can run 13 miles all at once?  If I think about it too much, I’ll probably make myself sick.

I have a training plan.  It’s a doable plan.  But still… 13 miles?  Wow.

But today I only have to do 4 miles.  I can do that today.  I’ve done it by accident once, I can do it on purpose today.  And, because I’ll be on a pretty secluded trail, I’ll dognap my brother’s dog.  I’m so ready to run right now… I hope she can keep up!

Running Away

My jog yesterday was my fastest yet: 2.03 miles in 22 minutes.  I can’t help but think that the reason I was so fast is because it was my way of running away from what’s going on right now.

There are things about which we all worry, but that we try to ignore.  It’s the way we humans cope with things that are out of our control.  We don’t have a say, necessarily, in whether we lose our jobs, have a bomb drop on our heads, or have a natural disaster hit our neighborhood.  These things happen, and rather than worry too much about them we prepare for “just in case.”  We stockpile emergency supplies in case of a disaster.  We save as much money as possible in case of a job loss.  We purchase insurance in case of something else.

But how do you deal with the reality when those worries come to fruition?  I know some people who keep it bottled up.  I know others who spend their time grieving or freaking out.  Others talk about it incessantly.  Still others flee.

I would love to be able to flee the reality I see sometimes.  Unfortunately, there’s a complete inability to leave reality behind – to leave responsibility behind.  I’m good at pretending I can run away, but I really can’t.

Such is life.  It’s the reason I haven’t moved far, far away as I’ve often longed to do.  It’s the reason I haven’t aggressively searched for a job outside of the Bay Area.  It’s the reason I get up every day, go to work, exercise, pay my bills and take care of my family.  I remind myself that running away is for cowards.  Adults – the true adults – keep going even when it’s hard.

So instead of running away, like I really wanted to do, I ran – literally.  I ran up into the hills surrounding my neighborhood, past the parks, around the corners and made my way back home.  I ran the fastest 2 miles I’ve ever run.  And although I didn’t actually run away, running was enough yesterday.

Not a Fluke!

I wanted to see if my 12 minute miles were flukes brought about by all the downhill areas in my neighborhood. Unfortunately I didn’t want to run in a circle on the flat places over and over. The next best thing? Drive out to the Hayward Shoreline and jog along the flat gravely paths there next to the bay. The picture at the top of my blog was taken there a few years ago.

No music, just me holding my phone with my car keys tied inside my pants. I passed (and was passed by) a few people. All were of retirement age, most were on bicycles. I got to listen to the birds chirp, a squirrel chirp (who knew?), the planes pass high overhead, and my breathing. Somewhere in there some geese chased me for a bit. They also flew up and attacked a hawk!

I kept thinking “Man, 3 miles is a lot longer than I remember” and “Keep going. You can walk when you get to _____.” When I got home and checked my route on the park map, I found that I’d gone 4 miles! No wonder it felt longer! So, with that in mind, it looks like my 12 minute miles weren’t flukes. Even with the walking that I did, I still managed a little over 12 minutes. I guess I’m going faster than I think. This is definitely making me happy – I’ll be prepared for my next 5k on April 17th.

Jogging with my new shoes

I got lazy and decided that I didn’t want to drive for an hour to go buy shoes.  Instead, I exchanged the painful shoes for a couple of other pairs.  It took awhile to find replacement shoes though.  I tried on a few, jumped around like a crazy monkey, walked around and actually found two pairs so that I could wear them on alternating days.  Well, one of the pairs needed better arch supports, so I got a pair of replacement insoles.  Since then, I’ve walked, jogged and done aerobics in both pair, and both seem to be working fine.

Now for the awesome news: when I jogged around my neighborhood, I was jogging at about a 12 minute mile!  EEKS!  In the interest of full disclosure, I live on a flat street that connects a bunch of hills.  So my choice is to run up and down a flat street over and over and over and over…  or run up and down each hilly street and use my flat street to connect them.  As you can imagine, I’d get bored with just the flat street and the same houses all the time, so I run up and down the hills.

