Sunday, October 31, 2010

Friday Night Treadmill Party

Two days later, she finally posts about her first treadmill experience.

Sorry folks. I'm late. I know you've been sitting on the edge of your seats waiting ... with baited breath.

As the daylight of summer quickly fades into the crap-darkness of winter, I can clearly see that running outside after work is going to get more difficult, especially since I seem to be staying in the office later and later these days. So, since I got out late Friday and since I wanted to test the treadmill in my apartment community before push came to shove, I gave it a go.

I figured most people my age in this community would be out enjoying Halloween parties and not working out, and therefore the equipment would be free. I was right! There are also two treadmills in the workout room, and though I don't like the idea of huffing and puffing and thumping and staggering next to someone, at least there's a greater chance a treadmill will be open.

Anyway, it didn't go too badly. I expected to struggle with finding an appropriate pace for myself and with the mechanics of machine-aided exercise. I didn't expect to finish 25 minutes without stopping. I was right. I did make it to 20, though, and I think I could have done 25+ if I was wearing short sleeves. I overheated a bit, which a friend of mine warned me about. Even though I powered through the hottest of summer runs, getting hot on a treadmill with long sleeves on is different--no breeze.

Do you have any tactics for staying cool on a treadmill?

The first 5 minutes went so quickly; the second 5 minutes also went well. After that, it was a struggle. While those first 10 minutes flew by, I spent the second 10 minutes staring at the clock. I got bored. I had my headphones and a window in front of me, but elected to not turn the television on. That may have helped.

How do you fight treadmill boredom?

I kept my speed at 4.3 for 16 minutes, then bumped it down to 4.1 until minute 19, then back up to 4.2. What's your go-to treadmill speed? I stayed at zero incline the whole time. Hills? Pshh ... NO! =) Anyway, at least I know I can do the treadmill through the winter if need be. I don't want to skip outside running altogether, though, because I still like it much more.

I'll be running at some point today, if I can get myself off the couch. No, I will run today. I just need to decide how much. The Thanksgiving Day 10K is getting closer and I'm starting to bug out a little about the distance. Should I practice a longer run a few times or will I be okay? I mean, it's not like it'll be hot out or anything. And if I get tired, I can just walk with everyone else.

Okay, so a rather dis-jointed, uninspired post today, but I wanted to mark the occasion of my first treadmill run. Until next time ...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Week 6, Day 3: 25 Minutes

Woohoo! Another long run under my belt! I did 25 minutes straight this evening, thus completing my first C25K week in the amount if time you're supposed to finish a Week: 3 workout days. So long Week 6.

I'm keeping this short tonight, but you should know this: this was a difficult run. I went back to Veterans after a long break from that park. I didn't feel like running at all, but I did anyway, in light of the weather forecast for tomorrow. My legs were tired from a weekend of walking and I was just so tired. Definitely a recipe for running, right?


And no, it didn't get easier once I got going. I wanted to stop far before the halfway point. But I kept going. I guess that's the real victory.

Anyway, I'm tired but feeling good. I'm going to go eat my sugar sandwich (pb&j) and drink my sugary apple "juice" and watch crappy TV (DWTS). Whee!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Little Miami Scenic Trail: Pictures!

I'm feeling extremely lazy and uncreative today, so I'm not going to write a lot about my run this noon-ish. I tried a new trail: Little Miami Scenic Trail. It's a 56.4 mile trail that starts in Newtown at the Little Miami Golf Center, my favorite place to golf. (Okay, so it's the only place I've ever golfed, but it's my favorite.)

I elected to start about 300 feet down the street from the golf course at the Bass Island park/parking lot.

Here's where I started Week 6, Day 2 of Couch to 5K (Warmup 5, run 10, walk 3, run 10, cool down 5). FYI, no hunting on the trail.

The tunnel under Newtown Road. The roadway above was strikingly thin. Weird.

Here's the beginning of the stretch along Wooster Pike (Rt. 50). It was a great day for a run. 65-ish degrees, half cloudy/half sunny.

There are signs posted along the way about trail and river history. I ... didn't read any of them. But I did read the first sentence of this one. Apparently this path used to be a railroad.

