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!

fourth run, no fun

i have to be honest, i’m not really relishing running. for me, these workouts still feel like work! i don’t think i’ll ever be one of those people who genuinely enjoys exercise. i just do it because i know it has to be done.

i finished my fourth run, and although it’s been tough, i’ve managed to jog the entire kilomter each time. i thought it would get a little easier, but for some reason, this round felt much more difficult. i’m not sure if it was because we ran 30 second intervals instead of ten or that there wasn’t the 1k walking time to recover between bouts. it might be because the weather was was a bit warm and i jogged in the mid-day sun.

whatever it was, i struggled with not stopping and walking when i wanted to. we’re supposed to take advantage of the free form and listen to our bodies, but how do i know when my body actually needs to stop versus when it just wants to? i worry that i won’t push myself to do what i’m capable of. i mean, if i did it before, i should be able to do it again, right? or is it possible that our bodies are less capable on different days?

third time around

it was a sunny sunday. the mile loop around the park was littered with dogs walking their owners, parents towing their children and tweenagers holding hands. there were a couple of other runners. a super fit guy trotted around the track, huffing and puffing as hard as i do. i was glad to know i wasn’t the only one who sounded like they were losing a lung.

i reviewed my 1 km markers during the warm-up. i vowed to run every inch of that 0.6 miles to make up for the second workout shortfall.

while timing my walk, i saw a severely obese woman struggling just to put one foot in front of the other. her legs were swollen and discolored but she continued to trudge on. i noticed people on the path staring at her, some of them in disbelief, others in disgust. i didn’t feel either of those things as i looked her. what i felt was pride. we weren’t so different. we were both out of our comfort zones, physically challenging ourselves, determined to meet our goals. i was proud of us for being there and taking the necessary “steps” for our health. as we passed one another i smiled, not one of those trying-to-be-polite half-hearted awkward smiles , but a genuine one, full of appreciation and acknowledgement. she glanced up from the ground for the first time, and smiled back.

i’m thankful for my body. it may not look the way i want it to, or be able to do all the things i wish it could, but i’m grateful for it. i’ve starved it, scarred it, poisoned it and pushed it to the limit. yet it’s still here, working hard for me.

these were my thoughts as i picked up my pace, approaching the rock that marked the end of my run. i had done it again! it wasn’t beginners luck! as i slowed down, out of breath, attempting to recover, i wondered how the hell i was going to be able to run 5 times that distance. i wasn’t sure, but i would train and try, knowing that my body would do it’s best.