Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Progress - who's a runner?

I've been feeling very contemplative about my running lately. I feel like my improvement is a constant look back at where I've been and a look ahead to where I'm going. I'm approaching my 6-month anniversary of getting off the couch; it's just over a week away. Since I took that first step in Couch to 5K, I've improved my 5K race time by over 3 minutes and run 6 miles twice. I've experienced some aches and pains and little niggling things that luckily haven't turned into fullblown injuries. I've seen my waistline decrease and my cardiovascular fitness increase.

Still, sometimes it feels like improvement takes so long. Sure, I've made big strides (ha ha! strides!) in my training, but I still run slow. I still want to be able to run 10 miles and know I'm a ways away. It's still very hard not to compare myself to others and feel envy in their abilities, although I know a vast majority of them started out right where I am, right now. I buy gear and wear all the right stuff and get out there every day I have scheduled but some days I still don't feel like a runner. When does that change?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sometimes you just gotta sit on the couch

I ran 6 miles for the first time on Sunday. It was a scheduled 5 miler, but after my light week last week due to Thanksgiving and running schedule for the 5K I ran that day, I decided to go for a new distance. I definitely felt it in my hips once I was finished. Most of my runs might be a little taxing but I could go a little further. Sunday, uh, no... I was happy to just stop in my tracks once my Garmin beeped the end of the final mile. It was a push to get through the fifth mile, let alone the sixth!

I put in an easy 3-miler last night, and could tell that Sunday had taken more out of me than I realized. So, luckily, today was a much-needed and already scheduled rest day. Some nights you just have to put on your pajamas and put your feet up and relax.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Gobble Wobble 5K Run

I went into the 5K race yesterday with an A, a B, and a C goal. My A goal, the easiest, was beating 37 minutes. My B goal was hitting 36:30, and my C goal, the stretch, was sub-36.

It was a cold morning, but not crazy. I wore capri tights, calf compression sleeves, a short sleeve t-shirt, and arm sleeves. I felt perfectly dressed. I also wore Brooks Ravenna 3s with my new custom inserts. I was ready to rock... but not sure how fast I'd be. I mentioned to a friend also running the race that I didn't feel fast at all.

The race was the largest I've been in so far. According to the race results, over 900 people were involved. The course involved two loops around a pond; fairly round and a concrete path. The course did not work well for a race of this size... I was pretty much in the middle, and had to deal with dodging walkers both at the beginning and during the second loop around the pond. The elite runners had it even worse since they had even more people to dodge... just about everybody on their second time around the pond. They had a guy in a turkey suit on a bike trying to clear the left side of the path to make room for them to go by; some little girl running with her mom somehow didn't hear the screaming turkey-suited guy and got in his way as he was going by and took the poor guy out. Luckily the fast runners still made it through, but the turkey guy had to jump back on his bike and book it to get in front of them again to continue clearing the way.

I spent the first couple minutes of the race dodging walkers. I'm not sure why so many walkers were in front of me at the start; there were areas for 6, 8 and 10 minute mile runners, and although they didn't have any slower pace time posters to help us penguins line up, I thought I was around where 12 minute runners should have been to start the race. It was supremely frustrating and I used a lot of energy bobbing and weaving. Walkers should have started behind me! Somehow, I still ran my fastest mile of the day.

Halfway through the second mile, I realized I was still pretty much keeping the same pace I'd had for the first mile. I was stoked... way faster than my previous races. By the time I got to the third mile, I was worried about running out of steam. I slowed down just slightly... and when I found my finishing time, I regretted that slowdown. However, I more than met all of my goals... my official chip time was 35:13!

I wondered after the race if I had pushed that third mile instead of letting up a bit, could I have come in under 35? It's hard being that upset, though, when I came in so far under my original goals. Perhaps sub-35 will one of my goals for the 5K in the first week of December.

