Work Hard, Party Hard

I’ve never been a party animal, more like a pumpkin-head. When I was in high school I had an early curfew…I’m not sure it was even midnight, more likely 11 p.m. Nevertheless, my sisters and I related it to Cinderella needing to be home by midnight or else her coach would turn into a pumpkin. We coined the phrase “pumpkin head” to explain our need (curfew aside) to be in bed by midnight or be a wreck the next day. (The term popped to top of mind because when we were younger, our dad used to make up stories for us involving three girls named Pigtail, Ponytail, and Pumpkin Pie.)

Nothing has changed along those lines; I still need my sleep. Lately, however, I have been spending more time with my friends and family at many celebrations and simultaneously working hard at my running. I’ve been rather exhausted and feeling my pumpkin-headedness. So when a co-worker told me that if I could run 6 miles three times a week, I could run a half-marathon, I scoffed at her. Then I slept on it and realized she was right.

The next day, I walked into her cubicle and said, “I’m going to do it…I’m going to run the Women’s Half-Marathon! Will you do it with me?” She said yes…and even though this is one of my 50 by 50 goals, to run the half before I’m fifty, she just said yes to running it on her own 50th birthday! Woo Hoo! Women Power!

So, I started looking into training plans and quickly found that although there are numerous programs for training for a 5k or 10k, the majority of advice on training for a half marathon points to Hal Higdon. I reviewed his 12 week training programs and picked the Novice 2, which assumes you are running 6 miles three times a week—BINGO! It seems a bit too easy at first, making me want to jump ahead a few weeks…but I won’t.

The plan has me running three days in a row, something I’ve consciously avoided to-date, but at only 3 or 4 miles a day. Those runs are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Friday and Monday are rest days. Saturday is the day to increase distance, starting at 3 miles and building to 11 the week before the half-marathon. Sunday is for cross-training (maybe a swim?). I think I can do this! No, I KNOW I can do this!

So, I put my money where my mouth is and signed up. Then I signed up for a 10k the month prior…part of the training plan. So, now I am in the planning phases. The twelve-week plan will start two weeks from Monday…meanwhile, I’m going to Chicago tomorrow for a grand wedding/party weekend where I will party hard and have lots of fun with no calorie counting or running involved!

In planning my training, I found that I should not try to lose weight while training for the half-marathon. Uh oh! I still have about 30 pounds to go and if I can’t lose weight during the 12 week training, that severely cuts back on when I can do so. I’ve decided that on Monday, I will go into weight-loss mode and keep it up through not only the two pre-training weeks, but the early training weeks that require fewer miles per week than I’m already running.  After that, I will need extra carbs in my daily diet to power my long runs without exhausting myself.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the Joy in pushing yourself beyond what you ever thought you could do!


Running on Empty–Redux

As I make the transition from running 3 miles three times a week to running 6 miles three times a week, I find myself constantly exhausted. I know that my body will adjust and then I’ll be fine, or at least I hope so! I’ve considered cutting back my weekday runs to 3 or 4 miles, mostly to save time, but then it seems like too much trouble to create more running routes so I just run my 6-mile route.

Thinking back to when I transitioned from the Couch-to-5k program to actually running 5k three times a week, I recall it being a rough time. Having written about my journey, all I had to do was review my old posts to look for some inspiration, or at least proof that I could get through it successfully. I’ve given myself fresh reminders that I have run in the rain, run at 9000 feet of elevation, run at 5 a.m. on a treadmill in a darkened fitness room at an airport hotel in Mexico City. I’ve run through snide looks and comments when I was my slowest and heaviest. I’ve run when I didn’t feel like it. I ran on the treadmill through the winter, watching French-language movies for distraction. I’ve persevered. I’ve surpassed my own ambitions.

So, I know I can keep this up…at least through the summer. Summer provides so much daylight that I have time to run 6 miles before work…if I get up early enough. I could even run it after work if I didn’t have to worry about my daughter’s basketball and softball games. But come fall, the days will shorten and I’ll need a different plan. Meanwhile, I really should take advantage of the daylight to move my goals forward.

