Monthly Archives: December 2011

Wah Wah Wah

Pity Party time!!!

I don’t know exactly what it was, but Monday’s run sucked. I’m not even going to try to sugar coat it because it just plain sucked. The run felt sluggish and I felt blah the whole time.  I don’t know if it was just a blah work out because it was the day after Christmas or because it had something to do with doing the workout with no food in my system.  I had just gotten up from a rare nap, fed the baby, and decided to hit the treadmill.  Maybe my brain was still a little foggy.

I had a burning feeling in my calves for the majority of the work out.  Wow, talk about annoying! I googled “burning calves” to see what the potential issue could be and found some possible answers on livestrong.com. It seems like the burning calves could be the  result of 1. my (poor) running form and 2. some dehydration.  After the run, I felt stiff and sore – my left knee still has some soreness around the knee cap area which is why I’m wondering about my running form (Kim – maybe you could watch me run the next time you’re in town?).  I haven’t felt crappy during and after a workout at all since I started the Couch to 5k program 4 weeks ago and I felt really bummed out about it.

Week 5 starts tonight and I hope that I have a much better workout or I will probably start feeling really discouraged which is not helpful. Starting at Week 5, the run times increase at each workout and while I’m amped about the challenge, I know if my body doesn’t cooperate I will probably have an internal struggle with myself about giving up.  Yeah, a few lousy workouts is all it takes for me.  Probably something I should work on.

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Three Weeks Completed

I’m about to wrap up week three of my nine week 5k plan. I’ll be heading into the fourth week where it looks like running ramps up a bit. Well, challenged accepted, 5k plan! I’m looking forward to week four.  

 I think this is a good point to look back and see how my running plan is going now that I’m a third of the way into it.

 The plan calls for a 20 minute workout, three times a week. I’ve consistently done a 30 minute workout, four times a week. Occasionally, I will run a little bit more than the plan requires just for kicks. And well, to see if I can do it.

 Right off the bat, a few significant changes that I’ve noticed is my endurance. I’m finding the runs are going a little bit easier each time even though I’m continually increasing my speed slighty at each run.  I dropped a few pounds and can run for longer periods of time. Double score. 

 Somewhere along the way I figured out that running after dinner = a bad idea. I noticed that it would take me a lot longer to get into the workout after stuffing my face.  I decided to eat a somewhat bigger meal at lunch and maybe a snack at night. Running goes a lot easier this way.   I also think curbing dinner has attributed a lot to the weight loss – but I’m hoping that running is helping me in that department, too. 

 Every so often I get a little discouraged with how long of a process it feels like to get to a 5k running ability .  In a perfect world, I would say, “Hey, I wanna run a 5k, let’s go!” but I just don’t have that natural athletic ability or stamina.  Let’s face it, I’m out of shape. I have my work cut out for me.  I need to actually train for it and sometimes using the 9 week approach makes me feel like I’m never going to get there and that makes me cranky.

 Sometimes I need to go back and re-read this part of the running plan:

 “It’s easy to get impatient, and you may feel tempted to skip ahead in the program, but hold yourself back. Don’t try to do more, even if you feel you can”.

 I know going at this speed/pace is helping me not to injure my knee again. That’s an important 2012 goal and so far my knee is feeling pretty good!

 I love posting my runs to my Facebook wall. It helps me keep track of my runs, but also the encouragement and the “likes” I get helps me to stay motivated. 

Another good motivator is possibly doing a race in February with Kim. Nothing is set in stone, but the thought of doing a race gets me moving!

Speaking of Kim, have you checked out her lastest giveaway?  I almost hate to link up to her page because I WANNA WIN IT!

Don’t Underestimate the Things That I Will Do

(That’s my job!)