Mile 1:  11:11
Mile 2:  11:15
Mile 3:  11:31
Mile 0.1: 1:16

After that, Mike and I headed home and made our potato dishes (sweet potato casserole for me, garlic and parmesan mashed potatoes for him) to take to turducken dinner with the rest of our friends downtown later that evening. We even squeezed in an hour long nap, though we could have done with one much longer. I had to put in a few hours of work today and felt tired and lazy when I got home... back to training tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Goodbye Saucony, Hello Brooks... again

I ate too much all weekend. I drank too much on Saturday. We hosted a pig roast at our house, second annual, and I feel like I put on 10lbs. I'm sure it's not that much, but uggghhhhhh...

Due to the overindulgences this weekend, I didn't get out for my "long run" (quotation marks because my "long run" isn't all that different from my shorter runs at this point in my training) on Sunday. I knew I had to get out there yesterday, although inertia had already set in and sitting on the couch just seemed so easy. Somehow I got the gumption to get off my butt and get out there.

I decided to take the new kicks out for run #2. I figured I'd go for 3 miles, today's scheduled run, and see how bad the damage was. I felt really good, didn't go out too fast, and ended up stretching it into a 4 mile run instead. The bad news, though, was that the new kicks gave me blisters. No bueno. I had bought them online at Road Runner Sports, so back to the store they went.

I got suckered into doing their ShoeDog gait analysis. It was fun and I was glad to have my self-analysis mostly verified or any remaining questions cleared up. I'm a fairly neutral runner, medium arches, with just a slight bit of overpronation in my right foot. I'm the line between Neutral and Stability, they said. Ooooh but I spent some money. I got the custom inserts they molded to my foot and replaced the sorry Sauconys with some badass Brooks; the Glycerin 10 to be exact.

Brooks Glycerin 10
I love the color of the new shoes, although the splashing about of the model name on the lateral side is a bit much. I'm planning on taking them out for a run tonight (with the custom inserts) and seeing how it goes. The shoe journey has taught me about my feet, my gait, and the fact that at least for now, I'm a Brooks girl.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Longer distances, new shoes

I made it through the 5 mile run on Sunday. I'd been dreading it for several days... my last attempt at a 5 mile run was draining and felt so difficult. Luckily, this time around was very different! My last mile was my fastest, and I probably could have kept going. It's nice to see progress like that... especially since I'll be doing a 6 mile run in a few weeks.

In the meantime, I've ordered yet another pair of shoes. I got some Brooks Glycerin 9s on ebay, and they're great; however, I wanted to try a shoe from another brand and to mix things up. I tried on a bunch of shoes at a few local stores to get an idea of what works and what doesn't. I tried on a Saucony PowerGrid Triumph 9 and fell in love with how it felt in-store; hopefully that translates into an awesome feel during and post run.
Saucony ProGrid Triumph 9
I tried a few more Asics, giving the brand another try, and really liked the feel of the Cumulus 13 and also the Nimbus 13. Unfortunately, as a general thing, the heels of Asics just don't seem to be snug enough. I loved the cushion and the gel, though. Unfortunately the newer editions of these shoes (version 14 for both) seems to be moving away from that uber-cushioned feel.

The new shoes should arrive on Thursday; they were on sale at Road Runner Sports, and I also got a special price on top of my VIP savings which made it just too awesome to pass up. I'll probably wear them in my easy Friday run to see how they actually are under working conditions.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Running by feel

I've been running for almost 5 months now. I'm no longer doing walk/run intervals like I did at the beginning (thank you Couch to 5K for getting me started), but I'm still no speed demon. I'm okay with that, really, I am -- I know it will come eventually -- but it's hard not to push myself during this time of mileage buildup. My main focus right now should be just logging miles.

I found (well, a friend of mine on found) a great mileage-building schedule that I've adapted slightly for my preference in rest days. I'm not worried about what pace I'm running for this training; the purpose is to build up my endurance so that I can run a 10K at the end of January and not feel like dying at the end. I've never run more than 5 miles, so I'd like to get to running 6.2 with ease and get my automatic PR for a first race at that distance. Eventually I'll move on to the half-marathon training, since my friend Rae and I have officially signed up for the Denver Rock n Roll Half Marathon next September.