One elusive goal is to lose 50-60 pounds…weight I mostly gained in my forties and want to leave behind. I’ve lost close to 30, so I’ve made it half-way. After nearly 6 months of no weight loss, it’s time to pick it up. Looking back at my older posts, I know what I did to lose the weight and I know I can do it again. It’s a pretty simple formula, if a difficult task.

First and foremost, I need to watch what I eat and cut back on calories. Spring has been party season with weddings, graduations, and many opportunities for over-eating. I’ve got one more wedding weekend to go, and then I need to buckle down. Second, I need to increase my exercise. I’ve already done that by doubling my running, but the last time I lost weight, I made sure to walk, swim, or fence on my non-running days. Now that I’ve built up my mileage, it’s time to think about my off days. Third, I need to get back to tracking. My Fitbit One does track my steps and stairs, and (when I remember) my sleep habits, but I haven’t even looked at all the data that has accumulated.

Today, a co-worker and fellow runner, told me I should be training for the city’s half-marathon in October. I was flabbergasted. I’ve only just succeeded in doubling my distance from three to six miles…a half would mean more than doubling what I can barely do now. But, deep inside, I know she’s right. I COULD train for a half and complete it in October. Hmm…It is amazing how much confidence I’ve gained through my running.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the inspiration all around!

Related Post:

Couch Potato to Runner–Running on Empty

No More Bridge–10k All The Way!

I decided that running 5.25 miles uphill all the way (ok, ok…it had to be equally up and down hill since I ended where I started, but still…) I could easily run a 10k (6.2 miles).  So, having decided that I’d “graduated” from the Bridge to 10k (B210k), my next move was to map out a 10k and see how much time it took me to run it compared to the 60 minute B210k finale. The B210k program got me to the point where I could run 60 minutes at a time, but I’m not a 10-minute miler, so I wanted to see just what it took.

When I finished the Couch to 5k (B25k) program, I could run 30 minutes…but when I ran an actual 5k, it took me almost 45 minutes, or 15-minutes-a-mile. Now I can run (per my recent race) a 10.9-minute mile for mile after mile. I figured I could run 6.2 miles in around 68 minutes…but I wasn’t sure.

I looked up the race that runs by my house, the one where I used the 5k map to track myself to the 5k. I looked up the 10 route and committed it to memory. I was nervous, really nervous. The route was not particularly friendly to running. I had the day off because I’d taken a couple of vacation days for my daughter’s high school graduation. The day was stormy and in addition to everything else I needed to do, I had to take my younger daughter to the orthodontist and myself to the chiropractor. In late afternoon, I got ready to go, but a big storm blew through, thwarting my efforts.

I thought back a week ago when I ran a practice run for the Blossom Time Run…it was the scariest run of my life, and this one proved to be almost as scary. When I ran my last practice run, I ran out of town on the sidewalk. Soon the sidewalk ran out and I ran on the bike path. Even sooner, the bike path ran out and I was on the shoulder. The shoulder quickly shrank away with nothing but a ditch to the side of the road. About that time, the hills really kicked in. I had to be ultra alert as I crested each hill, just in case a car was coming. Even though the speed limited was posted at 35 mph, apparently in the country that means 50-60 is ok.

So, this time, knowing the roads around my home better than the ones back in my hometown, I knew enough to be worried about one intersection in particular. I had to cross a busy road at rush hour with a speed limit of 50. Fortunately, there was a cross walk across half the road and I was able to time a sprint across the other half. I had to run along the shoulder for about half a mile, but fortunately it was a cars-width wide.  Most of the rest of the race route was on a running/biking trail and the only questionable part was where exactly to turn around.

When I finally finished, it had taken me 80 minutes. That seems a bit long; I had expected to run it in under 70 minutes. It was 81 degrees and muggy, so that could be part of it. Or I may have gone farther than 10k. I decided that, 10k or not, the best way to get in a long run was to do the route backward to the turnaround point, then run back the way I had come. That way, it’s on the nature trail 90% of the way and I don’t have to cross a virtual highway.

Find the Joy in the Journey…if one path doesn’t work out, try another!

