runner girl: week 7

The week was “ok”. My mood was all over the place and I just felt “blah” a lot.

EXERCISE

Week seven of The Beginning Runner’s Handbook run/walk schedule is in the record books with more interesting stories. We were a bit intimidated by session one this week because our jogging interval times doubled. Well, about a mile or so into the workout, we realized we were being tracked by a coyote. Nothing like a wild animal skulking about to take your mind off your workout. It tracked us for over a half mile and was closing in when we hit the turn to head back toward the van. Our abrupt turn startled it and it crept back into the brush.

I had also forgotten to load the workout into my watch so we were having to keep track of what interval we were on. We ended up running through all but 20 seconds of the last walking interval because we forgot my watch wasn’t going to prompt us. We felt really stressed during that workout, but we finished it.

Workout two had the challenge of bad air quality. It was really smokey out and our nose/throats were burning. We couldn’t wait for that to be over.

And then came the third workout. We went out a little later and encountered far more people and dogs than usual. Normally we don’t encounter other off-leash dogs, but plenty of on-leash ones that like to lunge at us and our dog. All the while, my dog trots along with us happily off-leash (lots of training went into this).

I truly don’t care if someone’s dog is off-leash or on, as long as they have a way to get their attention and recall them when necessary. We learned early on in his training that our dog would need an electric collar for those sensory overload moments (mainly bunnies and squirrels) to prevent his running into traffic or knocking down small children (kids are so fascinating to him). He just could not hear us when he reached that point of excitement. The collar immediately gets his attention and snaps him out of it.

I’m also very conscientious that not everyone on the planet likes dogs or feels comfortable around them. So, if there is anyone approaching from any direction, my dog is always recalled back to my side until we have enough clearance for him to explore without anyone feeling threatened.

During session three, there another “off-leash” owner hanging out just off the trail with his dog. Not having knowledge that this man was there, I didn’t recall my dog at the point I normally would, and he basically let his dog do whatever it wanted. It was intent on disrupting us from the moment it spotted our little troop. It taunted my dog to play and he relented. We continued running and I finally got through to my dog with the recall button on his collar (it vibrates and gets his attention). The other dog ran ahead of us once my dog rejoined me and stopped right in front of me on the trail. Seriously, my dog doesn’t run the show, did it think I was going to let it be in charge? Ha! I don’t think so! So, we had a bit of a battle of “chicken”, I growled and lunged at the dog. It moved and left us alone. The owner never once called to his dog and certainly didn’t apologize. Bad owner.

Ok, ranting about irresponsible dog owners aside, we finished the workouts. I’m just thankful these encounters didn’t result in any injuries.

NUTRITION

Yesterday, I hit 56 days on the nutritarian diet, but it wasn’t my favorite week. I’m not sure what else to say besides that. I’m going through a phase where I don’t feel like I’m releasing any weight, but it’s probably not helping that the husband wasn’t available to weigh me again on Friday. I almost caved and looked at the number just so I could weigh in, but I didn’t.

Could also be hormonal, and my eyes play tricks on me when it comes to my size anyway. I guess I’m still dealing with residual effects of disordered eating.

Plus, nothing tasted good this week. I mean, nothing. I found myself hunting for ways to make my food taste like something… anything… without resorting to salt. I did use honey a few times and tried some rice… blah. Maybe this is another layer of detox? I don’t know, but I hope it subsides soon.

My glands swelled up for a couple of days too. Of course, my wrists, hands, feet, and ankles look a lot thinner. LOL I guess that’s something at least.

 

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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.

quote

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.

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.

running on hold

The plantar fasciitis is back. Ugh. I guess taking so much time off from running wasn’t ideal. Maybe that’s why a body in motion should stay in motion. I’m back to walking for now. I’m sad that I won’t be able to train with the husband.

On the plus side, walking is reminding me to keep exercise pleasant. I want to crave movement, and I know that won’t happen if it’s grueling. Do I think I’ll run again? Absolutely. However, I’ve got to be proficient at walking first though.

 

run like a child

So, today I jogged. For the second time this week. Nothing monumental. No ribbons or medals were earned.

I jogged.

On the trail.

For one minute increments.

Now, considering I was logging 10+ milers a year and a half ago, that 60 seconds of slow jogging seems rather… rather… well, like a giant leap backwards. Of course, this obviously is the wrong perspective to have if I want to keep from traveling down the “I’m so disappointed in myself” path.

On the flip side, if I compare that 30 minute trip down the trail with being so overcome by adrenal fatigue I hardly moved for two whole days (like to and from the bathroom only) back in December… and the continuing bouts of fatigue since then… well, those 10 jogging minutes (20 walking) suddenly become significant don’t they?

I’ll admit, running in the past meant “calorie burn” or “weight loss” or “payback for binging”. Some of those old feelings about it went by the wayside during marathon training in 2013, but since I stopped dieting back in November, I’ve struggled with my feelings toward running. After Black Belt (which required running), I just couldn’t bring myself to run. I was too tired (like debilitating) and everything hurt. Running just wasn’t fun anymore.

Today wasn’t about anything other than getting outside with the husband. It wasn’t about time, or mileage, or calories, or weight, or “getting in shape”, or even health. It was about breathing deep of the fresh morning air. It was about seeing the sun rise. It was about wearing the dog out. It was about chatting with the husband between jogging intervals (we had two minutes of walking recovery between each). It was about a desire to recapture my love of running. It was about wanting to do races again.

Yes, there was a time when I loved to run. I believed I was fast. I believed I could run all day. One cousin in particular remarked that she never ran more than when she was playing with me… because I ran everywhere. I didn’t walk if running was acceptable. It was faster after all.

As I sat her contemplating this seemingly inconsequential run, I remembered the episode of Friends where Phoebe runs. I don’t remember the rest of the episode, but the part where she runs in the park with Rachel is hilarious. She looks like a free-spirited child… with a bit of goofyness thrown in. Rachel describes her as” a cross between Kermit the Frog and The Six Million Dollar Man”. When Rachel tells her friend she’s embarrassed to run with her, Phoebe has this to say about her running style:

“I’m more free y’know? I run like I did when I was a kid, ’cause that’s the only way it’s fun. Y’know, I mean, didn’t you ever run so fast you thought your legs were gonna fall off? Y’know, like when you were like running towards the swings or running away from Satan? (Rachel looks confused) The neighbor’s dog.”

Little kids don’t run because they are worried about cholesterol, or their weight, or the red-velvet cake they ate last night. They don’t even run to hit a certain weekly mileage. No, they run for the fun of it. They laugh while they run. They strike out with reckless abandon toward their next destination. Obviously, adults have to be more careful, but I do believe it’s possible to be physically active for the fun of it… for how it makes you feel even.

Did you know that just a 10 minute brisk walk can improve your mood? Good heavens, what woman couldn’t use a mood enhancer sometimes? You don’t even need special gear for that. And that’s just the physical movement of walking. Imagine if your walk was associated with marveling at God’s beautiful creation? Maybe you spot a cute bunny on the side of the trail nibbling some clover. Or perhaps you get the delight of a family of deer crossing the trail ahead of you. Or maybe it’s just hilarious to see your dog so excited to be outside smelling stuff. I’ve been delighted by snowflakes landing on my “cheeks and eyelashes”. I’ve enjoyed the fragrance of spring flowers blooming… the magnificence of the trees towering above and the majesty of the mountains rising up to meet the sky.

Hmm, today’s jog is seeming more significant by the minute.

I think.

I like.

Running.