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


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? 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 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.

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.