Sunday, September 26, 2010

week 4

Week 4 is done! FINALLY! 

21.89 miles total this week.
This week was a difficult week for me and my running.  It was the first week that I actually questioned deep down if this was a good idea to sign up for this half marathon. 

I started this week, as I always do on Tuesday night, with a speed workout.  I was not able to complete what was expected for the day.  I left the gym feeling down and dejected.  I decided to just let that run go and move onto my next run with a clean slate.  The next run was a 5 mile run.  I ended up having to run it on a treadmill.  I don’t like running on treadmills! It was a struggle.

Having 2 runs in a row that were a struggle really broke my confidence.  Up until now, I have been telling people that I am running a half-marathon and believing within myself that I will get there.  After those 2 runs I was no longer sure if I could do it.  My next run was a “short” 4 miler.  I was finally able to run outside.  Around mile 3, I had to stop running and I ran for part of it.  I haven’t had to walk during a run since I started running about 5 years ago! This was demoralizing. After that I was certain that I would not be able to run the half marathon. 

I looked forward to the rest of the week.  With only 2 more runs left in the week, I figured I might as well finish it out.  I ran 3 miles the next day, super slow but I completed it.  I was on shaky ground.  I looked ahead and I had a 6 mile run.  I was nervous and doubting myself completely.

I woke up this morning wishing I could just sleep the day away and avoid the run.  I eventually got out of bed and got dressed.  I got some water in me and for the first time, I used an energy gel.  I tried my sportbeans (made by jelly belly).  And hoped that it would enough to get me through it.  I began to procrastinate…played solitaire, even contemplated doing laundry! I decided to bite the bullet and get out there.  I began running and somehow got through it.  I even felt good at some points of the run. 

I still don’t feel confident in my ability to run the half marathon.  I am looking ahead and it will only get tougher from here on out.  I just have to take it one run at a time.  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon

This weekend the ING Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon came through Philadelphia.  What a blast! It was great to see so many people running the half marathon.  The course wound through the city and made it’s way up Kelly Drive, crossing the Falls Bridge and then down West River Drive back to the Eagan’s Circle.  I cheered on the runners by the Falls Bridge, cheering specifically a few people that I knew were running the race.

Watching the runners was a wonderful experience.  When a race like that is in town you see varied styles and fitness levels.  The bottom line is that they are all trying to get through the race and complete it.  Watching the racers made me very excited about November.  Knowing that they have all been putting in weeks of hard work to get to that day made me more motivated to keep up with my training program. 

I was very excited and motivated, which then came crashing down when I saw ambulances going by with people in them! I saw one runner on the side of the road being tended to by paramedics.  Running may seem like it isn’t a dangerous sport in comparison to skiing, for example, but this scene really brought into perspective that like any physical endeavor, there are risks! The training program that I am following is a slow gradual build, which is the safest way to begin running.  There was no way for me to know, but these runners were probably pushing themselves too far too quickly.  This is something that I have to keep in mind.

I hope that those that were taken away in ambulances were ok.  I was thinking about them as I completed my final run for week 3 of my training program.  This week I completed 19 miles (for those keeping score at home).

Friday, September 17, 2010

Running is like therapy

As I start to run longer distances, I started to pay attention to my attitude about running.  I realized that running is a lot like going into therapy/treatment. 

When I think about going for a run, barring a GORGEOUS day like yesterday, I am not always super psyched.  I look at the training program and stare at the number of miles that I have to run and I shudder.  I begin to imagine all the things that I can do with my time other than run.  Then I glance down at next week’s run. I realize that I have to go for this run because next week, I will have to run farther yet.  So I play my tape out, I can skip this run but then next week, I will be suffering.  I will be in a lot of pain and the run will just be horrible.  I realize that I do trust that running this run will help me in the long run. With this faith and trust in the process, I tie up my shoelaces and I go out there. 

During my run, I am in my head.  I may be in pain. I may increase the volume of my ipod and try to drown out my own doubts and/or voices telling me to stop.  I also increase my awareness of my surroundings.  I am aware of the beauty of the Schuylkill, the trees and the other runners around me all enjoying the outdoors right along with me. 

After the run, I always feel great.  I may be physically tired, but it is one of the best tiredness that I can feel.  No matter how long or short my run is, my endorphins are running around me.  I am proud of doing something for myself.  Bottom line, I feel like I can take on the world.  I have noticed that over time, my mood is just better with all the exercise that I am doing. 

