Sunday, July 31, 2011

9 miles. 9 miles? 9 miles!

I'll admit it, I wasn't too excited to meet up with a group to run today.  I was a bit intimidated & pretty sure I wouldn't enjoy myself.  I just knew I'd be slower than everyone & someone would feel obligated to run with me, which would make me feel awful 'cause I'd always rather run alone than have someone slow down for me.  I also knew most of the people were quite experienced & I'm still pretty new to all this running stuff, so it was just intimidating because when is it not intimidating to be the "newbie" in a group?
But, I went.  I was up at 4:45am, forcing myself to eat when all I really wanted to do was sleep some more.  I hydrated, loaded the car up, and picked up Denya (of course!  ;)).  We met up with everyone & we were all on the track around 6am.  I, of course, started off to strong & Lesley told me to pull back so I didn't poop out.  I remember telling her I'd poop out when I wanted.  That was my this-already-sucks-so-I'm-just-trying-to-get-through-this-alive response.  I did start losing steam around 2.25 though, and pulled back.  Of course, I was going for 7, so it wasn't a good thing that I already needed to pull back, but it was what it was.  Although it wasn't especially hot (yet) or humid, my chest was heavy, and I was having a hard time breathing. Luckily, I discovered that Holly was my perfect running companion (and I'm a bit sad she won't be around the next 2 long runs I have!).  We ran at the same pace, wanted to break for quick walks at the same time, and we both seem to have a hard time keeping a steady pace.  She was the perfect partner for my run!  We slowed from the rest of the group & walked a bit here & there.  Eventually :p we both hit 7 & Holly had to leave.  I knew Denya was going for 11, so I headed back up the track, since I had time to kill.  I walked a bit to regain my strength, then I started running.  It was a good run, I felt strong (and numb, which is such a nice feeling!) & I was hitting about an 11:15 min/mile pace without even realizing it.  I hit another mile (8?!), walked about .25, then ran just over another .5 before I walked in a final .25.  That made 9 miles.  NINE MILES.  2 over my plan for the day.  I have NO idea how I did, or how I was feeling so great after those 9, but it was a huge confidence boost.  I'd say I'm ready to register for the half now.  Well, once I get over the cost...  ;)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

How far I've come so far.

Eight months ago, on November 14th, 2010, I started running.  I started with the Couch to 5K program, and I could hardly manage to make it through the 60 second of jogging.  It was so horrible & I just knew I was going to die.  Or puke up my dinner.  Or, possibly, both.  
Eventually, I gave up the C25K program because it just wasn't the right program for me.  I never could get in a good groove with it & it annoyed me more than it helped me.  Also, with the holidays all thrown in there, then a whole bunch of snow (well "whole bunch" for Texas), I get off the schedule.  So, I started just running as far as I could, for as long as I could, stopping when I felt like I couldn't move another inch.  Finally, on March 23rd, just over 4 months after I started the craziness, I ran 5K for the first time without walking.  It took me a while to make it to 5K, but I was happy that I finally had made it.  Of course, 2 weeks later I hit a horse (or, it hit me, whatever).  Left with a broken vertebrae, I was benched for about 6 weeks.  Once I was cleared to run again, it was like starting from nothing all over again.  Running SUCKED.  
As hard as it was to get back into the swing of running, I had a moment of insanity a couple of weeks later & I asked the fabulous Lesley at Racing it Off to write up a training schedule for me, so I'd be ready for a half marathon in September.  I'm still not completely sold on my ability to do 13.1 miles.  13.1 - ACK!  I'm sticking with the schedule though, and eventually I may even actually register for the half.  Maybe.  Possibly.  ...most likely.
Since that first full run of a 5K, I have run just shy of 110 miles.  I know that's nothing compared to well-seasoned runners (considering that was 4 months ago, even calling it 2.5 months ago when I take out my time off makes it not such a big deal), but when I stop & see how far I've come I consider it pretty amazing.  It hasn't gotten easier to run, and I'm not sure I can call it any more fun that it was to begin with, but my self confidence & pride continue to grow with every run.  The good feeling I feel after my runs continues to get more & more...  good!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Why I never wanted to train...

