Monday, July 27, 2015

Off and On Again

Last week, I had a pretty big set-back in the running program.  After completing Monday’s 2-mile run in a pretty decent time, I felt a bit of a twinge in the back of my right calf just above the ankle.  It was more bothersome than painful; so, Tuesday I set out for another 2 miles thinking it would loosen up once I got going.

It did not loosen up.

I made it about 8/10 of a mile before it hurt so much I had to walk.  In the past when my legs have felt very tight, walking has helped loosen them up such that I could later start running again.  That didn’t work this time.  I ended up limping over a mile back to the house.  I was passed on the trail by a senior citizen power-walking.  Needless to say my self esteem took a mighty blow.

W4:D2
Run 2 miles at 10:30 minute pace √† ended up being 1 mile

When I got home, JT had me RICE it – that is to say I put an ice bag on my leg and elevated the whole thing on several pillows while I layed on the couch sipping my gatorade.  It felt a little better, but I was still limping for the rest of the night. 

Based on the location of the pain and some Google searching, it appears that I inflamed one of the tendons that connects my foot to my calf.  My calf muscles felt fine and nothing felt broken, but my heal had a sharp pain driving through it when I moved my ankle. 

It took a couple of days for the pain to decrease to an ache and a couple more days before I couldn’t feel it anymore.  Unfortunately, by the time I was ready to hit the pavement again it had been nearly a week. 

W4:D3 – W4:D6
Rest – injury (not advised if you’re trying to follow the plan)

As such, on Sunday JT told me that I would essentially be starting back at square 1.  I ran one mile.  I did it in 10:15, but I struggled every step of the way.  It seems that one week was just long enough for my lungs to forget how to sustain cardio.  This is all extremely disappointing.  I hope it doesn’t take as long to get back to 2 miles as it had the first time.  I really felt like I had been making some progress. 

W4:D7
Run 1 mile at 10:30 minute pace

I’ll run again tonight, probably another 1-miler though maybe 1.5 miles.  Tomorrow JT and I are going on vacation.  The plan is to run while we’re away, but that could be easier said that done while we’re around town site-seeing.  

Monday, July 20, 2015

Week 3 Review

I’m officially 9 weeks away from my wedding, and my free time has been disappearing quickly.  In addition, summer, which had been approaching timidly, has arrived with a vengeance, and the mercury has been peaking over 90F with high humidity to boot.  For these reasons, my running progress has been less than ideal over the last several days, as have been my blog updates. 

W3:D4
Rest

W3:D5
Rest

W3:D6
Run 2 miles at 11:00 minute pace – no drills

W3:D7
Run 2 miles at 11:00 minute pace – no drills

On D2 and D3 of this week I had had fantastic success and completed a 2 mile run, non-stop, on both days.  Unfortunately, a combination of busy schedule and laziness took me over on Thursday and Friday, leaving no choice but to run in the blistering heat over the weekend.  My times were abysmal – 28:00 and 24:40 minutes respectively for Saturday and Sunday.  Needless to say, there were a couple of breaks for walking. 

I’m not proud of this, particularly after completing the same runs only days before in 21:36 and 21:15 minutes.  I’m trying not to get discouraged, but it really just feels like I’m making excuses for my poor performance which is both discouraging and embarrassing. 

It was hot, I was tired, I had skipped breakfast, I wanted a shower.  This is very whiny and very poor attitude.  I don’t want to be whiny girl.  I want to be runner girl.  I just need to remember that next time I feel like walking a distance I know I can run. I have it firmly in my head that I can run a mile, so I finish that distance pretty consistently.  Now I just need to get used to the idea that I can run two miles.  

Today I ran 2 miles non-stop again.  My calves were burning by the time I got back, but my lungs were feeling pretty good, which was a nice change.  I guess I'm officially a 2-mile runner. 

W4:D1
Run 2 miles at 11:00 minute pace – no drills  bike 2 miles for a cool-down

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Good Run

We were comfortably into Week 3 of JT’s Workout Plan, and I was already getting discouraged.  Dressed up in my shorts and shoes before yesterday’s run, I told JT that I was feeling discouraged with my progress thus far.  While I had been able to do the first few runs, the last several had gone very poorly, particularly the two attempts at a 2-mile distance both of which involved a lot of walking.  I feel like I should be able to run farther, if not faster, than I have been so far.

