Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Calf Pain?

So my running has had to be delayed this week because of some calf pain, and it's really frustrating!

I think I've mentioned before that my right calf has been bothering me - it feels different to shin splints (which I've had before). The pain is deeper in the calf, along the bone, but more on the inside of the leg rather than the front. From what I'm reading it could be caused by road running (which I don't really have too many options for), improper stretching or not enough stretching (which I have been doing), or my shoes (which is probably the main culprit).

Has anyone run into this before? (no pun intended)

Normally, I'd just run on it, but it's sore all the time (whether I'm standing on it or not) unless I take aspirin, and then it's only sore when I put pressure on it.  The stairs are particularly painful.

I just rested it yesterday and applied heat, but today I'm applying ice and elevating it while working at my desk.  Any other suggestions? I think new sneakers will be in order. Plus, I'm planning to take a long walk today and do some yoga, which should keep me active without putting my leg through too much impact.

I'd love to get some feedback. I don't want to take too much time off (and won't if you don't think it will lead to further injury), but I also don't want to make things any worse! Today would be the third day in a row I haven't run, and I'm getting antsy.

I've also heard that calf compression can help - I do have some compression socks, which maybe I could wear while running too (as cool as that looks!).


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Will a 30-minute run ever feel "easy?"

This turned out to be a four-run week, as I expected.  I ran again on Thursday, this time doing 2.6 miles in about 30 minutes, an 11:32 pace.  When I look back on Wednesday's run, I think I was actually closer to this distance and time, and just mis-mapped it.  So there's no excuse for me being tired after all!

The run felt pretty good, although I must admit that my legs are really killing me lately.  I don't know if it's that I ran 2.6-ish miles two days and walked another three miles both days, or if it was the travel, or what, but my legs were really sore on Friday.

Fortunately, they haven't been jittery like I've had in the past, but they are really sore.  Despite that, I knew I wanted to run today, so I forced myself to head out - it was warmer and really humid today, so going for a run at 11:30 wasn't the best time.  Now that it's heating up, I'm going to have to start running much earlier.  You may know that I'm really not a fan of getting up early, but I found that even with legs that feel dead, I'm starting to *need* to run.  (When did THAT happen!?!?)

So anyway, I drove to a local park with a small pond and ran for thirty minutes again.  I did five laps around what turned out to be a 0.54 mile path, giving me a 2.7 mile run.  I was at an 11:14 pace, so I am running slow (I need to speed up!).

I'm also seeing how much of my running struggles are mental.  On Tuesday, I really didn't believe I could make the thirty minutes.  And I didn't.  But on Wednesday, I just decided I would. And I did.  There was nothing majorly different between the two days or how my body was feeling - it was all mental.

Thursday was the same - I knew I'd run thirty minutes the day before, so why couldn't I do it again? And today, I started out the run feeling really sore - my knees hurt, my hips hurt, my right calf hurt...but I was determined to get the full thirty minutes in, and I did.  That felt great, even if I've felt sore the rest of the day!

I'm not sure why I'm so tired and sore, and I'm hoping that someday, a thirty minute run will feel like an "easy" run.  I think I just need to keep at it, and keep pushing myself and we'll see how it goes! Tomorrow is definitely a recovery day and then Monday I should be back to my regularly scheduled running at home!

I've also decided to add in some real yoga practices (I've been doing some stretching and light yoga, but I need to really push that).  It's a great counter-workout to running, and my legs could use some better stretching.  A friend suggested just giving myself two days a week to start with when I have to do the yoga (and at a set-aside time) and just committing to it, and I think that method will work best for me.  So I'll say it here - Tuesdays and Thursdays will be my yoga days and let's see if that helps my running aches!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Another San Francisco Run

Today dawned much brighter here in San Francisco, and you know I prefer running when it's sunny and cool out! There's just something about a crisp spring day that motivates me to get out there.

I was determined that today's run would be the full thirty minutes. I've got to start adding some time/mileage onto my runs, so I need to make sure my base is solid.  So I pushed myself.  I did feel like I was running a bit fast a few times, and I may need to look into a monitor so I have a better idea of my pacing. I just feel like I'm a bit off lately, when I can usually sense what it is my body is doing/feeling.

But anyway, I ran along the Embarcadero again today, and with my neck feeling a bit better (thank you Bayer, Icy Hot, and heat wraps plus yoga & stretching) I thought I'd be in better shape than yesterday.  I did want to give up more than once.  Like, a lot.

I kept running though and tried to focus on the beautiful scenery, breathing deeply, and settling my body into the run.  I'm not sure that I ever accomplished the latter, but I did make it the full thirty minutes with no stopping. I also ran sans knee braces today, because yesterday they kept slipping down, which was really distracting.  I really need to get some new sneakers, and get them properly fitted....soon, soon.

Okay, so I just mapped my run, and it was about 2.94 miles in 30 minutes 6 seconds - a 10:14 pace.  So that IS faster than I needed to be running today! (And here I thought I was running so slow - no wonder I was so tired).

At any rate, after my run, I walked down to Howard Street to the Starbucks there, and was loving standing in line with all the customers in suits while sweat was dripping down my face.  But a lovely orange mango smoothie did the trick and set me up for the rest of the day.

Later in the day, after our business lunch and doing some work, I spent about an hour and a half wandering up and down the Embarcadero to take some pictures - I went almost the same distance walking as I did running, and the funny thing was that there were SO many more runners out this afternoon!  I mean, I went running this morning at 10, so most people should have been at work anyway, but this morning, I felt like I was the only runner out there, dodging tourists left and right.  And this afternoon, I felt like I was the only one NOT running, and I was dodging runners left and right!

I actually felt guilty for not running this afternoon...despite doing my run this morning. Do you ever feel that way?

It felt pretty good to be wandering around with so many people enjoying the fresh air - a lot of people were on bikes or running, and I wish that was more popular by me! All the runners looked to be in such great shape too - very muscly legs.  I really hope that will be me someday, and that I'll be able to run without looking and feeling like I'm about to keel over! One run at a time...

Tomorrow, I've got to fit in one more run, a business breakfast, and some work before flying back home.  I want to get one more run in before the end of the week, and next week, I'll be running up at my parents - I'm thinking of running at a park near them, so we'll see how that goes!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Running in San Fran

Here I am in San Francisco again, and this time, I'm running it.

But before I get into that - over the weekend, I went for a jog with my college roommate.  If you knew the two of us well, you'd really get a kick out of this, because it was a running joke (no pun intended) that she was not that athletic and I hated running.  In fact, one year, she got one-pound weights and sweatbands as a joke Christmas gift.

In the last few years though, she's been going to the gym, doing yoga, and working with a trainer, who got her started with running.  So she suggested we go for a run Saturday morning while we were having a college girls' weekend.

Our friend's husband pointed us to a bike trail nearby that we could run on, and we decided to do about thirty minutes. I hadn't run that long all week, so I was hoping I could manage it, but it helped that she's a slower runner, so I could better pace myself.  We chatted and ran the whole thirty minutes, and agreed that we felt GREAT when we were done - really nice addition to the weekend!

My plan was to take Sunday and Monday off because of having to fit in a bunch of stuff, and then run this week in San Francisco on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday and either Friday and Saturday back home.  I flew in yesterday, and before I left, I managed to tweak my neck.

For some background - a few years ago, I ended up with a pinched nerve in my neck.  I'm not sure how it happened, but I actually think it's a result of a car accident my friend Sage and I were in while we were in college (we were stopped to make a left turn and a car plowed into the van that was stopped behind us and both of us ended up with some whiplash).  Anyway, it was so bad that I couldn't sit at my desk for more than a few hours, and I ended up working while lying in bed with my laptop on my chest.

Eventually, I had to be put on some painkillers to allow muscles to relax enough that the nerve slipped back into place.  Every once in a while, I get some pain there, but normally nothing serious and after a few days, it's gone.  Normally, it's because I'm lifting things that are just a bit too heavy or carrying a heavy purse too much.

