Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Good Run on a Bad Day

As I stated previously, I'm pretty out of shape from where I want to be.  As sucky as it is to admit, I've been struggling to get through 4 (albeit hilly) miles after work.  I've been having to do walk-run intervals, which I'm no stranger to, and my plan has been to just slowly expand the run part until I'm going the whole time.

My legs have been doing ok, the problem I have is not being able to breathe when I run.  I struggle with this anyway, and  lately it's been really bad.  I feel like a can't take a full breath until I'm walking, and sometimes not even then.

Today was not a great day at work, I've got some stuff I'm stressed and frustrated about, I had a headache (day 2 of no Diet Coke) and I just felt like crap (whine, whine, whine...I know!).  So I had debated not running at all, but it was so freaking nice outside I hated to waste it!  I talked myself into 3 easy slow miles, just to get moving and burn off the stress food I ate today (delicious, but unnecessary).
It helps when there are trees like these lining the way! 

They smell good too:)
Once I got going I felt pretty decent, so I decided to to see how far I could go without walking.  I made it all the way to Hill of Pain 1 (not to be confused with Hill of Death, I got to go down that one today) and walked for maybe 15 seconds after.  And that was it.  I ran the whole way. It wasn't anywhere near fast, but I found a good pace, a good stride and after about 2 miles I could actually breathe!  I'm so excited right now I could do a dance, but I won't because the cat is watching.  I needed a good run like this so badly and it couldn't have come at a better time.

The weather is beautiful (79 degrees), the trees are blooming, and I felt so happy the whole time!  This is why I run, because 40 minutes of sweat can wipe out a whole day (week) of crappiness.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

GOOOAAAALS!!! Or things to do when not working...

Since running in my first marathon in Indy last November, I've been kind of at a loss for goals.  I also had some extenuating circumstances that kept me from running for a little while.  Now I've started running and some strength training again, but feel like I haven't ran in a year.

Side note:
I feel like there should be some magic dust they sprinkle on you at the finish line of your first marathon that automatically keeps you in shape forever as a reward for the ridiculous amounts of work you just did. But I digress...

I obviously need to get back in shape if I want to start thinking about time goals.  I signed up for the Southern Indiana Classic 8K so I could run with a friend who has started running more recently.  My mini goal right now is to not hold her back!  I would also like to find a 5K sometime soon to establish a baseline (although it scares me to see what my time might be).  I also really miss running with Martha and Julie, my marathon training partners!  So getting back to running regularly is a top priority.
                                                    Martha and Julie, my marathon buddies!
I do want to run another marathon, but before that I really want to try to go sub-2 in a half.  My best time right now is 2:10:32 in the Evansville half last October during marathon training, so I've got quite a ways to go.

I also want to improve my 5K time and get it closer to 25 minutes.

In my non-running life I want to try to severely cut back on my Diet Coke habit (this may be the hardest one of all).  I get physically addicted to them and I don't like it.  Plus, as a chemist, I shudder to think what all those chemicals might do over the years.  I can't say that I will cut them completely, but I would like to go days at a time without one instead of 3 5 or more servings daily. Which kind of goes along with eating more healthy in general, which also goes along with the smoothie addiction I'm developing (more on that later).

So I guess overall I just need to get moving!  Running regularly is what needs to happen (and has for a whole week and a half) and I think everything else will follow.  It usually does.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

In the Beginning

I've gotten the question "why did you start running?" quite a few times in the 2 years since i started, and I think I always give a pretty similar answer.  I don't want to bore the poor questioner with my life story, so I just give some short stock answer, but honestly I think it takes a life story to get to the root of it.  I think this is true for a lot of people that see running (or biking, swimming, etc.) as a major part of their lives.  So here is my story, if I were going to tell it in the way that would make the listener regret asking!

I grew up playing sports.  Softball, soccer, basketball, riding bikes with my dad, an extremely brief foray into track; it was all a major part of my life.  My dad played basketball, biked incessantly, played softball and coached my sister and me in everything.  I was pretty average in all of it (I was better in the academic world), but I was good enough to play in my small town. My parents were very supportive and most of our free time was spent at a court or field.  I played soccer, basketball, and softball through high school and got some academic scholarships to attend a local private college.

In college I studied, joined a sorority, worked, played IMs, met my future husband and my best friends.  As cliche as it sounds, they honestly were some of the best years of my life thus far.  Despite the IMs, I also managed to gain about 30 pounds and get out of shape.  I blame the food court at my mall job.

Post college, I got a job as a chemist at a paint company in town and got married.  A lot of people at my job are very active and eat a lot healthier, so I started to lose a little weight and I took up biking again.  I lived upstairs in an apartment and I eventually got sick of lugging that bike up and down the steps. Cycling was fun and I still love it, but over the years I had really started to miss the fulfillment of pushing myself physically and I really missed competing, even if it was just against myself.  So one night a little over 2 years ago I was bored and clicking around on the internet and I found the Couch to 5K program and decided to give it a go.  I've  been running ever since.  I ran my first 5K in July of 2010 and was hooked on the feeling and sense of accomplishment that running gave me.  It made me realize that God has made me stronger than I give myself credit for and I really can do what I put my mind to.  As I was training for my first half marathon later that year and having a post run breakfast at Cracker Barrel (egg sandwich and hash brown casserole, drool!), my husband told me (in a nice way) that if I had told him a year ago that I would be doing 11 mile training runs he never would have believed me and he was so proud that I could dedicate myself to my goals.  And that was before my first marathon!
                                      The family out at Race for the Cure, my favorite kind of family time!

Running has given me so much.  New friends,  a way to escape the bad days and to find myself, and a new found sense of strength and purpose.  I wish that everyone could feel the way this makes me feel (even after the bad runs) and I hope through the years I get a chance to help others come to running, the way I did.  You don't have to be fast, you just have to be.