9/9/2012 Update

9 09 2012

I really need to keep updating this blog for myself as well as any readers. An online journal can help me review any progress I’ve been making.

Route: Boardwalk

Distance: 2.1 miles

Time: 23 minutes


For the past few weeks, I have been trying to run at least 20 minutes straight without a break at a 10 minute per mile rate. There’s a 5K I’m checking out in November that I would like to run with a 30 minute time, but my body has not been responding well. It shouldn’t take almost a month of running to do 20 minutes without stopping.

Weird cloud pic. Looks like a tidal wave.

Since that non-stop running is not working for me, I decided to go back to Jeff Galloway’s run/walk method and build from there. What’s different with his style that I’m not currently doing is the long run. The weekend will have the longer, slower run which is supposed to push my endurance wall back. It couldn’t hurt to give that a shot and change what’s not working.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  -Albert Einstein

It’s actually been almost a week since my last run due to adjusting my schedules to get my kid ready for school and I don’t want to run outside in total darkness at 5am. I didn’t have this problem in the summer because the sun rose early but now I have to wait until 6am minimum. Now that my boy is going to get on the school bus early, I can wait with him with my running shorts and shoes on. That’s called saving time. College taught me that.


Week 9!!

2 05 2012

I’m starting week 9 of the Couch to 5K program and I am excited that the program is about to end. I have been running for longer than nine weeks due to injury and extra rest but it felt even longer than that. A week or two ago, I would look at my Garmin watch and see 12 or 13 minutes of my run completed and inwardly think, “only halfway done. I can do this.” I would look at my shadow on the floor mimicking my limbs as a distraction, a repetitive motion that reminded me of a machine. Maybe a machine which always blows a gasket, but you get the idea.

Yesterday I went for my first 30 minute run with full confidence that I was going to complete it without an issue. I even put on my Pure Moods album on my iPod. This was the first time I ran with slow-paced music, which was a breakthrough because I no longer needed fast music to help push myself to complete the run.

The most surprising part about the first run of that week, I became aware of around the halfway point. I was enjoying the Pure Moods album and thinking about something random and then it hit me: I was not thinking about the run at all. Usually I keep track of time and pace, but this time I was on cruise control. Boredom wasn’t my problem. I was feeling good and was enjoying the exercise. This feeling is what I remember when I think about the running I used to do many years ago. That good feeling makes me want to run all the time, even right now as I write this, and I already had a run today.

So the run was finished without incident and as I’m doing my post-run stretches, I spot a large cruise ship in the water. It traveled under the Verrazano Bridge and was slowly headed out to sea.

I have never been on a cruise ship before but I did see pictures of some and watched videos of the Norwegian and Disney Cruise lines. They look really nice but I can’t afford them at this point in my life. I was feeling rather envious of them but then I started thinking about my C25K journey and the effort I put into it. Sure, I cannot afford a cruise vacation, but I can do other things. How many of those cruise passengers can run 30 minutes straight? How many of them plan to run a marathon in the future and possibly at some point, qualify for the Boston marathon? Not many, I would guess. I’m doing something good for my body and it doesn’t cost much. In addition, I have the resolve to complete a program like the C25k, something that certainly was not easy to do. There is an article on C25K.com, which states that most that start the program do not finish. Most do not, but I will. So then, that makes me think, “Who should be envious of whom?”

New Running Update

1 05 2012

Wow! I sat down and opened up my WordPress blog to tap out a few words for a running update and I could not believe what I saw. It has been over a month since my last blog update. My readers must be pulling out their hair waiting to find out about my running progress. Okay, maybe not, but I have read that it is a good idea to keep a journal as a runner. I forgot the reason why but it sounded like a good idea. There have been small Twitter updates due to training apps that automatically post my runs, but I want to document how I feel as I progress forward.

Where I last left off, the 20-minute run was coming up and I was apprehensive about it. I actually wrote close to 1000 words about it, but then my browser crashed and wiped it all away. After that pointless effort, I did not feel like writing for a while and I was swamped with everyday life. That combined with the fact that I suck in time management is what led to my posting delay. So to summarize, I completed the 20-minute run with an unholy amount of huffing and puffing. It was so hard that it affected my runs the following week. I had to take a 5 day break after the second run of the week due to exhaustion and leg pain. However, I was not going to let some leg pain stop the progress I made so far. I have done all this before when I was younger and I am going to get through this again.

