Several months ago I signed up for a 5K race at a veterinary convention in August. August is a long, long time away. I recently came to the conclusion that August is now sneakily less than two months away. I haven’t been running since I hurt my hip this winter. That isn’t because the hip is still hurt. It is because I’m a slacker. You know, what finally fixed my hip? Fencing. It was my right hip. When you fence left handed you lunge to the left over and over. That stretches your right hip over and over. Problem solved.
Anyway, I decided that it was time to start getting serious about this running thing if I didn’t want to look like a total fool come August. To make things worse this 5K is in Atlanta. In August. Odds of death? High.
Yesterday I decided to go running formally and officially. Freckles and I have been doing lots of walking. We also run on the short trail in the dog park sometimes. She is not out of shape. We started easy. We did intervals of 1.5 minutes running and 1.5 minutes walking repeated over and over. Freckles decided to run at about 95 miles per hour. I was capable of about, uh, 1 mph. It was sad. But we got through about 1.5 miles.
When we got home we went into the basement to see where to put a new freezer. I noticed that Freckles seemed to have a hard time going back up the stairs. But when we got to the top she took off running and wasn’t lame at all. Instead of jumping onto the couch she sort of slid up onto it. I said to the SO that I thought there was something wrong with her. He said that I was making her self conscious because I was staring at her. She had a nap on the couch and then walked normally and ran up the stairs at bedtime without a hitch.
I thought she was fine until she crashed when she tried to jump onto the bed. I had to lift her up. She jumped down and chased a cat with no problems but I had to lift her up again. When the SO came to bed I said that she really was hurt. Then he went into crisis mode. His poor baby was hurt so he cuddled her. He questioned what I was planning on doing with her. My answer that she was getting mobility back since she could climb stairs now so she should just rest was not fully accepted.
He has discovered the James Herriot books. He’s been listening to them back to back on CD. He thinks he’s a vet now. He probably could be a vet in 1930s England. Whenever I talk about a case he says, “At least you have sulfa drugs.” So this morning he wanted a better vet recommendation as Freckles looked at him mournfully. He wanted her to come to work with me. I said she acts a fool at the office and would probably hurt herself worse so she should stay home and rest. He gave me a stern look. “Am I going to have to call Mr. Farnon?” Seigfried Farnon was James Herriot’s boss and when old-timers didn’t agree with the young vet they called Mr. Farnon.
I found a stash of pain killers that I forgot I had and gave her some this morning. She has heat over her left lumbar area. That fits with not being able to jump. It is probably a muscle strain and therefore she needs to rest. Like I said. Hopefully she’s better when I get home or he’s going to drive me crazy.
I’d been putting off my next long run because of a monster cold. It was hard for me to breathe while sitting still let alone consider breathing while having to run for 25 whole minutes.
I went out today with my route all planned out. That impressed the heck out of me yesterday. I was saying to myself, “I’ll go down this trail and then cut over here…”. Holy cow! I am planning multitrail runs. Sure I was doing it to avoid the worst of the hills but still. I was planning multi-trails when I’m still flat out shocked that I can run for more than one minute at a stretch.
I did fine until about 11 minutes out when I had to take a 15 second mental health break. I was sure I was dying and couldn’t breathe but I just stood there and breathed for a few seconds and then was able to go on just fine. Just like last time I did my last five minutes better than the first part of the run.
I don’t know how far I run. I know it isn’t the 2 1/4 miles that the program recommends at this point. I’m thinking of running out on a bike trail that has marked distances. But it is paved and I’m not sure that I can do it. If I’m looking down a straight path at a dot in the distance that I have to run too that seems a lot harder than running for a set number of minutes. But maybe I’m just weird.
So I was pretty proud of myself for running for 20 minutes straight. Two days later I was scheduled to go back to intervals. 5 minute run, 3 minute walk, 8 minute run, 3 minute walk, 5 minute run. No problem, right?
