Thursday, December 31, 2009

Quick! Run Outside Before It Gets Really Cold

2.89 mi. in 36:23 min.
Time of day: 10:20 a.m.
Temp: 36° F, negligible wind chill
15 jog, 1 min. rest, 15 jog; 3 min. warm-up & cool down.

I had an amazing discussion with my coach/trainer/mentor, DD1, aka Jeni. We mapped out my training for the half-marathon and she called me a Runner. That's with a capital R. What a compliment!

I have been surprised at how my body is changing as I run more. The first thing I noticed was that I stand up straighter a lot more of the time. That in turn, makes my trunk look a little longer and sleeker. Hey, it's all relative.

I've never been a fanatic about my measurements. I kinda know the inches because I sew a lot, but unless the change was at least an inch, I didn't pay any attention. So after I started running last month I decided to track my measurements rather than expect weight loss and be disappointed. (Yes, Jeni, I hear you. You can't go on a diet when you are training for a half-marathon.) I figured that even if I didn't lose one single ounce of weight I would tone up my legs. So I made a comprehensive list of measurements on 11/30 and vowed to re-measure on the last day of every month.

Today being the last day of December I got out the measuring tape. No need to reveal the actual numbers, but I was really excited to see some changes. My thighs are each down 1/2", but the biggest change (and thankfully so) was in what I call my "belly" measurement. Most middle-age women will know exactly what I am referring to. That pouchy place at the belly button or maybe a tad lower. It comes from having babies and mid-life changes. Well, that measurement was down 1-1/2"! Yes, 1-1/2". I believe I will now start a new internet phenomenom called The Fast Belly Fat Weight Loss plan. Whatcha think?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

2.72 mi. in 40:05 min. 1% incline
Time of day: 10:30 a.m.
Temp: 29° F. No wind chill, but snowing
Circuits: 4/1, 10/1, 5/1, 5/1, 4/1

Snow today moved me indoors to the treadmill. (Geez, I hate how much I sweat when I run indoors!) I had a good run, lengthening the run time in my circuits a bit. I didn't run faster than 4.5 mph and slowed to 4.4 mph on the last circuit. I am doing really well on the aerobic aspect of my running. I am not as winded when the run time is up and I recover quickly. But my legs get so tired. At the end of the 10 min. run today, my calves were really feeling it. It has been a long time since these bones & muscles were exercised this much and I really believe it is just a matter of conditioning.

I have set a personal goal to run my first 30 consecutive minutes on Friday, Jan. 1. What a way to start the new year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I'm So Glad I Run!

2.92 mi. in 41:38 min.
4-4/1 circuits, 1 5 min. jog, 45 sec. rest and 10 min. jog.
Time of day: 7:30 a.m.
Temp: 22° F. No wind chill

I am so glad I run! This morning was one of those morning when I used to beg off going to the gym because I didn't feel exactly right. I was a little sluggish and had a little headache. Six weeks ago I would have given in to the call to go back to bed. But today, instead, I donned my new Nike running pants and headed out of doors to run and get some sunshine.

It was awesome this morning! I played my music and started running. Near the end of the first 4 min run I was feeling great. Everything came together. My pace, my breathing, my foot placement and I felt almost like I could run for ever-well, o.k., maybe not forever, but I felt like everything was working the way it should.

I was feeling so good that on the 4th ciruit I ran over the 4:30 min, rested 30 sec. then began running again. I felt really good at the end of that 4 min, walked 45 sec. then finished up with a 10 min. run. It was great! I think I'm ready to transition to running the full 30 min. After waffling on the change from 3/2 circuits to 4/1 circuits, I feel ready to start making this transition.

I'm so glad I run!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Is It the Song or the Artist(s)?

2.88 mi. in 41:28 min.
Time: 11:30 a.m.
Weather: 23°F. wind chill

It was a beautiful run outdoors today! The sun shone; the breeze brisk. I moved at a pace that was challenging but not too fast. The music inspiring—wait, music? Me listen to music when I run? What's up with that?

I am a podcast junkie and listen to a lot of podcasts. I have about 150 episodes on my iPod right now. And until very recently I listened to a podcast when I ran outside. What a great use of time, right? At the gym I usually listen to the news on the TVs. But a couple of days ago the news just wasn't helping me out. So I switched to one of the music channels. It was not the kind of music I would ever choose to listen to for enjoyment, but the beat of the rock music helped me keep my pace and energy. So yesterday at the gym I listened to music the entire time.

Before I headed out today, I synched a couple of Shape playlists over to my iPhone, combined them so I would have about an hours worth of music, and headed out. I have to say it was pretty awesome. The music was uplifting. And, my favorite song from the playlist, Footloose, began just as I started my 5th circuit. I love that song! I can never decide if it is the actual music or Kenny Loggins singing, or the memory of Kevin Bacon dancing in the movie, but that song just totally ignites me. And the timing was perfect. The 5th circuit is usually the toughest for me and this song really helped me get through it on pace.

I have discovered that running affects my disposition in a good way! I've always heard that "exercise" is a great way to relieve stress, helps lessen depression, etc. ad nauseum. The doctor I see for my migraine headaches promotes walking 30 min. a day as one of the ways to manage my headaches. Honestly I've never felt that any kind of exercise had an overwhelming influence on how I felt. But I am quickly learning that running does affect my outlook in a very positive way.