Well, yesterday, I'm not sure what started it off, but what pushed it over the edge was jumping up from the kitchen table funny to check and see if there was a squirrel at the bird feeder. I know, I'm awesome.

And unfortunately, it's put me in levels of pain that I haven't felt since I first pinched it.  I can't get comfortable, the muscles are screaming, and lying down seems to be the only relief I get.  But my hotel is pretty much right on the Embarcadero here in San Fran, so I could run outside instead of at the gym.  And I've been feeling really antsy and wanted to run outside.

I figured I'd just do an easy run and see how it went.  And honestly, it wasn't so bad - my neck didn't hurt any more or less than when I'm sitting up doing nothing.  It was a tough run though, so I just tried to take it slow and enjoy it.  I ran about 25 minutes total, with some walking breaks (and a break to take a phone call when the person refused to leave me a voicemail and just called me three times in a row instead).  Am I really happy with today's run? No, I'm not.

But I'm out of my element, running on crowded sidewalks in an unfamiliar city (I've been here three times, but never run here), so the main thing was that I went out and did it.  And I've got two more days to run here too!

So let's hope my neck settles back in. I stopped at a Walgreens on my way back to the hotel to pick up those neck heating patches, some icy hot, and some aspirin (I only have Excedrin, which you're not supposed to take more than once a day).  I can't take ibuprofen because it's counter-indicated for something else I'm on, so aspirin it is.  We'll see how it goes - but keep your fingers crossed because I'm already fed up with the pain and it's only been 24 hours.  I had big plans to walk around the city today, but I think some more rest is in order so that I'm in better shape for tomorrow (when the weather should be better anyway!).

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I Let a Bad Run Get the Better of Me

I needed to run today.

I'm not going to have time to run tomorrow, and although I've got a run planned with a friend on Saturday, that leaves me with only four runs for the whole week, two of which were already only two miles.

So although I have a LOT to do, and am stressed out about doing it (and maybe because of that), I needed to run.

I headed out, planning to run about 2 1/2 miles.  As soon as I started, I was sore, my back hurt, my legs hurt, my knee hurt, I felt like it was humid and I could just feel the exhaustion set it.  So I basically gave up. I told myself I'd only run a mile instead of the 2 1/2 I had planned.

Now, granted, I did run FAST today (fast for me, that is).  I ran 1.01 miles in 10:06, which is a 10:02 pace.  I haven't run that fast in two years.  But I didn't pace myself better to start with, which made me feel more tired more quickly and I gave up.

My lesson for today for myself is that everyone has bad days and bad runs.  At least I went out there for those ten minutes instead of skipping the run altogether.  I also need to remember that two years ago, this was right when I lost focus and started to give up - started to hate to run.  I don't want that to happen again, so if I needed to give myself a break today rather than push myself too hard, I guess that's okay.

I'll be back with a vengeance next week.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tough Runs and Chocolate Milk

I ran two miles again today, and although it felt like a really punishing run, I was actually enjoying it! That really surprised me because usually I just want to get a tough run over with.  Maybe I'm turning a running corner...

My run today was a fast one too - 2.1 miles in 20:40, for about a 10:15 pace - pretty good! Let's see if I can keep that up.

Also, I learned recently that drinking a glass of chocolate milk when you get back from a run is a good idea, because it has the perfect combination of protein to carbohydrates. Regular milk doesn't have sugar in it, but chocolate milk does. I go for the lowfat kind, of course, and it does taste good after a hard run!

Not too much else to report today. Another run tomorrow, hopefully back around three miles and then I'm planning to run with a friend this weekend.  Next week, I'll be running one day at my parents' and most of the rest of the week in San Francisco! So that will be exciting to report on!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Race Report

I'd been waiting to post this until they got the race results up - and they finally did, but they've put everyone as running 1 mile instead of three.  I'd REALLY have to walk slowly to get a 33 minute mile!
Why yes, I did wear compression socks the
night before!

At any rate, Saturday was a beautiful day for the River to Bay 5k.  I woke up around six and did about thirty minutes of stretching.  My body had been so sore the day before from cleaning the entire house and getting the yard squared away, so I'd done some yoga and stretching before going to bed, and repeated it when I got up.  It was a nice, relaxed way to get ready for the race.

Then, I had my oatmeal and apple for breakfast - and I think this was a mistake (at least the apple was).  Although it was still about ninety minutes before race time, the apple made me feel a bit sluggish.  Next time, I'll just go with a banana, no oatmeal!

I got ready and headed out the door by 7:15, and got to the race around 7:45 - check in started at 7:30, and the one mile "fun run" was going to be at 8:15. This was followed by a one mile health walk at 8:20 and the 5k at 9:00.  I got my bag and race number, did some more stretching and wandered around until it was race time.  My body was feeling really refreshed and relaxed - I was definitely nervous, but not sore.

My number!
Finally, we started to get ready at the start, and this was where it was unfortunate that we don't get chips for this race - those of us who don't start *right* at the start line get messed up on timing.  So I started my own timer when I crossed the start line (though, of course, I managed to forget to stop it until after I'd crossed the finish!).

The gun sounded and we were off! I started off a bit fast, but that was on purpose.  I was feeling really good, so I thought I could set a faster pace.  And I definitely paid for it, but all in all it wasn't a bad run.  As we started, I remembered the course from two years ago, and that helped.  I managed to stay in my own head and run my race - at least for the first mile.

Although sunny days are not always preferable for running
it was beautiful!
I did the first mile in 10:25 - the first year I ran the race, it was 10:47, so not bad!  I felt pretty good for most of it, and reminded myself how tough the first mile usually is.  The second mile was the hardest - I knew the hill was coming up in mile three (or the end of two, I wasn't sure at the time), and I was starting to feel a little fatigued.  Plus, you know you still have another mile and a tenth to go when you're running mile 2, so it definitely feels like the longest!

Mile 2 was completed in 10:49 - also better than the 11:04 I had in 2009.  Not bad for less training time and being sick in the middle of training!  (I think it helped that I've upped my runs to 4-5 per week)  Mile 3 was also a killer, if for no other reason than the huge hill in it.  I had made it my goal to run the whole race and not walk - but that hill really almost did me in.  But I pushed myself and kept going.  It was here that I started to feel a bit disheartened though - it can be a bummer when you're running and still not passing people in front of you who are doing the run/walk combo!

I tried to keep pace with a girl that seemed to be running about my speed, and that helped me keep going through mile 3.  With half a mile left to go (so I'd run 0.6 of a mile), I had done 7:01 minutes (slower than 2009, which was 6:27).  I couldn't wait to see the 3 mile sign!
Getting ready to race

At the three mile sign, I was at 10:37 - pretty good, considering the hill was a big part of this mile.  I pushed myself to keep going on that last tenth of a mile.  As we saw the finish line come into sight, the girl next to me tried to pass me with a burst of speed (according to the results, she's a 28 year old) - but I put on a huge burst of speed that I didn't even know I had left in me, and passed her, and the couple with the running stroller.  My official time came in at 33:03:99, and I know that's high (that would be a 10:38 pace, or five seconds slower per mile than in 2009).  I stopped my timer after I'd started walking past the finish at 32:56:5, and I really wish I'd stopped it at the finish, so I knew what my real time was!  But I think it's not that far off from my race time in 2009 of 32:47.  Let's see if I can beat it next year!

The guy with the flag outfit finishing!
The 32:56 puts my pace at 10:35 per mile, or 3 seconds off my 2009 pace, and since it's definitely off, I'm guessing I was pretty close to my race time in 2009.

So according to the stats, I came in 323rd place and was 158/293 women, and 33/56 in my age group of 30-34.  These stats do beat my 2009 ones, because of the larger entry pool this year - I came in in the top 54% of women, whereas I came in in the top 67% of women in 2009.  And I came in in the top 59% in my age group, whereas I came in in the top 60% of my age group in 2009.  There were 506 finishers this year, in comparison to 260 in 2009, so I came in in the top 64% this year, as opposed to the top 75% in 2009.  I've got to be pretty happy with that!