I started out and at 2 minutes 30 seconds I was dying. I’m not sure why. I was panting like I had run a marathon and couldn’t make my legs go. I rested for a bit and then finished out the five minutes. I switched to a flat trail and tried to go on but got 4 minutes through the 8 minute interval and gave up.
I’m not sure what it was but it wiped me out. I calculated that in the last 48 hours I’ve been asleep for 22 hours. Today I finally came around. I went out to redo the day’s workout. I was able to do it. I wasn’t feeling as good as I thought I should be but I was able to get through it. I’m really glad that this didn’t happen on the 20 minute day or I’d think that I’d never be able to run.
Also today I worked on teaching Z to ride a bike without training wheels. She’s doing pretty well except for getting started.
I’m losing my mind. I swear I’ve been looking forward to this for days. This morning I got up early and did week 5 day 3 of the couch to 5k program.
After a 5 minute warmup walk, run 20 minutes.
Remember just last week when I was whining about the program thinking I could go running for 5 minutes? That was last week. Now I can run for 20 minutes. It says that that should be about 2 miles at this stage. I can’t measure my distance very well. There are maps of where I run but the mileage is very confusing to figure out on the messed up maps. I’m thinking I ran about 1.5 miles. It is true that I run very slowly. If I was being chased by monsters (which two months ago would have been the only way I could conceive of running for 20 minutes) I would be caught by all of them except the very slow Shaun of the Dead zombies. But, I’m not really discouraged because I’m not running on a flat, groomed track. I’m running on trails with crazy bad footing and no flat surfaces. I’m either running uphill or trying not to crash on the slick downhills. Under those conditions I think doing 1.5 miles the first time is pretty good. Now that I know that it is possible – and cardiovascular-wise I felt able to go on at the end of 20 minutes even if my legs were tired from the hills – I can work on going faster where it is safe.
I’m actually really proud of myself today. I don’t get that way often. Two months ago if someone would have said that I would be running 1.5 miles easily I would have asked if I would then sprout wings and fly home. It would seem just as likely. I’m in shock. The program is amazing even if it looks crazy when you first look at it and you say “There is no way!” If I can do it, literally anyone can do it. I’m thinking of even calling my crazy runner father and confessing. The whole family has been keeping him in the dark about this since we’ve spent the last 25 years or so mocking his running.
I was due today to start week 5 of the Couch to 5K program. So far each week they’ve upped your running time but you stay the same for all three runs that week. Now look what they want me to do.
Day 1: Run 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, run 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, run 5 minutes
Day 2: Run 8 minutes, walk 5 minutes, run 8 minutes
Day 3: Run 20 minutes – I feel faint just typing it.
I found out that I’m not the only one that week 5 freaks out. There are forum posts just on being scared of week 5. I added this thought to there yesterday.
I’m due to start week 5 tomorrow and it freaks me out too. At every new level I’ve had the panicky “They want me to do what?” feeling. But I had a sore muscle all during week 4 that made me run super slowly. I’m not sure that I got all the conditioning that you are expected to get from that week. I’m thinking I may do a few more runs at week 4 now that I feel better in order to work on conditioning.
Is that just my mind making excuses to not move up to level 5 or is it legit? I’m not sure. I guess it will depend on how I feel when I get out there tomorrow. Either way sometime this week or next I’ll be able to claim that I have ‘long run days.’ I’m not sure I’ll believe it until I do it!
I went out today and decided to go for it. After my warm up walk I started running very slowly. I got to the first killer hill and my iPod decided to play Swing Low Sweet Chariot. That made me laugh and before I realized it I was at 4 minutes. The last minute was easy. I was in a walking section when I hit the really big hill so that was lucky. I did my second run very slowly also but I still spooked a deer. Sorry. When it came time for the third run section I realized that I wasn’t tired yet so I decided to move out some more. I also decided to head back towards the parking lot. The parking lot is way uphill from where I was. I finished up stronger than I felt the whole rest of the run! I was going uphill and some people were picking their way slowly down the hill. I thought for a second about continuing to run to just blow by them but I decided that I’d probably fall or something if I was trying to show off.