W3:D3
Run 2 mi at 10:30 minute pace – no drills

Yesterday, I had a break-through!  A storm-front started to roll through our neighborhood, blotching out the sun and bringing with it a strong breeze, significantly dropping what had been a sweltering, high temperature.  Though I set out a little discouraged, the weather felt great, and I was able to complete two whole miles without stopping once!  Huzzah!

I hadn’t completed a full, non-stop two miles for over a year until this run.  Two miles isn’t a personal best, but it still feels like a milestone.  Next up – 2.5 miles, then 3.1!  Then I can worry about picking up the pace.

You know what I like best about running (relatively) fast?  You can cover the same distance in much less time, effectively giving yourself more free time to do other things.  

In practice, on Monday it took me just under 25 minutes to run 2 miles.  Yesterday I ran the same distance in 21:36, effectively gaining 3 1/2 minutes back.  I realize that 3 1/2 minutes is not very long, but it’s enough time to stretch or clean the catbox or something.  Or I suppose I could use that time to run more.    

JT uses his spare minutes to catch up on work emails while he waits for me to finish.  He’ll wait a good 5 or 7 minutes to start after I leave so that I’m not finishing too long behind him.  This strategy has the added benefit of crossing his outgoing route with my return route so we can high-five as we pass.  It made for a pleasant pick-me-up yesterday on the home stretch, that and the surprise ass-grab as he passed me on the last half mile back to the house.  There was nothing I could do but watch him run away ahead of me and try to keep up.  

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hot Runs

This weekend went by entirely too quickly.  I am pleased to report that significant progress was made with both wedding planning and redecorating the master bedroom, and I am feeling quite accomplished. 

JT and I managed to fit in a couple runs in spite of all the other activities.  Friday after work, we headed straight out for another round of intervals, this time of the ladder variety.  After a nice warm-up and drills, we would walk a distance around the track and then run that same distance, increasing the distances as we went. 

I think the ladder intervals were much harder than the straight 200m intervals.  I kept checking back into my internal energy stores only to find that the same effort for the last round was not nearly sufficient to complete the next round with the same pace.  JT kept a consistent pace over the increasing distances; I, very much, was not consistent.

W2:D5
½ mile warm-up jog at 11:00 minute pace – drills (3 sets) – ladder Intervals: 100m, 200m, 200m, 300m, 400m
Drills: 15 push-ups (from knees), 40 bicycle crunches, 10 (each side) side-plank lifts

W2:D6
Rest (lots of errands in town)

I am constantly asking JT what my next workout will be, and he never answers until the last minute.  On the one hand this is very annoying because I like to plan things out.  On the other hand this is a very good thing because it does not give me a chance to dwell on it and psych myself out. 

Sunday morning we dressed and headed out late in the morning.  I was very surprised when JT informed me that I would be doing a full 2-mile run – and in only 21 minutes.  This was both an increase in distance and an increase in speed from what I have done thus far, and no, I don’t count my pace during intervals. 

I set out thinking about my last long run (1.5 miles) and how hard, but satisfying it had been to finish.  I started out comfortably fast and finished the first half mile in just at 5 minutes. 

Unfortunately, not long after that, disaster struck.  My calves seized up in pain, and I had to walk to loosen them back up.  I didn’t even make one mile.  Once my calves were feeling a bit better, I started jogging again at a slower pace.  But the damage had been done.  There was no way I could finish in 21 minutes.

I came in at just under 23 minutes for 2 miles.  While this is not what I was supposed to do and it was not run continuously, I am still pretty pleased with the results because I managed to complete the run home as opposed to walking up to the house.  Ending on a high note makes everything feel better.

Monday we set out for the same route as the day before but this time in blistering heat and 100% humidity.  JT warned me to take it easy due to the heat, and he could not have been more right.  I made it back in just under 25 minutes looking like I had just climbed out of a sauna.  I felt like a sweaty, empowered athlete in a Nike ad (though admittedly less glamorous or toned).

W2:D7
Run 2 miles at 10:30 pace – no drills

W3:D1
Run 2 miles at 10:30 pace – no drills

The heat isn’t expected to break for the rest of the week, so I expect a similar performance today for whatever run we end up doing.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday Friday

It seems the touch football game on Wednesday didn’t make for much of a “rest” day.  Despite the gloomy, wet weather, we had 11 very active players running back and forth for well over an hour.  JT and I both spent Thursday in varying degrees of sore, sleepy, and ravinously hungry.  Oh well; at least it was a good workout and a lot of fun running around with some nice work friends.

