Thursday, September 29, 2011

Other options

I have great friends. In the aftermath of discovering I can't run Detroit this year, my friend told me to not worry - she'll find something even better for me to run. Another well meaning friend said I could still do the 5k or find a relay. I know they meant well, but I wanted to do the half! I replied via text that I wanted to stand on my own two feet and do something that matters!

Is it any wonder that I haven't run once since finding out the half wasn't going to happen? I need to for endorphins and weight control, it just seems pointless right now but the excuses have to end.

I guess it's not a total loss - I still have Hell!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A terrible surprise

Despite my early injury and months long motivation problems, I always had the pipe dream of running the Detroit half this year. I ran 5.19 yesterday, felt awesome!, and figured I'm just crazy enough to go from 5 to 13 miles in three weeks. I know I could finish it right now, but I want a respectable time, not a 4-hour half marathon! :)

Periodically I look at the Freep's marathon website site which I did this morning. The first thing posted just about ruined my day: "Please note, registration is CLOSED for the Full Marathon and Half Marathon." What a bummer!!!!!

My friend tried to cheer me up and said she'd find me another race. It's not just about the race - I specifically wanted to do Detroit, but I kept postponing registering to make sure I wouldn't get hurt again, to make sure I could get up to a decent distance. Sure I can do a half somewhere the following weekend, or I can do the Martian in the spring, but it just isn't the same.

Lesson learned: register in January for the 2012 race!!!!! The problem with registering that early, however, do I elect the half or the full?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mixing up the days

The past several weeks I've found a schedule that works for me:

Monday - walk 3-4 miles
Tuesday through Thursday - run a moderate amount
Friday - elliptical for an hour
Saturday - long run
Sunday - rest

Twice, however, I had to switch the Saturday and Sunday schedules, which worked really well! So well in fact that it's been a permanent switch. Resting before - instead of after - the long run makes for an easier, more successful long run. Besides, walking is a form of rest :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The best - and hardest - run yet

I had serious motivation problems this morning. I was up within the 9 o'clock hour, but didn't get out of bed until well past 10. I knew I had to do my longest run of the week but I just couldn't get going! I sat at my computer for nearly an hour playing online, just procrastinating the inevitable.

I ate a Kashi cereal bar. I drank some water. I ate a banana - anything to procrastinate! I didn't have any coffee or Kashi cereal though because I didn't want to be 2 miles from home and needing a bathroom!

Finally, a few minutes before noon I dragged myself out of the house and said I had to get it over with. With a rotten, defeatist attitude I set out, and had a super great run, surprisingly!

The plan was to go about four miles. I had an idea of the route I wanted to go but I felt really lousy mentally before I started. If I didn't go, I knew I'd feel guilty about it all day, so I gave myself a kick in the butt, walked .4 miles to warm up, then went for it and just kept going. 4.1 miles later I finished, feeling really strong, feeling that I could have kept going. My breathing was never that atrocious, my legs never hurt, I somehow managed to keep from getting too bored. Everything was working right today!

The greatest part was running 4.1 miles without stopping or pausing a single step. The two times I had to cross the street the lights were with me. Thanks to all the cars on the side streets for letting me pass :)

It was cloudy and cool when I ran - got hot and sunny less than 15 minutes after I finished. Perfect timing!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The awesome side effect of running

I restarted the couch potato program on July 11. On July 13, I reached my highest weight in a few years. Sticking to the running program and the daily plate since then has taken care of 8.8 pounds in six weeks. Not only do I feel healthier and stronger, I weigh less! Other great bonuses are that when I exercise late in the afternoon, it gives me energy, and endorphins are always a welcome side effect from any exercise - nature's magic happy pills :) Pretty much any exercise works, but running seems to provide the most benefit for the same amount of time - notice I didn't say for the same amount of work or effort because running is darn hard! It never gets any easier! but it really is the magic elixir of health!!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The bad morning surprise

Today was the first day of school with a scheduled start time of 9 am. Trying to be a good runner, I set the alarm for 6:40 so as to run as soon as I woke up and before work or anything distracted me.

