Monday, June 18, 2012

Moving into 10k territory

Somehow I was (easily) convinced to do a 10k run at the end of August.
Both my partner and I have slacked off on the running as of late. Ive been strength training at the gym, and timing has been off for running. So the thought of jumping into a 10k was done on a whim with little hesitation on our part.

10k...
Shit.

My last few 5k runs, as previously discussed have been incredibly Meh. with some interval training mixed in and a lot of walking involved. In fact I haven't run a solid 5k without stopping since my second race back in April. Ive been taking a lighter approach to running, and as I said earlier, strength training took top spot in my exercise routine. But now that I have agreed to a 10k, I guess I better make sure to commit myself to running at least twice a week in order to make sure I dont look like a complete ass during the race.

The race is under 8 weeks away and most training programs I have seen for jumping to 10k, are a little over 8 weeks long, with 3 days a week running. So I know it is a very long stretch to assume I will be able to run a solid 10k without stopping.

But that doesnt mean I'm not going to try at least! I do know for this one, it will be for fun, enjoyment and trying to push myself past a point I never thought I could do. And if that means I have one or two or ten walk breaks, then thats fine by me. 10k is still 10k.. regardless of how fast or how long it takes.


So it begins again. Training to run. training myself to believe again.
Should be fun:)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Quiet on the streets

I have been quiet as of late.. I have been running, but I have taken a bit of a break on my running weekly. I began a strength training program 6 weeks ago to help aid in my weight loss efforts, and in order to do so, I had to cut back on some of my cardio workouts. I was running three times a week plus a step class, so I had to move things around and take a breather from them for a little while. So lately I have only been dedicating one day a week to running.

It has been nice somedays to not have to go and run. While I do miss it on some levels, I found it to be a nice change to go back to the gym more often and work on something I have never done before. I guess this year is all about trying new things for me.. First running, now weight lifting. Certainly wouldn't think of those things if you looked at me, thats for sure!

I have been getting out at least once a week for a run when I can. My last few runs I have taken a slightly different approach to just going out and running my 5k. I really want to concentrate on building my stamina and being able to shed some time off my totals. So to do that I need to interval train. So my runs lately kind of look a lot like they did 6 months ago when I began.. segments of runs dotted with walking. The difference though is my run segments are a heck of a lot faster than they were back then.

Thanks to my Garmin, I have been able to see how fast my pace has gotten during my intervals and I was thrilled to see on a previous run that I was almost a minute 'faster per km than my 'normal' pace is. I average about a 8:20/km pace, and for my run two weeks ago, I was at a 7:30/km pace for 2km solid.. I definitely pushed harder on that one and I was so happy to see that kind of time. Unfortunately I pushed so hard in the first 2k, that I was completely spent by the time I hit 3.5k. I did continue with my intervals my by time was definitely slowing down the longer I was out there.

This last run I did I just decided to run. I hadn't been on a run in 10 days due to a hugely busy schedule, so I was just happy to get out this morning. The weather was pretty muggy due to rain last night, plus looming storms later today so I wanted to get it done early so I could relax. I think it was the earliest I had ever gone for a run, 8:45am! I started off and was definitely sore from yesterdays lifting session, so I knew it wasn't going to be a fast time. I just wanted to run.

My pace was slightly slower than normal and I only managed about 3.5km before my feet gave way and I stopped running. I was a little disappointed in myself for stopping so soon, but I had to shrug it off and allow myself the walk. Obviously my mind wasn't quite in it this morning and I struggled to break through the wall. Something I do need to still work on... allowing myself the walk if I need it. There is no shame in walking!!!

My partner and I are looking at more races this summer. Im currently waiting on schedules for all sorts of different things happening to see what runs will work for my weekends. I would love to get in two more at least this season.

So that is where I am at.. running, but enjoying other things right now, still hoping to get in one or two more races.. still working on me.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers Day Run, Race report

My third race of the season has ended and this one was probably the toughest one. I knew the race was a big one, but in all honesty I had NO idea just how big that meant.
We decided to take the train down to the location rather than fight the throngs of traffic we were expecting, however once we got there, we realized we could have parked pretty much right there and have no issues. Lesson learned.

By the time we got to the warm up area, we had about 25 minutes to go to the washroom, check our bag and then get in line. Somehow I have the worlds worst radar when it comes to picking bathroom lines....How is it that people can spent more than 5 minutes sitting in a porta potty??? 15 minutes later, we were finally able to check our bags and get ready to go.

Waiting for the start!


In line, waiting to go.


We finally got the start and the slow walk to the actual starting line began. Once we finally crossed, we were able to run with the masses and off we went.
It was quite amazing being surrounded by that many people all doing the same thing. I'm not a claustrophobic type of person, but there were times at the very beginning where I felt uncomfortable being around that many people, that close!

Before we knew it, we were on the backside of the mall and the line of runners in front of us was incredible. I had noticed that I was already having trouble breathing, and I felt worn out already. I looked at my pace on my watch, and I was shocked to see it registerring around a 7.28/km pace. That is about 1 minute faster than I normally run! Obviously being around all of these other runners pushed my pace well beyond where I should have been. I backed off as soon as I realized and tried to keep a slower pace. However that proved to be a lot more difficult than I anticipated. At the end of our first Km, I was running a 7.35 pace.

I tried to just enjoy the run and people watch at the same time, but it was hard. The sun was bearing down on us and even though it was only a little after 9am, it felt like it was 20+ degrees already. I had trouble keeping my sunglasses on my face due to the sweat pouring down from it:)

At the end of the second Km, my pace slowed a little to 8.02/km. Still faster than I usually run.. I was definitely feeling the burnout already, having pushed way too hard at the beginning. I knew if I did not stop myself and take a walk break, I was not going to finish this race in a decent time, possibly not at all. So the smart thing to do took over, and I stopped. I think that first walk was about 15 seconds, which also coincided with the water station. I grabbed a glass, quickly tried to take a sip or two and then off we went again.


The hoards of runners ahead of us



Over the next three Km, I slowed myself down and took that walk break if I needed it. I think it ended up being 4 breaks throughout the whole race, something that killed me to do. Km 3 had clocked in at 8.20/km, Km 4 was 8.28/km and the 5th and last clocked in at 8.47/km. So the walk breaks helped, but even with them, while running I found I could not slow my pace down enough to not run with the masses around us.
By the time my watch marked the 5th kilometer, I was beyond beat. Yet we were still too far from the finish line to be done. I was pretty sure my watch's GPS was not off its mark at all, but I couldnt see the race being that far off from its distance either.

It wasn't until I thought more about our race that I realized the error in our race.

By the time we got to the end, I had used everything left in me to cross that line running. A final official time was 44.53.. well beyond any training run I had ever done.
But I looked down at my watch. I stopped my timer when we crossed what I thought was the timing mat.. seems I was wrong. I dont know why I didn't stop it when we actually crossed the big inflatable finish, but in any case, my time was registering 43.54 in 5.35km.

So why was I so off in my distance?

I realized it at the end, that while running, we had actually run on the outside of the path, not the inside. So especially when we hit any turns, we were actually running "wide" and therefore running further than we needed to be. I suppose this is a hazard of road races with 18,000 people involved. There was just no space to run on the "inside" and we were forced to the outside, causing us to run longer.

So when I look at what my overall pace was according to my Garmin, I was showing a 8.12/km pace.. even with 4 walks in there, we were actually running about 6 seconds faster than we normally run in training.
So with that, I was happy. It wasn't an "official" time, but it made more sense given the facts I had.


Post race redness!

I learned a lot about myself in this race. Things that will help push me in whatever my next race is.


1. Pace is everything. Know your pace.
I hadnt realized just how easy it was to get caught up in what everyone else was doing and not know how fast I was going. I burned myself out way too early and was unable to hold my pace beyond that. However I did learn I could run a full kilometer about a minute faster!

2. Walk breaks are not the devil.
I don't know why but I almost feel like a failure if I walk. Stupid, isnt it. Many runners stop at some point in their race for whatever their reasons, and the vast majority run faster than me, so why am I a failure? I have to let go of that stupidity and allow myself to walk if I need it. I can do more damage in the long term by not walking, than if I took that 10 or 30 seconds to slow down.

3. I do not like running with 18,000 people.
This was likely my first and last time running this race. I found it was just too many people to be comfortable doing what I was doing and I felt it was too overcrowded for my liking. I like smaller races... a LOT smaller:)

4. I enjoy a massage after I run..

Seriously, best 5 minute massage ever:)

It was an experience, and I am glad I did it. It was still a Sunday Run for me, and I learned more about myself as a runner. I didn't get the overall results I wanted, but it doesn't matter. It was still worth it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Interval training and Mothers Day Run Prep

For today's run I decided it was time to work on increasing my speed for the 5k, and the only way I can think of to do that is to interval train.. Push myself hard and fast for a short period, then walk it out and repeat. Today is a nice day with a cool breeze which made it a good day to sprint in small doses.
I started off running my normal pace for about 9 minutes, then began my intervals. I started watching my pace on my Garmin and was working to push it to about the 8 minute mark, which is about 17 seconds faster per Km than I normally run. Here I thought that was a decent increase and a good way to push. (Go with me here..:)) After my first interval which lasted anywhere from 30 seconds to a 1 minute or two (I didnt clock them), I walked it off until I could catch my breath and start again. Each speed interval I hit, I looked down at my Garmin to check my pace and see how much I could push. I really wanted to hit that 8:05-8:00 pace and keep it there..