However, with all that said, it's hard not to want to get faster. It's also hard not to go out too fast on my longer runs and wipe myself out before I'm done. I've done a lot of reading about how to train, what pace to run at, that sort of thing, and I really need to be taking things slow and steady. I've been working on trying to slow down my first mile and being a bit more consistent with my splits. For example, I went on a 4 mile run today. My first mile was only a second slower than my fourth, which I pushed a bit at the end, and the first mile was quite a bit faster than my second and third miles. I tried to run based on "feel"... I "felt" like I was running much slower than I actually was in that first mile.

Using my Garmin has turned into more of a check/verification than anything else. I want to get the point where I don't have to look at the Garmin to confirm how fast I'm going. Eventually I want to be able to feel the effort, know my pace, and be able to adjust accordingly without relying on the watch. I guess that's another thing that will come with more miles and building up my stamina once the miles are banked.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Training Plans

My friend Rae and I are planning on running a 10K at the end of January, and we're also going to sign up for the Rock 'n' Roll Denver Half Marathon next September. That means I need to build my base mileage to get ready for the distance!

There are a ton of plans out there. Some have more running days in the week than others. Some include speedwork. Some include cross-training. I'm not ready for a fancy plan, though... I just need to build miles. I'll go to a class at the fitness center I work at if I feel like doing some cross-training... I'd rather not have that built into my running training plan.

A Daily Mile friend told me about the mileage build-up plan she's using, and I took a look. The basic premise is exactly what I need... 4-5 days of running a week, slowly building the long run, and it starts at the level I'm currently at. I modified the order of runs a bit, since the days off didn't match my personal schedule, but it looks good and I'm excited to see how it goes.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Hustle 5K

My BF Mike and I and our friend Rae ran in the Halloween Hustle 5K at Hudson Gardens in Littleton, CO yesterday. It was Rae's first race and my third. Mike ran cross country in high school, so who knows what number race it was for him.
Me, Mike and Rae - pre-race
The temperature hadn't cracked 40 degrees when we left the house (I'm pretty sure it was actually still around freezing). Littleton isn't that far from us, so we got there with plenty of time to pick up our shirts and bibs and head back to the car to warm up.

Mike models the race shirt
Ostensibly it was a costume run, but I'd say about half of us didn't bother (I can barely run in normal clothes, I'm not about to make it worse with a costume). However, we did see an awesome Scooby Doo Mystery Machine costume for a kid in a wheelchair; the construction and artwork was quite well done. Mario and Luigi showed up with blow-up sledgehammers and were going to town on each other during the race. There were a few other interesting costumes but nothing so incredible that I quite remember them today.

Luckily the sun started warming us up just before we started lining up. My long sleeve tech shirt, capri tights, calf compression sleeves, fingerless gloves, and fleece headband were pretty much spot on for me. Mike usually runs quite a bit faster than me (over 2 minutes per mile faster), so I was expecting him to take off and leave us in his dust. His knee was acting up a bit, so he stuck around with us for maybe 5 minutes while he waited for it to loosen up. Then it was just us girls!

Our first mile was way too fast at 11:51. I was feeling great, but we weren't sticking to our plan to start slow and then pick up speed. In fact, even with that first mile coming in too speedy, we continued to pick up the pace until about halfway through the second mile. I told Rae we should slow down and she said she was thinking the same thing. The second mile was a bit better at 12:06. Unfortunately that first mile speed came back to bite us; Rae developed a side stitch going into mile 3 and we had to slow it down for a while and ended up with a 12:25 third mile. At this point, I looked at my watch and knew I could get a PR, and Rae was okay with me taking off. I took off in a sprint that I couldn't sustain, had to let up just a bit, and man I was wheezing coming into the finish line - the first time I had an issue with my breathing all race. The last 0.1 mile was at a 9:27 pace. I got my PR... time was 37:26. Beat my last race in mid-September by about 15 seconds and feel like I can break that 37 minute mark next race. Shortly after, Rae came in and we enjoyed some water and gathered ourselves. We learned some lessons about racing; I enjoyed my first race with a running partner.