It is the beginning of week 4 of my Couch to 5k plan. (I didn’t feel well a few days last week so I pushed back the start of week 4 until I got all three week 3 runs in.)
Here’s the plan for the week:
1. After a five minute warm up walk, run 3 minutes.
2. Walk 90 seconds.
3. Run 5 minutes (Dear god in heaven!)
5. Walk 2.5 minutes.
6. Repeat once
I’m finding it helpful to use my iPod as a timer. I have it on shuffle and start the next song whenever I change speed. Then I can look at the iPod and see how long I’ve been going. If I know I have a three minute song on then I know just to run to the end of the song. It works better for me than using my watch.
Just like everytime I move up a level, I was a baby about this. There was no way I was going to be able to run for 5 minutes. I also knew that I had been starting on a certain trail that I liked. It was great when the workout started out with a 90 second jog because I’d end right at the base of a hill. I decided to go that way today anyway even though I’d have to run up that hill. My butt was burning and I might have left my calves halfway up it but I did it. I had to run in place at the top for a very huge gasping breaths so I didn’t just die right there but I did it. Then I went off a new way and was jogging very slowly so I could last through my first ever 5 minute jog and found myself at the base of a hill that was twice as high as the previous one. I turned around. Maybe I’ll try that later this week.
I’m telling myself that I’m doing extra good because I’m not doing this on a nice flat track but on rolling hills. I could go on flatter sections but I like the privacy where I’m running. So far no human as seen me run. I think that is good. The view from my vantage point isn’t pretty and I can’t even see it all. Today I was running my second 5 minute section on a carefully selected downhill area when I saw a person headed my way. I turned around and sped up. Great, then I was going faster and uphill to keep people from watching me jog. At least my neuroses made me get a better workout.
I peeked ahead. At the end of next week I’m supposed to run 20 minutes without walk breaks. Crazy, crazy stuff. But I remember when I was convinced that I’d never be able to run 90 seconds.
Happy July 22! According to the star on the calendar at work today is the day that I was scheduled to be HOT. Yes, it is the end of the 12 week Body for Life challenge.
Weight loss – absolutely none!
Pant size – down one size
Body shape – totally different. I’d love to verify this with pictures but my “before” picture was a casuality of the Great Accidental Memory Card Deletion of 2009.
What could have gone better – I could have followed the diet plan better but I was bad. That alone probably explains the no weight loss. Slacking on cardio days didn’t help. But I can’t emphasize enough how much I love weight routines. I’m planning on continuing a modified version of it every other day.
What happens now – I’ll keep doing the Couch to 5K running program to try to burn some of the fat covering my newly toned muscles.
Speaking of which, I was running yesterday on a wooded trail. I was on my last 90 second run and had 30 seconds left. I decided to sprint to really workout hard. I looked at my watch and saw that I had 2 seconds left – and hit the ground. You know in movies when they show someone getting thrown out of a moving car and they roll over and over? I did a mild version of that. I’m not sure what I tripped on. I scraped up my right knee and shin. My poor shin – finally get over the shin splints and then I scalp it.
Here’s how you know if you are a true blogger. As I picked myself up and surveyed the damage my first thought was “I need a picture of this for the blog. Caption it I’m a real trail runner now!” My second thought was “Wait until it gets scabby. It will look better!”
I’ve found out that the biggest part of doing this running routine is mental for me. I’m on the second week of it. The first week was warm up at a walk for 5 minutes, then jog 60 seconds and then walk 90 seconds. Repeat until you get 20 minutes which is 8 repeats of the run/walk. Week 2 was to be just the opposite jog 90 seconds/walk 60. So that’s 8 repeats again.
When it came time to start the jog 90 seconds my brain was convinced that there was no way on earth I could do it. 90 seconds, are you nuts? But I went really slow (for you horse people out there think western pleasure jog) and I was fine. On the second day of this I went faster and still did fine. This is totally amazing to me!
