Sunday, April 18, 2010

Week One Down

I meant to write this post yesterday, when the run was fresh in my mind, but the weekend has gotten away from me a bit!  Normally, on Saturdays, I take a ceramics class from 12-3 - it's 40 minutes away, so I have to leave by 11:20 at the latest and normally don't get home until almost four, so it eats up quite a lot of time in my weekend.  But yesterday, I decided to play hooky.  I liked the idea of a whole Saturday stretching before me with no solid plans, when normally my weekends feel pretty rushed, trying to get all my household stuff accomplished on Sunday before jumping back into the work week.

But I didn't play hooky from running.  Instead, I suited up and headed out, expecting to enjoy the nice weather. But you know what they say about the best laid plans...

Having been away from running for a while, I forgot that each run is different. You can go from having a great run one day, to having a crappy run just a few days later - it's not always about forward momentum.  And that's where I was yesterday.  But it reminded me of another important lesson that running has taught me - even having a crappy run is better than no run at all.

I thought I'd be able to push myself like I did on Thursday, really punishing myself in the 60-second intervals.  But I was feeling exhausted and winded just jogging them.  By the end of my first 60 seconds, I was already feeling the burn in my lungs (of course, I forgot to do my inhaler before I left) and starting to get a stitch in my side.  So I re-set my plan for the morning and decided to conserve my energy during each interval so that I'd be able to finish all eight of them.  Since I'm a goal-oriented person (and very type-A), it's hard for me to not see progress each subsequent run, and to still be so disappointed at how long I was away from running and having to start over.  But yesterday's run was a good reminder to me that running isn't really about the finish line - it's about the journey.  Doing the couch to 5k program last year showed me how small building blocks could take me from 60 seconds of running at a time to 3.1 miles of running at a time.  Looking at the overall goal was always daunting, but each individual workout was manageable and got me to where I needed to be.  I am often so focused on the finish line that I forget to enjoy the journey (both in running and in life), so even in my first week back, it was good to be brought up short a little bit and get to think about just taking each run as it comes and eventually stacking them together to be the building blocks of competing again and finding my love of running again. 

So anyway, I appear to be waxing a bit philosophical about running tonight, and we'll see where that gets me for tomorrow's run.  I'm also going to my last fitness coaching appointment in the morning, so we'll see if I've made any progress in five days.  I must admit, I'm relieved to be done with the fitness coaching (I think) after tomorrow - it's very stressful! 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Punishing Run & Feeling Better

Okay, so I'll admit it - I was SORE after Tuesday's run.  I could feel it starting Tuesday night, and when I woke up yesterday, the part of my quads right above my knees were screaming, as was every single muscle in my calves.  But it felt good - it meant I'd done something to deserve that (even if it was only 8 minutes of running and 22 minutes of walking).  And even though it still hurt today, I went for another run - the couch potato plan calls for the same plan as Tuesday - 5 minute warm-up, then alternating 60-seconds of running with 90-seconds of walking.

Today, I really punished my body during those 60-second intervals (at least in the beginning of the run). I ran fast and hard until I could feel my lungs burning, a stitch in my side (which, of course, means I wasn't breathing properly), and I was close to throwing up.  But I did it, and made it the same distance as Tuesday, but 15 seconds faster (not a lot, but any improvement is good in my book).  So Tuesday, according to MapMyRun, I did 2.41 miles in 30 minutes, 17 seconds, which puts me at a 12:34 mile (average). That makes me laugh a little bit, since I was running 11:00+ minute miles last year in the summer, and that was with running the WHOLE time!  Today's run was also 2.41 miles in 29 minutes and 48 seconds, which is apparently still an average of 12:34. There's obviously room for improvement, but hopefully I can get there. 

On Tuesday was also my third fitness coaching appointment, where my fitness coach actually referred to me as "really fit" to someone else, which made me feel like she might be a little bit nuts, but I was happy with it. I admitted that I was only *just* starting my 5k training, but said I'd been doing better with eating - of course I rewarded myself with candy that night, but it's made me feel so tired and crappy that I think I might be leaving candy behind for a while - no, really.  We talked about how I'm having trouble drinking a lot of water, and she said that my body will get used to having more water - which is a good thing! So I've decided to try to introduce a little bit more water each day so I can get up to where I'm supposed to be.  Running helps that, because then I'm more thirsty, so hopefully it's just a little change that will make a big difference.

For my stats, I was down about two pounds to 152 (-ish, I don't remember the decimal point), so that made me happy. She didn't have the last body fat percentage written down, but it turns out that I do, so without working out and just eating a little bit better, I went from 24.1% on March 25th-ish to 23.1% on April 13th. Not bad. 

The other reason I like this fitness coach (besides the fact she called me "very fit") is that she's realistic and not pushy.  We talked about the sheet with the recommended percentage of body fat on it, and they have "ideal," "healthy," "improve" and "health risk" on there.  For a 30 year old woman - every time I go there by the way, she tries to insist I'm 29 because I was born in 1980, but my birthday is at the beginning of January, so I AM 30 already! - the ideal is 19.7, healthy is 22.7, improve is 25.4, and heath risk is 30.5.  Of course, I see those numbers and think, wow, I'm so terribly far from "ideal" and it will take me forever to get there, and I start to beat myself up for being at a higher percentage. And then, my fitness coach said to me on Tuesday - you want to be at "healthy" because "ideal" is really for 16 year olds who have the metabolism of a hummingbird.  Phew.  That made me feel much better, because I can certainly lower my body fat percentage by a couple of decimal points, but to lower it a few whole percentage points would take some real work and would put a lot of pressure on me. 

