Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 15: Feel the Burn

I went to the Jazz game last night, and we were leaving before the time I usually go to the gym, so I rearranged my schedule so I could still go.  I decided that I have done really well and have never missed a day yet, and I wasn't going to start now.  I also decided whilst on the treadmill that I wasn't going to turn back or back down.  The decision turned out to be very necessary...

I did week 4 on Friday, and it was only mildly challenging.  I could do it again on a Monday.  I could do it again.  I could do it again.  I doubted that encouragement that I gave myself more than a few times near the end of the last jogging interval, but I made it through after all.  My legs are somewhat sore today, which actually feels kind of good.  It's nice to know that I stay challenged.  

My workout was:
Week 4, Day 2
2.10 miles in 32 minutes, 2.0% incline
Average Pace: 15:08

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 14: March Madness

It is with great joy and enthusiasm that I announce that I have successfully completed the first day of WEEK 4, and I feel GREAT!  

The plan was to stay on week 3 for another week, I know, but this is what happened.  March Madness got the best of me.  I just hit "go" on the C25K app on my iPhone, and during the usual 5 minute warm-up walk, I got interested in the Tennessee-Ohio State game.  When it dinged to start running, I ran.  After I felt like it should be dinging again (week 3 starts out with a 90 second run), I looked down and saw I had already been running for nearly three minutes, at which point I had realized that since I ran week 3, day 3 on Wednesday, the program was automatically starting me on week 4, day 1.  Since that first three minutes seemed so easy, I decided to just go with the flow and promised myself that if I experienced any discomfort, I would revert to week 3.  The pain never came, not even the usual pain I feel in my right shoulder (that rotator cuff really isn't as healed as I thought it was).  

I admit that it started to get a little challenging towards the end of the fourth running interval, but it even seemed a little easier than Wednesday's workout.  I owe it all to March Madness, I guess.  This brings me to the hypothesis that perhaps what I need to train for running more than my body is my mind.  

Something odd happened after my workout.  As I was stretching, I saw this girl step on the scale on the other side of the gym.  She hopped on and hopped off, and I thought, "I could just hop on and hop off...  It wouldn't be discouraging to weigh myself if I just do it on days that I advance in my running."  Then approximately 30 seconds later when I finished stretching it completely slipped my mind.  I'm glad my weight has been pushed so far back into the back of my mind now that I can forget about it that easily at the gym, of all places.

And one more thing.  When I did something that was hard for me, I used to say, "Well, I guess I just can't do it," and other such negative things.  Today what I realized is that when things become difficult, I tell myself, "You really can do this.  Just push through a little longer."  I'm so grateful I can run, and I'm actually even grateful that I failed at week 4 last week so that I could have the realization this week of just how fast I'm progressing!

My workout today was:
Week 4, Day 1
2.11 miles in 32 minutes, 2.0% incline
Average Pace: 15:07

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 13: Happy Monthiversary!

A month ago today was Day 1, Week 1.  Forget about the fact that I have moved past week 1 and am in fact holding my own at week 3.  The fact that I am still here at all is amazing.  Now, I've enjoyed this a lot, and that's why I'm still doing it, so I guess it's not much of a sacrifice yet for me to keep going to the gym.  But if you consider that I don't normally like exercising, it's amazing.  

Unfortunately, it looks like I'll be on week 3 another week.  It's still challenging, so I think it's okay to stay on it.  Next Friday I'm going to try to move on to week 4, daunting though those five minute running intervals may seem right now.  Again, I may have a long way left to go, but man, look how far I've come ALREADY!

Since starting this program ONLY a month ago:

My resting pulse rate has dropped (by quite a bit, actually).
My waistline has shrunk.
I no longer consider the walk up that hill to class a workout.
I can run for three full continuous minutes.
I am more flexible.
I have greater confidence.
I deal with stress in healthier ways.
I respect and take (better) care of my body.
I sleep better at night.
My life has become more satisfying.

Those are the most noticeable unanticipated benefits from the program.  I honestly started this just so I would have something on which to focus my attention that didn't have to do with Chemistry or dating, and now it has become its own thing.

I have said this before, I know, but it's true: this truly is what was missing in my life, and although I really struggle with it sometimes, I am glad I do it.