Bridge to 10k—Skipping Ahead (B210k Weeks 5 and 6)

I like the sort of apps like Couch to 5k (C25k) and Bridge to 10k (B210k) that lay out my workout for me and don’t require any thought on my part…just do what the app says and my running improves.  I followed it to the letter for C25k, and after completing it, I was able to run for 30 minutes straight, but not a full 5k. So, I next mapped a 5k and ran that…albeit in 45 minutes the first time out.

I found that I could gradually improve my 5k time, but losing weight really helped the process. I have achieved under 11.5 minutes per mile now…a big improvement! As I work my way through the end of B210k, I find myself at odds with the program. I hate to second guess it, as blindly following the process is most of the beauty it possesses.

Easiness aside, blindly following B210k just wasn’t working for me. I’ve been training for a very hilly 5.25 mile race and the B210k has helped me tremendously in increasing my distance to the point where I was ready, during week 5, to run the race. I’d also run a few hills to get my lungs and legs used to the change in terrain.

So, on Friday, I traveled back to my home town, home of the Blossom Time Race. I’d run it as a teen and to the best of my recollection, I ran the 5.25 mile, hilly race in around 52 minutes…about a 10 minute mile. I think that was the end of my teen running career, just months after it started, because final exams got me off track.

We arrived later than I’d hoped and I planned to attend an all-class reunion which started at 7:30. Our hotel was not in town, so the timing was getting tight. After we’d checked in, I rushed to open my suitcase and put on my running gear…this is one of my tricks for forcing myself to follow through on my workout schedule. Once I’m dressed, I feel as if I HAVE to run. My high school senior was immersed in studying and my son and younger daughter were hooked-up to various electronic amusements. I told them I’d be back in a couple of hours and drove back to town.

Finding a parking spot was difficult, but once I did, I immediately started the week 5, Day 3 workout. I saw no reason to go from running 54 minutes in week 4 (in 18 minute segments) to running only 44 minutes in two segments, so I jumped to the third day of the week which was 60 minutes in 2 segments. I walked toward the route, but not to the start point which would have had me dodging through the festival crowds. Instead I started a bit into the route and walked the first few minutes before starting my run.

I had a great run and ran through the one-minute walk. I also ran until the end, even though I ran out of workout time and had to run through the cool down. In essence, I skipped week five altogether and jumped right to week six which is a 60-minute run.

On race day, I was nervous…my practice run had taken me longer than I’d hoped, because I’d started out walking and I’d cut-off the first part of the race. I stood in the cool temperature, which was perfect for a run, with my older daughter and my niece. All of a sudden, I heard a gunshot…the race had started! We moved towards the start line and then were off and running.

At each mile, the times were called out. I hit the first mile at around 12 minutes, the second at around 23, the third at 34, and as I ran along the seemingly uphill-all-the-way route, I averaged 11 minutes per mile and my official, chipped time was 57:00.2. For a 5.25 mile race, that is approximately a 10.9 minutes-per-mile race. I couldn’t believe it! I’d not only met my goal of running it in under an hour, I’d held a very consistent 11-minutes-per-mile pace the whole way, up and down hill.

I haven’t listed out my specific “50” goals for my 50 by 50, but this was definitely one of them, albeit one I intended to hit a year ago. What does that matter? I did it!! I’m going to use the B210k program one last time today, to get in a 60-minute run. Then, I’m going to map out a 10k route and see how long it takes me. I’ve decided that It’s time to graduate from B210k!

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the Joy in achieving your most challenging goals!

Related Posts:

Bridge To 10k–The Plan

Bridge to 10k—Catching Up (B210k Weeks 1 and 2)

Bridge to 10k—Halfway There (B210k Week 3)

Bridge to 10k–Running Through the Sprinklers (B210k Week 4)

Bridge to 10k–Halfway There (B210K Week 3)

I sailed through week three in five days, running every other day. Week three is three seventeen-minute runs with one minute walks in between…a total of 51 minutes of running. If I were running 10-minute miles, I’d be so close to a 10k by now! Even so, I’ve found it easy to increase my time, and therefore my distance, using the Bridge to 10k App. I’m so inspired by my progress, that I’ve stopped thinking of myself as a 5k runner and started to think of myself as a 10k runner-in-training, on my way to more.

