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!

I broke the dog :(

Yesterday, I took my brother’s dog (Niner) for a run with me.  I’d planned on running along the shoreline for 2 miles, and then turning around and running back to complete 4 miles total.  I didn’t take into account that poor Niner is overweight, out of shape, and completely unused to moving around on anything rougher than hardwood floors… and the trail along the shoreline is gravel.

She did pretty well for about the first 1.5 miles.  Then around mile 2 I noticed she wasn’t keeping up.  And she was favoring one of her paws.  I stopped to check her out and saw a little bit of damage on the pad of each paw.  The paw she was favoring had the worst damage.  I felt so terrible – I’d unintentionally abused her through negligence and ignorance.  I tried to carry her, but she’s easily 80-100 pounds.  Even with her as docile as could be, I couldn’t carry her very far.

We eventually made it back to the car.  I cleaned off her paws.  Luckily there was no blood.  She didn’t cry or whimper.  I took her home and called my brother.  He called the vet and described the damage.  The vet said that it’s the equivalent of the blisters we get when we walk in ill-fitting shoes or do yard work without gloves.  We’re supposed to keep her paws clean and watch for infection, but they should heal on their own.

I still feel awful.  The poor dog was just doing as I asked.  I figured she’d be tired by the end of it, but I didn’t think about the gravel on her paws.  I know better for next time.  I won’t repeat that mistake again.

My brother says that once Niner’s paws are healed he’ll work on toughening them up with longer walks in the neighborhood, and then working their way along less paved trails in the hills.  The movement will do them both good.  And I’ll hopefully be able to join them along the way.

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!

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.

4 pounds = visible results?

A couple of weeks ago I signed up for SparkPeople, a free social networking website dedicated to health and fitness.  I’d been tracking my food, water and exercise.  I’d been making sure to do cardio and weights and yoga, and making healthier food choices whenever possible.  On Wednesday I weighed myself and found that I’d lost 4 pounds.  Not bad, right?

Well, on one of my walks around the block at work, just after I’d signed up for SparkPeople, one of the patrons saw me and made a comment.  “Hey Librarian!  Enjoy your walk, but don’t lose too much weight – I love a lush woman!”  He looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t pick him out of a crowd if I needed to… but he obviously recognized me.  I just waved and kept walking.

On Saturday I was handing out tickets to Martin Yan’s cooking demonstration when the same guy came up to my table.  He smiled and said “Keep walking, you’re looking great!  What’s it been, about 5 pounds?”  I smiled and said “Just about.”

I’m not sure if the guy was hitting on me, being a creepster, trying to be supportive, or just being friendly.  But I wonder if any of you have seen visible results just by losing 4 pounds?  The only thing I notice is that my rings spin around a lot more, but other than that I don’t see anything.  What do you think?

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