Here's the foot bridge and road bridge over the Little Miami River.

The river. If you look closely you can see lots of ... discarded tires.

So, Day 2 was more difficult than I anticipated. I think there's some value in doing these long runs on paths you actually know. Then, you know what to expect and where to start waiting for Mr. C25K to pipe in. This was my first out-and-back experience on this program, so I was just huffing and puffing and waiting and waiting for Mr. C25K to say "walk now" and then "halfway" so I could turn around and head back. The second 10 minutes was easier because I knew what to expect and had a good idea where I was going to be finished.
I may have to do some self-coercion tomorrow to get myself out to run. I think the lazy bug bit me this weekend. Blah. Running is hard. [wink wink]

Monday, October 18, 2010

Did I Leave You Hanging?

Ah, I'm sorry. I probably owe you all an update after leaving you all hanging on Saturday afternoon. I think as running becomes more and more a part of my life, it becomes more difficult to remember to get on here and tell you all what's up. Plus, you've all been so wonderful in answering my questions and sharing your own insights, I feel like I'm so very close to knowing everything.

Okay, maybe not.

Maybe I'm just lazy. That's more like it.

So yeah, big day Saturday. As you probably read, I completed Week 5, Day 3 of Couch to 5K. The day's plan read like this: 5-minute warmup, then jog for 20 minutes with no walking.

Uh, hellooo! That's an awful big jump up from Day 2's 8-minute jogs and 5-minute walks. Yikes for sure. Too bad I did it anyway!


I was going to say I've never felt a bigger feeling of accomplishment, but I know the day I ran for 5 minutes straight was a pretty huge deal for me, too. But still, the 20-minute run might just take the cake. We're talking bigger than graduating college, folks. I didn't have to work very hard for that. This was hard.

But oddly, it wasn't as hard as I anticipated months ago when I peeked at the C25K Weeks and Days to come and found that first 20-minute run creeping up on me. A few posts ago, I talked about how 8 minutes may have been the threshold I needed to conquer in order to do these long runs. I thought, perhaps, that after 8 or so minutes of running, nothing could hurt worse and my breathing couldn't get more difficult. I think I was right.

My co-worker asked me today if I felt like I could've kept running after the 20 minutes was up. (This is the same co-worker who is kicking my butt in the endurance factor. He also felt similarly about the "threshold theory.") While I certainly didn't want to keep running on Saturday and didn't think twice about the option during or after my run, I'm fairly confident I could have kept going if I tried. I was tired and thirsty and my gum was pooping out on me, but if I pulled over for a quick sip at the water fountain, I totally could have gone another quarter or half mile ... maybe.

I think I'll stay curious for a little while longer. Until Mr. C25K tells me to move on.

Speaking of C25K, I have sunny days ahead. This will be the first time I will not be repeating a Day of the program! And I'm pretty sure I will be going 1-for-1 for a while now. See, Week 5, Day 3 (the 20-minute jog) leads into Week 6, Day 1 (warmup 5 minutes, run 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, run 8 minutes, walk 3 minutes, run 5 minutes). Wow, that one's complicated. But it's easier! Well, easier in that it's not longer runs -- just shorter walks. I've been saying for a long time now that I can stand to walk for shorter intervals. Looks like Mr. C25K finally agrees.

So, here's my plan: Continue to Week 6, Day 1, then straight on to Day 2, then straight on to Day 3 (a 25-minute run) --all this with the exception of my buddy runs, as necessary.


Pretty sweet, folks! This is huge progress! After Week 6, everything's a long run with no walks. It's getting scary now!

So what should I do about two upcoming 5Ks? A friend of mine is getting me into the Who Dey 5K on her VIP status =) and I'll be doing the 101st Annual Thanksgiving Day Race on, you guessed it, Thanksgiving Day. Should I try a long run or plan for run/walk intervals? These courses are almost definitely not as flat as Armleder Park is (the scene of the 20-minute crime), and I am most definitely not conditioned for hills of any sort, sadly.

I know this is a few weeks away, but it's worth thinking about a little, right?