The alarm went off, I woke up...then realized....it's still dark at 6:40!!!!! What a lousy surprise :(

I feel safe when I run, yet I also know running alone in the dark with my headphones on isn't the safest scenario I can imagine, regardless of the can of mace hooked to my shorts.

With a bummed attitude, I hit the snooze button and ran after work. Sure I could have gone to the Y before work, but that defeats the whole purpose of running outside and acclimating to running on concrete.

I had the greatest intentions. What a bummer!

Friday, September 2, 2011

A creature of habit

When it comes to running, I'm definitely a creature of habit and I don't do well with change. Progressing from the beginning on the treadmill to an actual race is a huge obstacle for me.

I get used to being on the treadmill in the beginning. It's always the left-most one in the front row and it's comforting. I know exactly what to expect and it's always the same. This works well for me.

The first time I did the couch potato program it was winter so I progressed to running the indoor track at the Y. Getting there, however, was excruciating! I wanted to be back on the treadmill, back in my comfort zone. Given time, however, I adapted.

At least until it was time to go outside. Trying to transition I began running laps at Council Point Park or Elizabeth Park.

The final step was running in the streets and it was a huge mental leap to get there. Every transition seemed like I was starting over at square one. I don't do well with change, yet once I make the change, I can't imagine going back to the previous.

This year I transitioned right from the treadmill to outside. Even so I'm still a creature of habit. I have a 2.81 mile loop and it's always the same. I even run counter-clockwise every time. Changing to clockwise would be too much change!!! It's expanded to a 3.16 mile loop, but again - always the same.

The less I think about my route, the better I do. Not thinking seems to be the trick for me, hence the same route every time, the same playlist, the same outfit. I like continuity.

Having said all this, and being firmly entrenched in the outside neighborhood running, the forecast for tomorrow is hot! At 7 a.m., it's supposed to be 77 degrees. When am I supposed to run???? Not to mention the plan is to bump it up to 3.51 miles. Stupid weather! (Never did I imagine I'd be upset about heat or sun!)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The beer craving

Last week marked the last two days of my summer job, overlapping with the first two of night school. There was a 2-hour break in between, just enough to run if I didn't dilly dally. On Wednesday I got home, changed and went outside without checking the weather or the news or my email or anything. It was sunny, but I told myself it was cool, especially in the shade. In my mind, it was in the low 70s. On the way to night school I glanced at a thermometer and it was 88. Oops!

Thursday I tried a different tactic. All summer long I've been waking up before my alarm, then laying in bed, convinced I'll fall asleep again. I decided I would get out of bed and run while it really was cool, not just when my mind said it was. By 6:50 I was outside in the early morning cool before the sun came out.

All along I've believed I need to consume 400-600 calories and a 32-ounce Nalgene bottle of water before I even consider running. Instead I nibbled three bites of a ClifBar, took two sips of water and set out. I was sure I was going to start side cramping within a few minutes, yet to my surprise I felt fine. Actually I felt great. I was never dehydrated, never cramped. My brain was relatively free, no one was out yet, there was no traffic and I had the best run I've had all summer. Granted it was only 2.81 miles, but I made it without stopping once, without much internal complaining at all.

When I got home I still had plenty of time before work. Standing in front of the open fridge, I was reaching for my coffee cream, when I saw the bottles of Corona on the bottom shelf, bottles that have been there for months because I don't like Coronas. Yet at 7:45 in the morning, my only thought was "Wow, that beer looks good!!!!"

I never understood how or why runners drink after exercising, but maybe I get it now. It's cold, it's replenishing calories that are easily consumable, it's hydrating.

I abstained from the beer - not worth getting fired! But I've hung on to the morning running idea. For the past week - regardless of what time I wake up - the first thing I do is run. It feels so good to have it done early and not hanging over my head all day and all afternoon.

When we go back to school, I don't start until 9, so I just might continue this crazy trend!