As we left the finish chute volunteers handed us our goody bags and we took a peek. The bag felt awful light... yeah... a coupon to a sports store and some brochures. What?!? That's it?

No food was offered. Just water or gatorade. There were two vendors handing out stuff; one was FRS energy drinks, and the other was 5-hour energy drinks. While those were nice (even though I don't really do energy drinks),  it was a bit disappointing. We left fairly quickly since there wasn't anything to stay for.

Mike and I headed to a diner near home for some good post-race greasy breakfast. We discussed the race and how it went. The course was beautiful; the location was easy to get to and parking seemed ample (although we got there early enough for it not to be an issue either way). We were disappointed with the swag but I guess the money that would have gone toward food went toward the tech shirt instead of a cotton t-shirt. There are other races held at this venue, and we'd be happy to check them out. We're not sure, though, that we'd return to this particular race. All in all, it was a good day and we enjoyed beautiful weather and beautiful views.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

New milestone - 5 miles!

First things first... my doctor's appointment was very enlightening. I am in fact a very allergic person. It looked like my skin was trying to jump off my back for the grasses!

grasses on the left
My insurance isn't the best, so we didn't test everything; this at least was a good indicator that I'm not imagining my symptoms. I was given lots of good medicine, and also an inhaler for suspected exercise-induced asthma. Since that visit, my runs have felt better. It wasn't a cure-all, but I'm feeling better. So much better, in fact, that I ran 5 miles today!

A friend of mine ran the Boulder Marathon today. I'm not sure I want to ever run a marathon, but I'm not ruling it out. However, my long-term goal is to run a half marathon, and the Boulder Half Marathon sounds like a good beginner race to try. So, I've got a year now to see if I can get myself in shape!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tough week so far

I've gone running the last three days. Sunday is usually a longer run day; I don't work, don't have any commitments, and can get out there for as long as I like. Monday is hit or miss; sometimes my afternoon is free, like it was yesterday, and sometimes I have to squeeze in some time in the evening. For half of the year, Tuesday is one of two softball nights, and if the game is late enough, I'll get my run in, otherwise it's usually a rest day (although I decided to squeeze it in during my lunch hour today). I've been having fun lately running the streets in my neighborhood; just north of me is a quiet little set of streets with little vehicular traffic. Runs in the middle of the day see maybe one or two cars every ten minutes. Each of the runs so far this week, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, have been in the 'hood.

Runs this week have not felt great. I've been working on getting in at least one 4 mile run a week, and Sunday is the natural candidate for that. Wow, did I ever struggle with that run. I felt like I lost my breath during the 3rd mile. The only thing that kept me going was my goal distance, and even though I felt like I was "walking with a bounce" at the end, I made it. I chalked up the bad run to just being one of those days. But then it happened again yesterday, and even worse... I didn't even get 2 miles in. I couldn't breathe. I felt defeated and disappointed. I figured, okay, we'll try super-slow the whole way during today's run... and yeah, got my 2 miles in, just barely, and at just under a 13 minute/mile pace. Ouch.

I don't know what's up with my breathing. I have an appointment with an asthma/allergy specialist on Thursday, and I'm hoping that I'll find some answers there.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Clothing for winter

So far, I've only run in one cold, nasty day. I wore a long-sleeve tech shirt, a fleece vest, running capris, and a fleece hat. The clothing felt good, and I ended up having a good run. The weather has turned warm again (for now), so it's back to short-sleeve shirts. However, I've been stocking up my winter gear to be ready when the temperature drops again, in addition to preventing injuries. I've picked up a few extra long-sleeve shirts and found a great fleece vest at TJ Maxx today.  In addition, I'm eagerly awaiting the delivery of my RecoFit calf sleeves (scheduled to arrive tomorrow!)

RecoFit Calf Components
and I picked up some Pearl Izumi compression sleeves a couple of days ago.
Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Arm Warmers

I'm excited to see what running in cooler weather is going to be like!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Avoiding injury

Last week, I had a softball double-header in very cold weather. It didn't help that we played at 8:15 and 9:15. I stretched, I tried to warm up, but somehow I still managed to tweak my left calf. I took the next day off, then felt good about running again. Wouldn't you know it, but dang it, I tweaked the calf again, playing softball last night. I think it's the sprinting and rapid direct changes when I run the bases, because my normal running routine (slow and steady) doesn't bother it.