Oh, a few more things to mention about Saturday's run before I sign off:
  • I hit a few big milestones during that run.
  • It was my first time over 8 minutes.
  • When Mr. C25K piped in and said "halfway," I may or may not have squealed a little, realizing that I just ran for 10 minutes.
  • I passed the mile marker, which means I ran for a mile without stopping for the first time ever.
  • I didn't look at the clock once until about 4 minutes from the end of the run.
  • It didn't really get difficult until about 3 minutes from the end.
  • The lack of anticipation during the 20-minute run was peaceful. I set out knowing that the first time I'd hear from Mr. C25K was when he said "halfway," then I wouldn't hear him again until I was finished.
  • I started running, looked ahead of me and around the 1.9-mile loop and thought, "I'll probably run the whole way around. I just about did.
  • This one's not related to Saturday, but I ran with Caitlin on Sunday and she did her first 8-minute runs and said, "That was awesome!" when we finished the first interval. You go girl! Day 3 is right around the corner!

Okay, that is all for now. I'm excited to see where I'm headed! How about you?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Twenty Minutes!

People, I need your undivided attention, please.

Ahem ...



Week 5, Day 3 -- COMPLETE!

Here's the location of this HUGE milestone for me: Armleder Park.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

More Week 5, Day 2 - No Sweat

No sweat. Really. My hair was dry after my run tonight. I'm confused.

This doesn't mean that my face wasn't soaked through the run, but dry hair. Weird.

Anyway, I did Week 5, Day 2 of Couch to 5K again this evening. Yaaaay! Well, I guess the second time around warrants less celebration, but I'm still really happy about it. I'm also slightly discontent because I'm itching to move up now. I was so, SO close to trying Week 5, Day 3 tonight (5-minute warm up then jog for 20 minutes with no walking). I talked myself down from that though. I'd like to try it on a second or third day in a row of running, like maybe on Sunday.

Holy cow. I may run for 20 minutes in a row on Sunday. Is anyone else baffled by this? Do you experience similar disbelief with your exercise-related successes?

Moving on ...

I've been talking to my fellow beginner runners lately about "getting the bug." My theory is that "the bug" is what makes you keep going. You may or may not have tried running or another physical activity before and didn't follow through. I know I have. I even tried C25K once before and promptly quit.

But in my own experience, and in observing others' experiences, I'm seeing this itch ... like running finally found a way to bite and leave a mark. A mark that makes you WANT to run, that causes you to actually look forward to your next run, and that makes you a little upset when you unexpectedly have to miss a run or can't get around to running for a long time.

I've also mentioned on here how I think writing about running and talking about running with friends is a huge contributor to my success. Well, my theories were just confirmed by Women's Health magazine. Check out this blurb out from page 29 of the October 2010 edition:

"You'll be more motivated to move if working out is part of your self-image, says a study in The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. So, if you identify yourself as a runner, you'll be more inclined to lace up your sneakers than someone who sees herself as a couch potato. 'In fact, we found that people were more likely to engage in longer bouts of exercise if they saw physical activity as a core part of their identity,' says lead author Lindsay Duncan, Ph.D. Don't consider yourself athletic? To get into a fitness frame of mind, buy workout-specific clothes or post Facebook status updates that reflect your latest physical feats."

So, what does this have to do with my theories? Well, when I started C25K this time back in late February/early March of this year, I remember thinking to myself, "Oh my gosh, I'm running. I'm a runner!" I knew I could keep it up and I wanted to. I was bitten. Bitten by the running bug the instant I gave myself that label. Then the itch got even worse when I started talking to other people about my running.

"What have you been up to?" my friends might ask.
"Actually, I'm running!"
[shocked faces from both of us]

I think it's important to have your own definition of being a runner, too. Certainly you're not going get off the couch and step out the door into marathon training. (I mean, I personally skipped right over marathon training and stepped into awesomeness. But whatever.)

What does being a runner mean to me? Why do I get to give myself that title?

To me it means that running is hard. I'd rather walk, yes. Actually, I'd rather sit on the couch. But after I run, I feel good and I know that when I run again, I'm going to feel good again. Having that insight that running = good is being a runner. Being a runner means really wanting to make it to that next tree, even though Mr. C25K says you can stop now. Being a runner, to me, is saying, "Yes, your legs hurt, but you're not going to die. Suck it up and keep going because your body is stronger than your mind." Looking forward to getting better is being a runner.

