Back to Basics

Well, folks, it took a little bit longer than I anticipated, but I’m finally cold free and back to my normal energy levels. What a ridiculously long-lingering cold that was! I spent the majority of my vacation days sniffling, coughing and napping on the couch. I did manage to drag myself into the city for happy hour with two former co-workers and discovered that hot toddies are a seriously amazing remedy for a cold. I realize I’m a little late to the game considering my Irish heritage, but I’ve now found my go-to drink during cold season!

On my final vacation day the hubby and I went out for brunch (my favorite meal) and planned on seeing a movie in the afternoon. We ended up cuddling and napping instead. Womp womp. But we redeemed ourselves later with a long stroll around the neighborhood and a Netflix DVD. It was actually the perfect way to spend my final day off.

I didn’t make it back to the gym until yesterday. Even then I struggled a bit with all the coughing, but it felt SO good to be exercising again. I went back again today and hit the treadmill. Knowing that I’ve lost a bunch of stamina both physically and mentally, I decided to do Week 4, Day 1 of the C25K program. It was a great choice. Not too easy and not too challenging. I felt happy and strong throughout the entire workout. That’s a good thing since my first official 5K is coming up on June 12th! As coincidence would have it, I received my first issue of Runner’s World this week and there is a 5 week training plan for running a 5K. I have just about 5 weeks before mine. I’ve adapted it a little bit using some of the C25K program workouts along with changing some of the rest days based on my schedule. I’m determined to stick with this plan since I would really, really like to run at least half of the 5k next month. Fingers crossed!

C25K Complete!

It’s official! I completed week 8, day three of C25K tonight after work. I have to say I am very impressed with this program and the Zen Labs app. The progression worked really well for me. I only had two runs where I struggled a bit and walked a little during the running intervals. I am definitely going to continue running for the foreseeable future. My short-term plan is to alternate interval runs where I work on my speed with the straight forward 30 to 40 minute runs for distance. Hopefully, by early summer, I’ll feel comfortable enough with my progress to try the Bridge to 10K.

Now I feel like I can say that I’m a runner. A few months ago, that thought never would have crossed my mind. Amazing!

The Sunday Night Blues

When I was younger my dad always called the feelings of sadness, disappointment, and a little trepidation that seemed to emerge at the end of every weekend the “Sunday Night Blues.” I was amazed when he admitted that he also felt that way on Sunday nights. I didn’t realize that grown-ups sometimes hated their responsibilities as much as I did! Now, as a grown-up, I can fully confirm that the Sunday Night Blues do, indeed, still exist and when they hit me full force I end up with anxiety and insomnia. No fun!

Sunday Night Blues, aside, I had a pretty good week and weekend. I finished day 1 and 2 of C25K’s week 8. Day 1 wasn’t bad at all. I kept my pace slow and lowered the incline on the treadmill at the halfway point. Day 2 was tougher. I started at a slightly faster speed than usual and when I realized that it still felt rather easy I increased it again for about 5 minutes. I was happy with the interval, but I realized it was probably going to make the rest of the run tougher. Eventually I had to slow down and I ended up walking twice for 90 seconds. I’m pretty sure it was mostly a mental block. Unlike the last time I ended up needing to walk I didn’t beat myself up about it or count it as a failure. Yay for emotional progress! I should finish week 8 on Tuesday which means I’ll have completed the program. I’m still pretty shocked that I stuck with it, but there it is!

On Saturday afternoon I decided to do a little spring wardrobe shopping as a (slightly premature) reward for finishing the C25K program. I ended up with a few new tops, a spring dress, and jeans. Even though the scale has not moved in any significant way lately, I definitely saw a difference in the dressing room mirrors as well as in the clothing sizes I ended up with. Running will definitely remain a big component of my exercise schedule.

Well, I’m off to shut down the computer, drink some calming tea and try to get into a sleepy state of mind. Last week’s bout of insomnia early on left me exhausted by mid-week. I would really like to keep that from happening again!

March Goals

Since we’re only a few days into March, I think it’s still safe to come up with a list of goals to be achieved by the end of the month. One of my resolutions was to break my larger goals down into smaller, more easily achievable goals. So here’s the list for March:

1.) Complete the C25K program.

2.) Lose at least 6 pounds.

3.) Work up to running 12 minute miles (5 mph).

5.) Run outdoors at least twice. I want to start getting used to running outside as the weather gets better and I get stronger.

6.) Blog at least 10 times.

These all are achievable within the next 28 days, I think. I’ll be sure to revisit this list at the end of the month.

Happy March, everyone!

Awesome Finish to C25K Week 7

I’m happy to report that after my frustration with week 7, day 1, I finished this week on a high note. I was scheduled to do day 2 on Thursday, but since I had a vacation day scheduled for Friday, I decided to postpone it a day. I’ve found that my best runs usually happen on days I have off from work, so why not? Well, I’m glad I did because I finished day 2 without any problems. The last few minutes were a struggle, but that always happens to me.

