Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

My niece and I had decided to run in the Quad City Marathon this month.  We were both going to use the same training program so that we could support each other.  Things started out swimmingly.  She’s a bit faster than me, but that’s ok.  We had talked about that and we were ok with running our own race at our own pace.


Our Playground Workout

I quickly found a friend to train with to help keep me motivated.  Thanks to her, I started getting up early to run.  The hours passed quickly and I enjoyed our time together.  We were motivating each other.  I felt blessed because she slowed down her pace to keep me company and I motivated her to keep going.

I had already modified the training plan to account for my husband’s work schedule.  My kids aren’t old enough to stay home alone and hiring a babysitter that often is just not in the budget.  So sometimes, the run had to go by the wayside so I could take care of the kids.  Thankfully, my running partner was ok with that…she had been there, done that, and was very understanding.

But then injury hit.  My knee acted up for a couple of days, and since I had struggled with it last year during my half, I made sure I took care of it.  Then my plantar fasciitis flared.  That sidelined me for a while.  We did water jogging, weight lifting, bike riding and rested.  It eventually went away.  I thought I was home free, barring the occasional summer cold.

I always knew that I was a slow runner…12-15 minutes per mile is my average, depending on the race and the heat.  The long runs kept getting longer.  The time I spent away from home kept getting longer.  I started getting discouraged, especially when it felt like I wasn’t making any progress.  I just couldn’t get faster.  I was doing ok on the longer runs, for the most part.  But things were slowly breaking down.


A hot workout…not a great experience

My breaking point was a scheduled 18 mile run.  I knew it was going to take me a while – at least 4.5 hours to finish.  Have you ever thought about what you can do in 4.5 hours?  You can watch all of Gone With the Wind (and have time left over), you can do 3 loads of laundry, you can read an entire book (maybe even 2).  Most importantly, you can help your husband by watching the little kids so that he can work on the home remodel.  And who really wants to get up at 4:15 in the morning to go for a run so that you can be home in time to do other things?  Not this girl…so the run didn’t happen.  Family first.


Kiddos reading in the hallway


It was at that point that I started feeling like maybe the full 26.2 wasn’t going to happen for me.

Over the next few days, I talked to my niece; I talked to my running partner; I talked to my husband; and I talked to myself.  It was a difficult decision.  I knew I could do the half.  I did one last year and I had felt reasonably good during my 12+ mile runs.  But deep down, I wanted my first marathon experience to be good.  I did not want to be that runner that was crossing the finish line after 6.5 hours…with the finish line being partially dismantled, the sag wagon dogging my footsteps, not having seen any of the race volunteers or refreshment tables for the last 2 hours.  I wanted to cross the finish line earlier than that.

I wanted my marathon experience to be good…not a straggling, suffering, guilt-laden one.

At that point, I decided to do the half.


My favorite view on my favorite path.

It was a load that fell off my shoulders.  I felt good about my decision; disappointed, but good.  I felt like I was letting people down; that I was giving up.  To a certain extent, I still feel that way.  But I know that I’m not ready to run 26.2 miles the way I want to run them.  Making that decision freed up my time to focus on my kids, the big projects we have going on at home, and to focus on my husband (not in that order).  While he supports my running and is at every finish line he can be at, he didn’t like me being gone so long, running alone in the partial dark, and running the chance of getting hurt.

I know that when I lace up my shoes on Sunday to run the half, it will be fine.  He will be at the finish line waiting for me with a hug and a kiss.  Most of my kids will be there to surround me with hugs.  They will be proud of me no matter what distance I run.


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Well, week 2 has come and gone.  Was I successful?  Kind of.


I ran 4 days and was able to finish up weeks 5 and 6 of Couch to 5k (which is the furthest I have ever gone in that program).  I lifted twice during the week.  One of those days was BBB workout A and the other day was a random strength workout with my friend Tracy.  Water is always hard for me to get in over the weekends, so the fact that I did it on Saturday was amazing.  I didn’t get any writing in over the weekend, but I got lots of thinking in.

My workout availability schedule is so crazy that sometimes I have to modify things so they fit into my schedule.  So I didn’t do BBB workout B during week 1 or 2, and only did workout C during week 1.