Now I have to be honest. I had no idea that my pace shown was actually an average pace over my entire run.. so it included all my walk intervals.. So what I thought was a 8:00/km pace, wasn't exactly true.
Anyways, I plugged along and really pushed myself in the speed portion, lasting at some points only 45 seconds or so before having to stop and walk, but I know my walk breaks were no longer than 2 minutes. Around the 3km mark, I was beginning another speed interval when I glanced down at my watch and saw 6:04/km

Ho-ly Shit...

I actually had to look at it again (yes, while still running) just to make sure I wasn't seeing things..
Again it took me a while to realize that my pace was taking into account my entire time out running/walking, but to see a 6:Anything, was absolutely phenomenal for me. ... It never occurred to me that I could run that fast.. or I suppose faster, since it was an average over my whole time out..Needless to say that only lasted about 30 seconds before I was walking again, and then I never quite got back up to that mark.

By the end of it, I was definitely spent. I couldn't quite finish the full 5k in intervals and got to 4.5km before calling it quits. I have no idea how many intervals I did, how much running I actually did over my walking, but I know it was a well earned trip out. I pushed myself further and faster.. And I know it will help make a difference in my next full run..

Which just happens to be the Mothers Day Run/Walk on Sunday. This race is a huge event in the city. I have always heard of it, never been to it or seen it, but the pictures they show on the news are always crazy. Somehow my partner and I thought it would be a good idea to run it...
Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that this one supports our local Childrens Hospital and its a big deal, but I don't do well in large crowds. And being such a beginner runner, I have no idea how many people are racing and I don't exactly look forward to running shoulder to shoulder with people... But it will be an experience for sure:)

So if anything, my interval training should hopefully help me shave off a few seconds from my time on Sunday.. if not, well, it was still fun:)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Playing with my new toy

I have been researching and eyeing a heart rate/gps style watch for my runs for a while, but the cost factor was hindering me from being able to get one. Imagine my surprise when Costco all of a sudden had a Garmin watch on their shelves for about half of the cost that I could find anywhere else..Sweet!! With the generosity from my mother, I was able to purchase the watch and give it a spin this week on my runs.


Ignore the crappy time and distance on it. My run this afternoon was not as good as planned:)

In any case, I am still figuring things out with it and learning how to use it properly. I do love the heart rate monitor on it and I can't wait to look at the data... once my husband figures out how to make the program work with linux..

I took the watch for a spin on Thursday for my run, and decided to do my normal loop at home to see how the GPS matched up. Unfortunately I made a split decision at the 3km mark to glance at my watch.. And watching the time was then something I ended up doing every few moments.
Ugh.. not what you want to do when you are trying to concentrate on the run. Of course I ended up slowing down and fatigue set in because I knew where I was in my run. It was stupid of me to look at it.

But lesson learned.. don't look at the watch:)

I am excited to wear it in my next race this coming weekend on Mother's Day!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Official Results from The Bow River Race

41:12 and in 100th place out of 109 5k runners:)

So the official time was about 6 seconds faster than what I had. Works for me!!

It was a great race. I would definitely do that one again. Next year, I will shoot to be in the top 75:)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A second race in the bag

I completed my second 5k race this morning, this one was a solo race, as my partner was unable to attend. I was pretty excited about this one, being the weather was like night and day from last weeks race, and I was feeling pretty relaxed and ready for it.

We got to the race with a few moments for me to warm up, and scan the crowd for a fellow runner and friend, Deb who was planning to shatter her own 5k personal best.


I left Deb at the front of the starting line, and I took my place near the rear of the pack, or the "Less Fast" runners.

Soon we were off and the fast runners took off. From my vantage point I was able to see just how large this group was and it was quite incredible to see how many people were racing.


It wasn't too long in before I was left in the dust by the pack. It was nice though. No one really around me, no one trying to overtake me, just me and the pavement. I just paced myself, and listened to my music as I enjoyed the scenery on the river pathway.

It was probably just after the 2km marker that the lead runners were making their way back to the finish, and boy were they flying by. It wouldn't be until they were handing out the awards that I found out the leader took the 5k with an astounding 16:56ish time. And here I thought last week's winner was fast at just over 20 minutes!!

It was about seven or eight runner passing me the other way when I saw Deb going hard for her run. Gave a little cheer to her and plugged along with my own race. It was encouraging in a way to see everyone passing me the other way. It somehow drove me to keep going and push a little harder.

When I finally reached the turnaround point, I got to see just how many people were still behind me, and just as I had suspected... very few. But I was ok with that. I had kind of figured based on the number of people running, that I would be one of the few beginners, and a slow one at that. Again, I was ok with it. I wasn't there for anyone else but myself. I was running for me and it was just another weekend run, this just happening on the river path.

Soon I finally passed the 4k mark and could see the bridge I had left to cross to make my way to the finish. As I crossed the bridge in the last 500 meters or so, I saw my mother at the foot of the bridge, waiting to see me. She was able to snap off a few action shots of me running along.







Finally heading down the last few meters



I crossed the line.. 5.07km in 41:18

My time would have been just under 41 minutes for a 5k even , and that was fine by me. I wasn't planning on setting any PB's at this point. I'm just running for fun and enjoyment:)

The nice part was winning a door prize at the end... A nice new running hat. Something I was *just* telling my husband this morning that I needed to go find. Good thing too because somewhere along the route I lost my hairband...

It was a nice race, a beautiful morning run and a prize to boot.

Good day:)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Post Race Report

 Yesterday was my first 5k race. I would have posted then but things have been a bit hectic the last 24 hours and I haven't had a chance to compose my thoughts. Now I finally have a working computer and I have figured out how to upload my photos...

First Bib Number





Yesterday morning I woke feeling good, relaxed and ready to race.

Until I opened my window and saw the snow all over the ground. Yeah, not my idea of a fun time for sure. But after a few moments of "Oh Crap" and such, I put it behind me and still knew I had a race ahead of me, and this would be still a great thing to do, even in the snow.

The kids were all packed up, extra jacket, shoes, socks, water, gloves, you name it, I had everything I could think of to make it through this race. We got to the race location and my partner arrived right behind us. Since neither of us had ever done this sort of thing before, we had no idea what to expect crowd wise, runner wise or anything. So it was a bit of a shock to see that it was not crazy busy at all. In fact there might have been a handful of spectators there, with the rest being all runners. I was worried that I would be under dressed wearing a t-shirt and my normal yoga jacket. I knew if I had anything heavier on, I would be in trouble while running. Needless to say there were runners there wearing nothing but a tank top and shorts.

I quickly got over my "fear" of not dressing appropriately.

While waiting around I just crowd watched and saw the walks of life that were participating in the race. I could only imagine those that were half naked, were seasoned pros, knowing how hot they get when running. The ones that were fully clothed, wore everything from light jackets, to running jackets, to vest and t-shirts. Some wearing toques, some wearing nothing but headphones. I started out feeling very self conscience looking at all of these runners, but after a few moments, I realized I was one of them. I blended in the crowd with everyone else. I was able to smile at other runners as they passed by, doing their warmup walks, having a chat. I was able to wear my bib proud, knowing that I was a runner and I was embarking on my first real race.

We were waiting until the last few minutes to head out and take our place behind the starting line. Since there was a 10k race going on as well. they got to take off first, with the 5k runners about 5 minutes behind. We nervously walked out and started moving around, getting our legs warm and our heart rates moving. We said goodbye to our husbands and kids, took our "before" picture and got ready to line up.



Before we set off on the race


The 10k racers were off, and now it was our turn. We watched as the clock started getting closer to the 5 minute mark and then our turn to take off. We decided to stick towards the back of the pack so we didnt have to wade through people.. or so people didn't have to wade through us more or less.


Suddenly they were counting us down, and then we were off. We crossed that starting line and began our run. It took a few minutes to get out of the crowd of people, even though there wasn't a ton of us running. Soon we had an open area to run in, with a few people in front of us. We found our stride and plugged along. To be honest it was the first time I had started a run and I didn't once think about trying to push through that first 5 minutes until I found my groove. It took a minute to get my breathing in line, and my heart rate under control, but I didn't feel like it was a "hard start" so to speak.

Soon we were just running along, with the snow and slight wind blowing in our face. I had to remove my gloves and sunglasses pretty early on. I was thankful for my light jacket, even if there were a few wet patches developing from the snow.

