Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Random Recap

It has been so busy for me the past few days! After a summer of not doing much of anything, it's pretty exhilarating to be so on the move again. I should really be doing other things, so here is just a quick, random recap of what's been going on...

  • I (finally) got a permanent job! It had been a long time since I was last unemployed for more than a week, I didn't realize just how much it was weighing me down until I got the job offer. I won't say this is my dream career, but for a "right now, while I'm in school" job, it's pretty awesome.

  • School started!! I may be in the minority, but I really like school. I have missed it oh so much and I have been anxiously awaiting the beginning of this semester for months. I have returned to my old community college and it is like stepping through the looking glass. Things are just the same but so very different - and smaller. I keep thinking I see people I know but then realize there's no way it could be that person because they are no longer 18. Man, oh man do I feel old around these kids! (And I'm not even the oldest person in most of my classes.) 

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays are going to rock! So, last time I was here, I was a music major. Walking past the beautiful new performing arts building literally makes my heart ache and I wanted SO badly to sign up for all the classes. Alas, being a responsible adult got in the way of that. However, I found a way around that performance longing by signing up for two dance classes which actually count toward my kinesiology degree. They are back to back on Tues./Thurs. mornings and today it was glorious! Movement, rhythm, counts, French terms I only vaguely understand! I haven't done this stuff out of velcro shoes and headgear in too many years, I simply cannot convey my ecstasy in words.

  • I ran on the new indoor track at school, in the new fitness complex. I'm so excited to have it and the outdoor track so available. I even have some time built into my class schedule for running - can't let my education get in the way of my marathon training.

So, I'm a few hundred dollars poorer, but I have an income again and a totally packed schedule. If I start slacking on the updates, call me out! And if you are a science buff, let me know. I'm tackling both Chemistry and Biology this semester and I'll be looking for all the help I can get!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mind Over Body

About a week ago I posted about my first 2 mile run and I mentioned a "weird meditation thing" that I do. I'm sure you've all been totally dying for me to go into detail, right? (If not, you could probably stop reading now and go on with your day.)

I believe in mind over matter, I believe we can make things happen by imagining them, I believe we can heal our bodies with our minds. (I promise this is not the new Scientology, I also believe in painkillers and the importance of medical professionals.) Remember on Lost, when Locke was teaching Walt to throw knives, he said close your eyes and see it happen first? It worked! I'm sure you've heard of this method in other scenarios too, athletes visualizing the race - match - shot - whatever, beforehand. You have to imagine something, show your mind how it will happen, and your chances of success skyrocket. (Conversely, if you imagine yourself failing, you are more likely to do so.) I believe this theory can apply to our health as well. If you catch a cold and just wallow in your sickness, thinking all day about how miserable you are, you will feel sick longer than someone who focuses on being and feeling well again. You could find all kinds of articles on the internet about people being cured of all kinds of diseases by hypnosis and other similar treatments.

So what, right? How does this help me get through a morning run? I don't actually imagine the whole run before setting out, who has time for that. No, I use the power of my mind to get rid of aches and pains and muscle cramps while I'm running. Most commonly I use this technique for stitches in my side and it works like gangbusters! I imagine the pain as a cluster of dark matter (not unlike the Smoke Monster) in my side. I visualize each breath I take flowing to that dark matter, surrounding it and taking a little bit away on the exhale, over and over until the pain is gone. It sounds kind of nutty when I type it out like this, but I swear to you it works. I have done this with knee pain and sore calfs, any minor injury that I might otherwise walk off.
In case you need help visualizing it next time you get a stitch in your side!

Try it, let me know what you think! Do you have any unusual tricks for pushing through the pain or boredom of a long run? Do you believe in brain power too? Do you think I'm a total nut? (It's ok, I may be...)

P.S. Today was Week 8 Day 1, 28 minute run and it felt great!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fleet Feet Women's 5K Recap-ish

Sunday morning I ran my first ever race! It was a women's 5K sponsored by our local running store, this was the first year for this particular event. It was pretty awesome. I was really impressed with how easy and seamless everything was, they had some cool sponsors, fun giveaways and a great staff. Seriously, the guy on the mic was just so charismatic and funny, it really made for a happy environment both before and after the race. Plus, they gave medals to all the finishers, so not only did I run my first race, but I also 'won' my first running award ever, ha!

We started out toward the back of the pack and I'm not entirely sure where the start was, but according to my Nike + app, I actually ran 3.3mi in 39'11"(avg. 11'47"/mi). A little slower than my training but this course had a lot of little hills which I have not practiced for at all. So, instead of walking for a long break in the middle, I decided to walk the hills. I'm pretty pleased with the way this strategy worked, I wasn't in pain after the race and my overall pace didn't really suffer for it. My jog pace was a little slower than usual but my walking pace was much faster so it all worked out in the end. Overall, I'm totally hooked and can't wait to find another 5K to run soon!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Rinse and Repeat

It's supposed to be my rest day. I'm not supposed to run this morning. I'm supposed to cuddle up with my puppy and wander the internet for hours. Part of me really wanted to do that. Part of me wanted to go out for a short walk/jog with the dog or with my mom. Part of me wanted to go out and run another 5K to teach it a lesson after the beating I took yesterday morning. Guess who won?