Today was a very stressful morning at work. It's the end of the month, the end of the year which always brings extra work. Plus, it has been a challenging year in our business. It kind of overwhelmed me this morning. But I had scheduled my run for 11:00 o'clock and out the door I headed. As noted earlier, the sun was shining brilliantly. The air cool, the breeze brisk. I have to focus on my form, my pace, my breathing, my time. So it is usually into the 4th circuit before I feel like I've got it all together and can relax a little and enjoy the actual act of running. And it is usually about there that my mind clears itself of the cobwebs, the bad thoughts, the worry. I am able to "see" beyond the challenges and difficulties. Today was no different. I was well into my 4th circuit when I realized that worrying doesn't accomplish anything. God already has tomorrow figured out if only I will trust Him. He will not fail me. He will provide what I need. I returned home tired but happy and relaxed. If I never run any better than today, that will be o.k. Because I got what I needed from just the 40 minutes I was out there.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Too Much Yet Again

2.42 mi. in 35:00 min. 1% incline

Sometimes I'm slow. Slow to learn, that is. But I have learned over the last several years to admit my mistakes, learn something from them, and move on.

Today it was cold and snowy again so I headed out to the gym to run on the treadmill. I have been reading a new book I picked up at Borders. It is The Complete Book of Running for Women by Claire Kowalchik. I skipped ahead to the chapters on racing and took a look at the training schedules for 5K & 10K races and also half-marathons. And I panicked. Only 15 weeks to train for my half-marathon. Oh no! I better pour it on and get serious about this training thing or I wouldn't be ready. As if the past 7 weeks have been just fooling around.

So when I hit the treadmill today I was determined to do 7 4/1 circuits. Then I figured I would run the first 4 min. circuit at 5.0 m.p.h. and drop it 0.1 m.p.h. on each succeeding 4 min. run. My convoluted thinking was that it would be so easy because each running segment would be slower than the last one. What I failed to take into account was that the fastest I had run on the treadmill was 4.6 m.p.h.

My thinking was crazy for a couple of reasons: 1) Why 7 circuits? I am used to doing 6, not 7. And I haven't even run 30 min. consecutively yet. Why add additional time at this point? 2) I forgot the mantra "Slow & steady wins the race". My goal for the half-marathon is to finish it running. I'm not out to set any speed records.

So after 4 circuits I was spent. As in, my legs were wobbly and I could barely catch my breath. But here is the good part where I think I have learned something. Instead of stepping off the treadmill and giving up, I regrouped and slowed way down and walked for about 5 minutes. Then I was able to do one more circuit of 3/2 and cool down. I am really proud that I reacted like I did and didn't just quit and walk away when I was so tired out.

So again, I pushed myself too hard for too long at too fast of a pace. Have I learned my lesson? I sure hope so, but I know I am definitely not a quitter. I was able to come up with an alternate way to finish my workout and that's an achievement I am proud of!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I Love My New Nike Running Pants

Friday: Merry Christmas Everyone!
Today, Saturday: 2.65 mi. in 38:04 min.

It was pretty darn chilly today when I ran. The wind chill was 16° F. with winds about 17 mph out of the west. But I was nice and toasty in the new Nike running pants DD1 gave me for Christmas. I have never had any kind of workout clothes as nice as these pants. They are black PowerDry material with this really soft and warm micro-fleece lining. Totally awesome!. Thank you, Jeni!

Jeni and I had a conversation on Thursday about the difference I felt when I changed my foot landing position. At the end of the conversation she said to me, "Mom, you are psyching yourself out about uping your circuits to the 4/1 routine. Just do it and quit thinking about it." So today I did. I ran 6 circuits of jog 4 min/walk 1 min. It was challenging. But I think part of the challenge was the cold wind I ran straight in to on the last half of my run. But I'm glad I made the change. It is such an empowering feeling to set a goal and accomplish it.

Jeni also gave me a t-shirt for Christmas that made me cry. It is black (a favorite color of mine) and says the following:

"I know I'm only competing against myself
I set goals and work hard to accomplish them
I understand the power of the human will
I strive to help others in their quest for success
I know that I can face whatever road lies ahead
I am not satisfied with the status quo
My true self shines through
I am a half-Marathoner"

So many of those words are very true for me; some of them I am still working on. I am touched, but not surprised, that my daughter is so perceptive. I love you, Jeni!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tip Toe Through the Tulips!

Wednesday: 2.43 mi. in 32:34 min.
Thursday: 2.46 mi. in 32:05 min.

In all the Christmas preparations I forgot to blog about my run yesterday. So quickly, I took advantage of a break in the rain and went up to the middle school track and ran. I'm still doing circuits of 3 min. jog & 2 min. walk.

Today it was still raining, but again there was a break and DH & I went to the track so he could walk and I could run. He did awesome! He walked 7 laps in about 26 minutes. Good job, Darlin!

As for me, I've been mulling over DD1's comments a few weeks ago about running on toes. (She was telling me about she suggested to her brother (DS) that he change his form and learn to put his heel down first and not run on his toes.) I thought yesterday that I noticed that I did not hit the ground with my heel, but rather the ball of my foot. Hmmm. So today I made a special effort to put my heel down first, then push off with my toes. Oh my gosh! I immediately felt so much better running. My right knee didn't feel like it was being jarred and my feet didn't hurt so much. Who knew?

So now I have to pay attention to my feet and to my breathing. I am looking forward to the day when I can just run and not have to think about it so much.

Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oops! I Slipped

2.67 mi. in 40:00 min 1% incline

O.K. I admit it. I slipped yesterday and didn't get a run in. I had deliberately taken Sunday as a rest day. But yesterday was an "oops". I had planned to run in the afternoon but my IT guy was in the office all day and we were working together getting a lot of things accomplished and the day just got away from me. The lesson is to run in the morning and get it out of the way.

The good news is I felt great after today's run.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Samo Samo

2.6 mi. in 40:02 min. 1% incline

Cold & snowy here today so I ran on the treadmill at the gym The upside of going to the gym is that it is indoors and not weather dependent. The downside is that it is pretty much the same every time.

I am still doing 3 min runs/2 min. walks. I struggle to get through all six circuits so I know I am not ready to move to a 4/1 circuit. I realize my body is adjusting to this new activity, but darn it, I want it to adjust faster! Slow & steady wins the race says my DD1.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Slow & Steady Wins the Race

Thursday: 2.51 mi. in 36:36 min.
Friday: 2.56 mi. in 36:52 min.

DD1 reminded me that right now my goal is to train consistently, building my endurance slowly. So I think I am doing o.k. with the consistency but I admit to allowing grand thoughts of excellence into my head. My experience Monday of over doing it really stopped me in my tracks and I have backed off those grand thoughts.

I ran Thursday early afternoon due to some scheduling issues and turned around and ran again this morning. I want to get back to running in the morning for a couple of reasons. 1) Consistency. Only rarely does an early morning run time cause a real schedule conflict for me. 2) I feel better all day. 3) The run is finished and I can move on to other tasks. When I wait till later in the day to run, I find myself doing mostly inconsequential stuff to pass the time until I do run.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Back At It

2.5 mi. in 42 min. 1% incline

It was very cold this morning and I have several meetings scheduled today so I ran on the treadmill at the gym this morning. Unfortunately I accidentally hit the reset button about halfway through my run so my distance & time is an estimate—albeit very close.

So after a really wiped out yesterday I woke up feeling so much better this morning. I am proud of myself that I got up and ran this morning. In my old workout days I would have used the excuse of still "resting" and taken the remainder of the week off. Then come Monday I would have said, "oh well" and given up. But I was eager to run this morning. I have to say that the 2 apps I am using, Running Log and Runmeter, really help in the motivation area. "Seeing" my run on the graphs in Runmeter and my totals in Running Log are so cool!

I finally received the book I ordered way back in November, Beginning Runner's Handbook - The Proven 13-week Walk/Run Program. It is very basic. If I hadn't had DD1 to help me get started, this book would have been ideal. It follows the same basic philosophy she uses of walking and adding run time a little at a time until you can run 30 minutes continuously. The book has you run 3 days a week, but I like running 5 or 6 days and then taking a day off. I need the daily routine.

It was ironic that I received the book on Tuesday, the same day I did too much. The second chapter of the book is about how your body adapts s-l-o-w-l-y to running. And, how you may feel o.k. aerobically but your muscles and bones are still adapting to the exercise. I think that is exactly what occurred with me Tuesday. I didn't necessarily feel winded while I was running, but I definitely think my muscles and bones were not ready for that intense of a workout.

I'm obviously still reading the book and look forward to discussing it more.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Rest Day

Yesterday was too much. Too many hills, too big of hills, too long running.

I spent yesterday evening laying on the couch watching the SF Giants beat the Arizona Cardinals, feeling completely wiped out. My legs ached and I was quickly getting stiff. During the night I decided that I had just done too much yesterday with my run and I needed to rest today. I was really sore when I first rolled out of bed, but yoga helped loosen the muscles. 

Lesson learned.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Today Really Kicked My Butt and/or Wishful Thinking

2.45 mi. in 35:01 min.

First, the nitty gritty, I ran 7 3-min jogs today to finish up the trail I was on.

And speaking of the trail I was on…I ran a new route today, a fitness trail near home . It has 2 loops or you can run the entire perimeter, which is what I did. Because it is a fitness trail it has its ups and downs. (Pun intended.) It has 1 big hill (I ran down it. I'm no fool!) and 2 slightly smaller hills and multiple small inclines and declines. But even the smaller inclines are tough. I was surprised at how much slower I was today. Some of the hills really kicked butt.

I started walking this trail with The Love of My Life after his bypass surgery 7 years ago. I remember thinking several times that it would be great to be able to run the trail. But I didn't have a clue how to get started and I was too old and I was too out of shape. It was just wishful thinking that I would ever be able to do that.  But today that wish is almost a reality. While I didn't run the entire 2.45 miles, I did run a good portion of it. Even better, I can see the day when I will be able to run the whole distance. In fact, I figure this trail will be a good place to build up my distance. You can run the outer perimeter, each loop, or figure-8 the trail. If I did each on of those in one run that would total a little over 7 miles.

One of the conversations DD1 and I had very early in my training was about running shoes. She told me the specifics about how long running shoes last (about 500 mi.) and how to recognize when they begin to wear out (her knees start to bother her). I couldn't imagine running 500 miles and wearing out a pair of shoes. Again, one of those inconceivable goals I thought I couldn't attain. In fact, one of the iPhone apps I use had a reviewer ask for a feature that tracked how many miles were on your shoes. How silly I thought.

But yesterday I was looking at the distance totals on my iPhone. I was very surprised to see that I've accummulated almost 50 miles in 3-1/2 weeks. That means that by Dec. 31 I will be close to 100 miles. Once I start adding distance to my training the miles will just pile on. It will be no time at all before I reach that 500 mile mark. Do you think I should start picking out a new pair now?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Do You Remember the Crayola Color Red Violet?