Our race took us down the river path, underneath a bridge, over top the bridge, across to the other side, back down, around the bottom and back on top to cross back over again, then back on the same straight path to the finish. There were a few race coordinators along the route to guide us the right way and give encouragement. Having never run with people around, it was a different experience to have these people yell "You can do it! You are getting there!!" One of the coolest things was seeing an older couple pull their car over to the side of the road, get out and stand at the pathway cheering us on. They don't know us from Adam, yet they took the time to cheer for complete strangers. That was probably one of the coolest things I had ever got the experience.

We came up to the bridge portion and had to slow pace down a bit to go up the hill to the roadway, and then cross over, directly running into the snow and wind. We just kept saying that at least on the other side, it would be behind us! As we were coming up the other side and ready to cross back over one last time, the race lady shouted " You are halfway done!! Good job!!"

Finally we were back on the river path, making our way to the finish line. It was then we noticed the race markers showing how many km had passed. Funny for us we noticed the 8km marker for the 10 runners. Least we knew we had 2 km left to go.

My partner keeps a bit faster of a pace than I do. We work really well together because I slow her down, and she pushes me faster. She was running a few paces ahead of me, keeping her own stride while still urging me to push further and keep going. I finally yelled to her to run ahead, get her own personal best and do a fabulous time, but she refused.

So together we run.

In the last 1.5 km we were getting passed by the 10km runners making their way back to the finish line. We had a little smile, knowing that was kind of cool to see them running by. Most of them part of the half naked crowd of runners we saw at the beginning. They are doing 10k faster than we can do a 5k.. Crazy, but still so awe-inspiring.

Finally we were zoning in on the last kilometer. I had to remind myself to "just keep swimming" and keep my breathing long and deep. I knew I could do this. I knew I could cross that finish and have a good time. My partner asked what I thought our time would be. I estimated 41ish. She said she would be thrilled with anything under 42. So on we ran, waiting to see what the clock would say.

Finally we were in the last hundred yards. We turned the final corner and could see the finish in front of us. My partner yelled to go for it, push for the end, so we picked up or speed and sprinted for it.. My partner yelling at me " now is the time, push for it! you can do it" We noticed the race clock as we got closer showing 44:xx. I yelled at her, 44 minutes??? holy crap we are slow!! All the while sprinting to cross over. It was then I noticed my partner was not beside me.

She was behind me.

My partner, who could easily run faster than me, had been 3 or more paces ahead of me the entire race, had deliberately pulled back and allowed me to cross the finish line first. A second ahead of her.


Crossing the finish line


The officials were pulling off our tickets from our bibs, and our husbands and kids were there waiting for us. We unfortunately let the thrill of the run take over, and neither one of us "remembered" to have a proper cool down (definitely noticed later that night)
Oh well.
Then we talked about the time. 44 minutes?? how is that possible?? We were way faster than that I was sure. I hadn't run 44 minutes since my very first 5k about 5 weeks ago.

Then it hit me. We started at the 5 minute mark. That meant we were under a 40 minute run!

I had done it. I had run an official race. From start to finish, no walk breaks, no nothing.
And ...

WE WEREN'T LAST!!!!:)

The "After" Pic. Our nice red faces



We walked back inside to wait for the official results to be posted and was amazed to see a slew of sponsors handing out their products to the race participants.
We loaded up on free vitamin water, "Holy Crap" granola cereal, yogurt tubes, yop drinks, applesauce pouches and cookies. This was definitely worth my $30 entry fee!! We had no idea there would be such great things at the end. But we realized after, because it was a "Whole Health" challenge, it made sense to show off healthy products to everyone. We were both pretty happy with the granola alone, since that stuff is like $12 a bag (we both scored two):)

Since neither of us had done this before, we had no idea what to expect when it came to waiting for results. After about 20 minutes we could see runners starting to leave, but had no idea where the  results were posted.
Finally I found the paper on a pole outside of the Running Room.. I anxiously scanned for our names, and finally found mine:


39:09


I was in shock! I had taken about 2 minutes off of my time, and pace was under 8 minutes a km.
Ho-ly Crap.

Our Official results!!




It was one of the best feelings in the world to cross that finish line. 4 months ago when I began my C25K journey, this was the lofty goal, something to shoot for and hope to actually achieve. Not only did I achieve it, I cut a huge portion of time out of my run, something I hadn't expected to do.

I began back in January barely able to run 45 seconds at a time, and here I was approximately 16 weeks later completing my first 5k race. Not only that, I completed it with a wonderful friend, who pushed me from the very beginning, knowing I could do it, knowing I had it in me to do it, and never once left me in the dust.

I have had a ton of support from friends, family and my online "family" but April was my support every run. And for that, I am thankful for her.



I have officially signed up for two more races so far this season, with my next one being next weekend. I will be running that one alone, so it will be very interesting to see how my time will be without my partner pushing me to go faster. I look forward to racing my two races, with the possibility of maybe one or two more after that.

But for now I will relish in my first race, my post race glow and the knowledge that I am in fact, a runner.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Day before the race.

It is Friday morning, the day before my first official 5k race. There is an inch of snow on the ground in my backyard, and the weather for tomorrow is showing rain mixed with snow.

Let me tell you how excited I am about it.

I am still really looking forward to tomorrow, but my excitement is clouded with aprehension about running in snow or pouring rain. I am not a seasoned runner. In fact I don't own any sort of clothing that will prepare me for either condition. I have a light cotton yoga jacket that i have been using for all my runs. This has served me well, but it will definitely chill me to the bone if I run in it while all wet. I have a winter toque. I don't own a ballcap. I am a little concerned in what I am going to run in if its horribly wet out tomorrow. My last 5 or so races have helped me work a bit on my time, and pace myself properly. My partner and I have had some really good runs, and a few really crappy ones. If tomorrow is crappy, at least we will have a crappy run together.
Our time has been coming in right around the 41-42 minute range, so if we can run under 42 minutes, I will call it a huge success. In all honesty, I will be thrilled just to cross the finish line knowing I didn't stop for a walk break.

I pick up my race kit tonight, and I have no idea what is supposed to be in it. It's like getting a present I suppose. Maybe there is some free goodies in there? I like free shit:)

The funny thing is even with the shitty weather, the thought of not running tomorrow never crossed my mind. Ok.. maybe for a split second I thought "I think I would rather be in bed" but the thought quickly passed and regardless, I am excited for tomorrow. In the end, its about 45 minutes for me. While definitely not the greatest of conditions, It will be a story at the end. And that is what it is all about.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hills are my Bitch!

It's Sunday, so that means a nice morning run with my Partner. This was the first time in a while that we got to run in her community. My area is more or less flat, which makes it perfect for a beginner like me, or for someone hoping to work on increasing their speed. But my partner's area is all challenge. She lives at the top of a hill.. A nice steep hill.

But we wanted to challenge ourselves to do it. We started this morning off hoping that we could just finish a single loop of her community, which was 2.5km. For myself, I had no expectations of completing a full 5k here, just because the hills are brutal and I have never run her loop solid before. And we both really wanted to just run, no walks, no breaks. So if that meant only half of our normal run, then that was fine.

We started off with our warmup walk and started our way downhill. Halfway down, I turned on the GPS and off we ran. Within the last half of the first kilometer, uphill we began. This was by far the hardest run I had ever done. I know that isn't saying much since Ive only been running a short time, and I only have about 10 full 5k's under my belt, but it was difficult. I made sure to slow my pace down, breath deeply and just concentrate on keeping my feet moving and my breath even.

To help add a bit more distance to our short loop, my partner swung us in an out of a few cul-de-sacs and then into a little community loop, going downhill and then circled back uphill. Little did we know just how much more this detour was adding into our distance.

I will admit, I had two points along our run where my feet were barely moving after than a fast walk. I almost stopped the running motion twice.

Almost.


We pushed through, both of us exhausted from the hill climbs, but knowing the last third of our run was all downhill. We passed by my partner's house and I think both of us had a very slight pause in our head, wanting to stop right then and there. But we didn't.

Downhill we went to finish out on a high note. For our last 150 feet or so, we both just broke into a sprint. Both of us squealing in delight in how great it felt to let our legs stretch out fully. It felt wonderful!!
We got to the path marking the entrance to the ravine.. our end point, and I grabbed my phone to see how far we came.
I asked my partner what she thought, and her guess was barely 3km. I thought between 3.5-4km.

4.67km ... 38.51mins.


Holy shit!

Had we known just how close we were to 5k, we would have just ran into the ravine to finish it off, but by then we had both hit our level of exhaustion, and it won out.

I know our time is a little skewed due to our all out sprint at the end, but still. It was a pace 4 seconds/km faster than our last run together.. 12 seconds faster than my run on Wednesday.


While I was cursing her name all through our run this morning, I was definitely glad we did it and pushed through it together. It was by far the best run I had done.

Thanks A

Thursday, March 29, 2012

First Injury?

I am pretty sure I am now suffering from my first running injury, and I feel a bit lost.