I did end up going for a shorter run today (two miles) to make sure I don't make it worse. I felt it, but it was all right. I ordered some calf compression sleeves from Running Warehouse which should be here in a couple of days. Hopefully they'll do the trick; even though softball season is almost over, I still worry that one wrong step will really mess it up.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Online support

I've been lurking on the  Runner's World Beginners forum for several weeks now. The people there are very helpful; lots of opinions, lots of folks at various stages of their running careers. Some have been running for decades; others, like me, having been running for mere months. It's fascinating to read their stories, their ups and downs, and race reports. I often see great questions and even better answers. It's a place for inspiration and commiseration, sympathy, support and cheerleading.
Part of the joy of finding this forum is the miles game. There are maybe half a dozen teams. Each week, players submit their miles, and each teams' place in the weekly standings is determined by the average miles of all its members. It's not uber-competitive, but it does give me an added incentive to make sure I'm getting out there and keeping up my running. I had a lower week last week, and I'm motivated this week to do better. Go Team Phoenix Rising!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Winter is coming

Whooo today was cold! I wasn't sure what my work schedule was going to be this afternoon, so I tried to get up this morning to go out for a run. "Tried" is the key word there. I got up, watched TV, sat around, and then had to go into work.

Luckily having to get ready for work and leave the house was the kick in the pants I needed for the rest of my day as well, not to mention the fact that my only client of the day came in to see me for a post-half-marathon massage, and mentioned the full she's doing in May. Nothing like seeing someone where you might want to be in the future for motivation!

There are some great trails around Westminster City Park, and I got myself lost on them this afternoon (no really, I got lost... I had to find some street signs when I came up to a major road to figure out where the heck I was!). It was a cold, dreary, snowy/rainy day.

The high for today was at 2am, and was a measly 36F. When I started running around 2pm, it was definitely spitting snow (changed into spitting rain by the end of my run). It was my first time running in this kind of weather, and I didn't know how it was going to go. By happy chance I wore the perfect amount of clothing -- a pair of capri tights, long-sleeve tech shirt, fleece vest, and a fleece hat. I wanted to run 4 miles, but got a little thrown off by a bit of walking I did in the middle to find street signs. In the end, I ended with a total of 4.4 miles of running, and with a pace of around a 12 minute mile, which is my best yet for any runs over 4 miles (honestly there haven't been that many). If this is a sign of how I run in the cold, bring on winter!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Upcoming races

Calf feels better today, but still decided to take the day off to make sure I give it rest and make sure I don't reinjure it or make it worse. The idea of a run wasn't terribly tempting today anyway; I think I've been a little tired and run down lately, and it was nice to use my unexpected day off from work to putz around the house and not worry about having to do anything.

I'm the kind of person where if I don't have motivation to keep me honest, I let things slide... I lose interest... and next thing I know, I'm done. In order to prevent this with running, I've decided to sign up for a bunch races and give myself something to work toward. My boyfriend and I ran a couple of 5K races in September, and we've signed up for 5K races coming up in October and November with a really good friend. We've also signed up for another 5K in December. I've also got my eye on a 10K in January, although I haven't signed up since I want to make sure I can actually run it. The first couple races are for Halloween and Thanksgiving; the second is in fact on Thanksgiving Day. I'm hoping that by Halloween, I'll see the improvement I've been waiting for the last few weeks.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Last night was my beer softball league, and for the first time in a while, I decided to tie one on. It left me feeling not 100% today, but I still managed to take a few turns in the park behind our house and get in three miles. I then had a double-header with my other softball team tonight. The combination of being tired from last night, already having a few miles under my belt, the super cold temperatures at night, and a few quick sprints around the bases gave me a twinge in my left calf tonight. I'm hoping it's nothing, just a tweak, a little overuse... we'll see how it goes in the next couple of days. It's funny... when I first started feeling it, my first thought was, "wonder how this will affect my running schedule... will I still be able to go for my run tomorrow?"