2.65 mi. in 34.35 min.

A little slower today. Must be that broken toe. Saturday night I walked into my guest room to put something away. I was barefoot. It was late. I stubbed my toe on the chair. It hurt like the dickens. But really, how bad can a stubbed toe be? It was after all just a small chair. A couple of times during the night I bumped my toe in bed and it hurt enough to rouse me. But I was shocked this morning to see my middle toe was swollen and obviously injured. It was red-violet. You remember, the reddish-purple Crayola crayon from years ago before Crayola changed all the names? And what's really funny is that the discoloration is a perfect ring around my toe about 3/4" wide. It looks like a really big toe ring!

But did that stop me from running? No way. It really didn't bother me at all so I don't know why my time was a little slower than yesterday. However, I did have trouble doing Downward Facing Dog in my little yoga routine. Something about the way I hold my foot caused a lot of pain in the toe.

(On a side note, DH has started doing the little yoga routine with me. I'm so happy. He has never been very limber. I believe that some of his stiffness is hereditary; both his mom & uncle were stiff. But I think these yoga moves will help him.)

Here is my schedule for this week. It is a bit up in the air due to the weather forecast.

Monday: Run at 4 p.m. on the school track.
Tuesday: Run outside at 5:30 a.m.
Wednesday & Friday run at 5:30 a.m. either outside or on the treadmill at the gym depending on weather.
Thursday is a rest day.

Tuesday I will start integrating a jog 4 min/walk 1 min circuit into my running time.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Today Was Fabulous!

2.87 mi. in 37:09 min.

Today was one of those rare days when life is really, really good. DH & I were hitting on all the same cylinders. As we went about our business everything just kind of fell into place. Even lunch at the worst Mexican restaurant ever was fun because we both hated the food, hated over hearing what the guy in the next booth was talking about, hated the music. It was a fabulous day!

But back to running, I ran at the local middle school track today while DH walked. I am amazed again what a difference hills, even small inclines, make in my distance. I ran the 3/2 circuits, all 6 of them, and I rated my effort as an 8. Part of that was the cold, stiff wind I was up against on one part of the track.

I was talking to DH last night about my running experience so far and these are some of the things I told him. I amazed I have been doing this for 3-1/2 weeks already. I am amazed that I have stuck with it for that long. Also, when I first talked to DD1 about training for a 1/2 marathon and she talked about the first phase as working up to running for 30 minutes, I just couldn't see myself doing that. I was like, "oh sure, I can do that", but inside the thought of being able to run 30 minutes in one session was just unimaginable to me. But I can see it on the horizon. I figure that by Christmas I will run 30 minutes in one session! That thought takes my breath away.

One thing I have noticed since I started this journey is how much better I feel about myself. I am still very critical when I look in the mirror, but I am beginning to look at myself differently. This truly is a journey that will affect my whole being. So far I'm having a great time.!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Outside vs. Treadmill

2.31 mi. in 34:19 min.

It's Friday. Business is always slow on Friday afternoon, especially this close to the Christmas holiday. So I decided to wait until lunchtime to run in hopes it would be warm enough to run outside. Yeah! It was! It felt so good to be outside.

I had been beating myself up for not running yesterday. (Waking up at 4:30 a.m. to a cold house and no electricity just started the day off bad and it went downhill from there.) But when I was logging today's run I realized that I had already run 5 days in a row so it would be o.k. to count yesterday as a rest day. I feel so much better.

I had no trouble upping my intensity to the 3/2 level today. The only problem was my legs got so tired. Seriously. About 10 min. into the run my lower calfs were so tired I didn't think I was going to be able to continue. But continue I did. They got a little better, but I was really glad to get home and just sit down. Weird I know.

I used to see people running in cold weather and think how crazy they were. But I get it now. It feels great to be out in the cold, in the sunshine, running. It clears my head. And I feel so much more energetic. I like it so much better than running on the treadmill.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside

2.29 mi. in 35:13 min. at 1% incline

Sustained winds at 35 mph, gusting to 50 mph. Wind chills sub-zero. Sounds like a treadmill kind of day.

So off to the gym I went. One thing about the treadmill is that there isn't much new or different day to day. I did the following circuits: 2, jog 2 min/walk 3 min; 1, jog 2:30 min/walk 2:30 min; and 3, jog 3 min/walk 2 min. The 2:30 circuit was simply so I didn't have to think very hard about the clock. It worked out well. I am running at 4.4-4.5 mph and walk at 3.6 mph.

Last week I started doing this little yoga routine in the morning to help with flexibility and stiffness. I am surprised how much it helps. It comes from a very, very old issue of Real Simple magazine. I am going to add the Plank to the original 5 moves just to get some ab work in every day.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


2.28 mi. in 35:05 min. at a 1% incline.

Those are my stats for the first run on the treadmill. It's my own fault I had to run on the treadmill. If I had just gone out by 7 a.m. I could have run out of doors. But here is my sad tale of woe.

I couldn't sleep last night. Finally fell asleep around 1:45 a.m. I had to be up at 4:30 a.m. to get DH out the door for a day of important sales calls with a sales manager. If, at 6:30 I had put on my running shoes instead of crawling back into bed for a just a little more sleep—well, I would have been back before the rain moved in. At 7:15 when I woke up it was just beginning to drizzle. We all know I can run in that! So I packed a gym bag and after my only appointment today I stopped at my local gym, The Workout Company, and ran on the treadmill.  