I'll backtrack. I've been doing my normal runs, three days a week and really getting into a groove with my 5k journey. I have been able to hold a consistent time of around 42 minutes from start to finish and have managed to add a slight bit more distance to my runs - Maybe 2 or 3 more minutes. I am loving outside and can hardly wait until I can get the kids down to sleep so I can head out to run.
The last few runs I have been feeling a bit of "pain" (for lack of a better word) in my Left Ankle area. I suppose its the muscle in that area, and runs up about 3-4 inches above my ankle. I guess for a lack of a better description it feels tight. I have been able to still run on it without much concern, and usually within about an hour of finishing my run, the "pain" goes away as if nothing had happened.

Until yesterday's run.

I went out yesterday, thrilled to run in 14 degree weather. No hat.. No gloves.. and in fact I had to strip my jacket off halfway through. It was a beautiful day and I was having a good run. That is until my Right ankle decided to act up on me. Again, it wasn't enough that I felt the need to stop running, but it was making me feel like something wasn't quite right. When I finished my run, did my stretching and relaxed at home, the pain in my ankle just wasn't disappearing like it had in my left. When i would walk on it, I could feel the area twinge a bit. Again, nothing really painful in any sense, but enough that I noticed something wasn't 100% when I walked around. As the day wore on, this discomfort was not going away, and I fear I might have an injury that could sideline me this weekend.

I am kind of out of place with it. I have never been "Active" in my past life, so injuries were never something I needed to worry about, or deal with. I feel a bit lost. I know that rest is the best thing for it and therefore I should not be running tomorrow for my next scheduled run.

But it honestly makes me feel like I'm a failure, if that makes any sense. I am not in pain. I am not swollen or bruised. I can walk and move around without issue. But yet I can feel this inkling of "not quite right" in it and I know I could wipe out my chances of running my first race in two weeks if I don't rest.
But I still feel like I should be "good enough" to run tomorrow.

Stupid.
The stupid thing is had this happened in the previous life.. an Injury would have probably stopped me from continuing period. I have to accept the fact that if I want to run, there are the possibilities of injuries. Small ones, large ones, it doesn't matter. But if I want to prolong my running days, I need to be able to stop and rest when my body is telling me to.

Obviously my head hasn't quite gotten the message yet. And I know come tomorrow afternoon, I am going to feel incredibly upset that I likely won't be running. I have not missed a single scheduled run since I began my program back in January.

But I guess there is a first time for everything, right?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Running in the wind

I live in Calgary, so that means in the Winter and early Spring we can get Chinooks blowing. These are fabulous for making the usual -30 winters bearable giving us a few days or so of nicer weather, warmer temps and melting of snow. However Chinooks also bring high winds from the west, which blow pretty much the whole day.
Not exactly favorable weather for a newbie runner still trying to just keep completing a 5k.

I spent most of the morning debating whether I wanted to run outside today, or "chicken out" and head to the gym and hit the treadmill instead. It isn't overly cold, hovering around 2-3 degrees, but the wind is gusting around 70km/hr or more. I eventually decided that it would be good training to push through the wind, and I much rather run outside than on the machines.

So after getting home from a playdate, I put the kids down for naps/quiet time and handed the reigns over to my husband and left. I was definitely glad I decided to wear my toque and gloves!

The beginning of my run was nice. I was running south, so the wind was in my favor and pushing me to run a bit faster. I had to take my hat and gloves off as I settled into my groove. About the 2km mark is when things went "West" for me. I turned the "corner" of my community and ended up facing the dreaded West. The winds were definitely strong and I spent a good chunk of that first kilometer praying that I could just keep my feet going. I really struggled with not stopping to walk. I fought hard to keep running, keep my feet moving, but certainly had to drop my pace considerably. I was sure at times I was walking disguised as running.

Finally I got a bit of reprieve as I turned the second "corner" and started facing North. The wind was still catching in the  streets, but at least I was not facing directly into it. I was able to catch my breath so to speak and try to shake the inner voice telling me that maybe going 4km was all I was going to muster today. I was all set to just continue on the path and just head home, but somehow my legs weren't listening to my head. They seemed to have a mind of their own, and before I knew it, they had crossed the street and headed for the back pathway which added my last kilometer into my route.

What my feet forgot was that back pathway faces directly West.
And it is in an open field.
Damn.

I pushed really hard to "just keep swimming" through that pathway. Again, I almost gave up twice in that .5 section to just walk.
But again, my feet weren't listening.
FINALLY, I was able to turn around and now I had the wind at my back. Now I had it pushing me to finish. It felt wonderful to have that. It almost felt like an invisible hand pushing gently at my back to keep moving.

Somehow I managed to complete the full 5k. My time was just shy of 45 minutes - about 1.5 minutes slower than my run on Sunday. But I was thrilled. I finished. I didn't give in to quitting.

I earned my run.
And hopefully it will be calmer on Friday so I can enjoy my run as well:)

Friday, March 16, 2012

From 0 to 5K... in 9 weeks

Wow, that was fast!
I'm not even talking about the Nine weeks it took me to actually hit my 5k, but the 1.5km I added to my distance in two runs. When I hit the 30 minute mark on Sunday, I was logging 3.5km. I was expecting to make that additional 1.5km up over the course of the next two weeks, giving myself about two weeks left to work on my time before my first race on the 14th.

I honestly was not expecting to push myself to hit that 5k mark in two extra runs. It just sort of happened.

My run on Wed started off extremely late. Normally I put my kids down for their nap/quiet time, leave my "working from home" husband the baby remote and go out. Except this time we get home from a playdate and my husband is nowhere to be found. I figured he had gone for a walk or haircut because his car was still here. Fine. Gives me time to eat something and browse the interwebs before heading out. Only heading out took place two hours later. Not exactly the time I was hoping for since I run past two elementary schools and 3:15pm is NOT the time to be running past them.
In either case, I was just hoping to make the full loop of my community without stopping which was approximately 4km.

My run was really good. The weather was a touch cool, but the sun was out, and the wind was kept at bay for the time being. I felt good, and was not having any foot pains considering this was my first run outside in my new shoes. My goal was to end where I began. and the "Whoop" of excitement that came out of my mouth when I hit that point was wonderful. I'm sure had anyone been out on the street or in their yards they would have looked at me funny. Turns out my run was 4.2km long. A very short .8 left to go.

So of course, I had to push myself today to hit that 5k mark. I figured out where to add in my extra km in my route, but since I had yet to actually do it, I was just hoping that my estimate would be pretty darn close to that 5k. I was excited, a little bit nervous and pumped to begin my run.

I found there was no Wall this time. Nothing was blocking me from making this run. I HAD to do it. I KNEW I could do it. I WANTED to do it. I just put the music on, and off I went.

I was feeling fatigued around the 4km mark and this was where my path extended to get my extra km in. My legs kept going. In fact my legs weren't tired. My back was a little bit (I'm assuming I was leaning forward too much while running) and my throat was dry, but my legs knew just what to do.

As I came around the path and was on my homestretch back to my starting point, I picked up the speed. I picked it up a lot. I actually pushed myself faster than I should have and was struggling on that last minute. But rather than stop all together, I just reminded myself, that I am not racing anyone. I can slow myself down again. So that is what I did.

I hit my starting point, turned off my GPS and waited to see what my route was clocked in at..

5.05km
44 minutes and 28 seconds

When I ran my first twenty minutes, for some reason in the back of my head I was hoping I could just run the 5km in under 45 minutes. It sounded like a pretty lofty goal, but a goal nonetheless.
And I beat my goal.

That was all that mattered.
That and the fact that I am now a bonafide 5km runner.
In 9 weeks.
Wow!


My only regret, was not taking a picture of myself when I finished my time. Next 5km:)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I did it! I Survived the Couch to 5K Program

I think my blog might need a name change. I am now a graduate of the C25K program!

Well, sort of.

The program is designed to have you run 5k in 30 minutes. But as it seems for many of us new runners (and even some seasoned runners) running 5k in 30 minutes is extremely hard to do. Some runner friends have piped up to say they have yet to meet that illustrious goal, and it is one of the major downfalls to the C25K program, making you believe that you should be able to make it with no problems in that 8 week timeline..

In any case, I have in fact run what the program said I should be able to. I have now run for a solid 30 minutes total, no stopping, no walking, no nothing. Regardless of the fact that I am not near 5k yet is a moot point. I have made 30 minutes. That is an entire sitcom...I can make 3 batches of cookies in that time.. at one point, 30 minutes was all the napping my children would do. So to be able to say I am now part of an elite group of people who can run this long is incredible for me.

My running partner joined me this morning for our usual Sunday run, something I think we both look forward to. Thankful for a beautiful sunny morning, we headed out knowing what was in front of us to complete. My partner was a little nervous since her last run was a week prior, and like me, she had a very unimpressing run which included way too many walking breaks and hurdles. But we agreed to go for it and see what happens.

We both started off a little sluggish. It took a good full 5 or 6 minutes for us to get in the groove and get past the morning haze and get the legs working. Once we hit our first minor downhill segment, the tiredness faded and we were in stride. I found somewhere around the 15 minute mark, I hit my first wall. Since I am still trying to find a pair of shoes that fit properly, I had to run in my "old" pair, which gives me a bit of discomfort on my right foot. I started to "feel" my foot around the halfway point and had to focus on getting past it and continuing on. Thankfully my wall was short and I was able to break through in a minute or two.

