runner girl: week 1

Well, the first week of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook run/walk schedule began great, and then we had a weather detour in the program. Still we managed to complete all three workouts this week.

I feel like I probably look ridiculous when I “run” as I’m trying to keep it slow. I looked up several videos on how to focus on proper form and go slow. I’m convinced I look silly, but I didn’t care because I was getting out there and doing it.

The husband and I felt a little under the weather, but it didn’t seem bad enough to skip getting in the workouts. In fact, I felt recharged after, which is highly unusual for me when I’m first starting back to running. Usually I feel pretty worn out and am dreading going out again, but not this time. Going much slower proved less taxing and more motivating.

Plus, my new Garmin Forerunner indicates I’m getting stronger – that’s always encouraging. I even added a bit of jump rope for good measure.

Unfortunately, the week didn’t end as well as it began. Frigid weather (and snow) blew in again on the 13th and we probably should have forgone the workout in the cold on the 14th (although Garmin gave me a Frosty Badge for that one). The workout itself wasn’t difficult, but my body went through some dramatic temp extremes during it. It didn’t once cross my mind that I might have already come down with the 15 year old’s cold (had already gone through the husband and the 13 year old) and any bit of strain would push me over. Well, I was down for the count shortly after we got back and spent all of the 15th in bed.

 

I hoped this would help me recover more quickly than everyone else, but you’ll have to wait till my next post to find out if it did. Most of this week, I stuck very close to eating Nutritarian… not perfect, but close. That came unraveled once I realized I was truly sick though. There are go-to foods that being sick triggers a craving for and I gave in.

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runner girl: returning to the land of the living

I’ve been away dealing with life and surviving… for the most part anyway 😉

I’ve read quite a bit already this year (I’ll consider sharing my reading list soon), and I recently read a book recommended by one of the Taste For Truth Support Group members titled, Every Body Matters. This was packed full of conviction about my lack of consistent exercise.

So, I decided to make a change. Yes, I need to move more, but specifically I want to run again. I feel like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life when he cries out, “I want to live again, please God, let me live again.”

I want to run again, please God, let me run again.

I’m starting from the beginning and will be baby steppin’ my way through this process. I picked up a copy of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook to get myself into the mindset of being a true beginner. I’m trying to wipe out my preconceived notions and reservations from injuries past. I’m refusing to look back wistfully at my “glory days” and choosing to accept that I am starting from a place of excess weight and lack of consistent conditioning. It is what it is.

No amount of whining is going to change the present facts, but devising a plan and taking it one day at a time will likely change my future. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve begun walking more consistently to prepare for the training schedule outlined in  The Beginning Runner’s Handbook. Here’s what those walks looked like:

As you can see from those average paces, I’m not fast. On April 2nd, I made the mistake of trying to hit 3 miles in a time constraint I had. I shouldn’t have been doing any jogging yet. I was overdressed, got overheated, and then got sick. Now, if I can’t carry on a conversation, I slow down. I’m not trying to win any races, I just want to slowly build up and avoid injury in the process. Plus, I don’t want to dread going.

Yes, that’s correct, on the 6th, I stopped to pet a donkey. If you’re following my “God delights my heart” photos on Instagram (@ImBJuled), you’ve already seen this little darling.

Sometimes I get distracted during a workout, but hey, I’m trying to enjoy life a bit more these days… some might call it stopping to smell the roses, but in this case, I just had to stop and pet the donkey.

When I first started walking again, I had to renew my mind about it every time because I really didn’t want to go. I was in the mindset that walking a couple of miles wouldn’t really make a difference anyway, but that was a lie. Thankfully, I didn’t listen to it because now I look forward to walking. Plus, now I’m not missing out on as many sunrises, sunsets, and donkey encounters.

sidelined runner girl

 

Well, I repeated Day 1 of Week 2 in our running plan and that was it. My hip, knee, and foot swelled up pretty bad. It has bothered me all week. As much as I don’t want to admit this, my body is just not ready for running.

I used to have a personal “weight limit” for running. I wouldn’t run if I was above it because I would end up with serious knee pain when I did. I’m currently above that limit; However, I am hopeful that as I continue to release weight, I will eventually reach a size more conducive to running again.

Until then, I plan to walk and do pilates. We’ve suspended our gym membership for a few months, otherwise I’d probably return to spinning as well.

So, I’m sidelined for now… but not for good.

 

beginning runner girl: week 2 stats

Let’s just be honest, this was not a week to write home about. I didn’t even see the point in posting about it, but decided there is a point afterall. What is it? Well, to show that we are going for progress, not perfection. There’s not much to say because we only completed two workouts this week, so let’s get to it.