Here are some goals that I hope to achieve in 2012:

  • Run at least 3 5K’s.
  • Run those races right and injury free.
  • Run at least one 5K in 30 minutes or less. Ha, I sound like a pizza delivery promise.
  • Lose at least 20 lbs.  I can definitely stand to lose more than that, but aiming low.
  • Talk and run at the same time. I can do that now, but it currently sounds like this:  “So…huff, huff, huff, the other day I…huff, gasp, pant…ordered a triple thick shake…gasssssssp, huff, huff, gasp, arghhh, huff…”   Ok, it’s not THAT bad, but I would really like it if I could have a normal conversation with a running partner without all that extraneous huffing and puffing.
  • Find a running partner! Run with other runners! A friend is kindly letting me use her jogging stroller so Luca will be my default running partner when the weather warms up again, but hopefully I won’t shy away from asking a fellow runner to run with me.   I realized that I know a number of people that are runners or use running to stay in shape. I hope not to be too intimidated by their skill level and take the initiative to reach out to them for a run.  Or possible join a local running club? I probably could learn a thing or two, or three from their experiences.
  • Complete my current training plan with out aggravating my troublesome knee. I’m in week two of my 9 week training plan.
  • Run outdoors more but not neglect the treadmill.

Those are my goals for now. I will update and adjust the goals as needed.  I rather set my goals a little low than too high so that I don’t burn myself out.  For example, if I lose 20 lbs, I’ll increase the goal. If I run 3 5K’s and still have plenty of time left in the year, I’ll do more, or maybe try a 4-Miler.  I’m trying to be realistic. Gone are the days where I could have vested a lot of time to running. Now,  I have my sweet 7 mth old, other family responsibilities, and activities to factor in to my daily schedule.  Plus, I already managed to injure myself once and really need to refrain from doing that again. Slow and steady. Quality over quantity.  Insert other applicable cliches here.

What are some of your goals that you hope to achieve in 2012 – whether it’s running related or not?  What would you like to see happen in the New Year?

How It All Ended

My training for The Dash to the Finish Line was going pretty smoothly. The weather was cooperating, The Husband was cooperating, The Baby was cooperating – my body, however, was not cooperating.

About two weeks in I was really starting to see improvements.  I was running with more ease and losing some weight.  I was feeling pretty good during a Saturday run that I deviated from the training program a bit.  Instead of sticking with the run/walk intervals,  I just kept running.  I kept telling myself, see if you can get to this point without stopping. This point turned into that point. That point turned into all the way home.  I felt great until I stopped running.  Afterwards my legs, especially around my knees , felt stiff and achy.  I brushed the pain off and attributed it to being a sign of a really good workout.  I tried taking a hot shower in hopes that the heat would loosen my legs but it didn’t help at all.  I spent the rest of the day walking around like a 105 year old.  I figured my legs just needed some time to rest and that I would feel better the next day.  Nope.  My knees didn’t feel better the next day or the day after that and the pain continued for about a week.  I tried  icing my knee, applying heat, Tylenol, then a lot of Tylenol but nothing seemed to help the throbbing pain. Using a knee brace and a knee strap didn’t work so I resigned to the fact that I probably should rest. I took a few days off from running and when I tried running again a few days later, I found that my legs refused to bend.   I gave up and made an appointment for an orthopedist. I had to wait a week to be seen, a whole long and painful week.  In fact, the appointment was scheduled for the Tuesday before the 5K. I felt pretty low at this point. I wasn’t able to continue with training and I was really disappointed about that.  I was hobbling around everywhere and Steve had to carry Luca down the stairs for me because I had so much trouble just trying to get myself down the stairs.

By the time my appointment came around, the pain in my left knee disappeared but my right knee still felt awful. The doctor felt around my knees (Does this hurt? YES!) and sent me for X-rays. The diagnosis: Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. Yep.  My quads are weak so the knee is taking the brunt of my weight when I run. Or something like that. Poor knee.

I got the go ahead from the doctor to continue running when the pain eased up and a sheet of exercises to help strengthen the muscles around my knee. Oh, and a script for anti-inflammatory medication to take as needed.   I decided to hold off on training and just see what I could do come race day. There was not much more I could do other than that.

All that rest helped and by the time Saturday rolled around, I felt like I was able to make a decent attempt at running. My plan was to start off running and walk when my knee needed to rest and that’s pretty much what I did.  Kim was really great at staying by my side the whole time even though snails were probably passing me at one point.  I had a lot of fun but couldn’t help thinking about how much better I would’ve done if my knee didn’t hurt.

It’s been a month since the race so the actual race details are a little fuzzy but you can read all about it on Kim’s race report.