My workout today was:
Week 3:
1.80 miles in 28 minutes, 2.0% incline
Walk Speed: 3.5 mph

Jog Speed: 4.5 mph
Total Distance So Far: 24.23 miles

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 12: Numbers

Isn't it strange how we as women use numbers to measure ourselves?  A little while back, I participated in Operation Beautiful, and one of the notes I posted said, "Your greatness cannot be measured," and had a ruler on the bottom edge of the page.  I feel like maybe I should post one of those proverbially or literally for myself.  I am always trying to measure myself, no matter what it is I am doing.  I seek approval from myself and others based on a number, or sometimes many numbers.  

Today I was asked what speed I run at, and that shouldn't have made me upset, but it definitely did.  I felt embarrassed that I run so slow.  Then I talked to my extremely tall friend Nicole who told me that she still runs slow for her height even after running for years, and I felt better.  

In unrelated-to-running workout news, I did AM Yoga yesterday morning for ten minutes to wake me up for church, just on a lark, and it was fun.  I couldn't quite get into all the poses, but I see promise there, and the stretches felt good.  Little did I know it, but I was REALLY getting a workout.  I woke up this morning almost too sore to get out of bed.  After ten minutes of yoga.  Seriously?

As far as running goes, week 3 is getting easier, for sure.  I am going to do week 3 again on Wednesday, and then I will attempt to move ahead to week 4 on Friday, even if it is hard.  I really think I probably COULD do week 4 right now, I just don't think I SHOULD.  A lot of people on the C25K discussion groups say that they were stuck for several weeks on week 3, so I am at least in good company.  It's a tough week to get through, but I'm determined to stick it out.  I've only been running for four weeks (as Sean the saintly workout buddy reminded me today), and instead of focusing on  how very far I have left to go, I should look at how far I have COME.  A month ago I could jog about a block.  Now I jog at least several blocks three times a week.  

I am becoming a runner.  Spud to stud is fortunately faster than the other way around, but still, it took me years to develop the destructive habits I had up until a month ago, so it will take me definitely more than a few weeks to break free from them.  

My workout today was:
Week 3:
1.80 miles in 28 minutes, 2.0% incline
Walk Speed: 3.5 mph

Jog Speed: 4.5 mph
Total Distance So Far: 22.43 miles

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 11: Stranded in Week 3.25

I wanted to start week 4 today because well, I technically finished week 3; however, that did not happen.  Actually, I started week 4, but then I thought I might die with crazy tightness in my calves, so after the first run/walk cycle I switched back to week 3 intervals.  Overall, the workout WAS a little more intense than your usual week 3 because I went further in the same amount of time, but it was definitely closer to week 3 intensity than week 4.  Plan: Stay on week 3 one more week, then re-try week 4.

I hereby give myself permission to stay back where I know I can be successful for as long as it takes me to get strong enough to challenge myself even further.

It took me years and years to get as out of shape as I am.  I can't expect to reverse it overnight.  I must NOT get discouraged.

I'm doing yoga every now and then, and it's a lot harder than it looks.  I thought running was hard!  I already see benefits from yoga, though, and the instructor in the videos I have always says ways to alter the poses if you're just starting and continually says, "it's okay if you can't quite get there yet."  Also, between the running and the yoga I sleep like a baby.

To end on a positive note, I had an awfully stressful and intense week, but this training has given me something to look forward to at the end of the day and helped me to cope with it much better than I ordinarily would.  I no longer feel like my life is go to work, go home, go to work, go home.  All I needed was something to work towards and look forward to.  Who knew it would ever be a physical activity?

My workout today was:
Week 3.25 ish
1.78 miles in 28 minutes, 2.0% incline
Walk Speed: 3.5 mph

Jog Speed: 4.5 mphTotal Distance: 20.63 miles

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 10: Opposition in All Things

I think while I'm on the treadmill about things like "what am I going to title my blog entry for this one?" and today inspiration struck several times.  After writing that entry earlier today about how running is a great place to escape from stress and frustration, I was shown the other side of that coin on my run today, and that is what inspired this title.

First of all, I was somewhat stood up by my running buddy.  No biggie.  I was glad he told me so I didn't have to wait on him.