Oh yeah! Now I remember what I dislike about working out at the gym. It's all the sweat! And I don't mean the other people's sweat. Oh my gosh! Why do I sweat like a pig when I work out at the gym? I know I have a lot of sweating in my future on this journey. I just hope I get used to the sweat in my eyes; the sweat running down my back, the sweat running down between—well you get the picture. I once had a conversation with a woman who said she only "glistened" when she worked out. Not me, man. It's full blown sweating. So I better get used to this. Snow is in the forecast for tonight. And it is winter.

I did 4 circuits of jog 2 min/walk 3 min. and 2 circuits of jog 3 min/walk 2 min. I felt really good (except for all the sweat) so I will keep increasing my jog time.

Happy Birthday to my favorite oldest daughter!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Back on the Road Again

Sunday: 2.3 mi. in 35:46 min.
Today: 2.3 mi. in 35:20 min.

I changed my route yesterday. I ventured out of my subdivision and on to the main road by our house. It has pretty heavy traffic, but it does have a biking/running lane. Even when I walked regularly I didn't go out on Telegraph Rd. I always have walked in my subdivision or on a trail or walking path. For some reason the thought of being a pedestrian on that road scared me. But I ran about 11 a.m. yesterday thinking everyone would be in church services and there wouldn't be much traffic. Whoa! Was I wrong! But having run on the road once and survived—I figured I was safe. So I ran it again this morning.

The advantage to this route is that there are fewer hills. I still have to walk up the big hill from my house to get to Telegraph, but it is fairly flat after that. Unlike running in the subdivision with constant ups and downs. It was a little scary this morning running in the dark. But I had my cool head lamp and I was very cautious and alert. So I've overcome another hurdle.

I ran 5 circuits of jog 2 min/walk 3 min and then jogged 3 min/walk 2 min for the last circuit. I will increase the 3/2 circuit to at least 2 times tomorrow, maybe 3. I feel ready to make the switch, but I'm still recovering from this darn head cold and I don't want to push myself too much.

We are expecting some inclement weather this week, so here is my schedule. If it is snowing or icy any morning I will move to the treadmill at the gym to run.

Sunday: done
Monday: done
Tuesday: run at 5:30 a.m.; 2-3 circuits of jog 2 min/walk 3 min; 3-4 circuits of job 3 min/walk 3 min.
Wednesday: run on the treadmill: 3 circuits of jog 2 min/walk 3 min; 3 circuits of jog 3 min/walk 2 min.
Thursday: run at 5:30 a.m.: 2 circuits of jog 2 min/walk 3 min; 4 circuits of jog 3 min/walk 2 min.
Friday: run at 5:30 a.m.: 1 circuit of jog 2 min/walk 3 min; 5 circuits of jog 3 min/walk 2min.
Saturday: rest

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Great to be Back

1.3 mi. in 34:20 min.

I took it slow this morning and ran a little later than I usually do. It felt good to get out there and run. I had promised DH that if I didn't feel good or got too cold (it was 27° F.), I would turn around and come home. I was none of those things. I am surprised at how good it felt.

Why am I surprised? I have never been enamored with exercise. On a logical, conscious level I understand the benefits, but I was never able to find anything I really liked doing enough that I would do it day after day. There are 2 exceptions. I loved step aerobics and I loved Jazzercize. My knees couldn't stand up to the step exercises. I got to the point where I couldn't go up and down our stairs, and I really hurt my back at Jazzercize and was scared to start back up. I also really like lifting weights but I would always get discouraged and quit before seeing any results. Any other kind of exercise I got bored with and quit. I was the Queen of Excuses as to why I couldn't work out. So even though I had to take 2 days off this week due to illness I am really proud of the fact that Wednesday I ran even though I felt bad and today I got right back at it—and it felt so good.

Something else I am really happy about regarding feeling good when running is the lack of stiffness and soreness. When I first started a few weeks ago my knees, ankles and feet ached everytime I went out to run. The feet, only a couple of days. But my ankles and knees hurt for a couple of weeks; actually, up until just this week. I thought I might not be able to do this because of my knee joints hurting. But this week I noticed that they didn't hurt. I didn't have to run for 10 minutes before they felt "loose". And I also noticed they don't hurt in the morning when I wake up. I guess the old adage, "Use 'em or lose 'em", really is true.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Bates Crud

Having spent the last day and a half on the couch and in bed with a terrible head cold and sore throat, I would like to thank my beautiful, dear grandchilren for sharing their illnesses with me. I am truly in awe that when they had this virus infection they were still able to get up and function. I literally spent the last day and a half sleeping or watching reruns on television in between naps. Do I even need to say that I didn't run yesterday or today?

I was hesitant to let DH know exactly how rotten I felt. He is very protective of me and I was afraid he would tell me to stay inside and not run for several days, maybe a week. When he returned from his business trip last night and saw for himself how I felt and looked, he responded, "I see why you didn't run today and understand why you aren't going to run tomorrow morning, but you better not take too much time off. You don't want to lose momentum or progress." I loved hearing those words from him! Thank you, Darlin', for your support.

So tomorrow morning I will be back out training again. I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Doing Battle

1.6 mi. in 40:29 min.

Back running the neighborhood with all its ups and downs really took a toll on my distance this morning. But it was a good run. RPE about 7. I think I have the the apps situation worked out.