Plus, I was really pleased that I'd come in faster than the woman who was about eight months pregnant, and the guy wearing an entire flag outfit and carrying a flag. And I came in before quite a few younger women and even some kids! So that makes me happy. Small goals.

Starting to see some lovely muscle in my calves!
Now I've got to work hard at not getting lethargic about running the way I did after my first two 5k's in 2009. I took two recovery days, and in fact, went for a lovely massage yesterday (which actually left me feeling MORE sore than I was after racing!). My plan is to take it easy today and just do about two miles, and then three the rest of the week.  Then, I am thinking about upping my mileage a bit, and Cool Running finally has plans for that, so we'll see how it goes!

PS: I did my two miles today (actually 2.06) and think I should have started with one mile back instead - man were my legs exhausted! However, I did have a 10:26 pace, which is fast for me, so I guess I can't complain! Tomorrow will also be a 2-mile run I think!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Last Run Before Race Day

Okay, so I know you've all been waiting with bated breath to see if I ran today or not.

It's very funny - every time I don't feel like running, and I do anyway, I am always glad I did afterwards. Funny how that works, huh?  Fortunately, the last couple of months, every time I don't feel like running, I make myself do it. I used to be much more lax with myself than I am now, which I think is a good thing!

But today, I really didn't want to run. When I got up, it was dark and rainy, and then the thunder rolled in.  I've run in rain before, but I haven't really wanted to the last few months.  Today was also forty (yes, forty) degrees cooler than yesterday.  I just wasn't feeling it, even though my legs were feeling a LOT better.

I kept my running clothes on all day, and did the debate in my head - "maybe I'll take three recovery days before the race on Saturday," "maybe I'll skip today and run tomorrow instead," "maybe I'll just do yoga today instead." And on and on.

Finally, around five, the sun actually started to come out (it went back in again pretty quickly though).  And I got my butt outside for a run.  It was a far better run than yesterday, thanks to my legs feeling better and the cooler temps.  I was still pretty tired by the end of it, but I pushed myself - whereas yesterday, I ran 2.71 miles in 33 minutes (with three of those minutes spent walking), today, I ran 2.89 miles in 30:47 - a 10:40 pace.  Not too bad.

I'm still slower than I'd like to be, but such is life.  I'm not going to shave tons of time off my run before Saturday, and as long as I can run the whole race, I'll be happy.  I've got to run .21 miles more on Saturday than I did today, so I'm thinking I'll come in right around 34 minutes (I hope).  We'll see how it turns out!

The next two days are recovery days, which I think will be spent walking, maybe doing some light yoga, and definitely using my compression socks to get me in race day shape.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Killer Run - T-minus 4 Days Until My 5k

Today's run was killer.

It's been an hour since I finished it, and I still feel a bit like throwing up.

I woke up this morning actually MORE sore than yesterday.  I really wanted to make it a walking day again, but with my race on Saturday, I knew that at least mentally, I had to know I'd be able to do it.  So running it was.

My plan was to run for thirty minutes, unless I got a leg cramp, in which case, I would walk.  Fortunately, there was no muscle spasms to be seen (though the day's not over yet), but after fifteen minutes, I had to take a three minute walking break. Between the heat and humidity today, and the sheer exhaustion of my hamstrings, I just couldn't do the full thirty in a row.

The second fifteen minutes running were the absolute worst minutes I've ever spent running. I kept wanting to stop to walk, but I knew how exhausted I felt after my first walking break, and didn't think I'd be able to force myself to start up again. So I just kept going.  I think it was the longest fifteen minutes of my life.

But I was really glad I did it.  I might be singing a different tune tomorrow (especially since I'm already having trouble getting out of my office chair), but for now, I'm glad I pushed myself and got the run out of the way. I plan to run thirty (hopefully consecutively) tomorrow, and then just walk on Thursday and Friday to give myself some time to heal in time for Saturday's race.  We'll see how I do.

As my mom reminded me this morning, I don't do the 5k's for any competitive reason (maybe against myself, but that's it). It's not as though I'm at the point where I'm looking to come in the top 5 for my age group or anything like that - I'm just looking to finish the race, and run the whole thing.  So I can take it a bit easy on myself here and just enjoy running rather than trying to punish myself.

I mapped the run, and it looks like I'm at 2.71 miles in 33 minutes, which is a 12:11 pace - it's kind of hard to tell what my actual running pace was, since this includes three minutes of walking, but I'll take slow and steady today considering how my legs feel!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Too Sore to Run

So, as I mentioned on Friday, my plan was to take Saturday and Sunday off from running, and start my thirty minute runs today.  I was really sore on Friday, still sore on Saturday, and feeling a bit better yesterday...until I decided it was necessary to assemble the raised bed in my back garden.

Plus, because I'm awesome, I'd tweaked my back while putting on deodorant yesterday (no, I'm not sure how that happened), so I was sore to begin with.  And clearing out an 11' x 3' section of yard from weeds and snakes (yes, there was a snake) was exhausting.  I followed that with assembling the bed, and moving roughly 1,000 pounds of dirt (no exaggeration) into it.  I was feeling sore last night, but this morning, I was really feeling it.

My arms are really sore and tired, but I don't need them for running. I do however need my hamstrings, which are also right at about pre-spasm level.  And my back is killing me.

So I mentioned on Facebook that I thought I'd be taking an unscheduled day off, and a friend suggested that I walk the 5k distance instead - it would be good for me to do it, and I wouldn't totally be taking the day off.  So I did.  I ended up walking 3.48 miles in 53 minutes (about a 15:12 pace, not bad) and I'm glad I did.  I'm still all kinds of sore, but at least I moved my body today, which should help me be less sore for tomorrow....when I MUST run.

Wish me luck!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Five Runs in Five Days - My Legs are on Strike

Okay, so it was a bit ambitious of me to want to do five runs in five days, when this is only my second week of running five days, and only my third week of more than 3 runs.  My legs hate me right now.  But I feel good!

After starting the week with two 25-minute runs, I ramped up my time to 28 minutes for Wednesday-Friday.  And those three minutes really did tire me out quite a bit, especially on Wednesday.  Wednesday's weather was a bit iffy - I decided I was going to head out on my run in the early afternoon and checked the Weather Channel's website. It said 0% chance of precipitation.

As I walked downstairs, heavy downpour.

Ah, weather people.  But fortunately, it only lasted a few minutes, and after that it was just misting.  So I went for my run anyway. My legs were really feeling exhausted, so I wasn't sure how I was going to survive the rest of the week, but it turns out that sheer willpower has a lot to do with it.

Then yesterday, we were getting the remnants of what's been trouncing the south - lots of prayers sent out to everyone affected by the tornadoes.  It's really been so heartbreaking to watch, and my thoughts are with everyone affected.

For us here at the beach, we ended up with mostly high winds, not too much rain.  Because they were forecasting some severe weather, I went out for my run early and the wind just killed me.  I felt like I was running in place a few times! Just brutal.  I ran into my neighbor when I arrived back home, who said "You're ambitious!" and suggested I should take a break.  But I already knew I was taking two recovery days this weekend, so I couldn't slouch today - only one more week until the 5k!

This morning, I was up before dawn at 4:30 to watch the coverage of the Royal Wedding. I am half-English after all and have the passport to prove it! While waiting for the new royal couple to come out on the balcony for their first kiss as man and wife, I headed out for my last run of the week.  And it is beautiful outside! Cool, sunny, with enough of a breeze to (mostly) keep me from overheating.

I mapped my run from Wednesday, and was really disappointed to see that I was running at an 11:22 pace.  I mean, I know I've been running slow, but 11:22? Really?  I know I'm a bit less trained than I was for the last time I did this particular 5k, but I had a 10:33 pace for that one, and I was kind of hoping to be close to that.

At any rate, I pushed myself a bit today, even though my legs were not fresh and my knees were quite sore, and ended up with a 10:46 pace.  Not bad! I'll be curious to see how I do on Monday after two days of rest, and ramping up to 30 minutes of running.