Yesterday, neither of us were in any particular mood to run, so we substituted a bike ride for the trip to the track.  There’s a nice bike path that runs due North from our neighborhood and conviently passes several restuarants, including a Chipotle, after right at 6 miles.  We rode up, had a nice dinner, and rode home, taking a scenic detour through a park along the way. 

W2:D4
Bike 13 miles at a comfortably hard pace – no drills

I realize that biking is not running.  But it does work several important leg muscles (I particularly feel it in my quads), so I fee like there is reasonable evidence that biking should make me a better/stronger/faster runner.  Probably. 

The plan for today’s workout, and potentially the rest of the weekend, is to head back to the track for another round of intervals.  I felt pretty good after my first set of intervals (W2:D2), and I am hopeful that my legs and lungs will continue to feel good after another few rounds.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Intervals

I really need to do a better job of keeping track of some of the lines that JT says during workouts.  He’s like a corny, one-man idiom machine.  I’m sure that after a while I would have enough for a proper coffee table book if not a made-for-TV movie.  

I’m not sure if he comes up with any of them himself or if they’re all borrowed from movies or old track coaches.  All of the quotes sound like they would be appropriate in any self-respecting youth football or baseball movie.  Whether he intends them to be funny or not, they always crack me up. 

The one that really stuck out for me yesterday was “this is the last lap.  This is where you give it everything you have left.  Tomorrow, you will look back on this lap and either be proud of yourself or ashamed that you could have done more.”


I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea.  This line, like any other, was delivered with such significance that I couldn’t help but let out a snort of laughter before kicking myself up into a run for the last 200m interval.  For what it was worth and despite the corniness, I did put everything I had left into that last 200m because I did not want to go home feeling like a lazy bum.  All told, it had been a very solid workout and I wanted to end it on a high note.

W2:D2
At a regulation track: jog one lap (400m) at 11:00 minute pace for warm-up – walk one lap – drills (3 sets) – 6 200m intervals between 45 and 60 seconds
Drills: high knees (20m), butt kicks (20m), lunges (10m)

We rode our bikes to the track at a local high school, about 2 miles each way, and ran just at 2 miles cumulatively while we were at the track if my running app is to be believed.  My intervals ended up being about 50 seconds for 200m with a 200m recovery walk before starting the next round.  Some quick math shows that pace would be a 6:40 minute pace if I could keep it up for the whole 1600m.  Not too shabby in my book.  

JT did his 200m runs in 30 to 35 seconds (4:00 to 4:40 minute pace).  A few tens of meters into my run he would whiz past and then wait for me at the finish line.  He’s really very graceful when he gets running fast, and it’s a nice distraction from the huffing of my run.  In the short walks between intervals he was full of all sorts of facts about the markings on the track and what good times are for different sorts of races.  It seemed like he really enjoyed being back on a track even though he never explicitly said it. 

Overall, intervals really weren’t as bad as I had feared they would be.  The workout was hard, but not impossible.  It definitely wasn’t pretty, but that wasn’t the point.  I had never run intervals before and now feel comfortably smug for completing them. 

Today, we had a rest day.  We attended a picnic with some of JT’s co-workers.  The weather held up, so we played some touch football to get our blood pumping a bit – further evidence that rest days rarely involve actual resting.  It was fun and a nice change of pace from a scheduled workout.  

W2:D3
Rest (touch football)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Upping the Ante

We are officially into Week 2, and despite JT hinting last week at adding some interval training, yesterday’s run was an ambitious increase in mileage – 50%! 

W2:D1
Run 1.5 miles at 11:00 minute pace – walk 1/2 mile – no drills

While the last leg of it was a considerable struggle for me, I was able to complete the whole 1.5 miles non-stop in 16:45 (10:43 at the 1-mile mark).  I am very pleased with myself for not pooping out and stopping when it started to get particularly uncomfortable, as I have been known to do on several occasions. 

However, the idea of trying to explain to JT when I got home that I had given up seemed much worse than actually finishing the prescribed run.  If he thinks I can do it, then I will do the run.

JT uses a different run-tracking app than I do that doesn’t alert him to half mile distances; so, he accidentally ran 2 miles as opposed to the 1.5 miles that he had planned.  As yet, I can’t imagine accidentally running 33% farther than I had planned.  I am very aware of every lumbering step I take and every huffy, labored breath. 