I have a very sore throat and runny nose, and I haven't slept worth a darn the last 2 nights. Tuesday morning I woke up around 2:30 a.m. and this morning I was awake at 3:15 a.m. So taking into account the hills, the lack of sleep, the sore throat/runny nose, and a short turn around from my run yesterday afternoon, I am please with my performance this morning.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Way Too Much Math

2.52 mi. in 36.40 min. (apprx)
This is driving me crazy. Somehow when I'm running I "pause" my new app, Running, so it doesn't track my overall time and distance. That means I have to sit down and figure out how long and how far I ran. In the big picture I realize that these 2 days won't matter. But it still makes me mad!

So today's run was much better than yesterday's. I ran at the same time, late afternoon. I don't know myself well enough to know if it was better and easier because I ran yesterday, or if it was due to the 10 degrees warmer temperature, or if it was because I didn't have a migraine hangover, or a combination of all 3, or some other reason. Last evening I was so tired I went to bed at 8 p.m. Tonight I feel great and am headed up to my sewing studio.

I am doing a short turn around tonight. I'll run again tomorrow morning at my regular time.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Knocked Down, But Not Out

2.52 mi. in 37:04 min. (distance is approximate)

I woke up at 3:19 a.m. this morning with a migraine. I hate that I get migraines! Especially when I can't relate it to any specific cause. I nodded off & on until 5 a.m. I got up dressed for running and took some migraine medicine. My intention was to give the medicine 30 minutes to work and then run. The best laid plans sometimes go awry.

But I was determined to run today so at 3:30 DH & I drove to the local school track. He walked while I ran. I did 6 circuits at 2 min. jog/3 min. rest pace, with 1 warm up lap and 1 cool-down lap. This is a small track, 4-4/5 laps = 1 mi. I started my new running app, then started the app that times the circuits and was off. Unfortunately I will need to check to make sure the running app continues to run after starting the interval app because the running app didn't calculate my distance correctly. So I estimated my distance for today.

The run was great for me in big picture. I feel much better now than I did before I ran. But my calves/shins/lower legs-whatever they are called-really worked hard. They were so tired that at one point I didn't think I could continue. I pushed on and they got a little better. They don't feel sore now. I wonder how they will be tomorrow. I have an early morning appointment tomorrow so I will run in the afternoon again.

I'm proud of myself that I didn't give up and not run today due to the migraine. And I'm proud that even though my legs were really tired, I didn't quit.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Today is a rest day. In the last 7 days I walked 1 day; ran 6 days, 2 times within 12 hours; and, upped my intensity to a 2 min. jog/3 min. rest circuit. I really need to rest the body today.

Last week I was suspicious my pedometer wasn't counting my distance correctly. I took it to Chicago with the intention of having DD1 & DH help me recalibrate it. In checking online for instructions on how to do that I learned that there are walking pedometers and running pedometers. And, guess what? Mine is for walking. Searching online revealed that a new pedometer was going to cost around $75. Surely, I could come up with a cheaper solution. Hmm, I bet there's an app for that.

Sure enough. There lots of pedometer-type apps in the App Store on iTunes. Mostly they got less than stellar reviews. But I did find Runmeter by Abvio for $4.99.  This great little app tracks my total time, average pace, & distance, plus some other stats I haven't quite figured out. Then it graphs your pace and elevation. That is so cool! DD1 was totally into the graphing feature. It operates on GPS so it also maps your route and you can save it and rate it. The app saves your stats to a calendar (for up to a year) so you can track your progress. It's pretty cool! I used it twice with DD1 so I could judge if it calculated the distance correctly. It did. And I have figured out how to use it in conjunction with the app that times the intervals.

I will be interested to see how far off my pedometer was when I run tomorrow. I will run the same basic route to check.

So here's my training schedule for the upcoming week.
Monday-run at 5:30 a.m.
Tuesday-run around 5 p.m.
Wednesday-run at 5:30 a.m.
Thursday-run at 5:30 a.m.
Friday-run at 5:30 a.m.
Saturday-run shortly after I get up.

All runs will be 5 min. warm-up, then 6 circuits of 2 min. jog/3 min. rest, with a 3-5 min. cool down and stretch. I entered my schedule on my calendar this week.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Too Big For My Pants

2.56 mi in 40:44 min.

DD1 and I turned around and ran this morning even though it had not been 24 hours since our last run. I really wanted to get in one more run with her. In addition, I wanted to run my new 2 min jog/3 min rest with her coaching me.

It was tough to get started. (I really understand the 24-hour rest rule.) So the first 2 min jog was a warm-up and then in trying to put on a good show, jogged too fast for the next 2 reps. I was very tired at the end of the 3rd 2-min. jog. We slowed down considerably for #4 so I could find a more realistic pace and focus on breathing. That worked and #5 & #6 were much better. DD1 said my recovery during the 3 min. rests was good. She felt confident I was ready for this step up. I rated the run as an 8 on a 10-point scale.

So back at her house, with a couple of cups of coffee in me, I started in about how this run was an 8, but the now the next run would be like a 6 or 7 and then down until I hit the 4 or 5 mark and would up my intensity again. She stopped what she was doing and said, "Not so fast. Remember you are resting tomorrow. So Monday you will be coming off a rest day. You will be back in your neighborhood with hills. You won't be running with me to pace you. I would expect Monday's run to be at least an 8, maybe a 9." That will teach me to get too big for my pants.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Running With a Trainer

2.63 mi. in 41:33 min.

Man, DD1 really made me work this afternoon! She is a great pacer. And because she is in such great shape she can keep me working at a high level. It was great. For the last circuit she changed the timing to a 2 min. jog/3 min rest. I surprised myself by handling it pretty good. I give today's workout a 7-8.

