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!