We continued on, conversation starting to slow down as we both focused on just moving along. At one point I think we both started muttering "Just keep Swimming, just keep swimming" (for any of you parents out there that have a Nemo fan, you will understand:)) We just kept pushing through, stride by stride, knowing we were getting close to the end. When I thought we were nearing the 5 minute mark, I decided to take out my phone to get an official time left on our clock. To my surprise we had half of that time left....And then I hit my second wall.

I don't think it was about actually making the 30 minute mark that my wall rose up. I struggled because we were now running our last 2 minutes uphill. Something I have done very, very little of since I began. It was a huge shift mentally to run uphill. My legs were tired, my had to slow my pace down considerably, I could "see" the end and yet it still felt so far away from me. But quitting was not an option.

Just keep Swimming...

That last minute was very hard. I knew I could do it. I knew I wanted it, could taste it, could smell it.. Push push push...
Finally the timer sounded and we had completed our 30 minutes.

It felt wonderful!
I had done it. 30 full minutes. No stopping.

I had used my GPS tracker to see what our distance was, so I had an idea of how much more ground I need to add in, in order to make that 5K mark.

3.56km in 30:21

So while my Couch to 30minutes Journey might actually be over, my quest for that 5k mark is just ramping up. I have a month until my first 5K race and I want to run that full 5K.. I NEED to run that full 5k. I WILL run that full 5k.

So my focus now is increasing time so I can increase the distance. I may never be able to say I can run 5K in 30 minutes, but I certainly will be able to say I can RUN 5K!



Thursday, March 8, 2012

Getting Frustrated

Not with my running...

With trying to find a bloody pair of shoes that fits properly and does not cause me and discomfort or pain..
I always like how "they" say running is virtually a "cheap" form of exercise. All you need is a pair of runners. But what they don't tell you is the money you spend trying to find that golden pair of runners. I've been out shopping for runners since I began my journey about 8 weeks ago. I bought a single pair, not knowing anything about what I should be looking for in a shoe. Problem #1... Not finding out what fits my feet.
The first pair was returned within a few days. Too narrow.
Second Pair actually worked and these are still the shoes I am currently using..only these were beginning to give me a huge callous on the right foot, outer edge. After "suffering" for about 6 weeks with these, I finally asked for help and found that I was likely in the wrong shoe. So this time, I decided to hit the Running Room on the advice of some friends, to at least get an assessment of how my feet run, so I know what kind of a shoe I need.

The woman at the RR was fabulous with me. She put me through their little assessment, which took all of a minute or two, and found that I have a neutral foot.. But my shoe was designed for someone who pronates. So no wonder I was developing a callous and having troubles walking around after a run. She showed me the wear on my soles, showing that I was stepping down on the outer sides of my feet, something I had never been shown before.
So being a "Neutral" I apparently have a lot more options for basic footwear. Except I have a wider foot, which then narrows me back down to not a whole lot of options. Go figure eh. So finding a shoe is still not a lot of fun.
We started trying on shoes to see what at least fit my wider foot. Pair #3 actually became a Men's shoe because they have a wider foot base than women's shoes. So maybe this was the answer I needed. So I took these new shoes to the gym and hit the tread. Downside to new shoes?? I can't go outside I run. At least on this particular ay, it was miserable outside anyways. This run is blogged about on my last entry. My day did not work out very well at all..

So yesterday was trip #2 back to the RR and lucky for me, the same girl is working. So I tell her about the issue with #3, the balls of my feet felt like they were on fire.. So now I need something that might have a bit more cushioning in the front of the shoe.

I leave the store after 30 mins with #4.. and of course $40 more than my last pair.  I headed right for the gym for my next run and to give the shoes a trial. While running, I hit about the ten minute mark and was starting to feel some "burning" on the balls of my feet again.. Great. Another shoe not working out. But by the time I hit 15 minutes in my run, this burning went away and things seemed fine. So maybe we have a possible winner???

Yeah, not so much luck there either.

For my last 10 minutes of running, my right foot was rubbing against the insole arch area, which after I was done, realized I had given myself the beginnings of a blister. ARGH!!!!
So #4 was a bust.. even though the fit worked, and I actually managed my full 28 mins on them without other issues.


Today I decided to try Sport Chek again and see what I could find, knowing now what kind of shoe I was looking for. The guy working the area was a HUGE help. He showed me how to spot a "Cushioning" shoe on the shelf, what to avoid looking at in terms of support shoes, and walked me through a few pairs that should be decent for my wider foot. I think I spent 45 minutes in the store with him, and believe it or not, two toddlers who were actually quite decent. I tried on about 6 pairs of shoes, about all I could handle with kids in tow, and managed to find two that seemed relatively decent enough to at least purchase and try out. Thankfully SC has a Buy one Get one Half off right now, otherwise it would have been just one.. Least I can return one or both without hassle!

So now I have pairs #5 and #6 in my room waiting for another gym day. Huge downside for tomorrows run is deciding whether to go to the gym and try a new pair out, or take my old ones that cause some discomfort but at least go outside to run.. 15 degrees in march is really hard to pass up!

So when its all said and done, Running is cheap... unless you have 3 pairs of shoes waiting to be decided if they can be worn or not, gas running the car around the place finding said shoes, $$ for snacks and entertainment for toddlers to keep from melting down, and of course the price of my sanity for this new hobby of mine!


For the love of Pete, let one of these pairs work out!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Excuses or Valid Reasons?

I had the worst running day to date.

I don't think I have ever felt so upset with myself than I did walking out of the gym this afternoon, and I can't help but feel my reasoning for stopping are nothing but excuses..
And I hate that.

So here is how my day stacked up..

-Did my Pump Class yesterday and upped my Squat and Lunge weights. Legs today are sore and tight
-Up at 5:10 with a screaming child, who then decided it was time to get up. 4 hours of "kid" time, followed by a 4 hour work day teaching a Cake Class, wearing shoes that I am certain are too small for my feet and hurt.. low and behold, my right foot.
-I then hit the gym after class for what was supposed to be my 28 min run.
-I bought new shoes yesterday after visiting the Running Room to get assessed and see what I should be in. Decided to give the new shoes a try on the tread. about 5-8 minutes into my run, my feet were on fire. Balls of my feet felt like I was running on sandpaper. Definitely not the right shoe for me.
-Decided to stop and go change into my old shoes... the ones that are also not the right fit, but where so far, I have at least been able to run ok in.
-Got back on the tread and within a minute or two, no more ball pain.. now right side "pain"
-Managed to run another 10 minutes before I could no longer do it. My feet were so sore, my Quads were killing me and my inner thighs were burning.


Honestly, I felt like such a failure for not completing my run. Not only not completing it, but barely making it to the halfway point before giving up. I still feel like my reasons for stopping are just not "good enough", you know? Usually I can work through the tiredness. I'm a mother, so I am used to being up all night with kids, or early mornings (especially as of late), but the problems with my feet today all hit at once and had it been any one issue, I probably could have worked through it. Had I not upped my weight yesterday, my Quads wouldn't be so tight. Had I not worked today, then my feet wouldnt have been sore from my work shoes.. Had I not tried out new shoes, I wouldn't have had ball pain, and then I would have only been dealing with my current shoes, which I already deal with discomfort wise and could have been fine.

Obviously just a very poor day for me to run. I did give it a shot and I did get in a very small run at least..

Alas... I still feel like I failed..

Friday, March 2, 2012

GPS tracking. No more estimating

Last night I downloaded a free App called MapMyRun. It is a GPS locator which will map my location when I am running, so I can find out exactly how far I am running and how long it is taking me. My run today was 27 minutes, so 3 minutes shy of the 30 minute mark, which I am apparently supposed to be able to run 5k in.

Definitely not happening anytime soon.
According to my GPS I ran 3.06km in my 27 minutes, which averaged just shy of 9 minutes a Km. Not exactly close to 5k. I have two runs left until I hit the 30 mark, and I am hoping I can get closer to the 4k mark when I get there. Today was a harder run because we got hit with a Chinook Wind a little before I headed out for my run. Wind is nice.. keeps you cool while running.. but when you are a beginner, running directly into the wind for a little over a third of your run, it definitely slows you down. I was really struggling to just keep running when the wall of wind hit me. I was actually a little cold, had to put my hat and gloves back on, really slowed down my pace trying to push through it as best I could. I found it was certainly a mind over matter situation. I think it was the first run ever where I did want to stop running.

But I didn't. I knew I had to push through it, build up that resistance an stamina and hopefully still finish my run where I had hoped I might.
Of course the wind slowed me down quite a bit. I ended my run maybe 50 or so feet ahead of where I finished on my 26 minute run.
At least I finished ahead of it, right?

So the goal I have in mind by the end of my program late next week is go get a lot closer to finishing the 30 minutes at the 4k mark, then figure out how to add an extra kilometer in there and build up to hitting that.. All before my first race in a little over a month away..