About two minutes into my run, my mom called.  At that point, I just stop the treadmill and talk to her.  Some people are worried when their parents call them late at night; I get worried when my mom, a tax accountant, calls me during the day prior to April 15th.  Turns out my grandmother had chest pains this morning, and they've determined that it was congestive heart failure.  She's 95 and has been ready to die for years now, but that doesn't make the possibility of her impending death any easier to hear. I guess I should be grateful I was at the gym so I could rapidly dispel the extra stress that caused rather than just sitting at home as I was tempted to do.

I restarted the treadmill, and just as I was getting into my stride, an ex-roommate called, which I ignored so as not to disrupt the C25K program on my phone that pauses while you talk even if you're still walking/running.  But it jarred me a little for my phone to randomly start ringing just after hanging up with someone else.

Then, probably the worst thing that happened run-wise is that I touched the red emergency thingy on the treadmill, and it came loose, which stopped the treadmill.  Like, not on pause.  Stopped.  Erased.  So...  I noted the mileage when I got to the mid-way mark (which the app announces), subtracted that from my final mileage, and multiplied by two.  Best I could do to salvage mileage.

Amazingly, run-wise it wasn't too bad; of course, that could be related to the minute or two it took me to figure out how to restart the treadmill, which translated to extra recovery time...  It was literally over before I knew it.  That said, I'll probably stay on week 3 at least a few more days because week 4 intimidates me.  The "short" runs become 3 minutes, and the long runs are 5 minutes.  I can't imagine myself running for five straight minutes at this point.  Not that I don't think I'll ever do it, but week 3 is still challenging enough, and I really am going to just slow it down a bit this time.

Oh, and guess what?  I'm almost at 20 miles!  I think at 50 we should have some sort of celebration!

My workout today was:
Week 3, Day 3
1.72 miles in 28 minutes, 2.0% incline
5 minute warmup (3.5 mph)
90 seconds running (4.5 mph)
90 seconds walking (3.5 mph)
3 minutes running

3 minutes walking
(repeat 2x)
5 minutes of walking (cool-down)
Total Distance: 18.75 miles

Day 9: The Perfect Hobby

Running is the perfect hobby because it's healthy, it only takes up 90 minutes out of the whole week, it's time to myself where I don't have to think about anything in particular, and it's completely, totally, and blissfully unrelated to what I do all day.

I didn't get a chance to update Monday because this week is insane.  I did run on Monday, though.  Looking forward to running is actually what got me through my day, in fact.

The run was challenging.  I think ramping up the speed to 5.0 mph was a little bit too intense, but even at that, I made it through the whole thing, except I slowed down the pace near the end because my calves started burning something awful.  No, seriously, I suspected I had given myself shin splints again.  Except not, because after I stretched my legs felt fine again, like I could run another couple of miles.

When I run this afternoon I plan to run at my usual 4.5 mph during the first half of the workout, and possibly move up to 4.6 or  4.7 during the last half.  I feel like speed would be better at the end than at the beginning anyway.

My workout Monday was:
Week 3, Day 2
1.73 miles in 28 minutes, 2.0% incline
5 minute warmup (3.5 mph)
90 seconds running (5.0 mph)
90 seconds walking (3.5 mph)
3 minutes running

3 minutes walking
(repeat 2x)
5 minutes of walking (cool-down) - 3.3 mph
Total Distance: 17.03 miles

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Two Inches

Somewhere along the line with trying to avoid eating foods that make me feel gross on the treadmill and running consistently three times a week, I lost two inches off my waist since November.

I don't usually measure myself in any way while I'm working out, either on the scale or with measuring tape, but I bought a new pair of pants forever ago and finally got around to hemming them this weekend, and when I put them on, they were HUGE on me, even though they're the same size of pants I've worn since pretty much high school.  Anyhow, it was a pleasant discovery and sparked my wearing a dress to church this afternoon that I haven't worn in almost a year because I have been too self-conscious to wear it.

This wasn't my goal in running, but it is a very welcome side-effect!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day 8: Knowing My Strength

It would appear that I have once again underestimated myself.  I was iffy about week 3, but told myself that I would try it anyway.  I kept comforting myself and saying, "If this gets too hard, you can always just go back to week 2..."  And then before I even realized it, my phone chimed and said, "Workout complete."

Don't get me wrong.  There were challenging bits.  My new strategy is to just keep going and listening to my music and concentrating on the running, not the time.  Especially since now I don't HAVE to worry about the time.