WEEK 2

Day 8

DAY 8(52 degrees, 6mph winds, fair) Perfect weather, but I felt horrible. It was as though I had lead in my shoes. I couldn’t believe how heavy I was breathing… going as slow as I was. I had trouble recovering fully during the walking minutes too. I wanted to cry and say, “I can’t do this today.” It is days like this that make me want to quit. I do know it isn’t unusual for me to feel this way at this point in my cycle. This helps me realize that the feeling will pass, but it doesn’t eliminate the mental/physical struggle.

Day 9

DAY 9(52 degrees, 5mph winds, fair) Another beautiful morning, but I seriously could not breathe. I want to say it seemed slightly easier than Day 8, but I just don’t know. I kept thinking, “Why am I doing this to myself?” This is miserable. It’s one thing to be miserable when you’re going fast, but to be miserable going slow… it’s frustrating. The husband wasn’t breathing heavily at all of course (yeah, I’m a little jealous). Two crummy workout days in a row and I was seriously thinking maybe I’m not ready for this. Naturally, this seems so ridiculous, it’s TWO consecutive minutes for crying out loud. People in much worse shape than me can run for two minutes… and faster too.

I don’t know, outside of a miracle from God, how I kept putting one foot in front of the other. I had a headache the rest of the day, and I feel like I may have a fever. Maybe I’m sick? Maybe it is wicked PMS? Whatever it is, I hope it passes quickly. I’m not looking forward to the next increase.

OOPS

And that’s where week 2 ended. We didn’t do anything the rest of the week. I began to feel worse, and the week was busy… and then my motivation was completely gone. So, we will be repeating week 2. I’m trying not to be too frustrated with myself. I’m trying to move on. I’m also trying to think positive thoughts about running.

beginning runner girl: week 1 stats

Whether you’re returning to running after a long break (like me) or just taking up the activity for the first time, I hope this post series encourages you in the process. There is no shame in starting slow… I mean, the tortoise always beats the hare right?

Our goal is to avoid injury. Or at least minimize the risk. It’s difficult to become a runner if you can’t run. So, let’s check our egos at the door.

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The husband and I used this 8-week program as inspiration for drawing up a plan that better fits our schedule. Plus, we have a bit of The Hanson Method still looming in our brains. One of the things we really liked about their plan was the variety. It wasn’t the same thing every day.

So, we’ve added our own “freestyle” workout once a week to break up some of the monotony of increasing running minutes. This workout appears on day 6 of our schedule. It’s basically a 5 minute warm-up of your choice followed by 30 minutes of walk/run. You decide how many minutes you run at a time based on how you’re feeling physically. This would be the day to push yourself to go longer if you’re up for it, but remember, we’re still keeping it an easy pace.

I’m calling this “freestyle” because I don’t plan to look at the clock, distance, pace, steps (until the end). I’m just jogging for the fun of jogging… walking when I need to… and jogging some more.

Let’s get to it. This was the first week of our training plan:

Day 1

DAY 1 (66 degrees, 9mph winds, cloudy) I didn’t want to go, but I decided to focus on how good it would feel to accomplish the workout… to check the “done” box. Left leg/hip feels stiff. Tried to keep it slow. Sped up at one point to pass a walker. Overall it felt awkward, but the truth is that it won’t feel this way forever. “This too shall pass.” 

“…let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
~Hebrews 12:1a-2

Day 2

DAY 2(52 degrees, 10mph winds, fair) We had to get up earlier to get this in. It was easier than yesterday to get out the door. The left leg/hip felt a little better, but still achy. Also, my arms are sore, but I’m not sure why. Even though we were focusing on keeping it slow, the cooler temps seemed to cause us to pick up the pace slightly. Still feeling awkward but not as bad as day 1.

The husband and I were a bit defensive with each other – maybe it was getting up earlier and the stress of the day ahead. Maybe the dog was just a bit too excited. Whatever the cause, this didn’t make it an enjoyable workout, but we did apologize to each other. We’re going to have days like this, that’s just life.

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” ~ Ephesians 4:32

Day 3

DAY 3 – Can you even call it a “rest day” if you’re on your feet all day? I forgot to wear my fitbit but I’m guessing I easily hit 6K+ steps without having an official workout.

