Is THIS Bliss?!

Lorina's Blog

couch to 5k

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.

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.

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

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!

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*

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.

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.


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.

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!

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

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Third time’s a charm!

I started Couch to 5k again today!!!!! This was my first time running in more than five weeks, aside from the occasional sprint across the street to avoid getting hit by a car (I swear, my neighborhood is like playing Frogger!) and a little tiny bit of jogging two days ago with Beavis.

As you may know, I started running in December of 2010 using C25K to prepare for the Warrior Dash, and was thrilled with the outcome. In the fall, I started a modified version to boost my speed. Instead of doing walk – run intervals, I did run – run FAST intervals. And it was working, until I bunged up my ankle with a stress fracture in my fibula.

It was like riding a bike… only better because there’s no uncomfortable bike seat when you run.

Yay! Welcome back, endorphins. I missed you.

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Justin Bieber was RIGHT!!! One Year of Progress.

Justin was right… we SHOULD “Never Say Never!”

On December 20, 2011, I started Couch to 5k to prepare for Warrior Dash in June, and joined the site MyFitnessPal to track my progress. It was one week into my decision to get in shape. I still didn’t think I could lose weight – why should I believe I could when every other attempt failed – but it was also the first day I got on a scale and realized I weighed ten pounds more than I thought I did, at 160#. If I was 150#, I was comfortable being about 15# over what I considered my ideal weight of 135, but I absolutely REFUSED to be 25# heavier!

My first day of C25K, I took my dog with me. A Pekingese. Pekes have about three inch legs and aren’t known for their athleticism. It was ROUGH. I didn’t have a stop watch, so I counted the seconds in my head, and probably didn’t quite complete the workout as suggested. And it wasn’t the little dog’s fault. Damn, was I out of shape! I had doubts I could ever do this, but I was determined. The next time, I left the dog at home, and didn’t fair much better. Then we had a snowstorm, Christmas, another snowstorm, and I knew the only way to keep at it was to join a gym, and I did.

Since then, I’ve kept up with the running, completing seven 5k races, a 4.5 miler, a 5 miler, a 10k, and 3.5 mile Warrior Dash. I’ve become addicted to it, and keep pushing myself to go faster. I picked up a couple of medals for best in age group in a 5k, and 2nd in group for the 10k, and my best time for a 5k has so far been 24:59. On my one year anniversary of starting the running plan, I timed myself going one (cold and windy) mile in 7:16. My goal is to win a trophy next. Well, my next goal is for my bones to knit and my stress fracture to heal, but after that… I want that trophy. I gotta get a lot faster and I’ll probably have to find a small race that all the area’s best women aren’t competing in to win, but it’s still my goal. Plus, I always run better with competition.

A year ago, I had exercise and old weather induced asthma. It took me over an hour to stop wheezing after exerting myself in the cold. Now? I was a little raspy when I got back from  running 5.6 miles in freezing temps, but I was fine within 10 minutes. No albuterol required.

I’ve also started strength training in July. Prior to that, I only did body weight and stuff with a 5# dumbbells. I love how my body has been transforming with weights.

All told, I lost about 35 pounds since I signed up on here, then “gained” about 4-5 back since going on maintenance in October. I’m not sweating that “gain” though, because at 125# I bought size 7 jeans, and at 130#, I bought the same brand in 5, and the size 3 almost fit, but squished my bum in an unflattering way.

I don’t have any photos at my starting weight that show how I really looked. But I do have one I took about a month into my weight loss, down 6# and feeling really good about how I looked. I was about to go to Zumba class, which was also a humbling experience because I have two left feet and no rhythm. I still can’t dance, but at least I look a lot better now as I make a fool of myself.

One year of progress.

No more back fat rolls!

I remember the first time I put on a sports bra a year ago, and felt like the Michelin Man. Lump after lump after lump. I quickly covered up my over-sized Ravens jersey, thought I’d never, ever like how I looked in a belly baring top, let alone little booty shorts. I love being wrong! I just wish I took a picture then.

My old favorite jeans.

I loved these jeans, and was sad that a year ago, I had to undo the top button to wear them comfortably. They were a very stretchy size 8, but I typically wore 10 or 12.

I'm a loser, baby!

Now, I’m happy to be a “loser” in misses’ 2 or 4, or juniors’ 5.

A year apart.

I was looking at my pics from last holiday season on FB, and while there’s no good full body pics to use as “befores,” there’s still a lot of changes to my face!

MyFitnessPal made this transformation seem almost… easy! I worked my bum literally off, but I enjoyed myself and never felt deprived, hungry or frustrated. (Yay for the concept of exercise calories!!!!) And a HUGE THANKS to all my friends who’ve been so motivational and inspirational. I know I couldn’t have done this without them, and my uncontrolled addiction to that website.

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