Completed Week 3

I ran 19 miles last Monday thru yesterday (Sunday). I ran in the rain on the fun run on Monday. Fortunately, there was a mentor from my training program there to chat with and keep me going. Tuesday, I ran 3 miles and did my first “tempo run” of the training. I averaged a little faster than I have been lately and ran with the same mentor as Monday. He really helped out by keeping me on pace and reminding me of how far we had to go and when we’d slow down next. It was helpful and I needed the extra push both days.

Wednesday is one of my weekly days off and I used it to relax and recover. Thursdays aren’t required on the calendar, but they’re listed as “recommended,” so I figure that I should stick with it. I signed up in advance for a cross training class at a local gym as a perk of the training program for Thursday evening. I had a hard time waking up early in the morning for the recommended 4 mile run. By midday, I assumed I wasn’t going to have time to run. Fortunately, another member of the group posted online that they wanted to run before the class, so I was able to get a running buddy and make sure that I didn’t just skip out on the miles. The class was tough, but fun. It was fast paced and mostly body weight exercises.

I was sore Friday, but managed to get out on a bike with the little kids in tow in a trailer. I rode around the neighborhood and stopped at garage sales that we passed. By the time I got home, my knees and leg muscles were even more sore than before. The kids weigh around 90 lbs together, so it was a pretty good “off day” workout.

Saturday, my soreness had compounded and my legs felt like sandbags. I arrived at the group meeting place tired, sore, and doubtful that I’d complete 5 miles without walking a significant part of the run. I felt ok after I started to get warmed up. When the group I was with most of the time stopped to get water, I got separated from most of them and ran with a mentor I just met that morning. She assured me that I could run the distance and gave me really good pointers on how to keep going and how to make sure I’m running properly. She also told me her own story about running, which helped me get my mind off of what part of me ached and whether I was going to collapse. Nearing the end, a couple more people joined us. One of the women joined me running the last third of a mile and helped pep talk me into keeping running until I got to the end. I thought I was going to cry and then cry more from embarrassment, but the tears didn’t come. I also didn’t collapse even though I felt like my legs wouldn’t take me any further and I needed to stop. The women that I ran with kept my mind on getting to the end and not on the negativity I was focusing on. I hit my 5 miles. I could do it again. I will do it again. Next time, I’ll go longer.

Sunday is the day on my calendar to run slow and easy for recovery. I was hot and I ran off of the trail and around a park to stop at the water fountain. I somehow forgot about the fountain and ran around all the sidewalks at the park and back to the trail I had run on and to the end. I turned around to head toward home and to complete the prescribed 3 mile run. I wound up running 4 miles. I could have stopped at 3 and walked home, but I was on a roll. I wasn’t running particularly fast. I just didn’t feel like stopping yet, so I ran until I was home. It felt nice. I was proud of myself for going beyond the distance on the calendar.

I have a new addition to my running gear. I purchased a GPS watch. So far, I really like it. I like having my phone with me for music when I’m not running with people, but I don’t need to hold it in my hand to run when I use the watch. I can see my distance and pace on my wrist and I really enjoy it so far. Today, I figured out how to put the runs online to see things that I’m interested in like my route, pace, and my mile splits (that is how fast I run each mile broken down).

I still have a few weeks left of this. I go back and forth between thinking I can do this with no question back to thinking I’m going to just completely fail to run 13.1 miles. I have a feeling this is true with any long-term goal, though. It seems like a natural process. I suppose it could feel normal because I’m just a worrier. I can come up with some pretty awful “worst case scenarios” for many situations. I know that I intend to see this through. I intend to tell anyone who will listen after I run it that I did it. I intend to have some sort of tattoo to show off my accomplishment. I know there are people who have done more, gone faster, etc. They’re not me. This is me doing this and I think I’m doing something pretty awesome.

completely doubtful that I could actually do it without walking a significant distance.

Forward March!

I’ve completed week 2 of my training and I’m in week 3. I’ll be on a 5 mile run sometime this week. I think I’ll be just fine. Last Sunday, still in week 1, I had a 4 mile run that I cut down to 3. No regrets there. This past week, I had 2 more 4 mile runs and I did them. Thursday’s 4 mile run was so much better than I’d anticipated. Saturday’s run was hot, humid, and harder than I thought it would be. Sunday’s recovery run was less taking it easy and more of me enjoying being able to push myself because the humidity wasn’t as oppressive as the day before.