My plan for next week is to run the first three days - thirty minutes each day - and then take Thursday and Friday to recover before Saturday's 5k.  I think that will put me in good shape, but we'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Knees Update

I got in my two 25-minute runs this week already as planned.  It's been a bit more on the hot and humid side, which has made running a bit tougher - but I've been doing it anyway! Let's see if I can keep it up through the summer, when I'll have to get up early to run.

Yesterday's run was tough again on my knees, so I decided to pick up a couple of knee braces at Target yesterday.  I found two sport ones, one with breathable fabric on the back and one with side spines for extra support. I gave them a try on today's run, and the one with side spines definitely made a big difference.

I used it on my right knee, which didn't hurt at all while I was running! The left knee still did, so obviously, it's not enough support and I'll have to think about getting another brace.  They did seem to shift the way I run though because the muscles in my calves were screaming at me pretty much from the beginning.  But I pushed through and made it all the way to 25 minutes.

Of course, when I was done, I was literally drenched in sweat, which was lovely.  But there's been a nice breeze the rest of the day, so I've been basking in that at my desk to cool off.

Let's hope these braces help my sore knees! Tomorrow, it's on to 28 minutes of running!

Monday, April 25, 2011

My Love-Hate Relationship with Running....and my 100th Post!

Today's post is my 100th post here at Run Lindsay, Run, which is pretty exciting! That means I've run over 100 days - something I never thought I'd do, much less enjoy.

I did do five runs last week, taking Tuesday and Sunday off.  I'm ramping up my length of time running as well this coming week, because I'm trying to get in a few 30 minute runs before the 5k on the 7th.  As I was running this week, I realized I have a love-hate relationship with running.

I start running after my warm up, and immediately the thoughts of "I hate this, why am I doing this?" set in.  My knees hurt, a pain shoots up my right shin, I'm tired already and I cannot, for the life of me, remember why I force myself to do this.  This feeling continues for at least half of the run, especially if there's no walking break (actually, it's worse when there IS a walking break, because I don't want to start up again!).

But eventually, I settle into it and find my pace.  I'm still tired and sore, and often way out of breath lately because of the residual coughing after the beginnings of bronchitis.  But I believe that I can make it the rest of the way, and once I do and I start my cool down walk, I feel great!  My legs HURT, but I feel like I accomplished something and I think "I love running!"

I'm hoping one day I'll just love it, without the hating it part.  I do find that it helps me relax, it gets rid of a lot of stress, and the endorphins are great too.  But some days, I'm tired just thinking about heading out there.

But anyway. The plan for this week is another five days - I don't think my knees could take more than that! I've got plans this weekend, so I'm going to run all five weekdays this week, and take two recovery days.  I really needed yesterday's recovery day - my legs feel far better today than when I woke up yesterday.  I'm up to 25 minutes running, which I'll do today and tomorrow, and then Wednesday-Friday I'm ramping up to 28 minutes.  Hopefully the weather cooperates!

Also, does anyone have any advice for sore knees? I know it's because I'm running on the road, but there isn't a soft track nearby, and I really prefer running by the water (the beach itself is too small to run there).  So any suggestions for how to take care of my knees a bit better?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Three Runs in Four Days...Yes, Really

Well, I seem to have finally found my groove again! I've run three times in the past four days and I'm feeling pretty good about it today.

Friday's run was my first 20-minute run back and I was a bit nervous. I knew I could do it, unlike the first time I did it, so there were no excuses.  As I started, I felt the familiar exhaustion I've been having and started to get a bit worried. Then I remembered that the first mile was always the hardest, and just tried to settle into my rhythm. I finally found it.

I'm still coughing a bit and having to use my inhaler, so I think that makes me more tired than I would be otherwise, but I'm just focusing on being slow and steady.  I got the twenty minutes done, and I was really happy with that.

Friday night, I was reading an article about a woman who is running three miles a day while pregnant.  I know this is a controversial issue, but I follow a blogger/triathlete who worked out her entire pregnancy and has a healthy baby boy - it's not for everyone, but I'm not debating it here.  The woman I was reading about ordinarily runs five miles a day, so I thought that if she was running three every day while pregnant, I could probably run more than three days a week.  Mentally, it's good for me.  And physically too.

So I decided I'd repeat Friday's workout on Saturday.  I had high hopes for it, until I remembered that the weather was supposed to be nightmare-ish.  Plus, I'd learned that my cable/phone/internet were all out, so I was waiting for the cable guy.  But I was determined to get it in.

I managed to get the dog walked early, before the rain, and miracle of miracles, the cable guy came within the first half hour of the four hour window they'd given me.  He was finished pretty quickly, so I thought I'd better head out why it still looked dry.  But as I left, the rain started spitting and the wind had picked up considerably.

I mostly skipped my five-minute warm up because it was so cold and nasty out, and I thought I'd warm up faster if I was running.  It was truly miserable for the first ten minutes - it was cold, the wind was so strong I thought I was running in place a few times, and the rain was stinging.  But I kept going and when I turned around to come back, the wind was mercifully at my back.  

So because it was an extra run, I was really happy that I'd gotten out there to do it!  I gave myself Sunday off, and originally planned to run six days this week.  But since I tend to overdo a good thing too quickly, and then give it up, I think I'll just add in an extra day of running this week (for a total of five days).

Today's run almost didn't happen.  I woke up feeling exhausted this morning.  I can't figure out why - I'm getting more than eight hours of sleep a night, ate a good breakfast and lunch, am drinking enough water - but at any rate, by the time I needed to get out there, I was really not feeling so hot.  I think some of it might be the strange dreams I'm having lately - I think it means I'm not getting as deep a sleep as I need.

But I've found that running sometimes makes me feel less tired and a bit better, so I thought I'd better get out there before I lost my nerve. Today's run was back to intervals - five minutes running, three walking, eight running, three walking, five running.  The first mile again was tough (and that's like half the run), so I keep wondering whether I'll make it.

It's kind of amazing what I end up accomplishing physically that my mind is constantly telling me that I can't.  I not only made it through all the intervals, but I settled into a good pace in the second half and finished feeling good.  I'm definitely feeling some twinging in my right knee, which I'll keep an eye on - last night, I put my leg up on the counter to put some cream on my calf and my knee made a crunching sound.  So we'll see how that holds up!

But otherwise, just the usual tiredness. I'm thinking the extra runs will actually help me feel less tired and more ready for May 7th's race, since my training time is tight.  Let's hope so!

Ladies, I also have a question for you - guys, this might be a bit TMI, so you can feel free to stop reading now.  I'm finding myself having some neck pain, which today is causing a headache, and I think it's from wearing sports bras all day so much lately.  I have the same problem if I wear a bikini top all day - it puts too much strain on my neck.  Have any of you had this problem? What did you do about it?  I put on my running clothes first thing so I don't lose motivation, but I'm thinking I might either have to run first thing in the morning and then shower (which I'll have to do in the summer anyway), or change into and out of my running stuff just for running.  Thoughts? 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Week Five, Day Two - Complete!

Although running when it's cloudy and a bit on the cool side is ideal, it's not ideal for motivation.  And you know I've been struggling with that lately! So when I woke up this morning to a grey day, I wasn't feeling so motivated.  But I put on my running clothes anyway, and finally forced myself to head out around 12:15.

Wouldn't you know it, once I was out there, the sun came out? It ended up being a beautiful day here - and it was a good thing I wore sunglasses!

The run itself was going to be eight minutes running, followed by five walking, then another eight running - all in preparation for Friday's 20 minutes of running.

The first couple of minutes of running were brutal, just horrible.  My legs felt so dead and tired and I really didn't think I would make it five minutes, let alone eight.  I reminded myself that when I was running two years ago, usually the first mile was the worst, and then I'd settle into it.  Eight minutes wouldn't get me a mile (I'm running pretty slow, even for me), but I told myself to just keep at it.

And although I was exhausted after that first interval, I did it!  And it felt so good to take that walking break - I remembered how much I liked to run (which I generally feel once I'm DONE running ironically).

