Sunday, August 31, 2008

Speed

Today was a DOR (day of rest) for me, but I decided to go to the gym and do a little speed work. Of course, I use the term "speed" very loosely, LOL, since my pace is very conservative!

I only did about a mile, but was it tough! I chose a few posts around the track and ran all out between them... less than a quarter of a lap each time, but it was enough to get me sucking wind and panting for dear life. I did this four times, and then my knee started yelling at me so I left the track and used the elliptical machine for 20 minutes to finish off my workout.

I do my runs on an indoor track (a little less than 5 laps per mile, so it is nice sized). I have thought about getting a treadmill for home, but that 20 minutes on the elliptical made me rethink that because I was bored. I tried music... bored... then I tried a podcast... bored... tried watching TV... bored... you get the picture. Granted, running around a track is also very repetitive, but I have different things to look at and feel like I am going somewhere instead of staying in the same place all the time.

Last time I ran on a regular basis, back in 1998, I usually ran on a treadmill and loved it. When I started running this time I decided to run on an indoor track because 1) I was training for a race and knew that I had to get used to hitting the pavement so to speak and 2) I knew that I would not do well in this hot Chicago summer weather running outside. I am glad that I made the decision because I feel like the transition to running on the road will be easier than it was when I used to run on a treadmill. And once the fall weather hits, I plan to start running outside on the weekends.

Fall is my favorite time of year, and I am looking forward to enjoying it in a whole new way this year as I run through the turning trees and watch the seasons change.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

OHR Week 1 Done

I finished W1D3 of One Hour Runner this morning... the first week of the program went quickly! I am still waiting for the time when a 30 minute run isn't going to feel so tough, though, because by the time I am 20 minutes into the run I am motivating myself with the "just 9 1/2 more minutes... only 8 more minutes... less than 7 minutes" countdown. I still have two more weeks of 30 minute runs, so hopefully the breakthrough will come soon.

That, of course, is the plan for next week: W2D1 30 minute run on Monday, W2D2 30 minute run on Thursday, W2D3 30 minute run on Saturday, and some type of alternate activity on Sunday. After I finish this program, I am going to try to add another day of running to my week so that I have four runs per week. I don't think I am ready for this yet because my right knee is still very crunchy, which I hope will improve as I continue to lose weight.

I also want to start running outside when the weather cools down to low 70s or high 60s. I am still pretty shy about letting people see me run with all of this bulk, but it is time to get over that because at least I AM out there doing it. I am going to see if the high school lets the public use the outdoor track on days that school is closed or after hours and try to start there.

My weight loss has been pretty non-existent lately. I had been up three pounds last week, and I know that I was staying within my calories and exercising as planned so it doesn't make any sense. The scale finally moved down 2 of those 3 pounds this morning, but I can feel TOM on the way (due next weekend) and that is never a scale victory time for me. I am just going to keep plugging away and believe that the scale has to start moving downward soon. But at least my clothes are fitting better, and my energy level is up, so there are some victories there.

And on a final note... FOUR MORE WEEKS TO MY FIRST RACE IN 10 YEARS!!! PR Charity Classic 5K on 9/27 at 8:00 a.m. Woo-hoo!!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Late in the Evening

Today was my W1D2 run of the OHR program. I had a late run tonight because I didn't hit the track until about 7:15 p.m. I thought I would feel like a slug since I had not eaten since my snack at 3:30 p.m, but I ended up having quite a bit of energy! My time was not quite as good as on Tuesday afternoon, but I tried some new techniques from ChiRunning so it felt like less effort.

And while we are talking pace, I must point out that I appear to have misrepresented my pace in my last post (sorry, Delane!). When I said that I finally broke three miles, it was not just for the 30 minutes of running time but instead also included the 10 minutes of warm-up/cool-down walking that I do surrounding my run! So yes, I am very slow, but I am getting faster!