Then again, ‘out of shape’ means something very different for JT than it does for me.  He finished his 2 miles in a little over 15 minutes, more than a minute and a half faster than I finished my 1.5 miles.  His ‘out of shape’ is my fitness dream.  It’s all relative.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to keep up with him, but I’m not worried about that right now. 

I have to keep in mind my goal – a sub-30 minute 5K.  If I let myself start worrying about more than that, then I will just drive myself crazy. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Traveling

This past weekend, JT and I had a three day weekend for the Fourth of July, and we drove out to Cincinnati to spend the holiday with JT's family.  This had the fabulous benefit of resulting in not one but two rest days!  Lazy girls rejoice!

Unfortunately, it also resulted in running on some arguably hilly-er (is that a word?) terrain than I am used to at home.   As a result of that, or possibly running in the morning as opposed to evening, both JT and I found our one-mile times to be noticeabley slower than runs earlier this week.

I am hoping that once we get back to running at home after work next week that we will both see the improvement we are looking for. Then again, this is still only Week Two. I've never been very good at managing my expectations. Sometimes that's a good thing, but a lot of the time it just leads to me getting frustrated with myself very quickly.

Here's JT's Workout Plan from the last four days.

W1:D4
Rest

W1:D5
Run 1 mile at 11:00 minute pace - rest 5 minutes - jog 1/2 mile at 11:00 minute pace - 3 sets of drills
Drills: 10 squats, 20 crunches

W1:D6
Rest (though we did spend a good amount of time playing volleyball)

W1:D7
Run 1 mile at 11:00 minute pace - rest 5 minute - 4 sets of drills
Drills: 20m side-to-sides, 20m high kicks

JT hasn't made the plan for next week yet, but he has hinted that it will involve intervals. I'm not entirely sure what this means, but I suspect it will somehow be considerably harder than the straight jogs we've been doing this week. Perhaps that means it will also be considerably more effective at improving my fitness.  Or perhaps my expectations are getting away from me already.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

JT's Workout Plan

Hello and welcome to JT’s Workout Plan! The purpose of this blog is to track my workouts and progress as my wonderful fianc√©, JT, attempts to train me to run a sub-30-minute 5K. 

The reasons for this are two-fold.

First, I am very lazy and do not like working out.  Due to this fact, my fitness has decreased substantially over the last several months such that a large number of my pants no longer fit.  Aside from being very uncomfortable, this is also very embarrassing.  By doing regular workouts, we are both hoping to feel a little more comfortable in our own skin.

Second, I have had the goal of running a 5K in less than 30 minutes for several years.  Despite a few decent attempts over the years, I have never really come that close to actually succeeding at this goal. JT is an aspiring track coach and former all-state athlete.  So, I might actually stand a chance at succeeding if I can follow his plan.  

As for the blog, I enjoy writing and feel like there is a better chance of success if there is a little social pressure hanging over me. My plan is to post updates a couple days a week with the daily workouts that JT and I are doing as well as how my weak, squishy body is reacting to it.  Here goes nothing.

Week 1: Day 1
Run 1 mile at 11:00 minute pace – rest 5 minutes – walk 1/2 mile – drills (3 sets) – walk 1/2 mile
Drills: 10 meters of walking lunges, 10 squats, 20 crunches, 5 push-ups (from knees for me)

W1:D2
Run 1 mile at 11:00 minute pace – rest 5 minutes – walk 1/2 mile – drills (3 sets) – walk 1/2 mile
Drills: 10 meters of butt kicks, 10m of high kicks, 20 side/oblique crunches (each side), 10 push-ups (from knees for me)

W1:D3
Run 1 mile at 11:00 minute pace – rest 5 minutes – walk 1/2 mile – drills (3 sets) – walk 1/2 mile
Drills: 20m of karaoke/grapevine, 20m of high knees, 10 burpees

Thus far, I’m feeling pretty good, if not a little sore.  I was hurting pretty bad after the first two days, and subsequently threw a small tantrum at the last set of burpees yesterday to the amusement of the teenage boys playing basketball near us. Despite the soreness and the trantrum, I have been managing to achieve the short side of my prescribed 11:00 minute pace. I’m hopeful that this success will continue through the weekend.  JT has promised that the workout schedule will change up next week, so I’m looking forward to that too.