The Start of 13.1

You may have seen me talking about it on Twitter or Facebook, but I am so excited about it that I just have to say it everywhere: I officially started my half marathon training tonight.

I registered for the half at the Columbus Marathon the other night.  I thought to myself afterwards that maybe I really shouldn’t have done it.  Who knows how my ankle will be?  Who knows if I won’t come up with some other injury somehow? But I did it anyway.  By the time the race comes, it will have been a year since I had my gallbladder surgery and watched with envy as those runners last year gave it their best while I couldn’t do the same.

It was a small start today (only 2.34 miles), but a start nevertheless.

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April Update!

I think of all the months so far, March was probably one of my most productive. Despite my herniated disc acting up again, I got a lot of things accomplished. I would say about half of my goals were attended to in a satisfactory (or approaching it) manner.

Let’s check in…

Goal: Train for and run the quarter marathon at Cap City and the half-marathon at Nationwide.
Status: About halfway through March, I actually bailed on my 10k training program and started a half-marathon training program. The pace seemed overall better for me and I would end up running the required distance to complete the quarter marathon before May.  Unfortunately, with my back being in the state it’s in, we are looking at maybe only getting to walk at Cap City. Fingers crossed that my doctor’s appointment this week brings good news for my running efforts.

Goal: Strength train 3x a week.
Status:  In March, I said I wanted to do some sort of physical activity every day of the week except for one rest day.  I didn’t quite keep up with that, but I got pretty close.  I held pretty steady to approximately 3 days a week at the gym.  I even started to really track my strength training, which I have been horrible at doing previously.  We’ll wait to revise this goal until after my doctor’s appointment since I am not supposed to be lifting things as of right now.

Goal: Regularly donate to charity and start volunteering.
Status: I am not “regularly” donating, but I am trying to keep up with giving donations as birthday gifts for people.  We’ll revisit this one at another time.

Goal: Write every day.
Status: Getting sooooo much closer! I definitely picked up the blogging pace and I even started looking at the story I’ve been working on a little bit more.  Still need more consistency.

Goal: Read at least one book a month.
Status: Big win on this one.  I finished four books: A Clash of Kings, the three books in the The Hunger Games trilogy
(barely counts as it was my third time through), and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I have anxiously started another book already: The Portable Door by Tom Holt. I will be happy to keep this reading trend up in April.

Goal: Save money/budget reboot!
Status: Sort of sluggish for March overall on the money front. For April, this goal and the next goal are both tied in together. I think it will be a really good way of getting myself on track with budgeting in general.

Goal: Try something new once a month.
Status:  March’s something new meant going to a running clinic.  For April, please see my “In the Works” post. I am really excited about this one!

Goal: Catch up on intended blog entries.
Status: COMPLETE! Yay!

March Update!

Well, February was full of a little bit of progress for some things, a goal achieved, and other goals not. Let’s review..

Goal: Run a 5k! And then run in at least the Cap City and Nationwide races as well.
Status: 5k COMPLETE!! If you missed my celebratory post, go read it here.  As of Saturday, I officially registered for the quarter marathon at Cap City.  What’s the difference between a quarter marathon and a 10k? About .35 miles.  The 10k is 6.2 and the quarter is 6.55.  I am looking at a few 5ks between now and Cap City, but I’m not sure yet whether I will sign up for those as well.

Goal: Strength train 3x a week.
Status:  I have been in twice a week at least most weeks with my trainer.  My commitment for March is to do something every day except for Sunday.  So for instance, today I had a sesson with my trainer and then in a little while, I’m going to go out and run.  Tomorrow, I will probably end up in the gym and/or doing a short run.  I am planning to alternate running and gym days except for my days off from work where I plan to do both because I can space out the two.

Goal: Regularly donate to charity and start volunteering.
Status: I had my volunteer orientation for Planned Parenthood in February.  I have yet to actually do any volunteering, but there are a few opportunities coming up.

Goal: Write every day.
Status: I have started work again on a story that I was messing around with, though it requires some research that I have yet to do.  Still working toward this goal.

Goal: Read at least one book a month.
Status: I am almost done with A Clash of Kings (finally). I started to re-read The Hunger Games in anticipation of the movie at the end of the month and that book really flies by, so no worries on that.  If I’m lucky, I’ll finish three books in March to make it even for the year so far. Ha!