I went to my usual training on Tuesday and I ran with a group of people. I enjoyed conversation off and on, but I also enjoyed having other people with me to keep me moving forward and take my mind off of my internal voice whining about wanting to stop running and go somewhere cool and shady. My internal dialogue is persuasive. Thursday was my next planned run. Wednesday night, I set out my running clothes and told myself that if I could get up with my alarm, set for 45 minutes earlier than I’m used to waking up, I would run in the morning before the heat of the day and thunderstorm chances started. My 3-year-old helped that along. She woke up at 4am screaming and climbed into bed with the husband and me. So, I struggled with falling back asleep and finally decided to get up and put on my running gear at 5am. After eating a little breakfast, drinking some water, and playing on the internet, I set out for my 4 mile run. I have to say, I rocked it. I kept a pace faster than I have kept on shorter runs. I felt great. The rest of that day, I was sleepy and had a rough time functioning. I don’t think it was that I ran in the morning as much as I ran in the morning after a short night’s sleep. Friday was a monthly fun run/walk for “ladies”. I went and walked about 3 miles. I wore my most recently retired running shoes and I got a HUGE blister on my heel. I used a special blister bandage for my Saturday 4 mile run. Saturday was a morning run. Before I left the house, I could see that it was humid enough outside to fog the windows on the outside of the house. Saturday’s run was enjoyable in that I got to chat with someone while I ran and I went on a different route, but the heat and humidity were nearly sickening. I also didn’t quite memorize the route and neither did the other few people I was with. We missed a turn and had to run around the block to make up the distance. This actually amused me a little. I felt relieved that I’m not the only one who couldn’t memorize the route before setting out. When I finished the Saturday run, I walked over to Starbucks to pick up an iced coffee. I was still sweating when I got home. Sundays are on the calendar as a recovery run, this week 3 slow and easy miles. The humidity was there, but not terrible. It was hot, but not uncomfortable. I took my first mile slow and easy, but then I felt like I wanted to see how fast I could go. I wound up getting faster each mile and really enjoying myself trying to see how long I could hold the speed I was running. I even got in a couple of really hard sprints in my run. I know recovery runs are slow and easy, but I was playing and it was liberating to just play.

So that was how my 2nd week of training to run 13.1 miles went. I mostly followed my training with except my slow and easy Sunday run. I got a blister on my foot and ran with it. Of course, the special blister bandage didn’t stay put in my running sock and when I had it removed from my heel, the protective layer of skin went with it and now it’s an open wound that had better heal quickly.

Tonight, it is optional to run and I probably will. Maybe I’ll even take it slow and easy, even. I’m actually excited to go on my runs. I’m excited to run with other people. That’s a big deal for me since I get anxiety when I am with any group of people, including my family. I’m still painfully awkward, but I can work on my social skills while I’m working on my running skills. I’m learning to ask people about themselves and talk about myself more. I’m also learning to ask people running questions and put in my own helpful tips.

So have I lost any weight? Not anything notable going on with the scale. I haven’t gained any. I have eaten better. I feel like some things aren’t as tight on my body. I’m proud of how far I’ve come with my abilities. I was really struggling with running 3 miles without walking back in June. I was ambivalent about joining this training program just a few weeks ago. Now, I can’t wait to see how much farther I can go, who I’ll meet along the way, and whether anyone else will join this journey and share their experience with me.

Have you thought about what skills you’re working on by starting on a fitness or lifestyle training journey? What areas of your life, other than just your appearance, are you improving? Can greater confidence, willpower, and energy improve your quality of life?

Be back next week to share the adventures of Jenn. Thanks for reading!

One week down

I officially started training for a half marathon on Tuesday of last week. I have access to a training plan, support website, and a group on Facebook for added support. The group also gets a weekly newsletter and reminders about our group workouts in our email. I think it helps that I’m doing it with a group. We have mentors who have been through the program before that do the group runs with us. I really appreciated having a mentor to run with this Saturday as it was humid out and I had her to help me hold a comfortable pace so I didn’t wear myself out before we completed our mileage.

I’m still not used to the oppressive heat and humidity that this summer has given the midwest. I often feel like I’m just not cooling down. Technically, I’m not cooling down even by sweating when the sweat isn’t evaporating due to excessive humidity. I’ve also discovered that once the backs of my arms start sweating, I feel like I’ve stumbled through a spider web and it’s stuck to me. I don’t enjoy that feeling.

I enjoy running farther and a little faster each time, though. I enjoy getting out and seeing things like ducks walking around with their young, water rushing through the usually slower creek, and some of the dogs I see along the trail. These two dogs that live near the trail (their yard backs up to the trail) are gorgeous and I think they’re greyhounds. I usually tell them how pretty they are when I run by. They typically just stand by the fence and watch as I huff and puff my way past. The other day, they were standing and watching me, and some other people came from the other side on the trail and they went crazy barking and growling like I’d never heard them. I suppose telling them how pretty they are works to my advantage.

Things like that get me excited to get out again and run. Also, getting out with the group and meeting new people or getting to talk to someone I’ve met before gets me out there. I try to find something that makes me like the run even if in the moment, I feel miserable. I have to focus away from the weather being all wrong, sweat somehow getting in my eyes, having a wedgie, and my nasal passages swelling to only allow for mouth breathing. Yep, running is lovely. Then, when I’m done, I have the lovely sweat through my clothes in places that make it look quite unflattering. Guess what? I’ve also burned some calories, had some ‘me time’, and worked being a better runner. I enjoy running.

I am keeping up my strength training, also. I’m only at once a week now, since I took some time off and want to ease back in. I was pretty sore last week, so we’ll see this time. I’m also still eating better. I don’t drink a soda every day anymore and I’m more mindful of what I’m feeding myself. I stashed many different healthy snacks where I’d keep the less healthy ones. I still have a bit of sweet on occasion, though. Otherwise, I know myself well enough that I know I’d binge if I didn’t.

I have 11 weeks until race day. I’m running 13.1 miles. I have no intention of trying to place in the race. Really, finishing is my main focus. I’m excited, nervous, and proud.

I’m going to try to remember to keep up typing while I’m in training. My goal for this year was simply to run a half marathon. I’m going to do it!

Did you set a goal for 2015? Are you going to push yourself toward that goal? How are you going to do it? There’s still plenty of time left in the year to overcome those setbacks you’ve had.