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.
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 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.
It was also time to switch to my new shoes. I didn’t realize my tread was so worn!
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.
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.
But when I said “next goal” to be under 12 min mile, I didn’t mean “next run!” But I’ll take it!!! Woohoo!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
So that’s my first three weeks returning to running. I’ll post about the next three in another post. 😀