Yikes!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Going the distance

Week 7 and I had a 26 minute run today. The weather today is gorgeous for an afternoon run. One which I had to take off my hat and gloves while doing. It has been about a week since I was able to run outside last, and that run was a 15 min run, 3 min walk and 10 min run... so 28 mins of distance. I knew where I ended on that run, so I had a rough idea where I should end on this one.

My run began a few strides earlier than usual because my warmup walk was slow due to the icy sidewalks from the few a-holes out there who don't think they need to shovel their walkways. Thankfully the vast majority of people out there do take care of their respected space.
Within the first 4 minutes or so of my run I started to loosen up and find my groove. I could actually feel that I was running a bit faster than before. I was able to zone out to my music and just go with the flow. I hit the halfway mark relatively easy and continued along. No problems so far.

13 minutes down and I was a little further ahead than I had anticipated. Off to a good start.

Somewhere around the 20 minute mark I was starting to feel a bit of the fatigue hit me. Not in my legs or chest, but in my head. I could hear the Voice calling, telling me that I could stop anytime now, it was ok...
I think it was the first time I had really heard that Voice so clearly. Thankfully it was easy to ignore, although the temptation had crossed my mind around the 22 minute mark.

26 minutes..

I ended my run about 100 feet from where I ended my previous run.. which had one less minute of running but three minutes of walking in there. So I took it as a good sign that I had made good progress on my time. It felt good to see that.

Now we will see what the 27 minute run brings me on Friday

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sweat

I have been running for a little over 6 weeks now. Outside of my first three runs in week One, I have been outside for all of them. I surprised myself by immensely enjoying the outdoors that I was really upset this weekend when I knew I would have to run on the treadmill at the gym. My normal running day is Sunday, but a cancellation of my Pump class today meant I could give the tread a try instead. I forgot my Ipod and headphones, but thankfully did have my App on my phone. (I'm sure the die hard runner next to me "loved" hearing my DING when my transitions happened)

I was a little nervous to begin, only because the last time I was on the machine, I was barely running 90 seconds. I decided not to continue with my current schedule and instead backtracked to the last one I did, 15 minutes, 3 min walk, 10 mins and cooldown. No real reason for it. Maybe I felt like I wouldn't be able to complete what I was originally supposed to run, who knows. In either case, I began.

I had no idea what pace I was running when outside, so I had to make a guess on the treadmill speed. I  knew I was a slow runner, and the speed on the tread showed me how slow... 4.1
I think I probably could have gone up to 4.2 or 4.3 but I wasn't sure how much I could push on it. Maybe next time. In either case I was a bit reflective knowing that prior to having kids and when I was at my "healthiest," I was able to walk at a 4.0 speed. I suppose running at a 4.1 is better than walking at 4.0, right?

Anyway, I began my run and within a few minutes I could feel the sweat beading on my forehead, and pooling in my elbow crooks. Something I never get to really feel when I am outside. I had often wondered when I was outdoors, whether I was working up a sweat, or if I was really just that "good" of a runner. By the time I would get home, my clothes would be damp with sweat, but my skin never seemed to bead with it. So at least now I know that being outside acts as a wonderful coolant for me. And that I do actually earn the activity points it says I earn:)

While the treadmill is not my favorite place to run on, I at least know that I can and still get my run in.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Going further. Plugging along

Today was the last of my week 6 runs, a 15 minute run, 3 minute walk and a 10 minute run, taking me 5 minutes more than my previous 20 minute solid run. It was a bit cool out today and I hesitated taking my heavier jacket with me, but in the end, I was glad I didn't. The wind was up a bit and when it blows from the North, it can be quite cold, thankfully this didn't hit me until I was on my way home.

I began my run and within the first 5 minutes I could feel the tension and tightness start to drift away. I had a rough idea where I thought my 15 minute run should end, so I kept that in the back of my mind as I moved along. My pace felt good, maybe a little slow, but I didn't want to push too hard in the beginning and then struggle with the rest. I just listened to my music and moved down the streets. When I finally started to hit the point where I thought I should be ending, I was pretty close to that mark. I heard my halfway marker sound and had an additional minute left to run. So I picked up my pace slightly and finished my 15.

For my 10 minute stretch, I thought in my head again, where I thought I should end. At this point I was beginning to run in new territory. I usually stop at a certain school corner, and short cut home because I am usually walking by that point. Now I had to start going around my full loop. I was a bit surprised to find the 10 minute run didn't seem to feel hard for me. I guess that is the point, right? I still have about 5-10 more minutes to add into my run times, so at the 20 minute mark, I should still be feeling ok, right?

Anyways, I plugged along and saw my final point in view. I thought I should end by the playground at the bottom of my hill, and I was pretty much spot on ending there. Damn I'm good:) I did pick up my pace a little bit at the very end, pushing so my breathing was a bit harder. I wasn't at the point of exhaustion when I ended, but I was close!

This run might be the last in my week where I can be outside. We are due for a cold spell coming in on Friday, so it will be up to how much snow we get and how cold it drops whether I can get outside for another run. Otherwise, I will have to get to the gym and hit the treadmill.

Which honestly, I am not looking forward to... Who knew I would prefer outside?:)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Did I just do that?

Ho...ly.. Hell.

Today was the first major test of my running abilities. Twenty Minutes Straight.
I was looking forward to this day for the past week, and also fearful of doing this run. I was glad this run ended up on a day I got to run with my partner. We were both in the same boat in running abilities for this one, so I think we were both also thinking along the same lines.. "Can I do this without stopping?" At least we were running together, so the chance of stopping in agony was greatly reduced. Neither one of us wanted to be the one to call "chicken".

We began our run with a nice pace. Honestly, I couldn't tell you how fast we would have been going. Im certain we aren't near the 30 minute 5K time yet, but the pace was good for the both of us, and kept us warm enough. Since it was in my neighborhood, I had an idea of where our markers would be for halfway and where we should end up for the finish. We began our run and just kept chatting to keep us occupied about what we were doing. I felt a little laggy to start, I had done a weight training class the day before and decided to up my weights a little. Because of that my legs especially, were a little fatigued and tight. It took about 4-5 minutes before the tightness seemed to vanish, and I was feeling comfortable with my running legs.

The weather was perfect for an outdoor run. Hard to believe this is Calgary and the middle of February. I fear what will become of me when we get a dump of snow or a cold snap, which is bound to happen sooner or later. I have enjoyed running outside so much over the past 6 weeks, that the thought of having to go into the gym and on the treadmill makes me a little nauseous! (And I like being at the gym!)

We kept chatting and moving along. I suddenly realized we had passed our halfway mark and thought we would be about 11-12 minutes into the run. My partner noticed that my App had not signaled a halfway point which it normally does. I didn't want to check my timer, but I had to make sure we were in fact over that halfway point.. even though I knew we had to be based on distance alone. What I wasn't prepared for was seeing that we weren't in fact 11-12 minutes into the run, but about to pass the 15 minute mark. I told my partner we were well over the halfway point and had a little smile to myself. A little more than 5 minutes left in this run. I could do that.

The last 5 minutes took a little longer it seemed. Maybe because I knew what the time was and was aware. Or maybe because I was feeling the fatigue of running as long as I had. Either way, my legs were slowly starting to feel it. My partner wanted to push hard for the last minute of time...so we went for it. Unfortunately I pushed a little too hard and had to ease back for the last 20 seconds, but we went for it.

We ended just a little shy of where I thought we would end. Until I realized we had actually begun about a block before we normally do. Seems I have a good sense for how far I can run in a certain amount of time!
I had done it.
No stopping.
Twenty Minutes. 

I will be honest, I  had tears in my eyes when we finished. I have accomplished many things in my life, and I have many things to be proud of. And this was one of them. This was one that I never expected I could do.. WANTED to do.
And I had done it.

And I still have a ways to go to get to that 5k mark. But I am ready for it.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I am a machine!

My last of the week 5 sessions started today with a 9 minute run, followed by a 5 minute run and finishing with a little 2 minute run.
That is 16 minutes of running, which should be taking me a little past the halfway mark of 2.5km, if I was running at a speed needed to complete a 5k in 30 minutes.

And not having 4 minutes of walking in there..

Needless to say I still have a long way to go to get my endurance level up to the point where I can do 5k in 30 minutes, but I know that isn't even something to worry or concern myself about right now. I am still in the learning process, and still pushing myself to just run. But when it was all finished, I was doing my cool down at about the 2km mark.

It snowed here in Calgary on Monday evening, which meant the roads were a mess yesterday, and since the temperature rose, the sidewalks and streets are nothing but slush filled pools, waiting for your feet to trample in them.
So there I was this afternoon, making my way through the community, dodging the little bits of ice leftover, splashing through the slush covered walks and trying to avoid slipping on the non-shovelled walkways. Probably not the greatest of running conditions..

But it never even phased me not to go for my run today.
The weather is gorgeous, even if it is a slush zone out there. I was excited to head out after the kids went down for naps, just to have a break to myself and to get my feet running. I was a little nervous to begin, because this was a 9 minute run to open with. I had done 6 minute runs in my previous outing, but this was 3 whole minutes more. How was I going to last it??