I’m not quite up to jogging all the way up each hill.  I can really only go 1/2 – 3/4 of the way up, so I walk the rest of the way up.  When I get to the top, I jog all the way down the hill to my flat street.  Keep jogging on the flat part, and jog at least halfway up the next hill.  I’m convinced those downhill slopes are what’s doing such wonderful things for my jogging time.  I won’t know for sure until later on this week when I find a flat-ish path to run on.

New Shoes

My last few jog/walks left me achy… and not in a good way either.  Ankle pain, inner shin pain, knee pain and a little bit of foot pain do not make me want to be the active person I know I am.  These new pains had been slowly coming on, and I’d been steadily ignoring them.  I knew that the pains just meant that I needed new running shoes but I simply didn’t want to spend the money.

Why is it that I can justify buying so many “throw away” objects, but I can’t justify spending $50-100 on my health?  Is there some little voice in the back of my head that’s telling me my health isn’t worth as much as my daily Starbucks?  And if so, why am I giving it so much power over me?  I’ll have to think on that and work towards understanding that it’s OK to spend money on fitness equipment I’ll use every day.

Either way, with these new pains ruining a perfectly good walk/jog yesterday, I broke down and went shopping for new running shoes.  Every website and blog out there says that it’s important to go to a running store to have my gait/stride/foot analyzed so that I get the best shoe for me.  But seriously?  I’m not driving for an hour to buy a pair of shoes.  No matter how much I love to shop, I can’t justify that length of a drive when I don’t consider myself a runner.

I went down to the local sporting goods store and tried on a bunch of shoes.  I decided that I wasn’t going to pigeon-hole myself into the cheapest pair I could find.  I’d go for the ones that felt the best, even if they weren’t the most affordable.  I found a pair that felt pretty good.   I walked around a bit in them.  Jumped a couple of times.  Walked around a bit more.  Tightened the laces.  Walked, jumped.  Tried on another pair. Went back to these ones.  I really liked the arch support in this particular style of Asics, and best of all, my legs/ankles/feet didn’t hurt!  I bought them and took them home.

This morning, I got up, put on my new running shoes and did a couple of sparkpeople videos.  My ankles started hurting towards the end of the first video.  I realized that my foot had slid around inside the shoe and somehow the arch support was nowhere near my arches!  *sigh*  this isn’t good.  So I’ll take them back on Friday and see if I can exchange them for another style or size, or just get my money back.

If all else fails, I could always trek on down to the running shoe store.

Shamrock 5k Fun Run in Dublin, CA

I did my first 5K ever today! It was a completely different experience from the treadmill or from jogging in my neighborhood. I started toward the back with the strollers and other “slow” people (those that need 13+ minutes for a mile), and quickly realized that their idea of slow and my idea of slow are two different things. Everyone in my group was walking! And they were in my way. Seriously, who goes 6 abreast holding hands and literally blocks the entire road? I know it’s a “fun run” but really? Oh well, I found my way around them and got started.

I actually jogged about half of my first mile and felt pretty good. When I needed to walk, I walked, and when I felt ready to jog, I jogged. Most of the people around me did the same thing. They called out 13:46 when I passed the first mile marker, which is about average for me.

The second mile somehow went faster. I’ve never had that happen before. And that was with a hill. I kept with the same strategy as with the first mile and made great time – they called out 26:46 as I passed the 2nd mile marker. 13 minute mile – super fast!

The third mile was on a paved trail road called the Iron Horse Trail. It looks like a fun place to jog/walk normally (if I lived in the area I’d go there). The only downside was that the trail was narrower than the 2-lane road that we were on before, so it was harder to get around the people. DH was in the spectator area, cheering me on and taking my picture.  I still followed the same routine, but my time suffered because of it – 40:40 at the 3rd marker (almost a 14 minute mile).

With only 0.1 miles to go I ran faster and passed the finish line at 41:03. The only thing I have to compare this jog with is my treadmill run, which was 44 minutes for the same distance. So with that comparison, this is a personal best! Go me!  According to DailyMile, my average speed was 13:14 per mile.

On the downside my left thigh is killing me. I know it’s because my stride babies my left knee quite a bit and my quads are a bit on the weak side. I’ll do some yoga and some walking until Wednesday, when I’ll get back to jogging and strength training again.

So excited! I can’t wait for my next 5k!

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