Day 4

DAY 4(64 degrees, 8mph winds, mostly cloudy) I wore my new shoes today. They felt stiff. Had some pain in my left foot/hip when we first started. I should have gone sleeveless because I got a little too warm. We encountered a crazy dog so we had to speed up to get past him as quickly as possible. My dog is pretty well behaved (can keep him off-leash most of the time), but when another dog is lunging and barking at us, he gets distracted so I had to leash him for a bit. The sunrise was gorgeous though… beautiful pinks and purples. It was purely delightful. 

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” ~Psalm 37:4 (KJV)

Day 5

DAY 5(81 degrees, 12mph winds, mostly cloudy) Just an easy walk to stretch out the legs a little. Easy days are important for “active recovery“. It’s true that active recovery workouts aren’t absolutely necessary when you’re building a base. It would seem we could skip these workout days, but that would be a mistake. We know that a body in motion tends to stay in motion, so by doing this walk we are feeding our motivation. There is still some physical benefit of course, but at this point, the benefit is largely psychological. Plus, this helps me break in my new shoes a bit.

The left foot is still bothering me and my left knee felt tender when I got up this morning.

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” ~Psalm 139:14 (KJV)

Day 6

 DAY 6 (61 degrees, 2mph winds??, fair?) Um, I’m fairly confident the wind was blowing harder than 2mph. I was going to guess closer to 15 mph and it was mostly cloudy, not “fair”. Bizarre.

These numbers are estimated because I forgot to stop my workout and it logged the entire drive home. Next time I’ll set it as a timed workout so it will shut off automatically. I know I had more consecutive running minutes than the previous workouts, but they were slower for a few reasons: A) I was going slower so I could do more consecutive minutes. B) I was on a part of the trail with a more dramatic incline. C) I ended up running with the 11 year old who hasn’t been feeling well. She needed to go even slower and walk more frequently. D) The wind was definitely much harder than 2mph and right in our faces while going uphill.

For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.”
~ Psalm 18:29 (KJV)

Day 7

DAY 7 – Another rest day. Not much more to say about that.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…” ~Psalm 37:7a (NIV)

Well, that’s week 1. It’s fairly simple, and right now that’s exactly what we need. Join me next Sunday for week 2.

geared-up runner girl

One of the things I love about running is the simplicity of it. Most people are born with everything they need to run. We don’t need fancy gear or equipment. I’ve actually “jogged” in my house… barefoot… before. Yes, as a workout, not just running to the pot that’s boiling over.

Of course, I do live during a time when runners have access to some pretty cool gear. When I laced up my running shoes as a teenager, I just ran. My distance was measured in “landmarks”.

“I’m going to run to the Jr. High and back.”

If I wanted to know the approximate distance, I might do the route in a car. Most of the time, I just ran till “I was done”.

Even though you really don’t need much to run, I thought I would do a post on the running gear I use the most. We’ll start with the most obvious… footwear.

Makes My Toes Smile!

I started wearing New Balance brand running shoes in high school. I don’t remember why we chose New Balance, I just know I liked them.

I few years ago I deviated from New Balance (because I didn’t like the colors that year). I tried Brooks… and ended up with plantar fasciitis (not fun). I think the salesman was just trying to unload that particular shoe and wasn’t looking for what was best for me.

From Brooks I went to Mizuno. I loved that pair of shoes, except for the sole of the heel. It had a huge gap that would get rocks lodged in it. And running in snow was horrible because it would build up in the gap. Every so often I would have to stop running to scrape out the rocks and/or snow. It was good for pavement running, but pitiful for trail running in the Rocky Mountains.newbalancepurple

So, I went back to New Balance and I’ve had 4 pair since the Mizunos. It’s time to replace my current pair. I wear a stability shoe for the pronation control. This means a heavier shoe, but that’s life. I’m not in love with the current colors, still, I ordered the purple ones. They won’t match anything in my running wardrobe… hmm, might be an excuse to pick up some new tops.

Another important part of footwear are the socks you choose. I’m kind of picky about my socks. I wear a thick running sock. I like the added support and the wicking power. I tried out a few different brands and styles before I settled on one. I only wear these socks in my running shoes.

Distance, Pace, & Cadence… Oh My!

My first “running gear” purchase as an adult (other than shoes) was a Timex Ironman watch. It would do intervals and other cool timing-type things. Of course, it couldn’t track my distance.

gpsIn 2010, I upgraded to a Garmin Forerunner 305. Sure, it’s bulky compared to modern versions, but I can fit a lot on that display. I’ve considered upgrading again, but this device has been pretty reliable. The main reason would be total vanity. The newer watches are super cute and more feminine (for a gps watch).

I can track distance, cadence, pace, splits, heart rate… and a whole bunch of other things. I can upload custom workouts and then follow the prompts during the run. This was really helpful during marathon Training.