Maybe next week if I feel frisky I may try to increase my pace a little bit next, maybe just for the last half of my workouts.  I actually think it might be LESS rough on my knees to run a little faster.  I find that when I'm not thinking about it and running comfortably, I'm outrunning the treadmill, so that might be a sign.

Week 3 is a little shorter of a workout than the previous weeks (28 rather than 29 minutes) so I'm not going as far...  But soon I will be going further and longer and faster and better and it will be glorious.  Look for an entry soon about shoes and shoe shopping, because I'm going to do that soon as a reward for making so much progress.

I never thought I'd be able to jog for three straight minutes.  This program is truly showing me just how strong I am.

My workout Friday was:
Week 3, Day 1
1.75 miles in 28 minutes, 2.0% incline
5 minute warmup (3.5 mph)
90 seconds running (4.5 mph)
90 seconds walking (3.5 mph)
3 minutes running

3 minutes walking
(repeat 2x)
5 minutes of walking (cool-down)
Total Distance: 15.30 miles

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 7: At the First Sign of Difficulty

I'm getting more accustomed to working out with the C25K app on the iPhone, and the more I use it, the more I like it.  I now turn on the iPod before anything else, do some stretches, and then start the actual C25K app right as I start up the treadmill.  I've figured out that by doing this I can still hear both the cues and my music, and I can actual change what song I'm listening to using my headphones without ever touching my phone.  On Monday I tried to run without even looking at the screen, knowing that it would ding anyway, but last night I did both.  I watched TV or watched the aerobics class in the next room during my workout, but when it seemed like I'd been on the same interval for awhile, I looked down at my phone screen to see how much time I really had left.   It's a happy medium.

The week 2 workout is still challenging for me.  I mean, I make it through just fine, but my calves feeeeeeel it by the end, and my legs are sore today.  No pain, mind you, just soreness.  Around minute 12 I start to want it to be done and over with.  It is this feeling that makes me wonder if I'm fit to move on to week 3; however I recall having this same feeling when deciding whether or not to move on to week 2, and upon doing so, realized it wasn't that bad.  By the fifteen minute mark I've usually hit my second wind and feel like I could go on for hours and hours, so I just have to remind myself that if I push through the hard parts, I will get to that nice endorphin feeling at the end where I want to take over the world with my brute strength.

We'll see how I feel tomorrow.  If I'm super stressed with school, I'll let that stress propel me through week 3.  If not, I may just stick with week 2, or perhaps invent a week 2.5.  :)

My workout today:
Week 2, Day 3
1.83 miles in 29 minutes, 2.0% incline
5 minute warmup (3.5 mph)
90 seconds running (4.5 mph)
2 minutes walking (3.5 mph)
(repeat 5 times)
3 more minutes of walking (cool-down)
Total Distance: 13.55 miles

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 6: C25K App Trial Run

I usually run at 5:30 but today at 6:30 I still hadn't left my office.  Then one of my good friends rescued me from sorting through papers by myself and helped me, which I appreciate immensely.  We went grocery shopping together after that, and then after I put away my groceries and ate a very small and simple dinner, I changed and went to the gym.  I ended up starting the workout at 8:30 or so, which I used to tell myself I couldn't do, and you know what, it's a decent hour, and I'm ready for bed.  I just wanted to update this before I forgot my stats.

So there's a tip in this.  If you want to get into an exercise routine, you have to be willing to cut yourself some slack, and do things however you can, even if it's not ideal all the time.

There is a 5K race here this weekend, The Rex Lee Run, and every year it happens I wish I was in shape enough to run in it.  You know what, though, I was looking up finishing times with a friend of mine, and we decided that if I could finish it in 30 minutes, I would finish in the middle of the pack.  Even if I could keep up my current running pace for 3.1 miles, I still wouldn't finish in 30 minutes, but in a YEAR of consistent training, I really COULD be there.

The workout today was a little shorter distance because the time was 5 minutes less, even though my pace was faster.  I'm going to be going along with the official Couch to 5K app for iPhone from now on now that I've invested in it.  I was right; it's a lot more enjoyable to not have to watch a clock the whole time.