Goal: Save money/budget reboot!
Status: Getting things on track here! It would be helpful if one of the cats hadn’t required 3 trips to the vet in 3 weeks.  He seems to be doing better now, so I will forgive him putting a cramp in my plans here… 😉

Goal: Try something new once a month.
Status:  Well… I am sort of having a hard time coming up with ideas for this.  We are going to cheat for February and say my 5k was the big thing.  It was a big thing, so I guess it isn’t cheating, but still… Any ideas on things to try?  I am considering anti-social media days where I don’t go on Twitter or Facebook for the whole day. I don’t feel like it’s such a hard thing to give up, so maybe it would be more like doing it for a week.  Still playing with that one.

Goal: Catch up on intended blog entries.
Status: I have drafts, oh believe me, I have drafts. Ha! My new March goal is this one.

Mission Accomplished: 5k!

running apps

That lovely badge can now proudly be displayed as my own!  That’s right.  As of Saturday, I officially completed my very first 5k race.  My goal for so many months has finally been realized. 5k doesn’t seem like a lot.  It’s a mere 3.1 miles after all.  For someone who barely ran five seconds before this past fall, I’d say that’s something.

As I mentioned previously, the Royal Family 5k was my chosen first race.  It’s part of the Disney Princess Half-Marathon weekend which was filled with 20,000 women. Or princesses, I guess?  I figured that it was a good way to see my parents (who happen to live close to Orlando) and who wouldn’t want their first race to be at Disney?  Lucky for me, my boyfriend R, decided to come along for fun and running.

We arrived the day before the weekend’s expo and packet pick up started on Friday. The expo was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.  I was nervous and the only thing about the expo that made me any less nervous was my sudden search for compression socks.  I was having problems with one of my ankles and thought those might help.  I didn’t really want to be in the middle of the race and start having problems.  I ended up with some Sigvaris athletic recovery socks, which I’ll talk about at some other time, but which seem to be very helpful!

After getting our packets and expo-ing, R and I did some Disney-related activity.  We ended up at Epcot, walking around what would end up being part of our race route.  This was also R’s first race and so it was nice for both of us to see what we were getting into.  Not that there was much chance of backing out.  We headed to bed early that night in order to be ready for our very early morning.  My mom was nice enough to be our race transportation and she was going to arrive bright and early at 5:30am.

pre-race

So nervous!

There’s me.  We arrived at Epcot before our 6:15am race-call time.  The race wasn’t supposed to start until 7am, so we had plenty of time to drink water, check out the other racers wearing costumes (lots of tutus and tiaras!), and listen to the DJ they had going.  Jeff Galloway was there and spoke a little.  Before we knew it, though, it was time to get into the corrals. There were several corrals based on pace and I was aiming for the last one before the walker/stroller/wheelchair corral, but because the “chute” itself was not wide enough and the 5000 or so people that were there were having a hard time getting into it, we ended up amongst the strollers.  When the fireworks(!!) went off signaling the race start, it was a very slow procession toward the starting line.

starting line

Start!

Once we made it to the starting line and were off, we had to maneuver behind the people walking and all those strollers.  This wasn’t altogether bad since I like to start out my runs with a nice walk to warm up, but it eventually became a problem. For some reason, I hadn’t really thought about my plan of action for getting around people.  I had concentrated so much on being physically prepared for the race that I didn’t think too much about the technicalities. As I started to actually run, I found myself outside of the path a lot of the time, trying to avoid the people walking.  The race was a bit of an obstacle course all the way through.  So many people, so many different speeds.  Sometimes it worked out in my favor and I would get behind a slower group that gave me an excuse to walk a little bit.

There were lots of awesome things about the course…

Characters

There were different Disney characters waiting at different points.

I realized pretty quickly a few of my fears were unnecessary.  For one, I was not going to be finishing last.  Secondly, despite posting a pacing requirement, it definitely was not enforced at any time that I could see (I know this is not true for the 1/2 marathon the next day since they had closed roads, etc for that).  In fact, there were people lined up wherever there were characters. Mickey and Minnie were there, Belle and the Beast, Pocahontas, some others I can’t recall.  There were also lots and lots of Disney staff cheering the runners on!  Everywhere you looked, there was another one saying “Yeah! You’re doing great!” or ringing a cowbell or clapping, high-fiving, or waving as we ran by. While I don’t carry water with me on my runs, the two water stops along the route were nice.

Eye on the prize: finish was past the globe.

So close!