There are 6 weeks to the program. Week 4 incorporates three 18 minute runs with a minute of walking in between each. Week 5 is the bridging week with day one incorporating two 22 minute runs, day two picks up to 25 minute runs, and day three hits two 30-minute runs. Week 6 is a 60 minute run. If only I could run 10-minute miles, this would be perfect! But regardless, the program is rapidly taking me from running 35 minutes at a time to running for an hour. After I get to that point, I will pick a 10k route and work on increasing my speed.

I started this week off on Saturday in Chicago, there for a bridal shower. I was a bit worried about it being too cold, as I’d only brought warm-weather running clothes, but even in the morning chill, I was quickly warmed up and comfortable. Once more, I was able to run up Lake Shore Drive, along the beach. Since I’d been there in April, the city had taken down the snow fences and brought in more sand. Runners, bikers, and a few walkers took advantage of this great location. Admittedly, I was passed by everyone, or so it seemed. I didn’t care. I ran more than two miles up and two miles back, enjoying the scenery and the skyline view on the return.

Monday, back home again, I rolled out of bed at six and realized I hadn’t left myself enough time to run and eat breakfast, so uncharacteristically, I skipped breakfast. I checked the weather and almost backed out of my run when I saw it was only 30 degrees! Then I grabbed my running tights, running jacket, and hat and gloves and got going. The cold doesn’t really bother me, as long as I’m dressed properly for it.

Wednesday, I planned better and got up around five, and fit in both breakfast and my last run of week 3. Checking the weather, it was already 60 degrees…such a huge change from Monday. When I got out of work, it was 80 degrees and I was very glad I’d run in the relative cool of the morning, this time in shorts and a T-shirt.

When I started this program, I thought that the one minute walks breaking up the run would bother me, but frankly they are so short that I hardly notice. I run without getting out of breath, which makes me wonder if I’m not exerting myself enough, but I figure that once I eventually hit the full 10k distance, I’ll worry about how fast I’m running. Right now, I’m focused on lengthening my distance by adding time to my run.

This time of year is perfect for running, with enough light from early morning to late evening to be able to run either before or after work. The dark days of winter, and the challenges they bring, are behind me for now.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the joy in accomplishing your goals!

Related Posts:

Bridge To 10k–The Plan

Bridge to 10k—Catching Up (B210k Weeks 1 and 2)

Bridge to 10k–Running Through the Sprinklers (B210k Week 4)

Bridge to 10kSkipping Ahead (B210k Weeks 5 and 6)


Bridge to 10K—Catching Up (B210k Weeks 1 and 2)

Just shy of three weeks from when I started and aborted Bridge to 10k (B210k), I’m back…determined to get back on track. I started B210k on April 17th and on April 18th I pulled a calf muscle doing basketball drills with my younger daughter, which I wrote about in A Break From Running–My First Sports Injury. Well, if I had to have a sports injury, better while enjoying active time with my girl than anything else. Even so, I was truly annoyed to be side-tracked on the verge of stepping up my game.

I made the best of it. I was leaving on an overseas business trip 6 days later and I couldn’t put any weight on my left leg. My doctor was concerned about blood clots and advised me to walk and force my calf to do its job of pumping blood up my veins. She prescribed a lot of Motrin and a cane and within 48 hours I was walking gingerly and soon enough walking confidently, albeit on mega doses of Motrin. I went on my trip with the benefit of not figuring out how to fit running into my schedule or the burden of dragging running shoes and gear along.

Back home, I stepped on the scale to a 7 pound increase…a pound for every day I’d been gone. I decided to get back into my normal routine and trust that the weight, likely mostly water, would come off quickly. Just a week later and it’s all gone, thank goodness! In the meanwhile, I tried to figure out how best to get back on track with B210k…I have a 5.25 mile, hilly run coming up and I’m not prepared for the distance or the hills.