The second eight minutes went better - I focused more on form and running with my hips leading, and that seemed to help.  I felt less exhausted, though still physically very tired.  I hate to admit it, but I haven't been eating super well lately, and I'm sure that's what's causing the exhaustion.  I've got to focus again on improving my nutrition, and we'll see how things go.

But all in all, I'm satisfied with today's run. It wasn't the best ever, but I finished it without any cheating.  Now I can just be nervous all over again for Friday's 20 minutes.  Ugh.

And on another note, I officially registered for the River to Bay 5k yesterday. I figured if I didn't do it now, I'd keep putting it off until it was sold out.  So I just bit the bullet. It gives me something to shoot for, and my goal is to just finish it and run the whole way.  We'll see how that goes!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Guilt, Exhaustion & Sunny Days

So despite the fact that I'm still getting over being sick (I'm still coughing) and even though I'm not sitting around being a couch potato, I still feel regularly guilty for any time I don't run and for not being as far along in the couch to 5k as I'd like to be.

And that's just silly, because I AM running - sure, I missed a run last week and the week before, but I still did two, which is more than none.  It's not that I'm letting myself off the hook, it's just that I can very easily beat myself up for not doing enough.  And sometimes, I need to remember that I'm just where I need to be.

This week, I have all intents and purposes for doing three runs.  However, I am doing week 5 over.  So today's run was five minutes running, three walking, five running, three walking, and five running.  After the first five minutes, I was REALLY glad that I'd decided to repeat week 5.  Walking around the Harry Potter park in flip flops last week totally destroyed my calves.

It seems like a silly thing, but by Friday morning, my calves were so incredibly sore! I ran anyway on Friday, as I mentioned - sometimes, it seems like when I push myself through muscle soreness, it actually helps me to recover faster.  My legs were sore all through Saturday and a bit yesterday too, but felt good today.  Until I started running - it's not that they hurt, it's just that the muscles were so tired.  And my legs overall were sore - my right knee was twinging (it does, as does my left, since I sit cross-legged a lot and can never seem to get comfortable)  and my legs just hurt.

I'd really like to be running faster, but that's just not where I am right now.  I reminded myself that at least I'm running again - I can always build speed; it's just important that I'm out there period.  I did the full three five-minute intervals and then took the dog on a nice long walk and I feel good about that.

Of course, it helps that the weather is gorgeous today - 71 degrees, sunny, low humidity, windy on the front end of the run only.  It's a perfect day for a run, so it wasn't hard to motivate myself to get out there.  Now that I'm home again for a few weeks (finally), I can hopefully get back into my routine.

I looked again today at the date for the Bridge to Bay 5k, and it's May 7th.  I compared it to my schedule for the couch to 5k, and I think I *could* just about be ready for it - it's a week before I'm officially done with the couch to 5k, but I should be just about at 5k distance by then.  I will end up running it MUCH slower than two years ago, I think, since I had been running 5k distance for a few weeks in advance of that race.  But I think it's a good goal to have - I'll just look to finish it, and do the whole thing running (even that nasty hill).  I find having a race ahead of me is good motivation - otherwise, I just feel like a casual jogger.

Slow and steady wins the race, right?

So we'll see what happens. I'm plodding along, but slow, hard runs are better than no runs at all, right?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Don't Worry - I'm still Running!

Things have been a bit hectic, so I haven't been able to post, but I have been running!

Last week, I only got two runs in - with all the nasty weather we had and still getting over the sinus infection/bronchitis, I just wasn't able to get out there the three times I wanted to.  But I stuck with my week four workouts, and did two punishing ones.

This week, I was in Orlando for a conference, and again only got in two runs.  I was walking a LOT around the resorts and my hotel, so that was good, but since it was some vacation, some work, I just didn't get to the third run.

I had hoped maybe to get to it today now that I'm back in the northeast, but it looks like it's just another two-run week!  And that's okay.  I'm still coughing, still using the inhaler, and still boosting myself back up.  Next week, now that it's supposed to be a bit nicer, I'm hoping to get three good runs in and stop feeling like death part way through! My second run this week was two eight minute intervals which was brutal - but I did it! So the next run is the full 20 minutes - we may be repeating week 5 again next week. I'll have to see how I feel!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I'm Baaack!

Okay, so being sick took a lot out of me - I haven't been that sick in a while!  But I'm officially finishing the antibiotic tomorrow and I went back to work yesterday.  Since I'd spent about ten days on the couch, I thought it best to put off my first run back until today.

My thinking is that I'll repeat week 4, which was the last week I was doing, because I haven't run in two weeks. Since I wasn't that far along on the 5k program, two weeks is a LOT of time.  But I was determined to do week four, no matter how slowly I ran, which meant I was doing three minutes running, 90 seconds walking, five minutes running, two and a half minutes walking, three minutes runnings, 90 seconds walking, five minutes running.


Fortunately, I had a nice day for it.  It's not advisable to get right back into running on a very cold day if you have lung issues like I do, particularly if you're just getting over semi-bronchitis, because the cold air is very hard on your lungs.  It's been chilly here again, but by mid-day here, it was 51 degrees and sunny - perfect!

It was also windy, and you know how much I love the wind. Not.  But anyway, I started to come up with excuses not to run today, but I finally just told myself to shut up and went out to do it anyway.

It was definitely a brutal run.  The first three minutes were killer, and I was sure I wouldn't be able to do five minutes straight.  But I really paced myself and pushed myself to do it.  And I did!  Sure, I felt like vomiting by the time I was done, but I could still breathe, mostly, and it felt good to be back to running.

Last night, when I was sitting on the couch, my legs were so on edge.  That seems to go away when I'm running regularly, so it was definitely a sign to me to get back out there!

I can tell I lost some muscle too while I was sick because my legs are really feeling the run tonight.  But that's a great feeling to have - it means I did something that warrants sore muscles!

So this week, it looks like I'm doing runs today, Thursday and Saturday morning - then I leave for another trip. This one's in Orlando, where it's been quite warm. If it's warm and humid, I'll probably run inside (I've already checked to make sure they have a gym), but if it's not too humid, I'll be running on the jogging trail that's on the property where I'm staying.  It will be nice to have some real sunshine!  It's been quite a while.

Let's hope I don't pick up anything else on my flights this time, and can keep running.  I got a postcard the other day for the River to Bay 5k in May, and I REALLY would like to do it.  I would just be about up to 5k distance by then, which would be pushing it, but I think it would be nice to get back into racing, even if I'm not very competitive!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sick as a Dog

Hi all - I just wanted to give you a quick update. I'm taking a running break because it turns out I have a bad sinus infection, and the beginnings of bronchitis.  I really miss running, surprisingly, particularly when it was in the 70's last week, but I'm just not able to do anything more strenuous than hang out on the couch all day.  I hope to be back to running on Monday, and I'm planning to repeat week 4, since I will have lost five running days by then.

I'm hoping that I'll be in 5k shape to do the Bridge to Bay 5k again this year.  We'll see how things go my first week back.  Keep your fingers crossed that the medicine continues to kick this bug and I'm all better by Monday!

Friday, March 18, 2011

For Japan, With Love

Thanks to Mandy over at Mommy Musings for the link and button:

One week ago, I was in Hanoi when news broke of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan.  One of our Japanese clients was with our group, and he was fortunate to be able to get news quickly that his family and colleagues were all okay, although they all had to walk home from the office - which took some of them more than ten hours.  There are many heartbreaking and uplifting stories coming from Japan, and the thing I keep thinking is that this is when we need to join together and offer our help.

So take a moment today to send a prayer, or make a donation.  The American Red Cross is one option, or click the link attached to the photo below to head over to For Japan With Love, which has raised almost $40,000 for Shelterbox.

I'll be back with new posts hopefully next week - I'm battling a post-travel chest cold that's keeping me from running!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Running in Hanoi

So my crazy internet issues followed me from Paris to Hanoi, where I could only get internet access sitting in the hotel lobby, or with my laptop sitting in an open window in my room.  Delightful.

However, that didn't mean I wasn't running!