Through weeks 6 and 7, I had to take extra days off because of periodic leg pain. However, by the third day of week 7, most of the pain was gone and I had a feeling that it was not going to come back for the rest of the 9-week program. The running just started to get easier. Since I have started running on the boardwalk, I have started getting used to landmarks and the general area where I have to turn around at the halfway point of my timed run. The boardwalk is about one and a half miles long and I have been able to see where the boardwalk ends, which is not too far away from the turnaround point. Since I also warm up on the boardwalk, it makes my total workout time slightly more than the scheduled run/walk workout for the day. Therefore, by week 8, I was hitting the end of the wooden path and running back the other way. I knew from here on, I was past the point of no return. Unless a car accidentally pins my legs into a parked car, I am going to complete this program. Considering that I failed the program last year, this new realization felt good. It felt damn good.Now I am starting week 9. It’s amazing how far I’ve come since being worried about running for three minutes straight. The body is an amazing thing.

Back to the C25K!

21 03 2012

Great Scott! I’m actually going  to give this another try!

I probably mentioned in an earlier blog post that I was using a Couch to 5k plan  to get back into running. However, my legs started to hurt again and I had to slow down. I thought I was taking all precautions since I was training on a treadmill. My biggest issues besides “birdwatching” is getting cramps in my legs from either running on a hard surface road or running too fast. I figured that running on a treadmill would have both issues covered. I guess I was wrong.

So while taking a few days off to let the pain dissipate, I got a real nasty cold and then I really couldn’t run. For two weeks I could not continue the plan. I felt like a real butthead since I missed so many days.

But I did take a page from Jeff Galloway. When the cold went away and the pain lessened, I started running for twenty minutes with one minute walk and one minute run. I was able to run with this program and my legs slowly healed up. My goal is to at least be able to run a 5K on a treadmill and then switch to outdoor running as I get stronger

Roads? Where I’m running, we don’t need roads.

Now, of course running with that program did slow down my intensity, so I have to work up to where I was. My legs were hurting in week 5 of the C25K plan and I had to stop there. I was kinda annoyed because week 5 is kind of a big deal. The third day of that week is a 20 minute run with no breaks. Getting through that long run is as big a breakthrough as inventing a working flux capacitor (almost). I was upset because I was looking forward to that long run for a long time.

Last week I decided that I was going to continue the C25K this week, starting with Day 1. I’m still looking forward to that 20 minute run and I know that running it is my density…I mean my destiny. My current weekly run schedule is Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Those are the easiest days for me to run since I’m not doing much then. Because I’m posting this on Wednesday, that means I was supposed to run Week 5 Day 1 yesterday. Which I did!

The first 5 minute interval wasn’ t so bad and I felt good about this. The second interval was much harder and I knew this run meant business. On the third interval, I really thought I wasn’t going to make it. As I was getting near the last two minutes, I was really breathing hard and was about to quit. I had to mentally trick myself to finishing so that I can do Day 2 on Thursday.

The last run was so hard, I had to fool myself into thinking that I was not gonna graduate college if I didn’t finish. I kept repeating to myself internally, “If you don’t finish this, you won’t graduate college and you’ll have a miserable career.” I’m on my last semester to earn my Bachelor’s degree and graduation is heavily on my mind. Well, I didn’t break a$$ all those years in order to fail on a treadmill. If I did not trick myself to thinking that, I would’ve stopped. Maybe it would be smarter to stop and avoid a possible injury, but I really wanted to finish. I’m kinda conflicted about that. This situation is heavy, but it did feel good to finish.

Now make like a tree, and get outta here!

My “New” Garmin!

20 03 2012

If anyone knows me, they know that I’m a cheapo and I don’t like to spend too much money on inexpensive things. Yeah, I’ll spend $60 on a videogame, but I won’t spend $120 on the collector’s edition. I’ll go to the Skechers store to spend $60 on shoes, but I won’t spend $150 on shoes. So it is strange that I’ll spend $130 on a watch.

Okay, before any runners start roaring with laughter, I should explain what I mean. Yes, Garmin GPS watches can go for hundreds of dollars, so $130 is a steal. For any non-runners who may be reading this, a GPS watch is a great way to track your pace during a run and is way easier than pulling out a smartphone and reading a sport app while running.

So I purchased a Garmin Forerunner 205 used watch with insurance online and it came in the mail today. The 205 certainly isn’t state of the art, but it can get the job done and is somewhat affordable for a broke bloke who’s broke.

Now the watch is sort of a behemoth. It certainly is the biggest watch I ever owned and it may look huge on smaller people, but it looked fine on my arm.

I took it out for a walk today since it is my day off from running, but wanted to get some sort of exercise in.  As I walked, I barely felt it on my arm and sometimes forgot it was there. It took about 90 seconds to connect with the GPS satellites, which personally I think wasn’t bad considering that, you know, these satellites orbit the earth in space.

90 seconds? WTF? The satellites are only 12,000 miles above!