We talked about how long to work out at any given level. DD1 suggested that when I rate a run consistently at a 4 or 5, or every 10-14 days, I need to increase my jog time/reduce my rest time.

She also reminded me that the "rest" time is not a cool down. I walk during this time, but I need to walk fast enough to keep my heart rate up.

We continued the conversation regardng breathing. I was able to practise breathing through a stitch in my side. I think I need to practise deeper breathing; breathing from my diaphram, not just my upper lungs.

I'll get in one more run with DD1 tomorrow morning before DH & I head out for home. I have really enjoyed running with DD1. And I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from her. Thank you, DD1. 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Indoor Running

Approx. 1.25 mi in 27:06 min.
Because it is raining & cold here DD1 took DH & me to the local rec center and we ran indoors on a track. I have never belonged to any kind of rec center so this was new to me and very pleasant I might add. But I think I still prefer running out of doors. It seems I spend most of my life running in circles so why intentionally run in circles when I train, if I can avoid it?

One of the other good things about this morning's run is that I received some valuable training information from DD1. She began running in high school on the cross country team. I knew that her coach had quite an influence on her because she a) after finishing the season, she wanted to do it again, and b) she spent her hard earned money to buy him a personalized clip board to use in his coaching duties. This morning she shared some things she learned from Coach Powel.

Breathing-DD1 talked to me about the importance of focusing on my breathing and regulating my breaths. You can use your breathing as a kind of meditation to get you through a tough run, or to ease a cramp. I was surprised how well this worked. She suggested breathing in for a count of 2 and then breathing out for a count of 2. She breathes in through her nose and out through her mouth. She reminded me that that is her rhythm and I will need to find my own rhythm. I started out with her rhythm and it was immediately obvious to me how much this helped me. I don't have my own rhythm yet, but I'm sure it will develop on its own. For now I'm using DD1's.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I have so much to be grateful for in my life. Here is just a short list: DH, my children, my home, my career, my sewing & crafting, my friend, Londa; a closer relationship with Jesus, my neighbors, food on the table, and a warm bed at night beside the Love of My Life; running & my favorite personal trainer, my friend, Dr. Ron; friends & family with whom I am spending this holiday.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Walking and Talking

2 mi. in approx. 60 minutes

I am in the Chicago area this week visiting DD1 & her family for the Thanksgiving Holiday. This morning DH & DD1 & I went for a pleasant neighborhood walk. In addition to the exercise, it was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with all that is going on in DD1's family. I treasure these moments.

So if I only walked today, no jogging, does that make this my "rest" day? Which is certainly o.k. I just need to make sure I run the rest of the days this week.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Again Today

1.9 mi in 40:57 min.

I got up and ran again today. That's 3 days in row this week and 4 days last week. I can not remember when last I exercised this much. I think I feel better. I know my attitude has been a whole lot better this week.

I had this conversation in my head as I struggled through the last 1 min. jog.

"This is so hard. Why am I not just breezing through this? I've been doing this same thing now for 7 days. I should be feeling great, running this last 1 min. with no problem. Wait a minute. This  isn't the race. You are only training now. You haven't ever in your entire life exercised this much in the same time frame. Give yourself a break. Work up to this slowly. Take your time. Don't burn out. Don't get an injury. You are 53 years old you know. But I should be progressing faster than this. I want to progress faster than this. I don't want to use my age as an excuse for lollygagging. I can do this. Oh, wow, the minute's up. Now I can walk."

Do other people have conversations like this in their head? Or am I just crazy?

Monday, November 23, 2009

And the Learning Continues

It was suggested that I include my training routine here for additional accountability. Also, the question was posed as to why I didn't include my schedule in my last post. So here is what's going on this week. And I will update this information every week.

I run early in the morning, around 5:30 a.m. So I will do that tomorrow, Tuesday. The rest of the week I will be visiting DD1. We have 1 run planned, for Friday I think. It's to Starbucks where DH will meet us and drive us home after indulging in a Pumpkin Latte and a Skinny Vanilla Latte. We also have a walk along the beach scheduled with DH. My plan is to run Wednesday morning with DD1 at 5:45 a.m. Take Thursday off, Starbucks run on Friday, & run at 5:45 a.m. on Saturday, again with DD1. I am not opposed to a Thursday run, I am just waiting to see what the holiday festivity schedule is.

So how am I training for this 1/2 marathon? DD1 is a runner and has participated in triathalons, marathons and a lot of 1/2 marathons. I talked to her about how to get started and she mapped out this plan:
  • Week 1: Walk 4 min. jog 1 min. Repeat 6 times for a total of 30 min.
  • Week 2: Walk 3 min. jog 2 min. Repeat 6 times for a total of 30 min.
  • Week 3: Walk 2 min. jog 3 min. Repeat 6 times for a total of 30 min.
  • Week 4: Walk 1 min. jog 4 min. Repeat 6 times for a total of 30 min.
  • Week 5: Jog 30 min.
  • When I can comfortably jog 30 min. check back with DD1 for the next phase.
I start my run with a 5-min. warm-up walk and I end with a 3-5 min. cool-down walk. I am still on Week 1 this week. I have 6 months to train and I don't want to burn out or injure myself. I don't know if I will take 2 weeks at each level, but I have the time if I think I need to.

I do have a reference book on order from Amazon about training for a 1/2 marathon. DD1 helped me pick it out. I"ll read that and incorporate it in to my training also.

And Let There Be Light

1.8 mi. in 40:47 min.

