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.