I will always remember my favorite parts of the race. That’s coming up next!

How It All Began…

One day, while minding my own business, Kim forwaded an ING New York City Marathon newsletter to me to peruse.  There was about a month left to Marathon and I was getting so excited for Kim to come in from Chicago and run all over the 5 boros. The newsletter had some information for spectators and tips on how to cheer on your marathoner.  Towards the bottom of the newsletter I saw that there would be a 5K the day before the marathon called, NYRR The Dash to the Finish Line. The race description was very compelling:

Be part of the world-famous ING New York City Marathon excitement, run through the streets of Manhattan, and finish at the famed Marathon finish line in Central Park — without running 26.2 miles!

 On Marathon Saturday, November 5, 2011, our inaugural NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K (3.1 miles) will be open to all runners who want to join in the marathon festivities.

Friends and family, marathoners and non-marathoners—all are welcome. This year you’ll get to run with a strong field led by Olympic hopefuls and other top runners on this flat and fast course.

 The unique route starts near the United Nations and takes runners across 42nd Street, then heads uptown into Central Park for the final dash across the world-renowned ING New York City Marathon finish line.

I was hooked. The rest of the details are a little fuzzy. I remember Kim and I both thinking we could do this together but I can’t remember if I approached her about it or if she asked me to run it with her.  Either way, before I knew it, Kim had me on a 5K training plan.  At that point I only had about 4 weeks to get up to snuff. Or at least up to where I could fake my way through the race.

As luck would have it, I was headed to Chicago with The Husband, Steve and Baby Luca for a long weekend visit with Kim and her family during Columbus Day weekend. We decided to start the training during my visit in Chicagoland.

Kim prepared a modified version of this beginning training plan.  We modified it since I only had 4 weeks (eek!).  I continued on the plan when I got back to New York. The fall weather was unseasonably mild and I was really getting into running. I loved running around my neighborhood.  How could you not, when this is your mile one marker. Or as I like to call it MileWON:

Of course, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this running stuff without Kim motivating me at every step or without The Husband.  He graciously took over more baby duties several times a week so that I was able to have an hour or so to run.  Steve was amazing. I would come home to a fed and happy baby and dinner on the table.  He made it so easy for me.

So, I kept this routine up for about two weeks until my knees turned against me. More on that next time.

(Don’t forget to head over to Kim’s blog. She’s doing a giveaway a week until Christmas. Check out this week’s giveaway here! Don’t be shy!)

Ode to Kim

So here it is, my new blog.  Blame Kim. Or should I say, bow down and praise Kim for she has done the impossible.  She should be awarded some fancy, shiny medal with a pretty ribbon for doing what she did.  I’m not referring to the myriad of 5Ks Kim has completed or the half-marathons or relay races she’s done. I’m not even talking about any of the FOUR marathons she’s tore up.  I’m not even talking about the 2011 NYC marathon she ran in a very respectable 4:41:04 (she scored her name in the New York freakin’ Times for that one).  Nope. Her biggest accomplishment to date, in my humble opinion, is getting me to run. and like it.  Wow, I can hear the collective gasps of shock from here! I still wanna pass out from the shock of it all! Here I am, 7  months postpartum and very out of shape.  Koach Kim (as I love to call her) got me to put on running shoes (with awesome purple laces) and run up hills, down hills, around tracks, on treadmills, on the street, and on trails.  All this while I’m trying to balance new parenthood-dom, work, and well, life.

In November, I ran (although I use that term loosely) and finished a 5K  (3.1 Miles) in [I’m not telling how long it took me]. Stick around and I’ll share the gory details. Except for the unflattering race pictures and finish time, of course.

Follow me while I slowly ease into running. It should be interesting.  I’ll set goals and you can hold me accountable for them.  This blog won’t be all about running, though. I have an adorable 7 month old boy that I can’t shut up about. I live in NYC which should provide me with enough blog material for the rest of my life.  I’m looking forward to this new phase in my life.

I’m excited about my new hobby! See, that’s an improvement right there! Before, I used to call running The Fifth Circle of Hell.

Oh, before I forget, go ahead and click on the link to Kim’s blog (above). She’s doing giveaways…