This morning's workout called for 25 minutes of running and I was much less nervous about it than I had been about last Friday's 20 minutes. I still can't believe that was only a week ago! When the alarm went off this morning, I seriously debated staying in bed. I just feel like I'm dragging this week, and one look at my iPhone's weather application told me it was rainy and cold outside. I guess the weather didn't get the memo that today is the first day of spring! But I knew that running would cure my grouchiness and wake me up, and I actually wanted to get out there (and not just because I wanted to get that 25-minute run out of the way). Hmm. It turns out Coach J is right about me being an athlete. Go figure. If I didn't like running so much, I might be mad about proving him right.
It certainly wasn't as nice outside as Wednesday had been - 34 degrees, windy, and lightly raining. There was definitely a time when that would have been a sign to me that I was supposed to skip the morning's workout, but those days are long behind me (I hope!). Instead, I bundled up (-ish anyway, I was wearing more than a tee shirt), put in my headphones and headed out. I realized almost right away that I'd be facing the wind coming back, which is always tough, but I tried not to think about it as I settled into my pace.
I did have to think about the rain however. Even though it was only drizzling, it had obviously been raining for a while, because there were big puddles everywhere. It was starting to look like my regularly flooding backyard out there! I knew from Coach J that I should avoid the puddles, because wet sneakers are heavier and I certainly don't need anything to make my runs MORE difficult. But within the first five minutes, it was unavoidable that I had to splash through two of them, as cars and a lack of sidewalks kept me hugging the bike path. Fortunately, they weren't too deep, so it didn't weigh me down too much, but I thought it was ironic that I would get my shoes wet right in the beginning of my longest run ever.
Like last week, I used the trick of breaking the run down into five-minute intervals, so I was really only running five five-minute intervals. It sounds silly, but as long as you don't lost track of what interval you're on, it's much easier to watch a 5 minute countdown than a 25 minute one! I actually hated the first five minutes a little bit less today than usual, but progressively hated each five-minute block more and more. Each time it would get towards the end of the five minute interval, I would feel great. But as soon as I saw that five minutes start up again, I felt defeated. When I finished 20 minutes, I was actually wishing that my run ended there - who would have guessed that I believed I would barely make it through 20 minutes last Friday, and this Friday, I was considering that easy? (Well, easy-ish, let's not go crazy here).
I pushed myself again at the end to run as fast as I could for the last ten seconds, and finishing the run strong made me feel great. I was still too tired to be in a celebratory mood though and thought a nap looked very promising. But besides having to work, I thought it wouldn't be adviseable to wake up, run, and go right back to bed!
So, because it's Friday, it's time for me to look at what I've learned this week:
- On days I don't run, I'm much crabbier. Like, the whole day. Even though my body is tired, and I really like recovery days, my mood suffers when I'm not running. Coach J says this makes me an athlete, but I think it makes me surprised. Even more surprising, I don't have any desire to quit running when the couch potato program is finished and I'm already worrying about obstacles that might keep me from running (like eventually being pregnant, though I'm not even married yet!). I probably should just worry about finding a 5k I can do in April. One with tee-shirts.
- My leg muscles are showing up! After seven weeks, I can really see and feel a difference in my leg muscles. That, plus my ability to run longer distances now, shows me some real progress in this whole endeavor. It's very exciting, since my legs have never been my favorite body part, and I think they will be soon! Plus, after watching a rather creepy episode of Criminal Minds the other night, it occurred to me that I could run away from any criminal chasing me for a solid 25 minutes. Made me feel immediately safer.
- Running has made me want to eat better, but I still have a serious sweet tooth. I find I'm really thinking about what I eat now and focused on making sure I get enough protein. I'm not sure I really notice a difference on days when I'm not as vigilant, but I'm guessing that it's more of an "over time" thing anyway. But today, I am really craving sugar. It could just be because I'm out of brownies.
- My body benefits from physical exertion every single day. Not just on running days. When I started the couch potato plan, I really thought I could just do the plan three days a week, and laze around the other days. Unfortunately, my body really suffers when I do that. This week, I ran on Sunday, and then skipped yoga and stretching on Monday and Tuesday because of my schedule and my migraine. I really believe that missing yoga is what made Wednesday's run so tough. I did 90 minutes of yoga last night, and even though it kicked my butt and I thought my body would be hurting this morning, today's run was better than Wednesday's. I know I've said it before, but taking recovery days seriously makes every run easier.
So now, the scary stuff begins, because as of Monday, there are officially no more walking breaks in the plan. I will be running 25 minutes MWF next week and I hope I see 25 minutes of running as "easy" by next Friday. But first, I need a nap...