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.

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.

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..

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.

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..