Is THIS Bliss?!

Lorina's Blog

Return of the Mojo Part Two: C25k Weeks 4-6

In my previous post, I talked about my return to running. It felt pretty damn good. Overall, though, I felt like I wasn’t progressing much. My pace chart looked like the EKG of someone in cardiac distress. Up and down, up and down, up and down. Especially in the last mile. And it’s been like that for years. I remember when I was newer to running, it would often take me a mile or two to “get into the zone,” and really enjoy it. More recently, I felt like a needed a walk break every five minutes at best, and I never really got to that zone. It was too much stop and start, stop and start. Like the difference between driving on the highway versus the city with traffic lights and stop signs.  I’m still a fan of a walk break, but I want to get back to where I felt like I was on cruise control.

For my fourth week of running,  I followed the actual c25k plan for W4D1  to try to force myself to do longer intervals for both walking and running. Especially at the end of a run. I added an extra set of intervals to the end to get me to a full 5k.  And doing it this way, I ended up going progressively faster through the run, rather than slower.

Derp. I guess the plan is good for a reason.

W4D1
Same as Sunday’s run, following C25k W4 (run 3 minutes, walk 1.5, run 5, walk 2.5, repeat) with an extra set of intervals to get me to 5k. And a few seconds faster per mile. Love the negative splits! And I was happy to be under a 12 minute mile average again.

W4D2
Woohoo! W4D3 done and got all the miles under 12 minutes! Bring on week 5!

W4D3
We had a few rainy days and I’m not quite masochistic enough to run in steady rain yet, so it took a few days for me to start Week 5. W5D1 with extra intervals to get me to 3.1 miles. 5 minutes running, three minutes walking. I’m surprised my final five minutes was my fastest!

W5D1
W5D2. I changed it a little, from 8 minutes running, 5 minutes walking to 8 and 4. I just don’t think I need that long of a walk break. And I repeated until I got to 5k, and then cut my last walk interval short because I only had about .3 miles left and I’d rather run that last bit than walk it.

I can’t remember the last time I ran 8 minutes without a walk break.I’m pretty sure it’s been years. I usually walk at least every 5 minutes, so I’m proud of myself for doing this today. I shifted my arse into low gear so I didn’t go too fast and burn myself out like I usually do.

That means the dreaded 20 minute run is next.  *gulp*

W5D2
The big jumps, going from 8 minute intervals to 20 minutes, intimidate the hell out of me. I mentally think of myself as Harry Potter in the Prisoner of Azkaban.  Just like Harry was able to defeat the dementors with the use of the time turner because he already knew he did, I have to remember that I’ve already run 20 minutes. Just not back to back in a long time. But I tell myself I can do this, because I already did it.

And I did!  I cannot remember the last time I ran 20 straight minutes. Last time I tried was over 2 years ago, and I didn’t make it then. I was debating holding off until the next day, since it’d been rainy all day, but kept checking the radar and when it seemed mostly passed us, I went. Or at least I thought it was mostly passed.

A green sports bra and white t-shirt are not the best choice on a rainy day. Just FYI.

After 20 minutes running, 4 minutes walking, then another ~12 minutes off random run/walk intervals and I took about 11 seconds per mile off my best average pace this year.

W5D3
Which brings us to Week 6. I was trying to psyche myself up to run W6D1, thinking it was 10 minute run intervals, when it was just five and eight minute intervals. I guess that’s the point of W5D3’s 20 minute run. Eight seems easy after that, but it seemed hard a week ago.

W6D1

W6D2 was a bit of a bummer. It was much warmer than I’m used to – already 80° by 9am – and I’m a total wuss about running in the heat. I’d rather run in the cold. Anything above 60 and I get grumpy. I like to think it’s because my heart belongs in Scotland. But anyway, The first ten minute interval was fine, but about 7 minutes into the second one, I had to pause a little. Then the final interval was a mix of running and walking.

W6D2
W6D3 was another bummer. I hate to end this post on a low note, but … it happens. Not every run is a good run. One of these days I’m going to listen to my body when it dreads a workout.  You know that meme that goes “I really regret that workout, said no one ever?” That’s bullshit. I’ve regretted.

I was raring to go yesterday morning. Woke up bright eyed and bushy-tailed, thrilled that our mini-heatwave had passed. Then I heard the raindrops. I checked the radar online and there was a decent sized storm settled right over the region. So I waited for it to clear. Then it did, right before lunchtime, and I went for my brisk warm-up walk. And was just NOT feeling it. I just made a loop around the block and realized I had to pee. Again. That’s another thing that I still need to learn. The proper balance between hydrated and having a full bladder.

At that point, I thought, “Maybe I should just wait until tomorrow?” But instead, I decided to have a little lunch and try again later. After all, I was already dressed for it. By then, the sun had come out and it looked lovely. Fine. I’ll run.