Time went by so quickly.  Before I knew it, I was running under that giant “golf ball” and headed toward the finish.  I have to admit that all throughout the race I was getting pretty emotional on and off.  Here I was! I was really doing it! After all that anticipation and training, I was reaching my goal!  I held it together most of the way through, but then I saw my mom waiting near the finish line and almost lost it.  I was so grateful that she was there.  I powered through and crossed my first ever finish line at about 43:50 with a 14:03 pace.  The fact that I did it under 45 minutes was more than I could have hoped for, but had secretly wished was possible.

Finishing is winning.

I didn’t finish fast.  But I finished.  And set a personal record (that I get to beat next time).  Talk about a runner’s high!

R wasn’t too far behind me in finishing his own first 5k.  It was awesome to get to do the race together, even if we weren’t side by side the whole time. We got our medals, got our picture taken, and grabbed our recovery goodies before meeting up with my mom again.  After hugging her, I promptly started to cry. Just a little. 3.1 miles isn’t a very long, but the road to get there was. 30 years long, technically.  I’m so glad that R was there to race with me and my mom was there for support.

I couldn’t have asked for a better first 5k experience.  The race itself was easy going and full of fun.  The course was great. For those interested, here’s the map…

The red is me. The green is what Runkeeper thought was the route.

Also, here is a video I found of the 5k.  The “virtual host” shows you a bit of the race route, etc.

I am already finding other races that I want to be a part of and gearing up for a longer distance next time.  Hopefully, I will find myself a little faster and with another PR.  Can’t stop with those goals!

In Case You Missed It…

I RAN 5k TODAY!

It was slow. It was still run/walk/ralking, but there you have it:  I have officially reached a goal.  I even did it below the pacing requirement for the 5k in February.  Afterward, I kind of felt like a superhero.  You read about “runner’s high” and I thought I knew what that felt like since I have enjoyed running so much and feel good after I do it, but this… This was beyond that.  Superhero, I tell you.

So what’s next?  Besides the race, I still have to build up my endurance to actually run steady for the entire distance.  I have really, really improved on my road running endurance.  I can run for much longer periods than I used to, but I am still having trouble pacing myself.  I seem to be averaging anywhere between 14:00 min/mi and 9:00 min/mi, though between 10 and 12 min/mi seem to be the norm.  No wonder I’m tiring out quickly and having to walk. Ha! I like those speeds better and they feel better, but I just can’t sustain them yet.

I’m pretty confident that between now and the end of February, I can work some of these kinks out, increase my speed, and go further than 5k before then.  It will be especially possible if the winter stays so mild here in Ohio and I don’t have to be afraid to go outside in the snow!

But here’s to today!! Yay for 5k!

Running! Update! Again!

Today was a big day.  Today, I ran for 20 minutes consecutively and for over a mile and a half straight.  Both are accomplishments for me.  If you had asked me a few months ago whether I would/could do that, I would have laughed at you.  Thinking back on when I was just having a hard time running for five minutes straight puts it into perspective. I have changed up my training a little as time has gone on.  I realize now that when I started, I really had it all wrong.

I am again using an app for training.  It’s the same app I have been using, but they renamed it and did some altering to the plan since the official Couch-to-5k training is under trademark. Honestly, the offical C25k app is not so good compared to this one, so I’m sticking with it.  The same app makers have other apps for 10k and a half-marathon as well.  Hopefully it will be easy to just keep on training.

As far as current training goes, I have also stopped focusing on increasing my speed.  For awhile, I was really worried about pace and making sure that I was always increasing it. Now, I have kept the same pace but am just working on sticking to what the training requires as far as time is concerned.  When I am running outside and can’t maintain a set pace as easily, I go for distance and usually end up around the same pace.  I can see now that my problem when I finally get to the actual 5k is going to be the pacing.  I try to improve it every time I am off the treadmill, but it’s really hard to stay consistent.  I just think I need to pay more attention to how the pace feels on the treadmill and try to replicate it on the ground. I am not quite fully prepared for super cold outdoor running, but I am planning on getting outside as much as I can until it starts snowing.

All in all, I am super happy with the progress.  After my run today, I have just felt like I can totally kick that 5k’s ass come February.  I’m already looking at the next race after that. Ha!

 

I haven’t posted resources in awhile, so here are some things I have been looking at…

The Once and Future Way to Run :: written by the man behind Born to Run, includes a video about the 100-up exercise

Stretch It Out :: stretches!

Running with Eric: Run Drills and Technique :: a video of drills and technique, primarily with a forefoot strike focus.

The Clymb :: gear at a discount

Cold Weather Training and Your Body

Capital City Half Marathon :: what I plan on doing after February

Running! Update!