Are you a runner? What does being a runner mean to you? Is my description of "the bug" the same for you? Why do you keep going? Share the love with those who read this and may be looking to get started themselves.

Thanks! And pass the itch cream, please.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Huge Step Up




I just got back from my evening run--which happens to mark my third day in a row of running--and it was HUGE!

I just completed Week 5, Day 2 of Couch to 5K! (And I finished it without dying. That's important.)

Week 5, Day 2:
5-minute warm-up
Run for 8 minutes
Walk for 5 minutes
Run for 8 minutes
Cool down for 5 minutes

I ran for 8 minutes. Twice. Wheee! I knew I could do it after last Tuesday's "test" at the end of my 5-minute run. I went for a total of 8 minutes then and I knew I could do more.

I'm starting to understand why Week 5 makes such huge step-ups (from 5-minute runs to 8 minutes to 20 minutes). It's like once you've hit a certain number of minutes running, a little (or a lot) more doesn't really matter all that much. Nothing is going to hurt worse, your breathing isn't going to get more strained ... you're just going to get tired. Frankly, I can stay un-tired for 30 minutes and I think anyone can, really. (Assuming you're on a flat running path, at least.)

I still can't fathom being able to run for 20 or 30 minutes straight, though. I know I said it about Week 5, Day 1, but I think I'll be sitting on this Day for a long time before I get brave enough to try 20-minute intervals. I so wish there was an in-between. I'm afraid that I'll get impatient and wander off the plan again. Maybe I'll sit on this day until the Thanksgiving Day race and see what I want to do next.

Meh, too far in the future.

So, a quick review of this weekend ...

As I said, today was my third day in a row of running. I skipped a weekday workout last week to celebrate my "first 29th birthday," as my mother calls it. I figure it was a valid reason. Anyway, this weekend's weather was so nice and I had a big fat nothing planned, so I ran.

I joined Caitlin for another run at Miami Meadows on Saturday afternoon. This time, Caitlin brought her 11-month-old daughter and a side-by-side running stroller with her. This was Caitlin's first time out with the stroller and certainly my first encounter with trying to run with one. I volunteered to share the burden and we stuck with a Week 4 workout, considering the extra weight of the stroller and the horror stories I've heard about running with those things.

That was a smart move.

Those things are heavy! I can't even begin to imagine how people manage with two toddlers and/or young children strapped in. Whoa. Props to you who do it (John), you crazy people! Needless to say, we both got a good workout.

Sunday I tried a new running path at a park from my childhood. Short Park in Newtown (second one on the website) used to be a lot smaller than it is now. I played there when I was little, as did my mom and her friends. Now it's about twice the size and includes a 0.55-mile walk/run path.

The pictures on the website don't do it justice ... and I mean that in a bad way. It looks like a sad little abandoned park. Not the scary inner-city ones--just a sad one. There's a broken slide with caution tape wrapped around it, a sand volleyball court with no net and waist-high weeds, holey soccer nets, playground equipment from when I was little (or older), and a pretty nice set of basketball courts. Just sad.

I tried to take pictures, and totally thought I was, until I got home and realized that I forgot to take the running armband off my iPhone before snapping away. 1) It was really bright outside and you can't really see the screen that well anyway (since my brightness is turned down) and 2) I forgot the armband doesn't have a hole for the camera. I ended up with 6 pictures of blackness. Yeah. I'd promise some from next time I run there, but I don't think it will happen.

I ran well there, though. The path is flat with one short, steep uphill and a countering short, steep downhill to account for the elevation change.

So that's all for now. Super excited about my Week 5, Day 2 accomplishment. Wheee! Now it's time for dinner. Goodnight!

By the way, the front of my hips (hip flexors?) hurt. What's with that?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

8 Minutes At Miami Meadows

  1. I ran at a new park on Tuesday. I love it.
  2. I joined my pal, Caitlin, for the run at that new park.
  3. It's getting dark earlier. Sad.
  4. I totally ran for 8 minutes at the end of my workout.