I was a bit nervous about running with my injured calf, but I was walking fine and felt ready. I thought of skipping the first two weeks of the program so that I’d finish the program by my big run in four weeks, but in the end I picked up where I’d left off…day two of week one. Week one is a five minute warm-up followed by four ten-minute runs with a minute of walking in between each and then a five minute cool down. This was about a five minute increase in running time for me.

I ran again two days later to finish up week one, but I wanted to accelerate my schedule in some way, so instead of running three days a week, I decided to run every other day. It’s not much of an acceleration, but it made me feel like I was moving forward. So, two days later I started week two. Week two is a five-minute warm-up followed by three fifteen-minute runs with a minute of walking in between, and then a five minute cool-down.

Having run for 45 minutes at a time when I was working on my 5k time, this hasn’t been hard. That’s good…the B210k will ease me into doubling my distance without my really feeling it too much. Tomorrow I’ll finish up week two and then on Saturday I’ll start week three. Week three increases the three running components from 15 to 17 minutes. Piece of cake.

I started thinking that 5k to 10k is a doubling…10k to half-marathon is roughly another doubling, and half to full marathon is another doubling…hmm…Something to think about more!

Find the Joy in the Journey…don’t give up, just get back on track as soon as you can!

Related Posts:

Bridge To 10k–The Plan

Bridge to 10k—Halfway There (B210k Week 3)

Bridge to 10k–Running Through the Sprinklers (B210k Week 4)

Bridge to 10kSkipping Ahead (B210k Weeks 5 and 6)

Bridge to 10k—The Plan

A little over ten months ago I started Couch to 5k (C25k) and 9 weeks later, I was running 5 kilometers three times a week. I wanted to jump right into Bridge to 10k (B210k), but I was running 15-minute miles and C25k is really supposed to get the runner to 10-minute miles. So instead, I decided to work on my speed before working on my distance. I successfully increased my speed to the point of averaging a 12-minute mile and hit my personal best 5k this week during a race at 34:19.

Even though I’m not running 10-minute miles, I’m getting anxious to increase my distance, so I did some research about B210k. At first I got the impression that it wasn’t for me…but then I re-read the remarks and realized I was wrong. The things I read were from women who went directly from C25k to B210k and who were running the 5k in 40-45 minutes…just as I was when I finished C25k. They complained that the first week of B210k was a step back…running four 10-minute segments with a one minute walk in between. That’s exactly where I would have been if I’d jumped straight into B210k from C25k…but that’s not where I am now.

Another thing I came across frequently was not to increase speed or distance more than 10% at a time. So, I decided that I really was ready for the B210k program as it would increase my distance by about 10% by adding 4 minutes on top of my typical 36-minute run in the first week. I was ready! I downloaded the B210k app to my iPod Touch and mentally plotted-out my workout schedule.

As I left work yesterday, the skies opened up and I drove through pouring rain to pick my younger daughter up from school. Darn it, I thought, I won’t be able to start the B210k tonight after all. I didn’t think I could manage it very well on my treadmill. I got my daughter and we drove home while some of the clearest, brightest bolts of lightning showed off in front of us. And then the rain stopped.

Once home, I put on my running clothes, then drove my daughter around the block to church for her one-hour religion class. Back home, I grabbed the iPod Touch and headed out the door. I put my running playlist on then turned on B210k. An authoritarian male voice instructed me to “start warm up”.

I missed the friendly, female voice from C25k, but I got moving. After five minutes, my drill sergeant instructed me to “run”. I ran for 10 minutes and then was abruptly instructed to walk. I was starting to think that this guy had no sense of humor. After the second 10-minute run, I slowed into my one-minute walk. Halfway through, the male voice, with a forced cheeriness, told me I was halfway through my work-out. I ended my run and cool-down just when my daughter was done with class.

Back home, we made pizza and chatted. Life was wonderful! Tonight, I pulled a muscle in my calf. Hmmm…

Find the Joy in the Journey and roll with the punches!

