Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Running sick

Thursday I woke up with a sore throat. Friday it was sore ears, both signs of an impending cold. I tried to rest a little over the weekend, even took off Sunday completely from exercising. Monday I didn't feel great but I knew the longer I didn't work out, the progressively worse I would feel and the harder it would be to resume, so I forced myself to go. I couldn't run, but I could walk. Better than nothing.

Tuesday morning I decided I was going to try running because I'd never know if I didn't try. Worst case scenario would be running a few minutes then walking the rest. I have a 2.81 mile loop and I made it. Granted I stopped once, but whatever.

How did it feel? Awful. My lungs didn't enjoy it and I felt like my belly was full of snot. Gross, I know. Only one thing mattered though - I finished :D

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The huge mental block

When I restarted the couch potato to 5k running program, I printed a copy of it so I could take it with me when traveling, and cross off every successful day, just like the first time I used the program.

Everything was going great into week 6 when I ran into the hugest problem, located 100% within my head. The schedule was:
Week 6 day 1: run 5 minutes, walk 3, run 8, walk 3, run 5
Week 6 day 2: run 10 minutes, walk 3, run 10
Week 6 day 3: run 25 minutes

The first two days were easy enough but I was having huge mental problems with day 3. I was absolutely convinced I couldn't do it. I knew I could run ten minutes, I knew I dragged myself through twenty minutes earlier in the month but every time I looked at the print out, I saw an enormous white box covering up 90% of the schedule. Yet I knew I had to deal with it and find a way to get through it.

My first step was repeating day 2, for confidence if nothing else. It didn't help because every time I looked at 25 minutes, my brain refused to accept that I could do it, even though my legs, my heart, my lungs, everything was physically ready. I was absolutely convinced I needed a break in between.

I've spent the summer learning how to coach teachers in an esl method and they always recommend "chunking," which is breaking down the material into manageable sections. It was exactly what I had to do with my running. The couch potato said to run 25 minutes with no walking, so I exploited a HUGE loophole - it doesn't say anything about stopping....

I donned my trusty gray Mizuno Wave Rider 13s, crossed into Allen Park and told myself I had to get through it, no matter what. The first time I ran one song, then stopped in place for minute, then ran another song, until I finished the time. The next time it was two songs. Yesterday I ran 11 minutes, 6 minutes, 8 minutes. Not exactly how the program would have me complete it, but I was having the biggest problem with it mentally, so I did it the only way I could. It got done. Besides I'm not trying to qualify for Boston, just beat my brother through Hell :D

Friday, August 12, 2011

Self correcting

I like to think I've successfully implemented all the components of good form running. Smaller steps and landing on the whole foot are absolutely used consistently. The one I struggle with - and only when I'm extremely exhausted - is correct arm form. The longer a run goes, the more my arms want to tighten up and reach across my body, with my elbows firmly locked at a 30 degree angle and my tightly clenched fists reaching for my sternum. As soon as I notice it happening, I relax my hands and stretch out the elbow angle, making it a point to make contact between my hands and my hip bones. At least that way my elbows are at an ok angle. The other thing I consciously try to do is hit my spine with my elbows. Granted, it's impossible, but if I try to way over-compensating and reach my spine with my elbows (rather than straight back), it tends to even out and get my hands away from my middle body and pretty much settle into the straight forward-straight back motion.

By the way, my toe is great. Still purple, but no pain or swelling. There's nothing to suggest it was broken, just bruised.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The hardest run of the program

The couch potato to 5K running program is great! It's a slow, gradual build and everything makes sense, until week 5, day 3.

Week 5 day 1: run 5 minutes, walk 3, repeat.
Week 5 day 2: run 8 minutes, walk 5, run 8.
Week 5 day 3: run 20 minutes.

Where in the world does that come from??? It seems like the next logical step would be run 10 minutes or 12, but going from 8 to 20 is such a huge jump. I didn't understand it the first time I did the program and I don't understand it now.

Week 6 is back to more moderation and more rational distance building.
day 1: Run 5, walk 3, run 8, walk 3, run 5
day 2: run 10, walk 3, run 10

The 20 minutes seems to come completely out of the blue and it's the absolute hardest day of the entire program. Sure, I finished, but it was hard and at one point I was running below 6 mph. It didn't help that I couldn't go to the Y or run outside, but I had to use a treadmill in front of a mirror. If there's one thing I definitely do not want to watch while I run, it's myself sweating and struggling with breathing. I tend to get distracted by my feet and my arms and gravity, and my form generally suffers, rather than improves with visually monitoring how I look. The difference is that I see it, rather than feel it. Just excuses though.

The bottom line: the 20 minutes seemingly comes out of nowhere, felt terrible, but was finished. I rule!!! :D

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The gradual feeling of....awesome!!!

I wasn't sure how my run would fare today. My toe is still blue under the nail from bruising and yesterday I managed to burn my hips at the beach. Between those two, I wasn't sure at all how I'd do, but I had to try it. The couch potato to 5k program is finally letting me run half mile increments, yet my working out for the week has been yoga, with no running whatsoever since Sunday. I was all set to be a terrible mess, yet it was great! The three half-miles weren't fun, but I felt strong and I felt like I could keep going. I wasn't breathing that hard, I wasn't in agony. It was an altogether pleasant run :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Stupid stupid stupid

Several months ago I garbage picked a dresser, thinking I would refinish it. I finally decided it was too much work and not worth it, so I returned it to its place on the curb. Except I did so wearing flip flops and seriously stubbed my left 4th toe. It bruised under the nail, is slightly swollen and still sensitive to the touch. The plan is to baby it for the day then see how it feels. Thankfully I know exactly how to fix a broken toe if that's what it is (athletic tape, baby!) Argh what frustration! Of all the stupid things I could have done to get hurt again. This is an easy fix though and should hopefully be resolved tomorrow.
Note to self: wear real shoes when moving furniture!!!!