Monthly Archives: May 2011

cursing the course

session fourteen was a lot worse than the one before. it was one of those “just get out there and do it” days. i wasn’t looking forward to the workout.

i had a hard time regulating my breathing during the 500 meter intervals. even though i ran a slow and steady pace, i kept losing my breath. my body would feel like it was finished, but my watch would say we were only two-thirds through. the breaks in between provided barely enough time for my respiration to return to normal. it seemed like as soon as i stopped jogging, the runkeeper app was beeping for me to start up again.

when i began the last kilometer, i told myself “just 7 or so minutes, then it will all be over… you can do it for 7 more minutes.”
my breathing became labored again. i tried in through the nose, out through the mouth. i tried in for a few steps, out for a few steps. i tried taking take deep breaths, but my lungs weren’t having any of it.

i went to check my watch, wondering “how much further do i have to go?” when i discovered that i forgot to set it. my first thought was “f*ck me!” but then my heart just sank and i gave up. i felt like i couldn’t reach my destination if i didn’t know how long it was going to take me to get there.

i started walking. i started feeling guilty about walking. runkeeper said i still had 0.2 miles to go. “okay” i told myself, “i have to finish this. i’ll run to the end of the path, that has to be at least 0.2 miles.” so i did. i ran to the end of the path. i checked runkeeper again, but something was wrong because the gps wasn’t registering my run. it still said i had 0.2 miles to go!

at that moment, i was mad. “f*ck this!” i thought (i curse a lot in my head). i wanted to quit, but felt guilty again. i refused to run anymore, but i forced myself to complete the kilometer. i walked until that damn gps registered 0.2 miles. then i got the hell out of there and went home.

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it’s not a piece of cake

in week five, we have to run further than ever before. we have three 500 meter intervals followed by a full kilometer. our running coach julia jones said, “that 1 km at the end of the workout will feel like a piece of cake!”
i don’t know what kind of cake she’s eating, but running a kilometer *after* i’ve already run a mile doesn’t feel delicious.

i tried to push myself the first 500 meters and was out of breath in about a minute. there was no way i could run three of those intervals at that pace. so i slowed it down. way down. i have to admit, i was a little disappointed with my times. on our very first workout, i ran 1 km in 7:10 minutes. today it took me 7:50.

however, 1 km was all i could run at that faster pace. it simply isn’t sustainable for me. i can’t regulate my breathing and i feel like my lungs are going to burst by the end. i may have been slow, but i ran every inch of that 2.5 km. and yes, i had a couple of breaks in between intervals, but i still ran over a mile and a half! that’s the taste of personal victory. it may not be as sweet as cake, but it’s not as fattening either.

halfway to 5k

for the first time in my life, i’m able to run a mile without stopping.
this is something i never thought i would be able to do, and it gives me the most incredible sense of accomplishment.
i’m so proud of myself for making it mid-program without missing a workout!

the rest of week four went well. i haven’t had any additional epiphanies, but i thought i’d share a memorable moment…
i noticed the little boys playing the “paw patch” as i wound my slow and steady way around the one mile loop. when i passed the dog park again during my cool down, they were standing on a boulder at the side of the path.

“we saw you go by two times,” said one.
“that right,” i replied. ” i was running.”
“we saw you doing this!” said the other, wildly windmilling his limbs.
it seems like those silly arm swings make more of an impression than my plodding pace!

setting the pace

okay, i’ve finally had an epiphany. nothing profound or life-changing, but something important about my running. this is what it was… i didn’t pace myself.

now, i thought i was already jogging slowly. i certainly wasn’t sprinting, but when i did the tenth training session, i realized that my “slow run” from the second set of intervals was *a lot* slower than my regular run. i also realized that i was able to regulate my breath better, which has always been my biggest issue. so i decided to jog the mile at that pace and see if it made a difference. it did, a big one.

not only was i able to run the entire distance without feeling like i was going to die at the end, i could have kept going! even after weeks of participating in this program, i still didn’t think there was any way i would be able to jog for 5 full kilometers. for the first time, i believe i might. i just need to set the right pace. slow and steady may not win the race, but at least it will allow me to finish!

passing through week three

after a rotten seventh run, i put extra energy and effort into my eighth. i was shocked to see that according to the runkeeper app, my pace was even slower! “this does not make sense,” i thought. “last time i walked for long stretches and today i ran almost the whole way… how could my times be slower?”
i recalculated the numbers in my mind and they just didn’t add up. what if runkeeper isn’t accurate? what if my pace doesn’t equal my time?

i wore my trusty stopwatch for the ninth session. i used runkeeper to determine my distance and the watch’s chronograph to tell my time. i pushed myself to jog the entire first km so i could compare it to my previous minutes. and even though runkeeper recorded my pace as 8:41, my actual time was 6:32! it was so satisfying to see that i hadn’t taken two steps back, literally!

jogging the first kilometer winded me, so i had to walk portions of the second. i seem to expend my energy pretty quickly and i’m not sure how to conserve it. i think my pace is pretty slow, so i don’t know if i could take it down a notch. i definitely use the full recovery period in between intervals, so it will be interesting to see how i handle next week’s training plan where i have to run a mile all at once.

as an aside… there was a bake sale at my workout park this weekend, and these women set up their table full of tempting treats on the side of the track! not near the soccer fields where kids play games, not in the picnic area where families enjoy lunch, but at the edge of the one mile loop, where walkers and joggers sweat for their health. i had to listen to ladies bellowing as i ambled by, “we’ve got chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, fudge bars and brownies!” i couldn’t help but feel like i was being tested. at least i passed!

great expectations

i came into this program not knowing what to expect, but having high expectations of myself. right now, instead of feeling empowerment and pride, i’m feeling a little disappointed. because i’m not meeting those expectations, i worry about being less capable than i thought. this running roller coaster has a lot of highs and lows. unless i get off the ride, i’m going to continue having both good days and bad.

i had a bad day on my seventh session. i *finally* got an iphone and bought one of those belkin arm bands to go with it. i have more than ample arms, so i didn’t think there would be any issue with it slipping off. apparently it doesn’t matter how big your arms are because nothing i did could keep it from sliding down to my elbow. after several unsuccessful attempts to secure the band, i finally just held it in my hand.

i downloaded the runkeeper app on my fancy new phone, but i couldn’t hear the audio cues (i had the volume turned down, duh) so i ended up doing the warm-up three times (although i only did the arm swings once, snicker). i had no problems skipping, but after the intervals, i just couldn’t run. for the first time, i wasn’t able to jog a km. and i couldn’t take brief breaks either, i had to walk for long stretches. my times were over a minute higher than they had ever been.

even though it seems like i’m regressing instead of progressing, i’m going to let this stop me, i’m still going to get out there and try. i haven’t missed a workout yet and i want to keep that gold star streak!

finished the first two weeks

my fifth and sixth workouts were neither inspirational nor devastational. i pushed myself to jog the entire distance both times. my body didn’t need to stop, it just wanted to. i’m still struggling to regulate my breath, i haven’t found a rhythm that doesn’t make me feel like my lungs are going to burst by kilometer’s end, but i’m proud of myself for finishing the first two weeks. i’ve stuck to this running program like glue and haven’t missed a single training session so far!

next week’s plan includes skipping intervals. my trepidation is more about attempting to double the running distance. skipping seems almost normal next to the wacky arm swings in our warm-up!