But … I just couldn’t get in the rhythm. It was supposed to be a 25 minute run and after just 5 minutes, I was ready for a walk break. Honestly, I was ready for one by a quarter of a mile, but I waited until the five minute timer.  I should have taken a rest day. My legs were made of lead from squats the day before.

But as the saying goes, “Nevertheless, she persisted.” And I kept going. Maybe my shirt was prophetic. “Run. Rest. Repeat.” Over and over and over again. Around the three mile mark, I did feel a second wind coming on, though, so instead of turning to home, I made a detour, and ended up running 4.2 miles instead of 3.1. And even though my “steady” intervals weren’t a steady, non-stop run, at least my overall pace was pretty damn consistent!

The next three workouts in C25k are repeats of this one, so maybe at some point during the next three runs, I’ll actually do the full 25 minutes. Or maybe I’ll go back to the W6D2 workout with the 10 minute runs. This is the part of the C25k plan that I don’t like, when it goes from structured intervals to “just run.”

I did notice, when snapping my post run selfie (Yeah, I like taking selfies. I’m the world’s oldest millennial.) that I’m starting to see some definition in my arms and shoulders.  My clavicles are coming back! I’ll take any victory I can find!

W6D3-ish.
Stay tuned next week, where I’ll hopefully actually manage a 25 minute run!

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The Return of the Mojo

I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I completely lost my mojo last summer. A combination of things, being sad over the loss of my dog, a few minor injuries (shin splints and plantar fasciitis), which lead to less running, which lead to increased depression, which lead to even LESS running and poor eating choices. Then some weird mindfuck things, where I felt like a giant bloated blob, but in reality, had barely gained weight and most of my clothes still fit from when I felt good about my body. The brain in a weird thing.

A fitness group I’m in on Facebook ( Outlander Fit – it’s for fans of Outlander who like eating well and exercise and ogling Sam Heughan. 😉 Join us if that’s something you’d like! ) started a Couch to 5k Challenge starting April 1st. Perfect timing for me, because the worst of winter weather was over and while my mojo wasn’t back yet, I was mentally prepared to find it.

The next few posts are going to follow my path back to being a runner.

Since I’m a stubborn dumbass, I didn’t exactly follow C25k’s plan. “i’m already a runner. I don’t need to start at the beginning!” is what I told myself. So the first few weeks, I just followed a “run til I’m tired, walk til I’m bored” approach.

The first run was BRUTAL. It was pretty cold that day, and I kept putting it off, saying, “Do it tomorrow. It’ll be nicer tomorrow.” But I was already in a sports bra & capris, and already took a Claritin to ward off the exercise rhinitis. I just did random intervals, usually about 2-3 minutes of running followed by 1-2 of walking. The really pathetic part? I’d included the first five minutes of warm-up walking in this workout. I walked the first five minutes and I was STILL faster in mile one than in mile two. It was a good wake-up call that I’d really been slacking.

Day One

My next run was a bit better. Mostly. I didn’t start Runkeeper until after my five minute warmup and I was determined to do a full 5k this time. But I’d had a salad for lunch and I don’t think salads enjoy being bounced. At about 2.5 miles, I had a wicked stomach cramp. After a big fart (yeah, TMI, I know), I felt better. For about a quarter of a mile. I kept trying to keep running, but quit just after three miles and walked the rest of the way home. I can walk and clench my bunghole. I can’t run and clench. This is my “I’m trying to smile, but I don’t think the next fart is a fart” face.

I am eternally grateful that my bathroom is right by my door.

Run Two

Run three felt great! I ran (ok, ran, walked, ran, walked, ran, walked) a full 5k in under 40 minutes. And mile three was faster than my first two, which always makes me happy.

I like to finish my runs in the park about two blocks from my house, walk around a bit, then walk home. There’s a Pokestop there. Yeah, I’m one of those dorks. There’s also a Job Johnny there – you can see it behind me –  which I really wished I’d seen at the end of the last run. I haven’t needed it since, but it’s good to know it’s there in case of emergency.

I have to remind myself to take each victory for itself. If I think to myself, “A year ago, you could do a 5k about 10 minutes faster. A few years ago, you were fifteen minutes faster,” I’ll get bummed out. That’s not going to help my psyche. I’ll get there again. Or I won’t. The numbers on an app don’t define me. Neither do the numbers on a scale or the tags on my clothes. I’m doing things to be healthier and stronger. That’s what counts.

Run Three
It was also time to switch to my new shoes. I didn’t realize my tread was so worn!

New Shoes

Second week. A few seconds faster per mile, but I think most of that was just in the last tenth of a mile. It was a windy day. Wind does wonderful things to my hair. My final pair of contact lenses died, and I was stuck wearing my glasses and prescription sunglasses for a while until I got my arse to the eye doctor for new ones.