My workout today:
Week 2, Day 2
1.81 miles in 29 minutes, 2.0% incline
5 minute warmup (3.5 mph)
90 seconds running (4.5 mph)
2 minutes walking (3.5 mph)
(repeat 5 times)
3 more minutes of walking (cool-down)
Total Distance: 11.72 miles

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day 5: New Milestones

Technically, it's the second milestone, because I broke two miles!  Also, I started week 2.  The for real week 2. I will probably still stick to it for three days just because, but it wasn't any harder to start out than week 1, day 1.    If the first day of the new week doesn't feel any more challenging than the first day of the previous week, I'll take it that I'm ready to move forward.

I feel so great after running now that I look forward to it at the end of the day.  I used to love working out in the morning because then I get to enjoy that "I worked out already" feeling all day long, but working out in the evenings has its perks, too.  Usually I'm really stressed out at the end of the day, and running is a nice way to get out all that stress.  In short, I don't think that people sing the praises of evening workouts nearly enough.

That said, I was exhausted already when I started on the treadmill yesterday.  I had an hour and a half of physical therapy in the afternoon, which really took it out of me.  Then AFTER the gym, I went ice skating with my roommates for two hours at the Peaks.  I slept like a baby last night...

I have been going to a physical therapist for a rotator cuff impingement for the past month or so, and I have seen huge improvements from such minor changes in my life.  I used to think you had to kill yourself in the gym to get results, and maybe to get fast ones you do, but going to the physical therapist for this time has proven me wrong.  Six weeks ago I went to the doctor for shoulder pain, which is saying something, because I avoid doctors at all costs.  It had escalated to the point that I couldn't even erase a chalk board or plug in my computer without yelping with pain.  Now I can do all of those things with just a small amount of discomfort, and all I did was fifteen or twenty minutes of simple exercises every day.  Consistency, folks.  That's the SECRET!

Anyhow, I'm proud of myself for making it to the two mile mark, and proud of not quitting yet.  Also, I'm proud of making it to week two.  I've never made it this far in the program before, so yeah it's a major accomplishment.

Day 5:
5 minutes walking
90 seconds jogging (4.1 mph) - I actually went 4.5 mph for part of this because I was watching a zumba class in the next room...
120 seconds walking (3.1 mph)
(repeat until minute 35)
Time: 35 minutes
Distance: 2.01 miles
Total Distance:  9.91 miles

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 4: The Invention of Week 1.5

So rather than going to week 2, I decided to invent a week of exercises with an intensity somewhere between week 1 and week 2.  You know, for the more spudly couch potatoes out there.  Unfortunately, I think it may have been too easy.  With the exception of the beginning of the workout, in which I thought I might die.

Actually, I had the program wrong, turns out.  I don't know what week that workout would have been in, but what I did at the beginning of my workout was a higher concentration of running than week 2.  I may actually do the real week 2 on Friday.  Which means that the couch to 5K program as written may not be too hard for me to actually do in the time scale prescribed!

Here's what I did:

5 minutes walking
90 seconds jogging (4.0 mph)
60 seconds walking (3.0 mph)
(repeat 90/60 until minute 20)
60 seconds jogging (4.0 mph)
90 seconds walking (3.0 mph)
(repeat until minute 35)
Time: 35 minutes
Distance: 1.99 miles
Total Distance:  7.90 miles

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 3: By Small and Simple Means

By small and simple means are great things brought to pass. I've decided that that statement is true, but possibly could be amended to end with the phrase, "through consistency." I'm really proud of myself for persevering this far, even on a Monday. Of course, allowing myself to work out in the evening hours also helps. It's really not the most efficient way of doing it, but I'm trying to let go of efficiency for the sake of my sanity and personal progress.

I had a little tiny bit of "pain" in my left ankle near minute 20 of my workout today. Just thought that was notable. It wasn't really painful, but there was pulling that shouldn't have been there. I stopped for a second, rotated my ankle a few times, and that didn't really hurt. I just think my ankle muscles aren't used to this sort of activity.

Lucky for me, in physical therapy with me is a girl with shin splints, and I've been spying on her exercises. I'm sure whatever you do to repair shin splints would also be great to prevent them... I'm going to do ankle-strengthening exercises with my exercise band on my off-days starting tomorrow, and hopefully that will prepare me for the abuse that lies ahead.

Day 3:
5 min warm-up walk (3.1 mph)
60 seconds running (4.1 mph)
90 seconds walking (3.1 mph)
35 min., 2.0% incline, treadmill at Gold's Gym in Provo
Distance Traveled: 1.99 miles
Total Distance: 5.91 miles