Miami Meadows is a big stinkin' park in Milford (on the east side of Cincinnati). It took me about 20 minutes to get there, which translated to a rather dark ending to our little weeknight workout since it was about 6:40 (or 6:39) before I got there. I love Fall, but I hate that it's getting dark earlier. Booo!

It's a FAAAAH-bulous park! Click here to check out the park map (PDF). It's nice and flat. It's big. The running path is 1.3 miles around so it's easier to log some extra distance. It has a lake/pond, which means there are ducks, which I love (hate birds but love ducks).

Pictures of Miami Meadows I stole from my pal, Jesse (Caitlin's husband):

OH! Speaking of birds ... we saw huge bird just standing in the lake. It looked like a cross between a giraffe and a pterodactyl. Ideas? Crane? In Ohio?



So, aside from frightening birds and impending darkness, it was a great run. We did a Week 4 run (run 3 minutes, walk 1.5, run 5, walk 2.5, lather, rinse, repeat). On the last running interval, I broke away from Caitlin and decided to see how long I could go. Since I went for 6.5 minutes during my last experiment, and since I felt pretty good that night, I knew I could do better. I even had hopes of maybe reaching 10 minutes. Well, I didn't get to 10 minutes, but I did get to 8 minutes.

8 minutes of running without stopping! Wheee!

I will be returning to that park (probably on weekends though) and I will continue to run extra at the end of my last running interval. I'm officially hopeful of moving up to Week 5, Day 2 in the near future (it includes a few 8 minute running intervals). It certainly doesn't seem impossible anymore.

In conclusion, I am still really happy with my decision to stick to the C25K plan instead of my indecisive and impatient "let's try this" method. It's really nice to see and feel progress like this.

I'm also still really grateful to have people I can run with and talk to about the shared experience of running. I read something today about how surrounding yourself with positive people is not only good for your mental health, but it's good for your efforts to workout and get healthy. I don't think I'd still be doing this crazy running thing if it weren't for all of you who read and comment and talk to me about your experiences and let me vent about mine. So thanks, and keep it up!

Talk it out. Hug it out. Get healthy. Watch out for Pterodactyl-giraffe birds.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sticking To The Plan

First, I want to say a big congratulations to Zach for completing his half-marathon this weekend! I'll let him post his numbers in the comments if he wants to, but he did very well in my eyes. I'm jealous. It actually makes me think of the half Pig "commitment" that I made a few months ago and how I'm wavering on that goal. Meh, this is not the time for that.

Congrats Zach!

On to the topic at hand. I'm finding some peace and some success with my plan to stick to the plan. What? The plan ... the Couch t0 5K (C25K) plan, that is. I've been distracted since before I started boot camp back in June, drifting away from the gradual stepping up of C25K's intervals and focusing on things like minutes/mile pace and making up my own intervals. But after a dip in my confidence and the onset of burn-out after not seeing progress for so long, I decided to commit to sticking with my man, Mr. C25K.

This week I revisited Week 4 twice before stepping up to Week 5, Day 1 again this morning. It's going well. Really well. It's exhausting me and pushing me to my limits, but I also feel myself getting better. I feel like I can move up to Week 5 Day 2's 8-minute intervals in the not-too-distant future. I'm so confident in my decision to rekindle my relationship with Mr. C25K* that I may or may not have told him I love him this morning. This probably has something to do with him piping up and telling me to "walk now" as I started my jog up a daunting mini-hill. He loves me back, clearly.

*I forgot that some people may be reading this that haven't been reading from the beginning. Mr. C25K is the friendly voice of the dude that tells me when to run and walk on my Couch to 5K app on my iPhone. He's a nice guy. I recommend getting to know him.

It's also helping immensely that my friend, Caitlin, is progressing through C25K as well, but is kicking major butt and is already at Week 4. Considering how recently she started, this is huge. Hopefully we can do Week 4 together soon.

I'll end today's post with that thought. But I'll be posting later this week about cold weather running. Please be prepared to let me know what your cold weather running tactics are and what equipment/apparel you swear by. Okay? Thanks!