Monday, October 1, 2012

Tonight's run and perspective

I set out for a 3 mile run tonight just before 6pm. That's a popular time to be on the trails around here; everyone's out of work and the sun is still out. There are a lot of fit, athletic, outdoorsy folks in my part of the world, and I see them out on my runs quite often.

Tonight was a bit depressing. I started off on my warm-up walk, and was passed by two attractive young people running at a decent clip and holding a conversation. If I was running at their pace, I'd be wheezing and done in about 2 minutes. My own run was okay, but not fantastic; I pushed myself a bit and breathed quite hard. Although I ran under a 12mm pace, I still want more than I have right now and it's hard to be patient and wait for the results of my work.

When I got home, got showered, and thought about it, I realized that I haven't been running that long. In June I couldn't run for a measly minute. Two days ago I ran for an hour and reached my farthest distance to date, 4.5 miles. Impatience is a part of my personality; while I know this about me, it doesn't make it any easier to wait. Sometimes I just need to take a moment and think about where I've been to appreciate where I am now, and not worry too much about the future.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My favorite sports bra ever.

I used to get cheapie sports bras from Target. They don't provide the support I need for running, though, and were questionable for the other athletic stuff I do. I finally decided to break down and buy myself a big girl sports bra!
I had a coupon for a local sports store, so I checked out their stock. I really like the sports bra I got from them, I do, but it's not my favorite.

Under Armour Endure sports bra

I really like the criss-cross straps in the back, but the front of it cuts a bit into my armpits. It's still comfy, so it's definitely near the top of the rotation.

However, I found another bra at my local running store, and I have fallen in love. I have it in both black and white.

Moving Comfort Fiona sports bra

I love this thing. It stays put. It fits around my rib cage, and the shoulder straps are adjustable. It also wicks like nobody's business. I have become a Moving Comfort convert.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Lap around the lake

Tonight's run was short and quick. A mile around Crown Hill Lake... 11:14 minutes. It's a good thing it was short... I couldn't slow down, although I could tell I needed to if I was going to run anything more than a mile. However, it was getting late and dark, I'm afraid of crazies when I run at night, and I had just given four hours of massage and didn't really have the energy, mental or physical, for anything more.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New trail, better times

I decided to go numerous loops around the park behind my house today for a more ambitious trail. I headed to Little Dry Creek Trail down the street from my house and checked out the damage from last night's torrential downpour in a little out and back run.

The last week or two of running hasn't been good. I mentioned before that I felt like I was in a slump; my pace was slow and my breathing was crap. I had exercise-induced asthma in high school, and realized that this is the first time I've really, truly exerted myself since organized sports back then. I found an over-the-counter asthma medication and tried it out today. 

Wow. What a difference. The first mile was pretty good but my breathing wasn't there. I struggled a bit going into the second mile, and thought, oh well, the pills didn't work. I walked a bit at end of that mile, enjoyed some beautiful scenery, chilled out, and turned around to head back. My third mile was the same pace as the first, but felt so much easier. I was feeling really good by this point. I cranked it up for the last full mile and ran it in an 11:14 minute pace, and then pushed the last 400 feet at a 10:31 minute pace!

I'm still slow, but this felt gooood.

Parts of it could have been faster... we had a pretty heavy rainstorm last night and a couple of the underpasses were muddy and slick. I had to tiptoe my way through these to prevent myself from skidding out. It was crazy to see the damage from last night's storm... wish I'd had a camera on me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I've become a doper!

Okay, not really. But I did pick up some vitamins at Walgreen's last night that I'm pretty excited about.

I already take a crapload of calcium due to a medical issue (parathyroids got taken down when my thyroid was removed), so I'm in the habit of taking horse pills daily; adding one more isn't that much of a hassle. I also don't have the best diet, but I'm working on that. Hopefully these will help.