I have one more day this week of this routine so I just decided to look ahead and see what next week brings. Guess what? I’m not supposed to be running 90/walking 60 for 8 repeats. I’m supposed to be running 90/walking 120 for 5 repeats. And, I’ve noticed by doing the math that I’m not supposed to be doing my repeats for 20 minutes. I’m supposed to be doing the walking warmup PLUS the repeats for a total of 20 minutes. You know what this means?????
I’m overachieving at running! And it still seems easy to me.
But my brain is already freaking out about the next bump in the routine. Jog 90 seconds/walk 90 seconds/jog 3 minutes/ walk 3 minutes (repeat twice). Run 3 minutes – I’ll believe it when I see it!
My first sunflower finally opened. Across the street there are lots of sunflowers and I was having sunflower envy. Now I feel better!
I’ve done all three of my running sessions for week one of the Couch to 5K program. The good news is that I’m not having shin splint problems at all! I’ve been doing the run for 60 seconds and then walk for 90 seconds until you’ve done that 8 times. Now I move onto run 90 seconds and walk 60 seconds. I’ve been feeling really good when I’m running so upping the intensity sort of scares me. I keep thinking that I’m going to be huffing and puffing and miserable! I’ve been forcing myself not to go out and run extra but to stay on the program. Now, really, when have I ever wanted to do extra cardio? That’s got to be a good sign!
As much as I’ve liked the Body for Life program, I still haven’t seen any weight loss. I’m sure this is entirely my fault since I’m not following the food plan and I’m a lazy cardio person. The only part that I’m doing consistently right is the weight lifting portion and I’m seeing great results with that. I’ve made some great muscle tone and now it is time to start losing the fat to show it off. It is time to start running.
I have a bad history with running. I have horrible shin splints since track days in gym class in high school. I’ve even gotten shin splints while driving. My dad is a distance runner and he never really believed me. I’ve been to sports medicine specialists who basically told me that I’m out of luck, forget about it, you just aren’t made to run. But then I see people from shows like The Biggest Loser having everyone run and figure that if they can do why can’t I? I like reading Runner’s World magazine. I really should be a runner.
I finally found a biomechanical explanation of shin splints that makes sense. I have a medical mind. Explain how something happens and I can handle it. Here is Cool Runnings’ explanation of Lower leg pain
. Basically, the calves are too tight so they need to be stretched. At the same time strengthen the front of the leg with exercises they describe. If this fixes me I’m going to be very annoyed at all the doctors who never said there were things I could do.
I’ve been stretching and doing exercises for several days. This morning I did workout one of the Couch to 5K program. It is a nine week program to gradually get you in shape to run a 5K (3.1 miles). You work out three times a week. For week one you warmup with a brisk walk for five minutes then jog for 60 seconds and walk for 90 seconds. Repeat for 20 minutes.
I did my jogging today super slow. I was concentrating on lengthening my calves (thank you yoga) and not pounding into the ground. I was probably going slower when I jogged than when I walked. But I feel fine. No shooting pain through my shins while I ran at all.
I had a horrible time keeping track of what repeat I was on. I can’t promise I did 8 sets of run then walk. I couldn’t even remember exactly when I started to see if I did 20 minutes. I need a stopwatch or a more focused brain.
Cardio-wise I wasn’t huffing and puffing probably due to the slow speed. But once I quit and was walking to cool down I started sweating heavily. I also run at a park where you have to climb a long hill back to your car and that wasn’t easy today.
I’ll be doing the program by time instead of distance since I’m on trails and not a track. Both options are in the program. At the end I should be running for 20 minutes. Will that be 5K? Probably not. A 20 minute 5K is a respectable race time for a person my age. Not going to happen. But right now I can’t even imagine running that far even if monsters were chasing me so anything will be an improvement.
The nine week program will be over on September 10. Hopefully this will make me prettier on the beach on vacation in October!