I finally ate dinner at 8:45 p.m., and now I am ready to hit the sack. My whole lower body is achy from the new running techniques (lean, focusing on kicking my legs back, swinging my arms without crossing in front) and from the Biggest Loser CardioMax workout that I did last night on my day of rest. Thanks for kicking my butt, Bob!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Groundhog Day

Today was my first run on the One Hour Runner program... and it felt just like my last one of C25K because it was (tada) 30 minutes! It's like I'm living the same week over again!

Actually, it was a much better run than any of my previous 30 minutes runs. I broke the 3 mile mark, and had a blended time that was about 2 minutes per mile better than my Nike+ "average" pace.

I am reading a book called ChiRunning by Danny Dreyer in hopes of improving my form and also my general running experience. The good news is that I am enjoying the running... or at least the idea of running and the feeling I have once I am done with a run. I find myself reading about it, talking about it, and (obviously) writing about it and that keeps me going. I look forward to feeling what running feels like when I drop this weight because right now I feel like I am towing a bus along for the ride sometimes.

So, my next run is planned for Thursday evening. It was nice to be able to do a run today in the very early afternoon since I had a day off from work, but now I am back to real life where I have to do my weekday runs at night after a full day of work and commuting. Maybe that's why my pace was better today... hmmm.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Couch to 5K Program --- COMPLETED!!!!

I just completed my last run of the Couch to 5K program... YIPPEE!!!!!! I am very proud that I committed to it and stuck to my commitment. Having not run for 10 years, and being about 50 pounds heavier than I was when I last started running, it has been a challenge for me.

But I did it and now I am on to the One Hour Runner program, and I can't wait to celebrate when I finish THAT one, too! Here's the plan:

Weeks 1 - 3: Run 30 minutes 3 days a week.
Weekly total: 90 minutes

Week 4: Run 30 minutes, 29 minutes, 35 minutes.
Weekly total: 94 minutes

Week 5: Run 30 minutes, 32 minutes, 38 minutes.
Weekly total: 100 minutes

Week 6: Run 30 minutes, 33 minutes, 41 minutes.
Weekly total: 104 minutes

Week 7: Run 30 minutes, 34 minutes, 45 minutes.
Weekly total: 109 minutes

Week 8: Run 30 minutes, 36 minutes , 49 minutes.
Weekly total: 115 minutes

Week 9: Run 30 minutes, 38 minutes, 54 minutes.
Weekly total: 122 minutes

Week 10: Run 30 minutes, 40 minutes, 60 minutes.
Weekly total: 130 minutes


I am going to need those first few weeks of 30 minute runs because my body still needs more time to adjust to them. Even at my slow pace, my heart rate bumps into the 180s by the end of my run, and that is pretty high. Hopefully I will gain better endurance and some speed during the first three weeks, and this should take me pretty close to my first 5K race on 9/27. I would love to finish that in 36 minutes or less, but will be happy with a finish under 40 minutes since it is my first race in over ten years.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Testing...Testing... 1... 2... 3

I'm starting this blog to document the changes in my life that I am making to improve my health and my body... and hopefully my life in general in the process. I intend to use this space as another tool for me to see progress even when other metrics seem stuck.

I am currently in Week 9 of a Couch to 5K program, and after I finish the last two 30 minute runs I plan to start the One Hour Runner program to keep improving my running duration. I am not focusing on distance right now as I need to continue to increase my endurance to a point where my heart rate during runs doesn't keep flying above 180 BPM.

My first race (since 1998!) is a 5K on September 27th, so hopefully I will be able to complete it in a decent time. At least I am confident that, barring any unforeseen injuries, I will complete it.

If you look over to the right, you can see the Nike+ challenge I am in for the summer. It started on 7/6/08, one day after I completed my first session of Couch to 5K, and so far I am doing pretty well! The woman in the lead is currently training for a half marathon in October, so I am not in competition with her on any real level because I am just eight weeks into my first time running in ten years!

I am also tracking my weight and BMI changes at the bottom of the page. I have a long way to go, but slow and steady wins the race.

I look forward to documenting the "weigh" down and hopefully the improvements in other parts of my life as well.