Monday, January 31, 2011

One Step Forward

Today ended Week 2, which means that Week 3 begins on Wednesday.

I got a weird blister on my left foot today, but it's got a day to heal up, so hopefully it won't affect my performance when it's time to step up the pace.

I increased my walking and running speeds by .1 mph each today, and didn't notice much of a difference.  I may just do that every third day, at least until the third day workout involves continuous running (I believe that's week 5 or something).

I'm so excited about the progress I'm making.  I'm already solidly in the habit of working out three times a week, and I've even got a good attitude about it.

I've heard a lot of positive response from friends who have blog-stalked me here.  I'm so glad that the positive changes I've been making in my life have bled over into theirs, and it is a big encouragement for me to continue.

So I'll issue a challenge now.  What is one small thing you can do to improve your health immediately?  I'm not talking "lose 5 pounds," here.  I mean, something even smaller than that, something action-based.  What if you substituted one soft drink per day with a glass of water?  What if you decided from now on to fill half your plate at each meal with vegetables?  What if you decided right now to walk just a few hundred more steps each day?  Small  steps, taken consistently, add up to major mileage on your way to better health.  Success doesn't only happen when we reach our big goals; it is in every step forward that we choose to take.

In this time I've been training, I have yet to diet.  I work out no more than thirty minutes three times a week.  What I'm doing is NOT earth-shattering, but I already feel SO much better, after only three weeks of steady progression.  You will feel better, too.  So don't give up when things get hard, just keep being persistent, and you'll see the pay-off sooner or later.

Today's workout:
Distance: 1.78 mi
Time: 29:00 min
Sensation: Contentment

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Treadmill I Love

I weighed myself after running today.  No big.  I didn't want to use my post-christmas weight as a starting weight, so I waited until I was exercising for a little while to weigh.  It might not be different, but it makes me feel better to do it this way.  I'm not brave enough to post my actual weight on here, but I will post the difference between my current weight and what I weighed the last time I checked when I was exercising regularly.  Once you see that number hit zero, I will be back where I left off weight-wise.  Cardio-wise, I don't think I really lost that much over the time I've been"off."  Also, I must say that losing weight through exercise alone as I have must be the best possible way to lose it because it faithfully kept coming off one pound a week over a period of several months, and even after a long period of not doing anything and eating fattening food, I never did gain it all back.  It would have been better to never stop in the first place, but we can't go back now, can we?

Week 2 is proving to be VERY easy.  I think the biggest challenge in all of this is I hate the treadmill.  I did, however, find some treadmills that I don't mind being on.  Two words: Cardio Theater.  I think it's worth the full price of a Gold's Gym membership for that experience.  If it's available at your gym and you haven't tried it, please do yourself a favor and give it a chance.  Except if you go to my gym.  I don't want it to get too busy in there.

I got very interested in watching Inception, and didn't even notice I was running.  I also got a really nice cadence without a strong beat in the background to distract from it.  It's running without headphones but WITH distractions, and the best of both worlds.  Additionally, I suspect that those treadmills were better quality treadmills - they didn't seem to shake as much, and it felt more like being on solid ground.  I just can't say enough good things about my workout today - I feel great, and I enjoyed it thoroughly the whole way through, not just at the end.  Yeah!  High Five!

C25K W2D2
Distance: 1.72 mi
Time: 29 min.
Sensation: Disbelief
Weight: +11

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Always Easier the Second Week

'Tis true.  I don't know what it is about it, but the second week is always oh so much easier than the first week.  I just don't think my legs like changing speeds very often, so the 2 minutes walking to 90 seconds running intervals allow me to get into a better cadence.  Also, 90 seconds of running at a time isn't very much, so it's still very easy aerobically-speaking.

Whatever it is, week 2 was the easiest week for me last time, and it still seems to be true this time around.

I owe part of that to my bud Madison, who gave me stretching pointers.  Ya know, not on her blog, but still, it was helpful.  Basically, I abandoned the whole "stretch before running" attitude, and now jog lightly for five minutes prior to stretching, then proceed to my usual workout.  Much less tightness now.

Today on the treadmill, I watched Arizona vs. UCLA.  I cheered for Arizona because BYU beat them, but maybe I should have cheered for UCLA because they beat BYU and they apparently needed it more.  I guess I need to get better at picking out the losers so I can have a more exciting time.