Thanks to another handy Garmin device, I can use my watch at the indoor track too. This is particularly handy when we have slippery conditions outdoors. I won’t run on packed snow because I have twisted my knee doing so in the past. Yes, living in Colorado, I should probably invest in some running cleats, but I haven’t. I don’t need any added help in injuring myself.20150831_122143 (2)

Instead, we purchased Garmin foot pods. The added benefit of the foot pod is that it also tracks “steps per minute” (cadence). I’m not going to get into the reasons for having this information, but we do like having it.

When calibrated, the foot pod can also track my distance/pace on the indoor track. It’s pretty accurate too. Not as accurate as running outdoors with GPS, but it’s close enough and keeps me from resorting to a treadmill (fractured my foot years ago falling off a treadmill… um, yeah.)

Other Stuff…

There are other things I use like a hydration belt for long runs (which I won’t be doing for a bit), and proper clothing. Those are dependent on weather/distance so I’m not going to go into all of that until I need to. I have running sunglasses but I don’t wear them unless it’s really windy. It’s not fun to have dirt or bugs fly into your eyes at 25 mph.

So, that’s my short list of running gear. I’ll be posting the nitty gritty details of our first week returning to the trails on Sunday. Until then, may the trail rise up to meet you!

presson

 

 

returning runner girl

For years I ran for calorie burn. I ran so I could binge and not gain weight. I ran to punish myself for the binge. I ran because others didn’t. I ran so I could say, “I’m a runner”. Essentially, I ran for all the wrong reasons.

And then, after years of a love/hate relationship with running, I did this thing called “Marathon Training”, and my perspective changed. I couldn’t focus on weight loss during those months of training because when I under ate, I couldn’t run. I was running for a non-diet mentality goal. Unfortunately, the Dallas Marathon was cancelled that year due to an ice storm. All that work and we didn’t get to run the marathon. Such a disappointment. Yes, good did come from it, but one of the negatives was that it killed my desire to run. It was like running on the trails reminded me of the… dare I say it… grief.

I’ve attempted to resume running several times since, but have always quit before the beginner aches and pains stop. I’ve had excuses like adrenal fatigue (valid), illness, injury… and just plain “I can’t want to”.

I miss it though.

I miss the beauty of a trail run no matter the weather and the surprise wildlife sightings. I miss the sunrises and waving “hello” to fellow trail patrons. I miss the runs where my cadence falls in a natural rhythm and it feels effortless. I miss the quiet. I miss the finish lines. I miss that point where the daily aches subside and strength replaces them. I miss crying half-way through a run I didn’t feel like doing… and finishing it anyway. I miss the confidence and the added energy. I miss stretching at the end of a long run. I miss dirty running shoes and clothes soaking in “sport wash” to get the smell out. I miss the mental clarity. I miss working toward a fitness goal with the husband.

Yeah, I miss it. That last one especially.

So why am I not running? Because those weeks and months that it takes to build a base are not fun. There are more bad days than good in the beginning. Knees hurt, clothes rub, cadence is off, extra pounds jiggle, lungs burn… everything seems to scream “STOP!” It doesn’t take much to convince you to skip a run during this phase. Of course, growing the habit that keeps you running is made all the more difficult by these things… and we all know starting a habit is already harder than maintaining one.

I think I’m ready though because now I see I’ve been allowing a negative mind to rule in this area. I believe renewing my mind will be pivotal in this process. I know my paces are going to look grandma slow and I must be ok with this. I know it will take time to build the base and I must be patient. I know this means starting with a really basic training plan to, hopefully, make this transition period as painless as possible. Ok, maybe “painless” isn’t realistic. How about less pain.

The husband and I wrote out an 8 week plan today to gradually get us running 30 consecutive minutes 4 days a week. Yes, we could get up to 30 minutes in less than 8 weeks, but we’ve decided that we’ll treat ourselves like absolute beginners. We want running to be as enjoyable as possible and, well, debilitating soreness doesn’t have the appeal it did 20 years ago. If we learned anything from the Hanson Method, it was to allow the process, be patient, and easy runs should be easy. We’re not trying to impress anyone here.

At the end of the 8 weeks, we intend to sign up for a 5K. Nope, it’s not a marathon, but again, we’re treating ourselves like beginners. We want to get back in touch with the reasons we like to run… and that’s all.

I hope to post my progress through the plan on Sundays. I’ll be keeping track of overall distance and pace, as well as making notes about stretching, soreness, renewing the mind etc. I hope this will help others who want to begin running. So, keep an eye out next Sunday for the first week of training.