Wow! I used my new head lamp this morning. It was so amazing the difference it made in lighting my way. Thanks to DD1 for recommending this equipment to me.

And speaking of equipment…Note to self: do not restart iPod after starting interval timer. That's why there are 4 extra minutes on my time today. I am beginning to "feel" the time intervals and at one point I felt like I was over the 4 minute walk. I checked my interval timer and sure enough. I had changed what I was listening to on the iPod and it had shut off my interval timer. Lesson learned.

Tomorrow's lesson will be how to post to my blog when I'm out of town.

I may have mentioned how I really don't like to sweat. Well, I've started to sweat from my workouts. Not so much while I'm running, but when I get back home, sit down and gulp down the coffee. I suppose I will get used to the sweating thing. Hard to do what I'm doing and not sweat at some point, but I still wish I could magically workout and not get all sweaty.

Part of the reason for wanting to run this race has nothing to do with the physical challenge. It has to do with the mental challenge. I look back on my life right now and wonder, "What have I accomplished?" I am great at coming up with grand plans but rarely follow through. I don't know what makes me so sure I can follow through with this particular plan. I just have this feeling inside that the moment to do this is now. I am pleased that I trained 4 days (in a row) last week, took a day off to rest, and then didn't quit. I got up yesterday, a weekend day, and ran; I got up this morning and ran. This is more consistent than I think I have ever been about exercising. What probably seems like a small thing to everyone else is a big accomplishment for me.

Because of Thanksgiving this week I am actually thinking ahead to what time each day I will run. This is a change in thinking for me. In the past, I had the unrealistic attitude that no matter what was going on I would walk, or go to the gym, or whatever. I realize today that I really do need to think ahead and make a plan. Right now I am doing this in my head, but I finally understand the philosophy of making an appointment and writing it on your calendar to schedule workouts.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

1.7 mi in 35:34 min.

Why was it so darn hard to run this morning? Those 1 minute jogs were tough. Plus, when I got out of bed this morning, my legs were really stiff. What's up with that? I had only 1 day of rest. Honest. I pushed through the sluggishness and completed my course. Now for a hot shower.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

And On The 7th Day She Rested

OK, it's not really the 7th day of training, but it worked better for my schedule to rest today.

I went to Sports Authority today and bought a Princeton Tec head lamp. DH worried about me running with the flashlight. His concern was that it wasn't at the right height for cars to see. I also bought a warm head band and those glove/mittens at Target. So I think I'm set until it gets a lot colder.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Up at Dawn

Day 4 Up again at 5 a.m. to run. Is it o.k. to say I run? I mostly walk but I'm working up to running. It sounds funny to me to say "up again at 5 a.m. to walk" when I'm training for a race. So I guess I'll say run and everyone will just understand that right now I'm working up to a "run".

Anyway, I decided that I should probably publish my stats here to let everyone know how I'm progressing. So here is today. Distance 1.8 mi. Time 36:47.

I downloaded an app for my iPhone to track my training. It's called Running Log (Winkpass Creations). One of the features I really like is how it totals my distance and time for the week. I've never done anything like that. But so far this week I've run 5.35 mi. in 2 hrs 3 min. at an average pace of 24:01. Kinda cool.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Learning Curve

Day 3. The fact that I have actually trained 3 days in a row is an accomplishment. Previous attempts at working out usually ended after 2 days. Add to that the fact that I have been rained on every day while jogging--well, let's just say that those who know me know I don't like to be wet, or hot, or sweaty. So why am I doing this?

One reason is because this morning when I woke up I felt really good. I had a bit more energy than usual. I wasn't foggy and sluggish. I actually rolled out of bed feeling happy. And that's an improvement.

I try to learn something new everyday. And, right now it's all learning about this running thing. How to figure out how to time myself. How to alert myself to time to jog, time to rest. How to run safely when it's pretty darn dark outside. So don't laugh, but here's how I equipped myself this morning: IPod for something to listen to, iPhone for timer(s), lip balm (gotta keep those lips protected), gloves (hands are the window to a woman's age), and a flashlight.

The flashlight batteries went dead about 3/4 of the way through the run. But I think until I can afford a headlamp this is a good idea. The gloves were a good thing, but did hamper my ability to check my progress on my iPhone. I am going to move some of my podcasts over to my iPhone so I don't carry the iPod. And, I really have to get over myself when it comes to checking my progress. The lip balm? Need I reiterate just how important soft, kissable lips are?

And, oh, did I mention I finished all 6 sets of the 1 min jog/4 min rest. All Six! In the rain! In the dark! In the cold-well, not really cold, but definitely chilly!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sometimes I Amaze Myself

Woo-hoo! I figured out how to use the interval timer in the GymBuddy app on my iPhone. That will make training easier.

I Feel The Earth Shake Under My Feet

Did you feel the earth shake Tuesday morning around 5:30 a.m.? That would have been me starting my first day of training for the 1/2 marathon in April. In spite of drizzle and 45° F. weather, I donned a jacket and walked/jogged for about 25 minutes.

Traumatic events early in my life have affected my logical thinking. Nothing else can explain why a 53 year-old, over weight, sedentary woman would attempt such a thing. I've never been a runner. Heck, I've never even worked out consistently. I do have a gym membership, though. So what possessed me to undertake such a thing? A lot of reasons have gone into my decision. And I'll talk about them as I train over the next 6 months. But for now, it's enough that I have taken the first step toward my goal.

And, BTW, I took the second step by getting up this morning, donning the jacket and heading out for walk/jog for 30 minutes.