My last few posts have been lacking a certain… something… Like running!  Lots of excitement there!

My birthday was the 19th and, as promised, I registered for my first 5k.  Lucky for me, the boyfriend agreed to run with me!  So Royal Family 5k, here we come!  I am really just beyond excited.  Now, if I could just get that pesky sister to come, too…

In light of being officially registered for the race, I got back onto the Couch-to-5k train.  I am almost done with week 5 and I am only doing it when I am running indoors on a treadmill.  I am still having some serious trouble pacing myself outdoors.  I have also been having some trouble with my asthma as well with the air getting colder.  I am going to see if breathing through something like a neck gaiter will help me since the air will be warmer that way.  I’m also going to start just using my rescue inhaler before a work-out, as is often directed for people with exercise-induced asthma. I use my maintenance inhaler every morning, but maybe that’s not enough as it gets colder.

Last week, I had the pleasure of running with different people, something I haven’t done before.  On Tuesday, I went out to a park with my friend.  He helped me on my running form and breathing techniques.  It was really eye-opening just to run with someone else who was paying attention. I felt bad as I am still slow and still walk often during runs, so he wasn’t getting much of a work out, but I benefited a lot from it.  After that, on Thanksgiving day, my stepbrother, his girlfriend, and I went out for a quick go around my sister’s neighborhood.  My stepbrother had us doing fun things like sprints and skips, etc.

I am trying to work on things two-fold.  I want increased distance and increased steady running time.  They will both come together, but I know I have done more distance when breaking up my run with walks. One way or another, I just have to keep progressing so that 5k is in the bag by February.  Even if I don’t get as far as I want, I still have to say that I am learning nothing feels better than getting out there and running.  I don’t always feel like it, but once I get going, I always feel better after.

One Step at a Time

I haven’t run in 11 days.

My last week at the gym, I did 8.3 miles on Couch-to-5k over four days. The Columbus Marathon was on Sunday and seeing those runners made me so jealous. I don’t have much interest in a marathon right now (let’s complete that 5k first, shall we?), but it was something to see other people doing what I am just not allowed to do yet.

After feeling kind of poorly the last two days, I was anxious to wake up this morning and see about going for a walk. I took my time gearing up. I ate some breakfast, rested a bit, and then put those shoes on.

Post-Surgery Shoes

I was so excited just to walk! I had big dreams of breaking into a jog without any problem, but as soon as I started out, I knew that was unlikely. The movement of walking did cause some discomfort in my stomach at the surgery invasion points. I kept my hands near my stomach for most of the time out. I didn’t need my pillow for stability, but I needed a little something.

I started out walking on a route that I had mapped a couple weeks ago. I have wanted to transition to doing some road running since I have only been doing the treadmill. There are a lot of pluses to the treadmill: always knowing your pace and forcing yourself to adjust one way or another, climate controlled, etc. But there are a lot of nice things about the road. The boredom of a treadmill, whether you’re listening to your iPod or not, is still there. You’re running in place. The benefits have outweighed that downside for me for the most part, but being outside today really made me see how nice that was. I had interesting things to look at, fresh air, no one on the next treadmill screwing up my heart rate monitor (ha!), etc. It was really nice.

I also used the walk to test out two different apps on my phone for the purpose of outdoor running: MapMyRUN and RunKeeper. I did a total of 1.22 miles today, or about half of a mile out and back. The first half, I did with MapMyRUN. Maybe I didn’t understand what I was looking at, but the pacing part of the app was confusing to me. I appreciated the map and GPS capability, but I felt like the pace was off. On the walk back, I used RunKeeper, which seemed a little bit less complicated and more accurate with what made sense for my pacing (which wasn’t fast, believe me). After getting back and looking at what the two apps came up with, it seemed pretty comparable. I liked that RunKeeper automatically gave me 5min interval audio cues on pace and distance (something I imagine you could turn off, if desired). I also appreciated the ease of the RunKeeper website. Both the mapping ability and the work-out input function were simple and did all the math for you. Of course both apps automatically load your recorded work-outs onto their respective sites so you can look over your stats. Overall, I think that RunKeeper wins. I have been tracking my total mileage over at dailymile, but may start to switch things to RunKeeper.

So now, for those of you keeping score, my current running apps:
C25k app – for Couch-to-5k training
Electric Miles – logging miles in dailymile
RunKeeper – outdoor running with GPS, routes/maps, stats, etc.

I hope to get back out and walk a little farther and/or faster tomorrow. I think as long as I don’t overdo, this can only help my recovery.