I never wanted to "train" (ie - for a race).  I wanted to just run, to go out & have fun.  I thought that once I committed myself to training for a particular mileage/pace/race, I'd lose the fun aspect & lose my motivation to run.  Then, one day, I asked for a training schedule (thanks again, Lesley @ Racing It Off!).  I think I had a moment of insanity & actually thought it was a good idea to train for a half marathon.  ha!
When I got me schedule, I thought - no way, this is WAY too easy, I'm going to be bored right off the bat.
Well...  not so much.  My schedule did start me off at shorter distances than I was capable of at the time, but it had me running [consistently] 4 days a week, which was new to me.  So, my idea that it was too easy was totally off.  It was actually kinda hard.  I really did have to push myself.  (Plus, I had been used to running in the cold & it was just starting to get warm, which was a whole new running world for me.)  When I got to the point that the long run with a distance of 5 miles was a couple of weeks away, I was already saying NO. WAY.  Not gonna happen.  Uh-uh.
The 5 mile long run was scheduled for last Sunday.  I started later than I planned, so it was getting hot & it was especially humid that day anyway.  At 2 miles, I was questioning my ability to make it further.  At 3 miles, I knew my body was about done & I was barely keeping myself from falling over.  So, sure enough, 5 miles didn't happen.  I barely made it through 4 miles that day. Wednesday morning, I started super early.  I had 4 miles on my schedule, but by 2.5 I was already thinking I might be able to push through 5.  Maybe.  At 3.5 I decided there was no way I'd call it quits at 4, even if I only hit 4.5, I was going to go past 4.  By 4.5 I figured - what's another .5?  I hit my 5 miles, at a great pace [for me] I might add, and I felt SO great!!
What does all that have to do with me not ever wanting to have a training schedule?  Well, as I was out on my 3 mile run yesterday, I realized that by having a schedule I am actually pushing myself harder than I would've ever attempted if I were just out running for fun.  I AM still having fun (for the most part, wink, wink), but I'm pushing myself & gaining more confidence with every run.  Some of the runs are out-right hard - tomorrow I'm up for 6 & I am scared of it.  But!  Some of the runs are hard 'cause I have to prevent myself from pushing too hard.  Recovery runs seem too short or too slow or both, but I know they serve a purpose & I have to take it easy (I've even allowed myself to skip them if I've over-done it the day before, even when I really do want to get out & run).  
Having a schedule has made me get up & get out there on the days I REALLY don't feel like it.  Oddly, the days I am most hesitant to get out there are usually the days I enjoy it the most.  Weird!  Having a schedule has made me push myself harder & accomplish things I didn't know I could.  Having a schedule, a plan, a reason to run, has made me discover how much I actually enjoy running.  It IS still for fun, but it's for fun with a purpose.  If the schedule ever became truly un-fun, I'd walk away from it.  For now though, I am enjoying the challenges & the pride.  Thank you Lesley, you really do know what you're doing!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ohhhh the HEAT!

I'm trying to not be hard on myself, I really am.  I'm still pretty new to running, so it's hard enough as it is, but this heat is making it almost impossible.  I seem to get so very disappointed when I don't hit my goal distance for the day, but I know I have to listen to my body so I don't do damage.  Yesterday, I was aiming for 5.  At 2.5 I allowed a couple of minutes to stand still, get a good drink, add a little fuel, a spray myself down a little to cool off.  BIG, HUGE mistake.  I started to run again & my legs were numb & wobbly.  So, I stopped the Garmin & walked a couple of minutes before running.  I did get my groove back, but I could tell 5 miles wasn't going to happen.  It was just too hot & my body was fighting me.  (How do those crazy people run during the middle of the day?!)  I wasn't sure I'd make it past 3, but I intentionally ran far enough away from my house that I'd be obligated to at least walk in the last mile so I'd get 4.  I managed to surprise myself by running a full 4, but I was bummed about not hitting 5.  Next week I'm shooting for 6, so missing 5 this week will likely be a huge set-back in the mental game, no doubt.
I'm trying not to beat myself up for not achieving my goal.  After all, I DID get out & run 4, which is more than I could've said 6 months ago, BUT...  sigh