A surprising note the watch was telling me that I was averaging 15 minutes per mile on my walk. I really thought I was much slower. It was also hot out today and I sweated from the heat as much as the walk. I don’t do much walking as an exercise and was surprised how tiring it was. When all was said and done, I walked 3.62 miles in an hour and almost burned 400 calories. That’s crazy. If I know I was gonna get a workout like that, I would’ve been walking all the time. I guess Self magazine knows what they’re talking about.

Personally, I like Oxygen better. My kind of girls.

Hachi Machi!

Injury is Calling

2 03 2012

Oh no, it started again! A pain started growing in my lower leg muscle, just like last time.

I’ve been following the standard nine week Couch to 5k plan and eveything has been good so far. My running pace has been a little bit slower than what I used to train with in order to avoid injury. After a run at the gym, I would go home and put up my legs and ice down anything that felt weird while training. I’ve been drinking a bunch of water so that I don’t become dehydrated and still, a pain started in my leg that feels similar to the same one like last year.

I had to stop because of the pain right as I was ready for Week 5, day 2 in the C25k plan. On that day, I have to run my first 20 minute run non-stop. With that pain I felt, I knew that if I attempted the 20 minute run, I would probably hurt my leg seriously and I’m trying to avoid that.

It’s frustrating to come so far in the plan and then stop to avoid any more damage. I have heard of people getting hurt for a few months or even up to a year. That year-long injury scared me and I don’t want to wait another year to start this again. I figured that I’ll wait a week and then start at an earlier week in the plan and see what happens.

Anyway, during that week I was surfing the web for Walt Disney World info and videos since I’m such a fan and decided to check out RunDisney.com again. I’ve heard of Jeff Galloway running plans that were getting people to run half-marathons in Disney World, but I didn’t think too much of it. Others have talked about his run, walk, run method, but every C25K plan has that technique.

While clicking around the website, I stumbled onto some of Galloway’s videos and he demonstrated his run, walk, run method. That’s when I realized that the run/walk strategy is not just for first-time race training, but marathoners can take advantage of the method as well. Running and walking saves strength so that runners can finish strong.

The technique also cuts down the risk for running injuries. Whenever I started running plans, my legs would start to get hurt and I would have to stop for a while, no matter the precautions I took. I decided to give this one a shot. It’s either trying Galloway’s technique, risk getting hurt pushing through the pain, or stop running.

So after a week of trying his method, the pain in my leg is slowly going away. This plan is starting to work for me and I’m excited about it. It’s not a slouch either because I’m running for two minutes and walking for one and I’m doing it for 25 minutes straight, which takes a toll. This still is hard work.

So I’m back in the game and using a new program to build up my running. And it makes sense to use Jeff Galloway’s program; I do plan on running in a Disney race at some point, so it all works out.

One Failed Year Later II

22 02 2012

Last year, I was making good progress with the Couch to 5k program. I was successfully making the weekly goals and felt good running again. Running on a boardwalk brought back memories of pushing myself and gaining confidence. However, things started to make a turn for the worse. I started to get a cramp in my calf muscle. It was a small kink that I felt in the inside. I didn’t pay any mind to it and as the weeks went by, the pain slowly grew. I was afraid that I was going to hurt myself so I took a week off at one point.

When I went back to the boardwalk, I felt fine but after a week, the pain came back. I would especially feel it after a five-minute interval. One evening I started to run and after an interval, I couldn’t do it anymore. I was in real pain and I had to walk back. For weeks after that my leg was hurting and I basically fell out of running at that point. The pain gradually went away in the span of two months, but by then I was discouraged and was afraid I was going to hurt my leg again.

I was probably a week away from this.

Fast forward to the end of 2011, I was determined to get back into running and run my first race. When I used to run about twelve years ago, I just ran to lose weight; I never thought about participating in a race. Now, when I grabbed books for running, it was always about getting ready for a race. So the more running books I would flip through, the more that competing in a run seemed like a good idea. I usually need some sort of goal to complete any task I undertake and last time I ran, I lost the will to continue running because I already hit my weight loss goal. Now I have my eyes on a 5K race this coming June held on the very same boardwalk that I used to run on. I think it would be most fitting to take part in my first race on the first track I used to run on.

What could be better for my first race than this?

When I decided to start running again, I knew I had to try something different so that I don’t get hurt again. Well, I have a gym membership to Planet Fitness that I’ve had for over a year and I would occasionally visit the place throughout that year. It only costs me $10 a month so it wasn’t a really big deal if I didn’t go too often.

“You’re visiting my runnin’ place. Yuk yuk yuk yuk yuk!”

I’ve figured that pounding my feet on the treadmill would be kinder to my legs than   concrete or wood so I’ll give that a shot. When my legs get stronger and I can run continuously for a distance, I’ll switch to outdoor running and see how that works. So far so good, and I get to watch women fight on Springer on the televisions while listening to music and running. How can I lose?

“Have you seen my friend, Berdo?”