Monday, March 23, 2009

The Training Wheels are Off

Only two weeks left to go in the couch potato plan, and the training wheels have come off (according to Coach J)! No more walking breaks and intervals - just straight running.  This week, I'm running 25 minutes Monday/Wednesday/Friday and for the first time, I wasn't nervous the night before, just tired.

I'll probably mention being tired a few times in this post because it's all I can think about today.  I've been getting a reasonable amount of sleep lately (certainly more than all the new moms I know!), but it's still been less than I need and it's finally caught up with me.  So I am very tired.

Normally, I don't mind running tired.  As I've said before, I'm fairly crabby when I wake up.  I may be a lot of things, but a morning person isn't one of them.  And I've found that forcing my grouchy self to get out of bed, grumbling while putting on my running clothes, growling my way through brushing my teeth, squinting in the early morning sun, and heading out for a run actually helps me shed the crabbiness and become human.  Almost better than coffee!

So this morning, when my alarm went off, I groaned, but I made myself get up.  But first, I dilly-dallied a little.  I opened one eye and checked my email.  I looked at Facebook and updated my status.  I checked Twitter and posted a tweet.  I opened my other eye.  I stretched my body to make sure nothing was sore.  Then I couldn't delay anymore.  I could see it was sunny outside, so I peeked at the temperature.  A balmy 27 degrees.  Ugh.

But I got out of bed and bundled up.  I was so tired that I felt a little bit dizzy, so I shook it off and told myself that the run would improve my mood and it would all be worth it.  Plus, Coach J left me a message to "suck it up," so I couldn't get out of it!  Heading out, it was certainly brisk for my warmup walk.  Once again, I was reminded that running will be much better when the temperature rises a little.  And I'm sure I'll be complaining when it's too hot in a few months, so hopefully the perfect in-between weather will last longer this year!  

The wind was blowing south again, so I would be facing it on the tail-end of my run - delightful.  I thought about setting the timer for 25 minutes, but decided against it and kept up with my five five-minute intervals.  The first half of the run was okay, and I wasn't really hurting until around the fifteen minute mark - definitely progress!  The last six minutes were the toughest though, and I really had to hang in there. I wonder what the drivers must think as they pass me.  I did see two runners this weekend, whose running style was strange enough that it made me feel better about my own pace.  One girl ran with her arms hanging down the entire time - my body just won't let me do that!  A man I saw running hunched his shoulders up with each step and I'm not entirely sure he ever actually lifted his feet off the ground!  It was more of a jogging slide.  It made me laugh, but I've never seen myself run, so maybe I look like he does!  I certainly hope not!

At the end of my run, I wasn't sure I was going to make it until there were only two minutes left, but I finished strong and felt pretty good.  Of course, it was cold enough that my quads were numb, so that helped.  But even after a few hours, my usual aches and pains weren't showing up.  I could feel my hamstrings tightening up, so I'll definitely need my yoga tomorrow, but otherwise, even my hips were feeling good!  And I love feeling the run in my muscles - it means I've pushed my body to work hard, which is a rewarding feeling.  I do have a new pain in my foot which is not rewarding, but that's just another hurdle to get past, one more thing to learn to heal.  

But despite having a good run, I was still battling a case of the Mondays today.  So I guess running doesn't cure everything!  I'll just have to hope for good weather and an even better run on Wednesday - going back to running the same pattern three days a week is great, because I can really see myself improve and feel the run getting easier.  And a couple of good nights of sleep should do wonders for me!

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