Overall, I am pretty happy that I decided to do this challenge, although I have realized that if I want a chance to be included in the grand prize drawings, I need to step it up for the remaining weeks.

We start week 3 today.  The workouts for weeks 3 and 4 look TOUGH, but I’m hoping they will challenge me and give me that push I have been looking for.  Goal 1 is remaining the same – drink 8 cups of water every day.  Goal 2 is changing to eat 5 servings of fruits or vegetables every day.

On a personal note, I am hoping to push myself and stop telling myself that I can’t do things.

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A Look Back

2012 was a good year for me, overall.  I lost almost 40 pounds, ran my first 1/2 marathon, and logged 315 miles since Mother’s Day.  For the local Grand Prix, I came in 7th in my age group (one of my best friends came in 1st – yay!).  I overcame my fear of free weights.

Southern Tennessee Plunge 1/2 Marathon with my beautiful niece Bethany

Southern Tennessee Plunge 1/2 Marathon with my beautiful niece Bethany

Not that it wasn’t without its struggles.  I battled heat, knee pain, foot pain, and a general lack of motivation at various times during the year.  I started, stopped, and restarted New Rules of Lifting for Women and Couch to 5k.  I started and finished some challenges (Y’s Weigh), but started and did not finish others (Holiday Squat-a-thon).

But you know what?  My family didn’t completely fall apart while I was working out.  I figured out how to work around everyone’s schedules, for the most part.  Yeah, it was tough getting long runs in, but I did it – even though they were mostly walks.  My family learned all sorts of different words – energy gels, hydration belt, heart rate monitor, foam roller, and negative splits.  I learned how to plan workouts, nutrition, and life so that I can accomplish those things that I need to finish.  My girls learned how much fun the finish lines of races could be – kids’ stampedes and mommy’s races.  They learned that if you work hard at something, it doesn’t matter if you win or come in dead last – you finished it.  My husband learned that sometimes it’s easier just to let me go running (or let me talk about running) just so that I can get my nervous energy out.

A Look Ahead

What do I want for 2013?  I want a lot of things.  Here are some of my main goals:

  • 5k time at 30:00 (or less)
  • Run my first full marathon (scheduled for 9/23 – Quad City Marathon)
  • Run all Grand Prix races and come in better than 7th in my age group
  • Participate in Muscatine Running Club group runs
  • Lose 30 pounds
  • Complete Couch to 5k (currently on week 4)
  • Complete Insanity
  • Complete Best Body Bootcamp (starting cycle 4 on January 8)
  • Complete New Rules of Lifting for Women

This isn’t all, but they are the first ones that come to mind.

I have the following challenges lined up for the year:

  • #13in2013
  • 5 by the 5th
  • Y’s Weigh
  • BMI Challenge at my work
  • #BestFoot Challenges
  • Run this Town

Will I get through them all?  I don’t know, but I’m going to try.  I will get through them with the support of my husband and kids.  I have learned that I just need to stay quiet to essentially everyone else.  People don’t always understand, and it’s easier to just stay quiet than to keep explaining why you are doing some things.

What are your goals for 2013?

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This was the longest week 3 ever!  It took me almost 3 weeks to finish this set of runs.  The first two runs were right before Thanksgiving and were pretty darn good.  But then I got injured and everything came to a standstill.  No running, no workouts, hardly any movement that wasn’t absolutely necessary.  I suppose it could have been worse, but it definitely wasn’t fun.

what you can't buy

If I could have bought anything – I would have bought time.  Time to feel better, time to make sure I didn’t get hurt in the first place and time to accomplish what I wanted to do.

Week 3 is a 90-second run followed by a 90-second walk, then a 3:00 run followed by a 3:00 walk – repeat those 4 steps twice.  My total distance for each run was about 1.75 miles and I averaged about 25-27 minutes per workout.

Here are my running interval pace stats for week 2:

Run/Interval 1 2 3 4
1 11:13 11:36 10:18 11:39
2 11:00 10:53 9:41 10:44
3 10:40 11:15 11:07 12:16

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This is the 2nd week of my journey through Couch to 5k.  Two out of my 3 runs have been good.  The last run was technologically difficult.  But I guess we will have that.