So I'm definitely feeling better than I was on Tuesday - I put a lot of pressure on myself to do everything, and then when I fail at one thing, I just don't want to play anymore. So I'm trying to be more realistic.  My plan is to really get back into running - I'm going to stick to the Couch to 5k again and do just that in terms of working out for the next few weeks.  I might try to get to a yoga class too.  And I'm going to make those small changes in terms of eating and drinking more water that I talked about with my fitness coach.  Then, in a couple of weeks, I'll review again and see what my next steps should be (rather than coming up with a whole ridiculous plan now and trying to stick to it, or doing too much at once).  So today, by the end of my run, I was actually starting to remember why I enjoyed running - the weather was beautiful, I do like the results and endorphins that a good workout produces, and I didn't have to feel guilty that I wasn't working out today.  Hopefully I remember that Saturday morning and get out there again and stick to this! 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sometimes I Hate to be Right - I AM at the Beginning

Okay, so for some reason, as soon as the doctor gave me the okay to workout, I stopped working out and stopped wanting to workout. I have no idea why. I feel like my motivation has been at an all-time low and I'm back to the same fears I had when I started running last year - I won't be able to do it, what if someone sees me and thinks I look stupid, etc.  Also, I just always struggle with getting started in anything remotely athletic.  So with the exception of that one day at the gym a few weeks' ago, I haven't worked out since (until today, I should add).

I did go to another fitness coaching appointment (as they call them), but I had a really bad head cold that week - I heard a long time ago that you could still work out with a bad head cold, but the last time I did, I got pneumonia. No joke.  So I work a bit harder at taking care of myself when I get sick these days!  But I went to the appointment, found out I'd actually put ON weight (though I was wearing knee high boots that day also which I wasn't the last time) and talked nutrition with Kris (who could fit a half hour conversation into five minutes. She said she was impressed I could keep up). I was terribly afraid that she'd slam me for my bad eating, but she said I basically eat well and just need to switch out any white flour products for whole grains, look for 100-calorie snacks for desserts (but not cut them out, yay!) and have dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate.  Okay, manageable. I'm also supposed to drink more water, and I can keep drinking Pepsi, as long as I also add an extra glass of water to my day.

Like with working out, I've not had a lot of water since we talked that day.  I'm not sure what it is - I have it easily accessible in my house with a giant brita in the fridge. I'm just not thirsty that much! So I have to make a more conscious effort to start adding more water into my day.  And I've been eating too much candy again - it's my weakness. Along with chocolate chip cookies. 

But all of this thinking and conscious effort is overwhelming me a little and I think that's what I struggle with. Frozentriette gave me some great advice a few weeks' ago, telling me to change one little thing at a time.  She's totally right.  But for some reason, I feel like I just can't do it, like all of these people are expecting me to do more (what people, I don't know), and as if I'm supposed to be keeping up with all these other athletes whose blogs I read or twitterstreams I follow, and when I don't, guilt creeps in.  On top of the fact that I may have jumped the gun in joining the gym, thinking that would motivate me, while now, I just feel upset that I'm spending money and not going.  I keep telling myself to just pick one yoga class at the gym and go every week to start with. But last night, when it was time to go to yoga and I was in a crabby mood, I just bagged the whole thing.  I'm not sure why I do all this hiding out when experience has shown me that exercise makes me feel better, sleep better, and helps me get out any frustration/stress I have.  I'm really struggling and it's very hard for me to admit, but I'm hoping that if I just take workouts one day at a time, eventually, I'll build myself back up again and actually enjoy it, without always feeling guilty that I could be doing more.

So anyway, that was my goal for today. I've got a fitness coaching appointment at 3:30 (which I've already postponed twice, so I HAVE to go today) and I made myself re-start the Couch to 5k plan. I had hoped that I would be wrong about how far back I'd fallen in running - that I'd get out there and it would be so easy I could jump ahead.  Unfortunately, no.  Today's plan was a five minute warm up walk, and then alternating 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes.  And it. Was. Hard.  Not impossible hard, just not as breezy as I expected it to be.  But the difference between this year and last year is that I already know I can do it, because I've done it before. So that helped. And I did really push myself in those 60-second intervals, so I was feeling tired by the time I was done with each of them.  And remembering my distances from last year, I know I went further today than when I started out last year, so I must have been running faster. 

So we'll see how it goes.  Last year, I was good at taking each workout as it came up and not stressing out about it too much (minus that first 20-minute stretch of running - holy cow was I worried about that one!).  I think a lot of that was because I was just doing one thing - running.  Today, I'm already feeling pressured to go to the gym for my appointment and then do an extra 30 minutes on the elliptical (because of course, I get wrapped up in the idea that the trainers are judging me, when they probably don't care) or just making an excuse when probably Kris won't even ask me whether I plan to workout.  The long and the short of it is that I'm overthinking EVERYTHING lately, which paralyzes me. So like Jannah said, I need to start small, add in one thing at a time and then build on that.  I'll give it a shot...