When my timer rang and my run began, I was ready. I wanted to run and be surprised when my timer rang again, signalling the end of my 9 minutes.
I was off to a good start, my pace on the slower side because of the previously said sidewalk conditions, but I just allowed myself to zone out and listen to the music. The sun was behind me, which felt wonderful on my back.. and I just ran.
I suppose around the halfway mark I was feeling really good. My second song choice was halfway done and I was feeling no tightness in my calves, no breathing issues, still a tiny ache of stitch in my right side. But I wasn't feeling the need to stop. I wasn't wondering what the time was and if my 9 minutes were ending soon.

So you see where I am going here:)

I hit that 9 minute mark and had no idea it was coming near. When my timer rang, I was actually surprised and even let out a tiny little "huh" from my mouth, complete with a smile.
Nine. Whole. Minutes.

And I wasn't keeling over from exhaustion.


The 5 minute run followed after my 2 minute walk, and even the 5 went by relatively quickly and without issue. I am beginning to think I am a machine. Who is this woman? Where did she come from?? Five weeks ago I was more excited about spending nap time actually napping myself, but here I am.. running instead.

And enjoying it.

Nine. Whole. Minutes.


Huh.. :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

So it seems I am enjoying myself while running. So much so that when Friday afternoon hit and I was supposed to go out for my next training session, but couldn't due to weather and timing, I was itching to get out on Saturday, even if it meant back to back runs (which I'm not supposed to be doing yet)

Saturdays run was quite chilly. It was still bearable, but definitely colder than I think I had run in before. It was the beginning of my single day runs. No more 3 day sets of the same run schedule. This bringing me that much closer to a 30 minute run.

I got out for my run and once I got through the warm up and could finally get some heat into me, I was feeling pretty good. A 5-4-5-4 set took me just a little over 2.5km to complete, which to me, seems pretty good, considering that's 18 minutes worth of running. (ok, so there is also about 11 minutes of walking in there, including my 5 minute warm up, but I can still be happy, right?) I went through the run and I don't think I ever felt winded or exhausted once my segment ended. I am assuming that means I am building stamina.. Or it means I run like molasses and need to pick it up more.

But it doesn't matter. I ran 18 minutes worth. That is huge to me considering 4 weeks ago I was having trouble with 1 minute.

My second run this morning was with my partner. Seems Sunday's are the day we can run together, and both of us look forward to it. If you had told me a month ago that my Sunday mornings would be spent running and enjoying it, I would have died laughing. Now it seems I crossed that imaginary boundary into "Runners" territory.. where Sunday mornings become run mornings.

This mornings run was a 6-4-6 run and we did it in my partners community. Her loop is shorter than mine, but it has a long section of uphill running, something that is definitely taking a lot out of me. When began our first segment and chatted along. Somehow we both missed the end of the run and start of our lonely one minute walk. So a 6... became a 7.

Uphill we climbed and I could definitely feel the strain in the 4 minute run. I guess uphill is something I will have to work on over the next few weeks. but I was pretty proud. I didn't stop. I slowed my pace down a bit so I could make it through, and it worked. I was certainly ready for that single minute break and I earned it when it finally hit!

The last 6 minutes was a bit of a haze. Somewhere along the way my program paused itself and we had no idea how long we actually ran for. We assume we passed the 6 minute mark and maybe went an additional minute or so. Either way, we are both spent at the end. My partner pushed me in the last minute or so, picking up my pace and making me go faster for the finish. As good as it felt to stop, part of me wanted to go just one step further... just one more step.

So I guess that means I am hooked, right?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Seeing progress in such a short period of time

Today I went out for the last of my week 4 runs, 4-6-4. The weather has been beautiful here, so it is really hard not to take advantage and get outside and run when I can. Today was no exception. I am lucky that I have a husband who works from home most days, so I can leave the kids here and go out for my run in peace. Plus the afternoon is warmer than at night!

I went out and felt the cool breeze blowing against my face. Once I got started I just let the stress go, the worries go and just focused on running. Unfortunately that was broken when someone flagged me down to ask directions. 20ish seconds later I continued on, but now I had a small deficit in my distance. I guess I decided to push a bit harder and finished up my first 4 minute segment. By the time my 6 minute one began I was ready for the long push and just sang along (as best as I could breathe through) to my music and tracked where in my run I knew I had ended my 6 last time I was out.

Soon I could see my marker in the distance. I had no idea of my time, but I knew I was going faster than I did previous. And then my headband fell off and I had to stop and backtrack the 15 or so paces. Now since I knew I was nearing the end of the 6 I could have just decided to walk from there on...

But No.

I got back into running and ran past my last marker. I made it just a little past it before my dinger hit and my 6 was over. Looking back, had I not stopped for the directions at the beginning and had I not lost my headband, I would have been about 20-30 seconds past this end point. And that was a HUGE marker to see.

I think I had definitely pushed harder in my 6 and had to lessen up a bit in my last 4. I did go past my marker on the 4, but it was not as far as I should have been, had my pace been the same as the 6.
So while my distance is improving, I still do have a long way to go in order to keep my endurance up and not be dying by the end.


**For you seasoned runners, How can you help avoid the stitch? I have been trying hard to keep my breathing long, but I still end up with a stitch in my right side. Its not painful, but it is definitely there. I can tell if I don't figure out how to stop it, this might be an issue for longer runs..***

Friday, February 3, 2012

Halfway there??

So my little App tells me I am halfway to the goal of running a full 5k, or 30 min run.

Wow.
Currently I just ran a 4-6-4 day, still a long way from a solid 30 minutes. Even thinking about that is getting my blood pumping and my pulse racing!

But I have faith in the program, faith in the people who have done it before me. Faith in myself to make it through.

Halfway there and I haven't even thought once about quitting.
Halfway there and I am excited when its my day to run.
Halfway there and I have a smile on my face, just thinking about what I have done so far.

I am Halfway there.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hitting the pavement so I don't hit the fridge

This last week has been emotionally taxing on me. I have a 3.5 year old and a 15 month old, so my days are anything but calm and relaxing. Of course this week has been no different, and it has definitely been one for the record books. I have always been an emotional eater, so it came to no surprise when I finally hit my breaking point today, that my first reaction was to grab whatever I could find in the fridge and devour it.

But I didn't.

Instead I told my husband I was heading out for a run. I grabbed my shoes and my Iphone and walked out the door before I could change my mind.

The run today was the last of my week 3. 3 mins, 90 seconds, 3 mins, 90 seconds.
The first time my partner and I did this, we did the loop in my neighborhood. There is a halfway point on the loop, which we were about a minute from reaching at the end of our run cycle last time. So this time, I wanted to go further. I was an emotional wreck and on the brink of crying anyways, why not kick my butt in higher gear and run my last 90 as fast as I could manage. I *just* missed the halfway mark by about 15 sidewalk "blocks" or roughly 15 seconds. But it didn't matter. Instead of stopping when my timer hit, I just continued on. I hit that halfway point running, and added an extra 20 seconds on to that final run.

But it wasn't enough for me. Since I was still a good distance away from the point where I could turn up the street and head home, I decided to add another run on during my cool down, rather than walk it. So after my last 2 minute walk period, I ran.
Im not sure exactly how long it was. Definitely longer than 3 minutes, and no longer than 5 since just as I ended my run, my "cool down" timer told me I had completed it. During the whole run, I was struggling to keep going. My mantra came from "Finding Nemo" which my 3 year old wanted to watch earlier in the week.... Dory says "just keep swimming, just keep swimming" to get to their final goal.

So thats what I told myself... Just keep swimming.. Just keep swimming.

When I finally finished my run, I finally had a tiny smile on my face. Probably the first in a few days. I had completed it. Not only completed it, but I didn't end up eating my way through the fridge to silence the horrible voice in my head.
That was worth the run.


Monday, January 30, 2012

No more double workout days

I think I have done it three times now.
Gone for a run after I had already hit the gym for one of my classes. You would think after the first two times I did it that I would learn I am not quite at the point where I can do that on a regular basis and not be exhausted!

Well, I ended up doing it again tonight. Now granted, I did it because it would be the only chance this week I could get out for a run with my partner. I wanted to make sure we got that run in together, so I wanted to push for it and go.
Monday's are my step class mornings. And we had a new release in our class, so my body was not used to the new routine, therefore a great class that beat me to a pulp.

So going for a run in the evening was just another way to torture myself:)

It was the second day of week three, so still on the three minute run. The second interval through I was definitely hitting the wall on that last three minute one. I'm not convinced that had I not done the class in the morning, I wouldn't be feeling so sluggish on the run, but let's go with that theory anyways, makes me sound good. I did realize on these last two days that I think I prefer the longer stretches of runs, rather than week two which was 45,60 and 90 seconds. I guess that is the idea, right? otherwise no one would run longer than a minute at a time! But I did find that at least running a longer time length, I felt more rewarded when that walk break finally hit. I felt more in charge, and not so much "oh my god, I can't do another cycle!" sort of thinking.