I didn't run on Wednesday as originally planned, because we got into Hanoi a bit later than I thought, to the hotel a bit later than we expected, and then our rooms weren't ready.  So by the time I went to take a nap (I didn't sleep one wink during the two flights of a total of 13 hours), it was 3pm.

So I slept until 9:30, and went back to bed at two.

But Thursday morning, I woke bright and early at 6:30.  Since I was up, I thought I'd check out the gym - I knew that if I didn't go for a run pretty quickly, I would just skip them all.  I managed to find out what my assigned run for the morning was (3 minutes running, 90 seconds walking, five minutes running, 2 1/2 minutes walking, 3 minutes running, 90 seconds walking, five minutes running).

Despite the jet lag, I was able to do it - and it actually made me feel much less tired.  I found that to be true the whole time I was away actually; sweating really made me much more awake and energized.  Who knew? ;)

My schedule this week was pretty jam packed, so I knew I'd need to get another run in on Friday at some point.  And I realized that I wouldn't be arriving back in the states until 11am on Monday morning, so I really should try to get another run in on Sunday as well.

Friday's run was another good one - really tiring, but it made me feel great.  I worked out all three days at the hotel gym rather than running outside.  The hotel had a nice running trail on a map in the rooms, but I'd have to cross the street to get to it, and if you've ever been to Hanoi, you know that one of the most treacherous things you can do is cross the road!

So instead, I opted for the gym treadmills, which worked fine (though I could tell the first day that it was a bit easier than what I had been doing outside).  I put on my music, plugged in my workout, and off I went.

However, because of internet trouble, I didn't know what the first workout for week 5 was supposed to be.  Instead of skipping it altogether, I did week 4's workout again, and figured I'll just delay week five start until Wednesday.  I don't lose time because I still ran, but I don't want to try to jump right into day two, week five, since day three, week five is that sneaky 20-minute run.

It actually was a good place for me to get exercise, Hanoi.  I was staying on the second floor of the hotel, and there were stairs to get there, so unless I was carrying something heavy like a suitcase, I almost always took the stairs.  We also walked around a lot, and on Saturday afternoon, we headed to a village on the outskirts of the city for an hour-long bike ride through the rice paddies and village.  It was fabulous, and no small workout (parts of it were uphill).  So between that, and my limited diet there because I'm so picky about eating, it was a good trip for me healthwise.

Unfortunately, I still didn't get nearly enough sleep.  The hotel in Paris was super uncomfortable for sleeping, and the hotel in Hanoi was much better, but I didn't always have the time.  So I'm planning to sleep on my second flight tonight - I flew from Hanoi to Kuala Lumpur (about 2 1/2 hours) and the next flight is KL to Charles de Gaulle, about 13 hours.  Then, I still have one more flight to JFK before I am back in the states! I'm tired just thinking about it.

It was a great trip, and if you'd like to read more about the travel part, my blog posts are over at http://www.travelblog.org/bloggers/lextraveler.  But I am looking forward to being home, in my own bed, and running in some (hopefully) good weather!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Running in Paris

Thanks to crazy internet issues, this post is late in being published, but I wrote it on Monday - I wanted to add a photo I took, but I'm currently sitting in the lobby of the hotel in Hanoi, since it's the only place I can access the internet, so it will have to wait for another time!

I know you’re all wondering whether I skipped my run on Friday or not, since I didn’t post anything…well, I didn’t.  It was a really hectic day, trying to finish up getting packed and ready for my trip and heading up to my parents’, but I got up early and forced myself to go. 

I felt great afterwards, but the run itself was another terrible one.  I was just so tired and sore, starting out.  Unfortunate.

Then, today was my run in Paris.  I was nervous about it, since I’ve never run outside in a foreign country (and I’ve been to over 20 countries in the last six years or so, so you understand how little I have been running!). 

I initially intended to run first thing this morning, but because the beds are hard as rock and thanks to jet lag, I didn’t fall asleep until about 4.  So the 8 am wakeup wasn’t looking so hot.  Instead, we headed out around 11 after breakfast and walked to the Champs Elysees where we wandered around for a little while.  It’s been chilly here (and I forgot my coat, of course), so I was definitely cold, but it was nice in the sun. 

I talked my dad into walking back to the hotel as well, and it felt good to be out in the fresh air after being cooped up so long all winter, and on the plane. 

When we got back, I decided to head out for my run. I had a pretty good idea of where the park was thanks to our drive in and walking around earlier, so I went in that direction.  It was only a couple of blocks away, but was much smaller than I thought it was –no big deal, I just did some laps. 

Today’s program called for 3 minutes running, 90 seconds walking, 5 minutes running, 2 ½ minutes walking, 3 minutes running, 90 seconds walking, and 5 minutes running again.  I wasn’t sure how I’d manage after the long walk this morning, and being tired and jet lagged, but I thought I’d give it a shot, but cut myself a break if I needed to.

I definitely felt the run, but today, the pain was good.  I pushed myself a little to start with, because it was so nice out, and that was a mistake, but overall the run was a great one. The weather was perfect, I was dressed warmly enough, and it was nice to run a little on pavement and a little on dirt – give my poor knees a break!

Unfortunately, a group of young kids were there on some sort of exercise assignment with their teacher or coach, and THEY were running as well. I ran by them a couple of times as they were hanging out in their group, and I could have sworn that their teacher/coach told them to “chase the slow lady” – because a couple of them blew past me!   Ah, to be young and have boundless energy.

I just reminded myself that I’m building my endurance back up, and stuck with my little plan!
So now I’m back in the hotel and needing to take a bath (no shower here) and get ready for this evening’s wedding!  Au revoir!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Back to Back Runs Kick my Butt

I always forget how much I dislike running on back to back days.  But despite being tired and sore today (both from yesterday's run, and smashing the door into my heel...and then this morning, running my quad into the corner of a chair and causing an awesome bruise), I just could not figure out how to get around running today.  If I want to finish this week out, it was better to get the back to back run out of the way today then to wait for tomorrow and Friday.

So off running I went.

And this run totally kicked my butt.  My legs were just not cooperating, no matter what pace I tried to find.  The only upside to today is that it's ridiculously beautiful out (minus the strong wind). So there really was no excuse not to get out there.

And now that I'm back, although I'm tired and definitely feeling it, I'm glad I went.  It cleared my head and it was nice to get out in the sunshine for a little bit, and away from the glare of my computer monitor.  And I feel good about making myself go instead of slacking off.

So today was another 90 seconds running/walking, 3 minutes running/walking times two, and Friday is the same.  Let's hope I start to feel like I'm building some endurance up soon, because I just feel beat down every time I'm running.

I decided to look back at my posts from the same week of running I did back in 2009, and I was disappointed to realize that I'm about a week behind where I thought I was at this time of year!  No wonder I've been feeling like I don't have very much time before the April 5ks start!

Interestingly, after the second run of week 3 in 2009, I was actually starting to feel like I liked running.  I'm not so much feeling that today - I am really enjoying the post-run endorphins and feeling that I actually accomplished something instead of sitting on my butt, but I'm still not having fun during the actual run.  I hope that will come back.  I just need to find my motivation again!

(PS, this cartoon is also from the same post two years ago!)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Today's Run and Upcoming Plans

Today, it was time to ramp up the time again on the run - it worked out to being the same amount of time running, I think, but there were longer intervals.  The program called for 90 seconds running, 90 second walking, three minutes running, three minutes walking twice.

Woo. It was killer.

It seems so silly - particularly since I ran a 10k at one point - that 3 minutes of running felt so exhausting.  But it did.

However, I'm glad I ran today. I didn't run yesterday because I was traveling back from my parents' and was ridiculously exhausted - I finally got a little sleep on Sunday night (on Saturday night, I fell asleep around 5am), but I was still so tired overall.  Last night, I got about nine hours of sleep, which was glorious.  I'm still catching up for two weeks of insomnia, so I think it will take me all week to recover.

And then, I go to Europe and Asia for business.  So jet lag will get me all over again.