I also had a hot stone massage scheduled for Friday evening. It was so amazing. My massage therapist found all of my tension spots right away (neck, shoulders, lower back) and went to town. I wish massages weren’t so expensive. I would love to be able to go at least once a month. Maybe one day when I’m rich…

On Saturday I had an easy 30 minute elliptical session scheduled. Half-way through, my attention kept drifting over to the people on the treadmills. I actually felt a little envious that they were getting to run! After recovering from my initial shock at that thought (seriously, who have I become?!?), I decided to get in a short 15 minute run and see if I could work on my speed a little bit once I was finished with my elliptical session. I was worried my legs might be tired, but I did just fine and I managed to run at a faster pace for the majority of the time.

Today I had day 3 on the schedule and I was a little nervous because I woke up pretty sore today. I think it was the combination of massage, faster pace, and major house cleaning that did it. I made a deal with myself that I would try day 3 and it if seemed too hard I would do what I could and try again tomorrow. Happily, that deal was not necessary. I finished day 3 just fine! And now I just have one week left to work my way up to running for 30 minutes straight. I’m really amazed by this program.

They Can’t All Be Great Days…Right?

Yesterday was a struggle. All. Day. Long.  It was one of those days where I clearly would have been better off pulling the blankets over my head and shutting out the world.

I usually have good days at work, but when they’re bad they’re really bad. I spent the afternoon being annoyed by and frustrated with countless people. I stewed about it all during my 25 minute subway ride home and kept stewing during the 15 minute walk from the subway to my apartment. Then I vented to my husband for approximately 45 more minutes before getting myself to the gym for the 25 minute run planned for the evening.

The gym was crowded. I was tired, annoyed, and distracted. I began my run at a slightly faster pace and just couldn’t relax into it. Lately I’ve been hitting that sweet spot where everything just feels right by about minute 7 or 8. Last night, that moment never ever came. I slowed my pace and even lowered the incline, but I just couldn’t get into it. I ended up walking for 90 seconds twice and then another minute near the end. Before I hit the halfway mark I seriously considered giving up and trying again another day, but I’m glad I stuck with it. Still, I was so disappointed when I finished. What was supposed to be 25 minutes of continuous running ended up being 21 minutes of running with three short walking breaks.

I lamented my “failure” to my husband when I got home and he just shook his head and laughed at me. He reminded me that everyone has good runs and bad runs, and that I was only a few minutes short of my goal. I knew he was right, but it took me a few hours to really let it go. It’s really annoying when that perfectionist in me rears her overly-critical head, but I can’t help it sometimes. If I’m not good at something after a few tries I usually quit. This was the first run I really struggled with, but I am not quitting this time. I enjoy it too much and I could use the “bad” runs as opportunities to silence my perfectionist inner-critic.

Tomorrow night is my week 7, day 2 run. It’s the same as yesterday’s – 25 minutes. I figure if I struggle again tomorrow night and on day 3, I’ll repeat week 7 until it feels good. Otherwise, I’ll move ahead into week 8 and see how it goes.

C25K Week 6 Complete

So I finished week 6 today and I have to say I feel pretty accomplished! I focused on increasing my speed slightly for workout 1 and 2, and I was able to complete workout 3 (22 minutes of continuous running) at my new speed without having to slow down at all. I am seriously enjoying this program. I never thought I would be someone who actually likes to run, but I find myself looking forward to my runs. I just hope that continues after I finish the program 2 weeks from now. I think it will as long as I set small goals and challenges for myself. Increasing my speed will definitely be the first challenge on the list.

Now that I’m working my way up to longer periods of running I hope to start seeing some weight loss as well. I need to re-focus on my calorie-intake and workouts on my non-running days. I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with all of these things when I first started the program because I knew I would get frustrated if I didn’t see the weight dropping and I didn’t want that to be a reason to quit running. So this week it’s back to basics: making sure I get enough protein, veggies, and fruits; limiting carbs and processed foods. Not that I wasn’t doing that already – it’s pretty much the way I eat in general – but I was having dessert more often than I should and my husband convinced me to get pizza with him a few too many times. ­čś« I have to admit, it’s frustrating when I read about people who lost tons of weight by cutting out soda or walking everywhere, etc. For years and years now I ┬ádrink only water at home (coffee in the mornings), walk at least 2 miles a day on my commute alone, work out 4 to 6 times a week, and eat mostly whole foods and lean protein. None of that has ever lead to a huge weight loss! Sigh. I really hope that running along with a more vigilant eye toward my food choices will be the magic combination I need once and for all.

Here’s to a great week ahead!