Yeah, I ran again. 5K in 36'14" (avg. 11'37" per mile). I just had to prove to myself that yesterday was a fluke, not a failure but a lesson. So, what went wrong yesterday that I could fix today? Well, I got too hot. Ok, start today a little earlier while it's still cool out, check. I was out of breath and working too hard by the end. Ok, start easier, take a walk break, hold back, check. I also reversed my route. Yesterday, the last 1.5k were mostly unshaded and the final 500 meters were uphill. Today I ran downhill and toward the shade, leaving the flatter, more shaded area for the second half of my run.

I'm really glad I did it. I feel like I learned my lesson from yesterday's run and I proved to myself that I can finish this run drama-free if I plan better and listen to my body. Also, even though I added a little walk break in the middle, my time was just a minute slower than yesterday. Tomorrow can be a rest day.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

BPB Issues

I decided to run 5K this morning instead of my 25 minutes for C25K, I have this compulsion to get in as many practices as I can before Sunday morning. It was my new fastest time at 35:24, however I may have been a little too ambitious. Did you know that if you feel cold and start shivering while exercising in the heat it's a bad thing? Well it is, as I learned during my tortuous days at Block Party Bash. I knew the moment I started to get chills, it would be a fight at step down over whether or not I was going to the hospital that day (I was always against it for some reason.) I always pushed myself anyway, I wanted to give a good show and I reassured myself that the wet towels and Powerade would fix it all. This morning, during the last 500 meters, I started to get chills. My first thought was "Push through it, you're not a wimp." Then I realized there were no spares waiting for me with towels and drinks, there were no athletic trainers or captains and no EMTs to strip me down and strap the heart monitor on yet again. It took some major will power to slow down, I wanted so badly to sprint through the last block, but I relaxed and finished slowly and safely. I did sit on the curb outside a neighbors house for a few minutes while I caught my breath, but there were no fuzzy black spots in front of my eyes, no tingling in my hands and feet, and most importantly no tears. I was always so terribly embarrassed to be insisting I was fine and at the same time involuntarily crying buckets. I actually asked for my Mommy once, mortifying! Man, that parade gave my major psychological issues, my very own version of PTSD!

After my run, I jumped in the pool for a few laps and some crunches (did you know you can work your abs in the pool?!). I love what all this running has done for my body, from the hips down. My mid-section is looking more and more flabby in comparison so I'm going to try to add in some cross-training on my non-running days and see what I can do about it. Also, the weather here has been pretty perfect for swimming so I want to take advantage while it lasts. Any suggestions for cold weather cross-training? I'll have to find something else soon, it's almost September!

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Pat on the Back

Today starts Week 7 of C25K. I'd like to take a moment to pat myself on the back for making it this far. I'm so proud that I've made this commitment to run, that I've stuck with it for seven weeks, and that I am still enjoying it. I think having a plan like C25K to follow has really helped, each week I increase my time and so each week I have accomplished something new.

Week 7 is three days of 25 minute runs with no walk breaks, just 5 minute warm up and cool down. Due to some technical difficulties, my inability to successfully count, and anxiety over my upcoming race, I actually ran 31 minutes today. Along with my warm up, it made for a 36' 5K. I'm pretty psyched about that and it helped to ease my anxiety a bit. If I can run the same on Sunday, I will be happy. (Although I do hope to eliminate the 5 minutes of walking and run the whole distance, we'll see.)

Don't forget to be your own cheerleader, even the smallest accomplishments merit acknowledgement!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

2 Miles!

Thanks once again to Pinterest, I discovered the most awesome collection of playlists designed specifically for C25K! They've got 4-8 choices for each week of the program, each with different genres of music and all with voice prompts to tell you when to walk or run and even some encouragement at halfway and the last minute. I'm madly in love! No more looking at my watch every few seconds, stressing that it's not time to stop yet. In fact, since I found these playlists I haven't even worn my watch. Oh, the best part? They're free to download, no signing up for anything. My favorites so far have been the Aerosmith playlists, they're mostly live tracks so its like a private concert for you as you run along. Check it out here:

Yesterday was Week 6 Day 2, 10r/3w/10r. It was rough, the first day I really haven't enjoyed my run in a while. I finished and all, but felt pretty bleah about it in the end. Today I went back out and ran Day 3, a 25 minute run with no break. It was so much better! Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was for no good reason but I'm glad I did it because I don't feel quite so bad about yesterday now. Also, I ran for 25 whole minutes - 2 miles! At the halfway point I was considering a walk break, my knee was bothering me a bit, but my breathing was so good I didn't want to risk breaking my stride. I was able to talk myself out of the break and the pain worked itself out after a bit, thankfully. I do this weird meditation thing when I'm running, I'll explain in another post, but I'm glad it continues to work  for me so I can spend today reveling in my accomplishment! 2 miles!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My First Race!

I signed up for my first race! With my mom even! Yay!!

Our local running shop is hosting a women's 5k run/walk on the 12th and we officially registered this morning. I can't wait! It will come right at the end of Week 7, a week of 25 minute runs with no walk breaks. So I may not be ready to jog the entire 5k, but I feel confident I can finish and maybe run the majority of the distance. If you're in the NorCal area, you should come run with us! Check out the info at Fleet Feet Sports.

Today was Week 6 Day 1, the plan was 5 3 8 3 5 with the 3's being walk breaks. Not a very exciting run but no problems, so successful. 2.6 mi at 12'49 pace.