When you’re terribly nearsighted, and didn’t get high power lenses because “they’re just sunglasses,” those fuckers are HEAVY! Bouncing with every stride, sliding down my nose when I got sweaty. Ugh.

Week Two,  First Run
This next run surprised me. I thought I was going much slower  than last time, since it was quite a bit warmer (already about 70° and I was wishing I was in shorts and a tank instead of capris and a tee) and I ran a hillier route. But I averaged 18 seconds faster per mile, or about one minute faster for my overall 5k time!

Next goal was to get the average pace below a 12 minute mile.

Week 2, Run 2
But when I said “next goal” to be under 12 min mile, I didn’t mean “next run!” But I’ll take it!!! Woohoo!!!

Week 2, Run 3
I was not feeling this one. It was a rough run and I had to drag myself out the door. But it was the day of the Boston Marathon and the story of Kathrine Switzer inspired me to put on my reddest lipstick and go for it. If she could run 26.2 at frickin’ 70 years old, I can do a measly 5k! I was going to let some stupid allergies get the best of me! Thoughts of Kathrine made me go …. well, I didn’t go the extra mile. I went the extra 9/10ths of a mile.

Week 3, Run one
Then I tweaked my knee. It was just one of those random things – getting old sucks! – where I turned funny and it gave out on me. It wasn’t bad, but enough for me to take a week off and realize, “Hey, dumbass! You haven’t been strength training. Cross training is important, idiot!” So I started lifting again around this time.

After resting, my first run sucked. Actually, the first mile was fantastic, and THEN it sucked. Fucking allergies. I couldn’t get a good lungful of air and couldn’t get a good rhythm going. I had every intention of going my standard 3.1 miles, but … no. I wasn’t going to punish myself. But I had gone to the optometrist and gotten some trial contacts, so I could finally wear normal sunglasses again instead of the ones that weighed fifty pounds.

Meh
I’m not counting that last one as part of my weeks of running. This one is the real W3D2. It was so much better than Monday’s run. Still having allergy problems, but I wasn’t a wheezy mess.

Getting on the road was the hardest part. First, i mistakenly sprayed myself with Febreez instead of my sunscreen, then as soon as I shut my gate, I realized I didn’t change into my running shoes. Back inside to change them again. But once I got going, it was ok.

Also, I didn’t realize I had so many Star Wars shirts.

Week 3, Run Two
One does not simply run after leg day. The previous day’s squats & deadlifts put a damper on this run. But other than my dead legs, I felt good. It was kind of the opposite of Monday’s run. Monday, I ran my first mile faster, than usual but felt like crap. This time,  I was slower than usual, but it didn’t hurt. (Until the last half mile. i was going to go for 4 miles, but my hamstrings cried UNCLE!)

It was also warmer than I expected, and it’s garbage day (so stinky!), so there was a lot of dodging cans and bags and waiting on traffic caused by garbage trucks and little minor things like that that slow you down. I did find out that I run faster than the street cleaner, which is very good because the noise blocked out my music and I would have had to take a detour to avoid it.

Week 3, Run 3
So that’s my first three weeks returning to running. I’ll post about the next three in another post. 😀

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New math. 10 < 6.

I went to Kohls yesterday. I had some Kohls Crack, I mean Kohls Cash, that expires in two days. I had a hard time finding anything I liked, so I thought, “Eh, just get a pair of shorts.”

At the end of last summer, I got quite a few pair in sizes 2, 4, and 6, and one pair in size 8 that were way smaller than the 8s I was already wearing. I’m wore that pair of size 8 yesterday, and they were comfortably loose.  And I know I’ve gotten a little smaller since last summer. I’d just taken progress pics the day before. 

I picked up more of the same brand and style (Sonoma Boyfriend Shorts) in size 6 and size 8 to try on, even though I thought I should be able to wear the 4. It’s a little mind trick… I start with the bigger size I think I might be, and if they were too big and had to go for a smaller size, well.. woohoo! I couldn’t get them over my hips. WTF?! I held them up to the shorts I wore and they were a good two inches smaller.

“Eh, so they’re sized weird,” I told myself. “No big deal. You know better than to get upset over sizes. Go grab some 10s.”

The top photo is the 8s I was wearing, and the bottom are the new 10s. They barely zipped, and gave me major muffintop, flattened my ass, and practically cut off circulation everywhere, except for a huge gap in the back of the waist above my butt. I realize I have a more junk in the trunk than some women, but I have to wonder, just what shape are these made for?! I know they call them “boyfriend jeans,” but shouldn’t they be at least somewhat catered to a woman’s shape? I’m pretty sure I’d get a more flattering fit in real menswear.

I ended up getting a pair of sunglasses with my Kohls Cash. It was the only thing that fit.

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