This week has been a bit of a challenge, schedule-wise.  Hubby worked nights for a few days, so I had to squeeze my runs in right after work.  Luckily, it wasn’t too dark, and the weather wasn’t horrible.  I was pretty proud of myself this week though.  I wore leggings to run in for the first time this week – in public – on one of the main roads in town – while it was light out.  A year ago, I NEVER would have done that.  Heck, 6 months ago, I wouldn’t have done that.  I haven’t worked up the nerve to wear them out shopping or to work, but according to Hubby, I look good in them. 😉

Week 2 is a 90-second run followed by a 2-minute walk, repeated 5 times.  There is a 5-minute warm-up and then a cool-down at the end.  My cool-down times varied because it depended how far I was from home.  My total distances were about 1.75 miles and my average workout time was about 26 minutes.  Pretty consistent for the 3 workouts.  I had issues with the intervals for the 3rd run.  Somehow, I managed to change the type of interval from a timed one to a distance one, which defaulted it to a 1-mile interval.  So I had to keep an eye on my Garmin to try and get the intervals right.  I was off a little bit on some of them, but that’s ok.

Here are my running interval pace stats for week 2:

Run/Interval 1 2 3 4 5
1 10:03 10:30 9:49 10:05 11:42
2 10:05 11:18 10:20 9:38 10:44
3 10:49 12:11 10:26 10:29 11:34

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Motivation Monday

I am a horrible procrastinator – just ask my husband.  I can make a project last a long time…even if it means that there are totes of clothes in my living room.  I will also find almost any excuse not to do something…(what, read this month’s book club selection?  but these other books are like candy!)

That’s why I am making a point this fall and winter to get things done.  Weather is NOT going to be an excuse for not working out.  I can run on the treadmill at the Y or my parents’ house.  I can even run outside.  If hubby’s work schedule isn’t going to work with my workout schedule, I will find a way to make it work…if that means I need to take the girls with me to the Y, fine;  if that means I get up at the crack of dawn or stay up late, fine.  I have to make it work if I am going to achieve my goals.

During Hurricane Sandy, one thing struck me.  If the soldiers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers can stand guard during that, I can surely get my butt off the couch and workout.

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Oh, this has been lovely this week.  I’ve managed to squeeze in all 3 of my week 1 Couch to 5k workouts (mostly) as scheduled.  Surprisingly, I actually felt good about my times and felt like my legs weren’t fighting me.  Maybe it’s the new shoes.  Maybe it’s the new workout clothes.  Maybe it’s the fact that it’s been 45 degrees when I run.  Who knows?

I’m pretty sure my legs like my new running shoes. I can see many miles in my future.

So if you are unfamiliar with Couch to 5k, it’s a 9 week running program that is supposed to get you to run an entire 5k by the end.  If you run at the pace they have laid out, you should be able to complete a 5k in about 30 minutes (about a 10 minute mile). The program starts with run/walk intervals and gradually increases you to longer running intervals.

I tried the program about 2 years ago and quit after 4 weeks (don’t remember why).  I decided to restart the program now so that I can build up my endurance and hopefully increase my speed.  When I did my half-marathon in October, I ended up walking a good part of it due to knee and foot pain, as well as just an overall crappy training regimen.   I’m hoping that if I really focus on doing it right this time and working on speed, proper form, breathing, etc. I should be stronger by the time race season comes around again next year.  My biggest challenge is going to be running in the dark and cold.  But I’ll find a way.

Week 1 is a 60-second run followed by a 90-second walk, repeated 5 times.  There is a 5-minute warm-up and then a cool-down at the end.  My cool-down times varied because it depended how far I was from home.  My total distances varied from 1.43 to 1.50 miles, and my overall workout time was from 20:50 to 25:29.  The third workout was a lot slower because I needed to take my daughters with me when I ran.  It went better than expected, but not as well as if I were by myself.

Here are my running interval stats for week 1:

Week/Interval 1 2 3 4 5
1 10:52 11:12 10:36 10:55 10:39
2 9:18 10:35 10:20 8:56 10:06
3 9:15 9:49 10:29 13:47 10:10

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