What I especially liked about this particular formulation is that there is not an inordinate amount of any one thing -- it's a good mix of a bunch of vitamins and none over 300% of the recommended daily value. Sure, I'll take 1300% of my daily intake of Vitamin C if I'm fighting off illness, but this supplement is meant as just that... a supplement.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Scheduled Rest Day

Some weeks I take easier than others. I think this is going to be an easy week, especially after yesterday's milestone. I'm actually feeling a bit sore and tired for once. I could go running today... but I feel like taking the day off. Now if only I could find a beach...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

New milestone - 4 miles

I've decided to embrace my slowness this week, and went for a slower, longer run tonight. I ran 4 miles for the first time in my running career!

I wasn't fast. In fact, I'm hoping that this is the slowest I ever run 4 miles. At least I was good at pacing myself.

The first 5 minutes is my warm-up walk; I stayed pretty darn close to 13:30 for each mile time, then did a little cool-down walk before coming inside and stretching.

Have I mentioned how much I love my Garmin? This thing keeps me going way after my mind tells me that I've gone long enough.

Yesterday's run

Ran around Lake Arbor in Arvada yesterday. Got to see lots of high schoolers getting pictures taken for some semi-formal dance. What a bunch of hoochie mamas. Two good things about that, though... every time I went around their group, I was motivated to keep going. Also, they made me appreciate the natural beauty of the lake that much more.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Aches and pains

I got my first chiropractic adjustment ever yesterday. I'm a little bit ashamed to say that... I've seen the benefits every week in my position as a massage therapist in a chiropractic office, and I saw how it benefited my mother when I was a kid. I just didn't think I needed it.
Turns out I did. The ache/pain I've been feeling for the past month or so in my left hip was likely caused by the imbalance in my hips and sacrum. My left leg was shorter than my right... but now they're back to same length. I also had an issue with the vertebrae in my midback and neck. I ached a bit last night, but today I feel pretty good. Since it was my first session, the doc stayed pretty conservative in treatment; I still have some issues to work on, and I bet I'll be back.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Tough run today

I've now been running just long enough to recognize when I'm not having a great week. That would include this week. I want to be able to run a 10K in the near future without killing myself, but I can't seem to break through the 5K distance.

I started the Bridge to 10K this week, and so far, I'm not doing so hot. Week 1 is supposed to be 3 sessions, consisting of jogging 10 minutes, then walking 1 minute, and repeating 4 times. So far I've done that once... and the next two sessions I was only able to eke out 3 repeats. Today was just plain rough and I really had to mentally push myself to finish the last 5 minutes of the third 10 minute jog, and ran over a minute slower than my first 10 minute jog. I felt like I couldn't catch my breath. I'm not sure what is causing the slowdown, but I'm hoping that after a rest day tomorrow, things will pick up again.

In better news, I bought some new duds off ebay yesterday and got them hand-delivered that night. Yay for the seller living five minutes away from me! I wore them today and am pleased with my purchase.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Testing shoes

When I first started running, I wore a ratty old pair of Nikes that I had bought for clinic in massage school. They were serviceable when I was starting the C25K, but as I started being able to string together more minutes of running, it became more obvious that they weren't going to cut the mustard.

I have odd feet. I know, I know, most people probably say that, and mine aren't freakshow level (I don't think), but not just any old shoe fits. I have low arches, bunions, and narrow heels. My toes are long and flat. There are entire styles of shoes that I avoid altogether. So, I was a little anxious to start the search for running shoes that weren't too expensive, and also about putting myself forth as a runner when I was just barely starting out. Were the salespeople going to laugh at me?

I had no clue where to start. I knew I needed something better than what I had, but what? And where should I buy them? I journeyed to the mall (any excuse to go there is always good in my book), and wandered through a few different sports stores. I ended up price checking and buying a pair of Brooks Ravenna 3 shoes from the last store I visited based on the recommendation of the clerk there. I had tried on a few pairs in other stores, but this was the first -- and only -- pair I tried on at the final store. The salesperson was awesome and took me seriously and put me in exactly what I needed.
Brooks Ravenna 3

They've been great, and having new shoes is always a motivation to me to use them. However, at the Panerathon 5K, we received coupons to the Road Runner Sports store in the same shopping plaza as the Panera store. I'm already a VIP member at RR, so this was an added bonus to go shopping. After the race was over, I headed over to see if my shoes are really as awesome as I thought, or if they were just awesome compared to those ratty old Nikes. I worked with the cheeriest girl ever to sell footwear.