This is also the first time I'm planning to run while I'm away.  Usually, I don't want to also have to pack my running clothes (with a million functions while I'm away, I usually have to pack about three outfits per day. No joke).  Plus, I don't like doing things out of my comfort zone, and running in an unfamiliar place falls into that category.

But I really don't want to lose my momentum here, so I'm making plans.  First, we're headed to Paris for a wedding of two of my clients.  We're staying in a hotel without a gym, so I looked up some local routes and found that there's a park nearby, with a lake, and a 5k route that someone posted.  That's a good place to run on Monday morning.

Then, I'm heading to Hanoi, Vietnam and fortunately, there's a gym in the hotel.  Unfortunately, that's when the busy-ness of my week really ramps up.  So I've got to motivate myself to head to gym for a run on Wednesday night after hopefully catching up on some sleep thanks to flying from Paris to Hanoi on Tuesday into Wednesday.  And I've got to try to fit in a run in the two hours I have to relax and get ready for dinner between our afternoon and evening events on Friday.

I'll also be doing a leisurely bike ride through the Vietnam countryside outside of Hanoi on Saturday afternoon - and I'm actually really excited about that.  Plus, it's some good cross-training.

So I've got two more runs this week - tomorrow, so I can keep on schedule since I moved yesterday's run to today.  And Friday morning, before I head up to my parents' for the trip to Paris.

And in klutzy news, I managed to give myself a very minor injury this afternoon - coming back from the run, I let the heavy storm door at the front of my house scrape along my achilles tendon.  That really stung and is still a bit sore, particularly since it rubs right against the back of my shoe.  Good times.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Running on an Off Day

So, I didn't run yesterday.

We had a high wind warning for the area (along with rain all day), and the last time we had a warning of equal intensity (i.e. last weekend), there were power lines down and debris.  So I thought it best to stay safe and run today instead.

Of course, I'm still having trouble sleeping and I did NOT want to get up this morning.  I was so tired, and I knew I was driving up to my parents' today, so I also knew I needed sleep so as not to doze off at the wheel.

I slept in later than I wanted to, and debated not running.  But I figured that running would be a good way to wake up and get my body moving, so I forced myself to do it.

And it was a tough one.  It was chilly today, but not terrible, but my chest was burning, my legs were so tired, and I wanted to quit so many times.  But since I've done this before, I knew that I was capable of it, and I just needed to push through the exhaustion

I was so glad I did.  My body is SORE tonight, but I did the run, it did help to energize me, and I felt like I stuck to my commitment, which was a good feeling.

I need to keep remembering that when I most feel like I don't want to run is when I see the most benefit.  Sure, it was terrible while I was running and I felt like keeling over, but after I got home, ate some oatmeal and took a shower, I felt like a new woman.  Good stuff.

Let's see how things go when I ramp it up next week.

And if you're wondering, I am down by 2.8 pounds as of today - definitely less than I'd hoped for this week, but I've found it takes a good six weeks to see major changes when I commit to eating healthy and working out, so I've got another four weeks left.  Still working hard at the eating well - I cooked every night this week, even when I didn't feel like it!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

So NOT Feeling it Today

After yet another night of restless sleep, I reeeeeally was not feeling the run today.  I pretty much wanted to stay in bed all day (I didn't, I've been working, no worries).

But I knew that if I skipped today, I'd find it pretty easy to continuing skipping runs until I was back to not running at all again.

So I put on my running clothes when I got up.  And I had an ongoing debate with myself as to whether I'd get out there until I finally just went.

My thermometer said it was 43 degrees, but it felt more like 23 degrees. I was wishing I'd dressed a little bit warmer as I headed out into the wind.  And because it was chilly, that might explain why I pushed myself a bit too hard on the first interval.  I wanted to warm up FAST.

And the first part of the run was terrible. I was tired, cold, unmotivated, you name it.  But I stuck with it.  I didn't give up on the plan or myself.

By the second half, I was really really tired, but pushing myself.  Watching some other runners recently made me realize that maybe I'm not picking my feet up enough when I run.  So I tried focusing a bit more on form.  That exhausted me a lot quicker on each interval, but I felt like I deserved the walking break then.

I pushed myself almost to the point of throwing up.  And it felt good.

Had I skipped the run today, I would have told myself I was going to do it tomorrow (and I probably wouldn't have).  Then, I would have beaten myself up all afternoon and evening for not just sucking it up and getting out there.

Instead, I did it.  I did every interval that was planned, ran every step I was supposed to, and it was worth it.

I'm still tired, but now I also feel some muscle fatigue.  And muscle fatigue means I did something hard (well, hard for me anyway).

So I'm still plugging away. This week's change to 90 seconds of running (which doesn't sound like a lot, and isn't a lot) has really kicked my butt.  But I know I can do it, because I've done it before. I just have to stick with it and not let myself get in the way.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Start of Week 2 - It's Chilly Out There!

So I'm still having some trouble with sleeping.  Friday night, I didn't get to sleep until about 2:30 (some of that was my own fault because I was up doing laundry until about 1:30 - I know, what a rocking Friday night!).  Saturday, I didn't fall asleep until 4am.  And even last night, it was 2am.  Fortunately, I could sleep in, but it's meant that my days are a bit thrown off, which isn't great, and I'm sure I'll be suffering when I wake up early for work tomorrow.

When I woke up this morning, I did NOT feel like going for a run. I was tired and sluggish, the cold outside has a bitter feeling to it because we're expecting snow later, and it's cloudy and depressing.

But I'm a believer in suiting up and showing up, so I just put on my running clothes and had some oatmeal and gave myself a 1pm deadline to head out.

And I did.  Today, I was ramping up to 90 seconds of running and two minutes of walking, and with the cold, I was definitely feeling punished.  But I did it anyway and now I'm feeling good as a result.

I stuck with my healthier eating this weekend too - there were a couple of times where I wanted to give myself a treat and just take a whole day off from good eating, but it's only been a week of it, so I resisted the urge. I did make a key lime pie on Saturday night, but I've only had a small slice after dinner both days, and that's been enough of a treat for me.

I also picked up some more VitaTops - they're muffin tops made from whole grains, with 15 vitamins in them and only 100 calories.  I get the dark chocolate ones, and they taste like brownies.  No joke.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm not into diet anything - I've never liked diet soda, anything that's low fat or low sugar tastes really fake to me, and I just prefer the full fat, full sugar versions of things.

But these really, honestly taste like brownies.

They come frozen, six to a package (apparently you can buy them online two, and I might think about it, since the only flavors they have at my grocery store are corn muffin and these chocolate ones), and I just microwave them for about 25 seconds, pour a small glass of skim milk, and I have a really delicious snack.  I might go make one right now in fact!


I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself for running when I didn't feel like it, and continuing to eat well when I didn't feel like it. And as a result, I've lost 2.2 pounds in the last week. Woo hoo!

Now I just need to motivate myself beyond sitting on the couch for the rest of the afternoon.  Because I'm still so darn tired lately!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Week One of Couch to 5k Complete + What I'm Eating

So here we are, day three of the couch to 5k, and I actually WANTED to run today.  Mostly because it was either go for a run or kill somebody and throw my computer out the window.  But since I know that running beats the frustration out of me, I figured that was the better alternative!

It was another session of 60 seconds running and 90 seconds walking for twenty minutes total, and today's run was a bit punishing.  In part because I was pushing myself out of frustration, and in part because the humidity is pretty high here today - you know how I love humidity.

At any rate, the run did it's job - I feel much less stressed now and hopefully I can remember this feeling the next time I'm feeling frustrated - running works like nothing else.

Now, to change the subject a bit...

One of the things I remember reading during my last stint as a runner was about how important nutrition is.  You may remember that I was having some serious problems with migraines when I first started running in 2009, and it turned out that I wasn't drinking nearly enough water.  As part of a year-long resolutions project I'm working on, one of this month's tasks was to drink at least four glasses of water a day.

I know some suggest that it should be eight, but I was going from maybe one glass a day.  I know, it's terrible, I admit it.