The same process that I just described about my run is what happens when entering therapy or treatment.  When being told or starting the process of therapy, you have to know what you are getting into and trust in the process.  You have to trust that it is a valuable process to enter for yourself, your health and your well-being.  You might look at your day in treatment/session with your therapist and think about all that you can do with your time instead of being there, until you look at life or your future and think about the hurdles that you will have to face in the future.  So you tie up your sneakers and get to treatment/therapy. 

During treatment and therapy, there may be moments where you are overwhelmed, scared and in pain.  Things get brought up that you have been working really hard to not realize, sometimes use a lot of energy to do so.  During treatment/therapy lots of emotions and feelings will come up that you must feel, deal and then heal from.  It does work if you work it.  You have to put your all in every day, no matter how much you want to run out of the room. 

After you leave, the benefits of the catharsis are real.  With the awareness that is gained in treatment/therapy, the sense of empowerment and confidence in oneself is priceless.  You feel like anything that life brings, you can handle it.  Living life on life terms isn’t overwhelming.  The sense of freedom and relief is refreshing.  

Bottom line:
Keep coming back…It works if you work it.  

Sunday, September 12, 2010

week 2

Pushing on.

I completed week 2 of the training.  This week I completed 16.05 miles.

Today I felt sore.  I believe I overdid it with yoga this week and I was SORE for my run today.  I still got through it and felt good in the end.

Next week I will focus on not over doing it!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Running gadgets

Running gadgets ROCK...or do they? 

So when I started running as an official hobby, Nick got me a Nike + and an IPOD.  Well it couldn't have been a better present! I love it! 

The way it works is that there is a chip that you put in your shoe (if you get the NIKE shoe that has a special pocket) or you put it on your laces if you have any other shoe (aka your favorite running shoe).  That little thing then sends a signal to the transmitter on your ipod.  With this, your ipod then tracks your distance, pace, time and calories burned.  So just right there, cool right? 
But wait, there's more.  Then you plug in your ipod on your computer and it goes to the nike+ website that stores all that information.  THAT is the best part. Today I found out that I have run off 11 pounds of fat! wehoo! 

so there are lots of other running gadgets out there.  GPS watches, heart rate monitors, etc.  I think that there are really great things about all these gadgets.  The heart rate monitor can keep you safe to make sure that you aren't pushing yourself too hard.  The GPS and Nike + things help when training. I don't have to think about how far I am going, I just run. But with all these advances, I wonder can all these gadgets take the spontaneity away from running? I no longer grab my sneaks, change and go out there.  I have to make sure my ipod is charged, make sure I got my heart rate monitor on, find the watch that goes with it which I can never seem to find and then finally I can get out there to just run. 

But then I think about that graph...oh that graph.  So pretty...the peaks and valleys...the rating system for each so pretty. In the end, that graph is a highlight of my running experience. When I look back at my first run that I tracked in May 2009 when I ran 2.72 miles at 12'52"/mile, I can be proud of how far I have come. 

Running gadgets are like most things in life, what you make of them.  They can trip you up and make you lose your joy or they can be a tool to measure the progress that you make and a source of pride.  

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

week 1 done

So I am a little late to report that I completed week 1.  Even though, the amounts of each individual run was small (between 2 and 3 miles) I ran 5 times that week.  I usually only do 3-4 times a week.  I didn't realize that that jump would be a lot!

Today I am tired. I didn't listen to my own advice and respect the REST day.  I biked into work yesterday (yes, I labored on labor day!) and it really was too much.  I was, the runs weren't that long, but really I should have listened to the wisdom of the REST day! so no longer will I not listen.

So for the first week, I ran 11.89 miles.

Onto week 2....

Thursday, September 2, 2010

what runs through your mind...

I read this article that was just great! It was a stream of consciousness of a runner.

So after having read this, I started to think about what I think about when I run.  I realized that it really can go either superbly great or horribly wrong.  So I paid attention to what I was thinking about yesterday on my run.  After the initial 5 minutes of "'s hot" I started to realize that I lost myself in my a good way.  I thought about my day, processed sessions, processed groups, thought about my form, thought about breathing, listened to my music, thought about memories that it brought up.

On the other hand, sometimes runs can make you feel worse.  When I have a bad run, my stream of thought is not a pretty thing to be observing! I am hypercritical of everything.  Everyone that passes me on the path crushes me and my confidence.  Every pain that I feel becomes overwhelming and makes me doubt that I can run.

I think this is one of the best gifts that running has given me, the good and the bad runs.  Having the space to examine my thought process and see how my crazy mind works is a wonderful gift.  I have learned a lot about myself and a lot about how I process things.  It also gives me a chance to make the changes in how my mind works and to be kinder to myself.

What do you think about when you run?