 I am nearing the halfway point on this C25K journey and I am getting a little nervous. I made the mistake of flipping ahead to the next few weeks training intervals and I almost lost my lunch. I am in one sense looking forward to getting to that point, but of course terrified of not being able to do it.
Small Steps..
Let's complete week three first!:)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

On to Week Three!

I honestly am a little surprised I am at week three. Part of me thought after a week or two, I would have given up and gone back into hiding, but here I am starting week three and I am pumped about it.
Today my partner and I ran together, this time through my neighborhood loop. The loop here is 4km long, so it would serve for my runs until we get closer to the 5k mark. My partners loop is 2.5km, but she assures me she already knows how to weave herself through the community to make that 5k mark and beyond.

We began with our warm up walk, chilly, but a lot better than our last run. The sun was out, so that helped with motivation as well as some heat and light. This weeks run is two rounds of a Three minute run, followed by a 60 or a 90 second run (I can't remember, I had a double take on the three minute run!)
I was surprised the three minute one was first, but off we went when my little ringer hit. We continued to chat and worked our way through. Before long I was just beginning to feel like I couldn't do anymore of it and had no idea how I was going to survive the three minutes.. and wouldn't you know it.. my bell rang through my coat..

Huh...

That didn't seem to be as hard as I had thought it would be.. Maybe there is something to this...

Once again, we continued on our way until the run was complete... Except we were just a little over halfway home.
So rather than walk to our corner to turn and go home, we decided to kick it up and run, probably another 90 seconds to finish it off..

Yup, I ran when I didn't have to.
Running outside has been a lot better than I thought it would. In fact, I think I may continue outdoors, rather than the treadmill (weather permitting of course:))

I still kind of feel like an imposter. I mean, how can *I* be a runner? Can I even say I am with only a three minute run under my belt, or am I just a runner-wannabe?

In either case, I'm enjoying it

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Week 2 complete - Bring on week 3

I have actually survived two weeks on this running program. The last two runs have been a bit hard on me because I have been feeling under the weather. But I still completed them, did not try to get out of doing the runs and enjoyed myself regardless.
That in itself is a huge deal to me.

On the run today, I realized that even in 6 short workouts, I can already feel a change in myself. I made it through this last run without feeling horribly exhausted by the end. I wasn't struggling to make that 90 second run. I was enjoying myself.
I still have many more weeks left to go in the program before I can even classify myself as any sort of runner, but for now, I'm happy with being a 90 second champ.

Monday, January 23, 2012

First outdoor run

Obviously something in the last week or two has changed inside of me. Seems the desire to have a goal and complete it has made me into some sort of machine when it comes to getting my run in. My partner and I had decided to do an outdoor run tonight for the first time. She hasn't run in over a year, and I have never run outside, so at least we were both on the same level playing field. In the last 24 hours I have come down with a not so pleasant cold. Overall, nothing serious, but a bit of congestion and a runny nose. Something like this normally would stop me from doing any sort of activity, not so much for fear of getting worse, but because I wouldn't want to get out of my warm bed or jammies to do anything.

How times have changed.

I did decide not to go to my step class this morning, because I knew that would probably take all of my energy for the day, and honestly, I really wanted to give the outdoor running a try. So I stayed low with the kids today, and I managed a bit of a rest in the afternoon to "charge" myself up so I could do it.

I met my partner at her place and we geared ourselves up to go out. Weather wise, the temp during our run was approximately -5 degrees with a brisk wind behind it. So a little chilly, but not horribly cold. I am however, an indoor girl, so this was beyond anything I had ever done before.
We set ourselves off and began our program. The first half was decent. We were downwind and downhill, making things easy on me. Trying to dodge sidewalks that were still covered in ice was definitely a challenge. We kept talking and just plugging along waiting for the little ringer bell to signal our next walk/run. As we came around the second half, we were now uphill and into the wind. My poor snotty nose was leaking like a faucet, making me a pretty ugly running partner. Thank god my partner doesn't care what I look like:)

The last phase was tiring for me. Having never run outside, my pace was slightly slower than on the treadmil, and I wasn't used to this cold air lodging itself into my windpipe. Every so often I would have trouble catching my breath, only because the breath before was freezing cold! We laughed and giggled our way back to our starting point, which ended up being almost right on the beginning of our cool down.
Somehow, I had managed to run outside.. in the cold.. in the winter.

I had a chuckle to myself when we had finished. Everytime I left my own house in the winter and I passed by someone running on the street in inclimate weather I would always think to myself.. "God! Why in the hell would you ever want to go out running in this kind of weather? You crazy yuppie runner!!"

Somehow tonight.. I became one.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Winter Cold...

Bah...

I have a cold. Thankfully nothing severe, at this point but it just hit today. I know that things can get a whole lot worse tomorrow.

And tomorrow is supposed to be my Step Class in the morning as usual, and I am running outside with my partner for the first time.

Not the time for me to get a cold.
I have been drinking my water and tea, staying warm and quiet and hoping that today is the worst of this cold and tomorrow will be better.

As much as I would honestly hate missing my step class in the morning (I actually do like going), I am much more disappointed in the prospect of not being able to run in the evening.


SAY WHAT???

Did those words just get written down on this page??  I am an overweight stay-at-home mother who has run a total of 4 days lasting barely 90 seconds at this point, and I am DISAPPOINTED in possibly having to miss a run?? What in the hell just happened to me??

God, I would hate to think if I got sidelined for longer than a day...

I am planning on attending both right now, but we will see how the evening goes and how I wake in the morning. As much as I want to be able to o it all, I know I will do more damage to myself if I do not stay healthy.

So healthy vibes please:)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Week 2, increasing by double

I was expecting week 2 to increase the amount of time for the runs, but I was hoping things would go a bit slower and say only increase by like 10 seconds a run. I had a little groan when I saw the circuit was 45 seconds, 60 seconds and 90 seconds.
But I'm pumped.. I can do this.

I started off decently. Until it was time to run. Maybe its because I am still so new to this running thing, my body is kind of rebelling against me for doing it. After that first 45 seconds my feet and legs were already crying out it agony. By the time my first 90 second run hit, I could feel my back getting a stitch somewhere and my calves were on fire.

Crap.

How am I supposed to get through the second and third circuit if I am already dying???
I continue on, catch my breath during the 2 minute walk at the end before the next circuit can begin. I was already saying in my head, "oh boy.. I hope I can do this"

I began the next 45 second run and somehow I didn't feel near as tight as I did the first time.
Ok.... Maybe I can get through..
The 60 second run began and I could feel a small smile playing on my lips..
Somewhere between my walk here, that nice little man voice said I was halfway done already..
When the 90 second run hit, I was ready. I sailed through that minute and a half without any problem.
I could SO do this!!

Finally, my last circuit began and I was starting to feel the fatigue, but I wasn't sore or uncomfortable, So that was a good thing.
Before I knew it, I was on my last 90 seconds.. And you know what?? I ran an additional 20 seconds, just because I didn't feel like stopping yet.

That made me smile:)

I did find though that I had periods of time during my run where my toes on my right foot felt numb. They didn't hurt, and I seemed to have plenty of room to move my toes around, so I can't see it being my shoes are too small, but maybe the seasoned runners can help me. Do I just need to break the shoes in a bit more?

Apparently my next run might be taking place outside. Thank god we have a chinook hitting us overnight, so the weather will rise above zero. My running partner and cohert has requested a run outside together, so we are going to see what our schedule is like next week..I can't say I"m overly thrilled because I am a HUGE indoor girl, but I suppose I have to learn how to run on pavement and not the tread:)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Completed first week....no bruises to show

My first week on the C25K program has finished and I am proud to say I survived the three sessions and felt pretty good about it at the end. I went this morning for my run and took advantage of my hubby working from home, so he could stay with the kids. Having done too much on Monday with my step class on top of my run, today I wanted to just to my training and call it a day.

This time I actually paid attention to the intervals I was doing. So for those interested, its 30 second run, then a 45 second run and finally a 1minute run.. three times. I am pleased to say that after my first minute long run, I was already feeling soreness in my calves. But by the end of my second minute run, I was feeling limber and actually wanted to run a little bit more...And then of course at the end of my third minute run, I was definitely done:)

I know as my weeks go on, the intervals will get longer. Im excited for that, and scared at the same time. I've never done anything like this before, so the thought of failing weighs heavily on me. I have failed many times before when it came to activity that I really want to succeed at this. Hell I don't have any aspirations to become a runner. I don't want to do marathons, or triathlons or even spend my summer outside running. Maybe the more I progress, the more I will want to run, but for now, I just want to be able to set this goal, and accomplish it.

I know I am only a week into this, but I feel very excited about the prospect of completing a 5k. It makes me excited to get out of bed in the morning, especially on a training day. I look forward to coming back on here and writing about my run and how things went, even if for no one but myself. I really do hope the motivation and excitement stay with me. I don't neccessarily want to run.. but I do want to finish.