Related Posts:

Bridge to 10k—Catching Up (B210k Weeks 1 and 2)

Bridge to 10k—Halfway There (B210k Week 3)

Bridge to 10k–Running Through the Sprinklers (B210k Week 4)

Bridge to 10kSkipping Ahead (B210k Weeks 5 and 6)

The Horrible, Awful, Weight-Loss Plateau That Is

Back in January, three weeks into said plateau, I got hopeful and wrote The Horrible, Awful, Weight-Loss Plateau That Wasn’t. I was wrong that the plateau was over and even though I wrote about the best ways to break a plateau, I didn’t really do those things consistently. The result? Although I haven’t gained any weight since then (small victory), I have not lost any either. I lost 2 pounds per week on average for 13 weeks, then nothing for the last 15+ weeks.

When I found out that my recent official 5k time was a personal best, I became inspired to reassess my diet and exercise and get back on track to losing weight. When I awoke on Sunday, I decided to get back into my Sunday morning swimming habit. It had been about a month since I’d swum. I’d gone to the gym 4 weeks ago only to find the pool inexplicably closed. Then there was Easter Sunday when it was closed. Then my road trip which had me driving home last Sunday. This week, I swam for an hour and even had my own lane the entire time.

Today I was determined to run the race course again, and after a long day of work, I did. Although on race day I ran it in 34:19, tonight I ran it in 36:57. Running after work means I’m running tired. So, I’m not disappointed, I’m just happy that I got a run in. I had thought of downloading Bridge-to-10k, and getting right into training to go from 5k to 10k distances, but I was afraid I’d get caught up in planning my training and not get out for an actual run.

I do need to come up with a short-term training plan and eventually, if not now, I do want to do the Bridge-to-10k program. I’m back into my spring-time-craziness time of year. Between now and the end of June, I have 2 out-of-town weddings, 2 graduations, an out-of-town bridal shower, a 5k, a crazy 5.25 mile hilly race, and 2 out-of-town family reunions.  I’m trying to decide if coming up with a (flexible) plan is better than just winging it. I know the answer to that, by the way…I just don’t like to admit it!

I have learned a lot about myself over the last (almost) two years since I started this 50 by 50. One thing is that I just can’t give up even when I fail. I fail a lot, but every time I fail, I get back up and try again. That is the secret to success. Just get back up and try again. So, here I am, getting back up and trying again. I am sure I will fail many more times, but I’m also sure that I will get back up again each time and try again.

Recently, my older sister was inspired by my successes enough to download the C25k app. She is in incredible shape, working out with a personal trainer on a regular basis, but she’s never been a runner and never has seen herself as such. I kept telling her, I couldn’t even run for 2 minutes before I did the program and it really builds you up gradually. I know she can do it! She cracked me up, though a week later when she messaged me that she was all set to go, but was stuck at “C” (i.e. “couch”)…Well, I’ve been stuck at “5k” for almost a year and now I’m psyched to get to 10k…but I’m also realistic enough to know that I may not be able to start until summer.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and don’t get discouraged by the detours!

Psyched About The Race

Although I’m still feeling pretty yucky, and haven’t trained for the last five days, I’m getting psyched about the race tomorrow anyway. I sure am a changed woman since the day last June when I started the C25k program and could barely run for 90 seconds at a time. I feel antsy for not running this week and am looking forward to the race, even if it makes me sicker in the end.

I picked up the race packets for my daughter and me today. We each got a neon green tech T with a shimmery-purple alien face on the front. It’s short-sleeved and will make a nice running T in nicer weather…tomorrow morning it is supposed to be in the low thirties with a mixture of rain and snow. I’m glad I’ve figured out the right running gear for such weather…winter running tights, long-sleeved running shirt, running jacket, hat, and gloves…oh, and my new shoes!

A few weeks ago I was complaining about how my knees were getting worse and a friend suggested that I might need new running shoes. Hmmm….I found my running shoes in the back of my closet covered in dust bunnies a couple of years ago. I would estimate I’ve run close to 500 hundred miles in them, although they really don’t look the worse for it. I am convinced that my knee problems are from fencing, and two weeks without fencing seems to be proving that theory to be correct, but in the meantime, I ordered new shoes.New Running Shoes

Now, I don’t know anything about picking a good pair of running shoes. I just know that I’ve not had good luck, even when specially fitted at a running store. The Saucony’s I’ve been wearing are just right, though, so I tried to find the same ones online. This proved impossible, but I ordered a new pair that seemed similar in the same size and brand. I ran in them on Sunday with no issues at all, so I’ll be wearing them in the race tomorrow. I just love how much more colorful running shoes are these days!