Also, my "run like the wind" anthem that really motivated me today was I Don't Feel Like Dancin' by Scissor Sisters, which I discovered via Emily, the same one who took the pretty pictures in my Lavender 5K entry and helped me get through the end of the race by showing up at just the right moment to cheer me on.

Okay, well I've plugged enough music and blogs for one entry, so here are the stats:

C25K W2D1
Distance: 1.77 miles
Time: 29:00
Feeling: Accomplished, yet adequately sore.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hechos Son Amores

I spent Wednesday through Friday in Monterey, California and failed to pack proper running gear.  I was actually quite unprepared for how gorgeous it was going to be, and I felt jealous of the people I saw running along the shore.  But as they would say in Argentina (and many other places) "Hechos son amores no buenas razones."  Good intentions only count when they lead to action.

Except the action was that on this day that I could have easily skipped the gym, I pushed myself and went anyway.   Not only that, but I'm actually very glad I did.  I had a hard time during the first part, but I made it through without compromising on the schedule, although I did lower the speed slightly for the last half of the run.  I figure I'll start out at this running pace and I can always work my way up to my goal pace once I can run a 5K on the slow pace without walking breaks.

I don't struggle with running anymore; I struggle with the walking parts.  Does anyone else experience this?  I just feel this incredible tightness in my calves that is oh so much worse when I'm walking than when I'm running.  This might mean I'm not warming up properly before stretching, so I'll have to figure out some way to change up my routine and see if I can reduce this discomfort.

I discovered today that basketball games are really the best thing for me to watch while I'm running.  It's sometimes hard to find a team that I care about, so I just cheer for whatever team is losing because that makes it more exciting.  I glue my eyes to the TV and can completely ignore the fact that I'm essentially running on a rapidly-moving inclined conveyer belt.  I love basketball. <3

C25K W1D4
Distance: 1.83 mi
Time: 31:00

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I guess this entry is a bit belated in that I actually did the running yesterday, not today, but better late than never.  I seriously considered taking yesterday off, but I'm glad I went, and I'm glad I stuck it out.

I ended up running the full speed I had intended when I started this thing, and for the amount of time the program calls for.  Be proud.  I'm also still running with a 3% incline, which is another thing to be super proud of.  

I am hesitant to move on to week 2, but I do remember that last time I went through this thing I was also hesitant, and then week 2 ended up being easier than week 1, so I'm just gonna keep moving on.  It was those weeks that you are running continuously for 20 minutes where I really struggled on the treadmill, so if I linger anywhere, that's where it'll be.

Tomorrow I'm headed to California for Western Spectroscopy, so I'm going to get up early in the morning to get my run in before I leave.  Then I plan on running on Saturday afternoon.  I know better to kid myself that I'll be able to run while we're at a conference.  If I can, great, but if not, I have a back-up plan.

Here's the stats:
Distance: 1.87 Miles
Time: 31:00
3% Incline on treadmill

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Busy Busy Busy

Woo.  Yesterday was sooooo busy, and I still squeezed in the gym.  It was a fantastic research day, which means my legs were already like jello when I got to the gym from standing over a laser table in weird positions and walking/running up and down concrete hallways all day, and that made getting on the treadmill to intentionally run that much harder.  But once again, making the decision of whether or not I would go ahead of time made it that much easier, even though I may or may not have tried to talk myself out of it.

At the gym, things got nasty.  I went through the first half of the workout just fine, but then my legs started hurting pretty bad, so I slowed it down.  I almost walked through the running segments, but I decided to just push through on a lower speed.  Besides, it was during the walking segments that my legs really got the best of me - they felt fine during the running segments.  I just think the treadmill is an evil invention, that's all.

I will be honest and say that I did NOT enjoy the workout yesterday, but at least I did it, and I did still feel the satisfaction afterwards of having followed through with something even though it was hard.  I know my sacrifice and perseverance will pay off soon.

The workout:
C25K W1D2
Distance: 1.84 mi
Time: 31:00 min
Listening to: Absolutely by Sister Hazel

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Feels Like Starting Over

Beginning again has officially begun.  I am running on a treadmill at the gym set on 3.0% incline, and following the Cool Running Couch to 5K program (link at right).