I tried on Mizuno Wave Inspire 8s. They had a weird bump that pushed into the medial side of my heel; if I noticed it just walking around, I couldn't imagine what it would feel like after a few miles.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 8

 I tried on some Asics Gel-DS Trainer 17s. They were okay, but didn't seem to fit my foot right. 

Asics Gel-DS Trainer 17

Then my salesperson put me in a pair of Brooks PureCadences. 
Brooks PureCadence

I was there with my boyfriend who wanted nothing more than to finally head home after the race and get in a nap before his afternoon work shift, so I felt a bit pressured to speed up my normally hesitant, wishy-washy shopping style. I thought they felt like a dream! Great fitting, enjoyed walking around in them, hopped on the in-store treadmill for a couple of minutes and still liked them. I walked out the door with them.

The next day I took them for a run. Everything that felt great walking around turned into not such a good thing when I was running. It felt like they forced me to run on the sides of my feet, and in fact, the lateral sides of my feet starting going a bit numb. My left foot hurt. My right ankle didn't feel quite right. I slogged out the run, determined halfway through to return these bad boys and resolved to spend more time with the trying on process in the store next time.

I ended up returning them last night. Road Runner Sports has a great shoe return policy; 90 days to try, wear, workout, see how they go, and if anything is wrong with them, they accept them back. Road Runner only had the Ravennas in the color I already have in stock at the store, so I ordered a pair from their website in a different color (the color I *really* wanted once I found out that it was available, *after* I had already bought my purply-blue pair).

Brooks Ravenna 3 - anthracite/silver

They should arrive early next week. Another perk of the Road Runner VIP membership is free shipping!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The beginning... sort of

I was never a runner. Oh, I played sports in high school like millions of other kids, and I'd say that at that point in my life I was fit, but running was something I did as part of something else. Not on its own, because really, what's the point of running over there just to run back over here and waste time (or so I thought back then)?

Keeping fit with an 18-year old body was a whole lot easier than it is now, almost two decades later. Add in work stress, social life commitments, going back to school, and a little bout with thyroid cancer that threw my metabolism out of whack, and I felt like was a fatty. Sure, I wasn't morbidly obese, but I certainly wasn't happy or healthy.

My friends would decide to do something strenuous, physical, some fun activity that honestly my body couldn't do with my current level of fitness; I'd either beg off due to work or "just not interested" and either try not to take notice when they left me behind, or watch from the sidelines. It got tiresome. I was tired of being the fat, lazy friend who couldn't, or didn't, do anything. I wanted to be able to do those things, too!

I still retain some of my muscularity from high school and some college athletics; I have some residual strength, I just didn't have stamina or endurance for longer aerobic activities. I decided to change that after I got the results from my first annual post-cancer exams that I was clear. Sure, my life was never really in danger, but what better time to make some changes and get a little healthier? I'd heard about the Couch to 5K running plan; I had even sort of started it last winter, but just fizzled. This time, I had determination and desire.

I finished Couch to 5K sometime in August. I don't know exactly when I stopped following the schedule, but since I was feeling good and ready to just keep running on my own time, I took off the C25K training wheels and kept on going. I ran my first 5K race on September 8, 2012, and I ran my second 5K on September 16. My friends and I are planning on running another 5K on Thanksgiving Day and I'm actually excited about it. Since I already know I can do it, I'll be training in the time between now and then to improve my time. I've also moved on to the Bridge to 10K plan and will be looking for a 10K race to run in the spring. Who knows... I even have the idea to run a half-marathon in the back of my head! I'm still considered a beginner runner, though, so I'll consider this the beginning.

I was a skinny, flexible kid.

High school - field hockey days - probably the last time I ran on a regular basis.

Recreational softball. Yes, it's a beer league. I was red and sweaty and winded that day.