Even though I’d looked up the 5k race map a couple of weeks ago, and found it changed, I was glad to have two chances to run it before the race. Today, however, I looked up the 10k map…and wished I were ready for that course! I have a long way to go to run a 10k…and yet my next goal is to run a quirky race in my home town which is 5.19 miles…more than halfway the difference between a 5 and 10k. The race is, to my mind, straight uphill half-way and straight downhill the rest and I only have six weeks left to train!

The good thing is that there is ALWAYS another race…so many, many races. But I am ready to make a plan to get to the 10k level.

Find the Joy in the Journey…even when you are feeling yucky!

Three Weeks Until My Next 5k

I already scaled back my expectations this winter to keep running rather than to make any particular progress…and I think I can now say I’ve succeeded. The prior year I ran in a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, which I wrote about in Race Day—My First 5k, and then didn’t run again until spring. I’d planned on running a race in April which runs through my neighborhood and is my own training route. Instead, I went to San Francisco for Easter and missed the race. I wrote a 7-piece series on our trip starting with, Off to San Francisco, Where “Freedom Sips Cappuccino in a Sidewalk Café”.  

Good thing, because I was in the worst shape of my life. As a matter of fact, trying to keep up with my family in the hills of downtown San Francisco just about did me in. At my worst moment, I stood at the top of Coit Tower looking out over the cloudy city and trying to catch my breath after climbing the hill to the tower. My family was ready to rush back to the hotel and I thought I’d rather just lie down in the cold tower and die. Fortunately, we stopped at the bottom of the hill and had dinner at a very good Italian restaurant and an authentic spaghetti carbonera and a nice glass of wine revived me.

This winter was different. After the trip to San Francisco, which taught me nothing if not that I was sorely out of shape, I started training using C25k, or Couch to 5k. I wrote another 7-piece series on that process, starting with Couch Potato to Runner—The Plan (C25k Week 1). That was in June of last year and I worked my way through the whole program to the point of running 30 minutes straight, three times a week. Unfortunately, I was not covering 5k in 30 minutes, so I took the plunge and built up my distance to 5k. At the time, that took me 45 minutes. Worse even than my 43 minute Turkey Trot the previous year.

I ran in another 5k and did about the same, but I managed to run the entire way. I wrote about it in Race Day—My Second 5k, Running All The Way. Now it’s time to see if I can run a 5k in under 36 minutes with a stretch goal of 33. My real goal was 30, but I only have three more weeks to train and I’m just under 36 now.  Last Saturday, I decided it was time to ratchet up my treadmill to a 10.5 minute mile. I’d been running an 11 minute mile for months and that had helped me drop my outdoor running speed from 13 minutes per mile to 12. I figured I had four weeks left to boost myself to a 10 minute mile outside and I’d better get started. Going from 5.5 mph to 5.7 mph seemed like just a slight change and afterward I felt exhilarated. I told a friend how easy it was and how sure I was that I could keep increasing my speed. I never learn…

I awoke on Sunday wondering what had happened to my hips and rear end…I felt very sore. I figured I’d walk it off throughout the day and be ready for another run on Monday. I even skipped my usual Sunday swim because I couldn’t imagine an hour of breaststroke with such sore muscles. Monday was a rude awakening indeed. I was even more sore than on Sunday. I have learned the hard way that waiting for the soreness to fully fade is the best way to keep making progress, so I skipped running on Monday. Fortunately by Tuesday, the soreness had eased and I repeated my Saturday run on the treadmill. When I awoke on Wednesday morning, I was a bit sore, but overall I was fine. This morning, all the soreness is gone and I”m ready for a third time running 10.5 minute miles. I hope to be outside by Saturday, but if not, I’ll attempt a 30 minute 5k on the treadmill.  Three weeks until the race!

Find the Joy in the Journey…and listen to your body because it really does know best!

Related Post:

Two Weeks Until My Next 5k