And boy, 3.0% incline sure feels appropriately challenging.  This morning my legs feel just like they ran outside yesterday, except I got a LOT sweatier than if I had run outside, even in the summer time.  Perhaps I need to invest in a larger water bottle.  I also set the run pace/ walk pace to be a little higher because I know that when I'm running outside I tend to run faster, and I want to already be accustomed to running at the pace I tend to run at when I start running outside.

Scheduling was difficult yesterday, but making the decision to run ahead of time really helped.  I actually had to run during a long step in an experiment for my research and come back afterwards to stop it.  It worked out fine, though, and now I feel proud that I was able to finish the first day with a positive attitude.

I want to shout-out to all of you who have left supportive comments on here.  I really appreciate your encouragement!  My college buddy Tamara is doing her own health overhaul, and I think we will be great mutual encouragers.  I also magically found a buddy on Strands this week who started commenting like crazy on my goal and workout entries.  And then this girl I went to high school with posted on a C25K forum, and we've decided to also buddy up through cyberspace.  I've never had much luck with the buddy system before because of scheduling problems and because I tend to feel discouraged and compare myself to other people, but feeling love and support from people all around the country really feels good and makes me want to do my best, so THANKS!  :)

3.0% Incline Treadmill
1.92 miles in 31 minutes
16:08 min/mile (we'll definitely be improving THIS)

PS: I really do think of you all while I'm running.  When I think it's too hard and want to quit, I think, "Well, what am I going to tell the people who read my blog?" and it gives me the motivation to keep going.  So I also thank all of you silent readers out there!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year - New Resolve

Last year's one resolution was to have a "theme," instead of a resolution.  That theme was "it's my turn," and I may make it a two-year resolution, because I think it's a good theme that deserves two years.  "It's my turn" is all about taking life by the horns and making my life what I want it to be every day.  This blog was begun in February of last year as a branch of that theme, and running really did become a passion for me.

I never would have imagined that I would fall off that wagon, but I did.  It's old and cliched by now, but they say that the boxer that wins isn't the one who is knocked down the least but the one who continues to pick himself back up.  I refuse to let my past failures stunt my future success.

That said, I really hope to get back on the ball, and for several reasons.  Reason number one, I realized that my ten year high school reunion is in 18 months.  That's the perfect amount of time to lose the large number of pounds I need to lose to be in the healthy range without doing unhealthy things to my body to get there.  Reason number two is I have realized that although my body seems to "like" being heavy, it really doesn't.  I'm more tired, more stressed, and just ugh about things since I quit running.  When I was running I was really happy.  I was happy with myself, with my body, and with pretty much every aspect of my life.  All of the positive effects started from the very first day.  I really need to get back into this and recommit myself again.  I really need all you out there to hold me accountable to this.

So, speaking of cliches, I am starting an exercise program in January.  And it's cold, so I'm going to have to go to the gym.  Hurdle number one would be signing up for the gym membership, but I already have one, so I guess I'm ahead of the game there.  I hate that the gym is crowded in January, and I hate that the people at the gym look at my pudgy little body on the treadmill and think that I have never exercised before in my life and am just in it for the short-term.  It makes me want to wear a t-shirt that says, "This ain't my first rodeo, bucko."  Also, treadmills.  Yuck.

I'm going to start training again with the Couch to 5K program, same as before.  The big change I'm making is that I'm going to run the treadmill (dreadmill) on a higher incline than before so that it's less of a shock to my poor legs when I start running on pavement as soon as the snow melts in Provo.  I may actually work through the program on a 1.5% incline once, and then start over again from week 3 with a 3% incline.  Week 3 was very difficult for me outside, even after week 6 on the treadmill on 1.5% incline, but in the spirit of working up to outside conditions, I'm going to do it.  That will have me running a 5K three times a week OUTSIDE by May, assuming I can stay on the C25K schedule.  Even if I take 2 weeks to do each "week," the first time around, I'll still be there by June or July.  At that point, I may temporarily hire a personal trainer to help me through the slump that has historically occurred there.  In the meantime, it is up to you who read this blog free from ads, to earn your keep and ride my chubby butt so I stay with the program!

Is there anyone else out there who is starting or restarting the couch to 5K program?  If you're out there, I'd love to hear from you.