When I'd done my few trips to the gym, I talked to a fitness coach there, who said that over time, your body will get used to drinking more and more water, and will crave it, so it's a good idea to build up to eight glasses.  So that was my plan.

It's been 18 days, and I've stuck with 4-5, sometimes 6 glasses of water a day.  With that much water, there isn't room for drinking too much else, with the exception of a small glass of skim milk here and there.  I had a pretty major addiction to Pepsi (I still love it), and I've found that I'm not good at moderation.  So I just haven't brought any into the house, and I'm sticking with water.

I hate to admit it, but I feel better.

On the nutrition side of things, this is also the first time I'm focusing on really eating better while working out - usually I'm guilty of doing one or the other.  In January, I gave up "candies" - my definition of candies is anything that's just sugary, like nerds, sweet tarts, etc.  I LOVE that stuff.  But again, I'm not good with moderation.  I would get one roll of sweet tarts one day, crave them again the next day, pick up three rolls, planning to eat them over the period of three days and eat them all in one day.  And so on.

No wonder I put on nine pounds in the last ten months.

So I gave that all up in January - I'm trying to make small changes, so that instead of feeling deprived, I just gradually phase it out.  February was just supposed to be about giving up Pepsi, but now I've given up most sweets.

I read somewhere that oatmeal is the breakfast of champions.  I'd tried it once and hated it, but more for the texture than the taste (I'm very sensitive to food textures).  But I suddenly had a craving for it the other day, so I picked up a box - there are three flavors, which I know isn't the healthiest kind of oatmeal, but it's about baby steps.  I've eaten it for breakfast the past three days, and I have to say that it's really good!

Not only does it taste good, but it fills me up and keeps me full until lunchtime.  Lunch is my other major issue.  I like lunch foods (I love sandwiches), but I never feel like eating them at lunch.  Plus, in addition to processed meats not being very good for you, they're a nightmare for migraine sufferers.  I had a leftover Italian hero a few weeks ago, and it gave me a terrible migraine.  So I'm usually at a loss as to what to eat for lunch, end up eating a yogurt and feeling hungry about thirty minutes later.

So because I'm eating the oatmeal for breakfast, I can now have my carnation instant breakfast for lunch! I get the dark chocolate packets, and blend it with skim milk and slow churned vanilla ice cream and it's good.  And that keeps me full for a good three hours.  So I have a snack then, and have a decent home cooked meal for dinner.

I'm also finding that I'm pretty hungry by dinner, so I'm splitting up the meal into something easy to eat, and what I'm cooking.  If I eat a quick salad (mixed greens, walnuts, dried cherries, oil & vinegar) or a bunch of carrots, I'm more likely to have the patience to wait for my meal to cook.  One of my biggest problems is thinking that cooking will take forever (it never does, but it feels that way), and then I just decide to order or pick up take out. And that's never as good for me as cooking.

So this gives me a bit of food, adds in veggies, which I'm not a huge fan of generally, and motivates me to cook instead.  Another thing that's been working for me is planning my meals - on Sunday, I looked at what I had in the fridge and planned all my meals out for the week.  Then, I didn't have to figure out what I was going to make that night - I just made it.

At the end of a long day, when I'm tired and don't feel like hunting through the cabinets and fridge for what to make, it's handy to just have options in front of me.  I admit I did stray from the list a bit this week - I stuck with the meals on it, but not always on the right days - but in general, it worked out great.

The only issue I'm having in my new focus on self-care is sleeping.  I am having trouble getting myself to turn the lights off before 2am, so I'm really tired during the day.  I'm not sure why I can never seem to meet the basics of self care all at once - I'm either taking care of my sleep schedule, eating well or exercising, but not usually all three at the same time.   But I'll get there!

I've lost 1.6 pounds since Monday, so that's good motivation to keep going.  Plus, I've been checking out some races for the upcoming months, so I'll keep you updated on what I'm planning to run in this year!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 2 of the Couch to 5k - Did I do it?

So it's Wednesday, which means it's supposed to be day 2 (AGAIN) of the couch to 5k.

And I must admit...

I did it! I ran today :)

You thought I was going to say I took the day off!

By Monday night, my legs were really tired and sore.  By Tuesday, I was walking funny.  By this morning, I actually felt worse, and the muscles in my legs and in my feet hurt.

But I really, really, REALLY want to get back to running.  So I figured the walking warm up would help ease me past the muscle soreness and I'd just do the assigned run/walk anyway.

And I did it!

Was it hard, exhausting, a little cold and windy?


But today, for some reason, it felt good that it was difficult.  It felt good to push myself again. To feel my muscles ache and still meet the goals (another 60 seconds running, 90 seconds walking for 20 minutes day).

I'm still super sore, and because I'm still not sleeping well or enough, I'm exhausted - physically, mentally and emotionally.  But I'm glad I ran and I do feel better than I did this morning.  It was good to remember that when I'm frustrated and short-tempered (with work, with the fact that my creepy neighbor who's wife supposedly kicked him out weeks ago has been back today, being creepy, etc.) a good run will knock that right out of me.

I've already passed the mental hurdles of "Can I do this?" because I completed the couch to 5k two years ago.  So now it's just getting back out there, being consistent and not letting excuses hold me back.  I really hope I'm on my way.

And yes, I know that if I'd done yoga yesterday, that would have helped both my soreness and the migraine I was fighting on and off all day, but I just felt too wiped out.  Hopefully I'll feel energized enough tomorrow to do it.  I did make sure to walk the dog after my run today, so I got a nice long cool down as well - he's a basset hound, so he's not exactly a fast walker!

Monday, February 14, 2011

I'm Baaack!

I admit it. 

For a while there, I wasn't sure I was ever going to run again.  

I'm the queen of excuses when it comes to working out.  I'm too tired. It's too cold outside. It's too windy. I don't feel like it. I don't like running. Blah, blah, blah.

Of course, I felt guilty about these excuses, but even the guilt didn't make me feel like running.  I figured I'd just give it up.

But then I was thinking about it at the end of last year, and realized that I'd never felt so happy with myself as when I was running regularly.  Seriously.  It's a great self esteem booster and the endorphin rush is awesome.  

So I told myself I'd start running again.  Of course, I told myself that in November, and here we are, February 14th.  My motivation has really been at an all time low lately.  Plus, it really HAS been cold and running on ice is just not my thing.  But living here at the beach, where the milder weather means that the snow doesn't stick around for long when we do get it, I realized last week that I need to stop making excuses and JUST. DO. IT.

And so last night, I laid out my running clothes, set my alarm a bit earlier and went to bed early.  But then I didn't fall asleep until after 3:30am.  Super.

I didn't get up early and run.  But I did put my running clothes on. And I told myself I'd start the Couch-to-5k today with a lunchtime run.  It's 63 degrees here today, people.  I am out of excuses. And if I'm being honest, I need to drop a bit of weight.  And surprise, surprise, it turns out that diet and exercise is the way to do that - who knew?

The long and the short of it is, I ran.  Well, I did the first workout in the program, which is five minutes walking warm-up, followed by alternating 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes.  And it was so beautiful out that even though I realized how far I have to go to get back to running 3 miles regularly, I still felt pretty good.

My legs are definitely sore - but they were sore when I woke up because I was doing a lot of squats yesterday while painting the doors and trim in my upstairs hallway.  I really wanted to use sore quads as an excuse today, but the truth is that I can find an excuse any day, and I just need to suck it up and do it.

So I'm hopefully back to running.  I rested and slept a lot this weekend, and ate a lot of junk food, and I'm basically sick of myself at this point, so I think that's been motivation enough to get back to working out regularly.  I'm hoping to get a bike stabilizer so that I can ride my bike inside (then I don't have to wear an ugly helmet :)) - I think that would be great for watching tv!  And I really REALLY need to start doing yoga again.  I love the way it makes me feel, it's a great thing to be doing while running, and with a variety of yoga videos available streaming on Netflix, I have no excuses - I can't get bored!  

We'll see how it goes!  I'll let you know how my motivation is holding up so you can yell at me if I need it!