Monday, January 31, 2011

I am Not a Runner

Let me just get that out of the way right away. I do not claim to be a runner... I merely claim to be a woman that happens to run. I think of a runner as someone who is obsessed with running and will do anything they can to find time to run and will find ways to improve running. A runner has all kinds of running gear and clothing. Me? If I have an excuse not to run, I won't do it. Running is my form of exercise. I'm a firm believer that to keep an exercise program going, it has to be something you enjoy doing. Right now, I enjoy running. That may change some day.

Today starts the official training for my half-marathon in May. I'm loving it so far... today is a rest day! See? If I was a runner, I'd be mad that the first day of training is a rest day. Not me... I wish there were more rest days! I'm glad today is a rest day. My knees are bothering me today. I don't know if it's the weather or not, but I think they need another day of rest (I did not run yesterday either). This week is not looking good for outdoor runs. We're supposed to get a lot of snow this week. Looks like it'll be either treadmill or indoor track running for me. Hopefully next weekend will cooperate for the long runs.

I'm getting nervous about this whole training thing. The daily runs and cross-training, I have no problem with. I've been running 3-5 days a week for a while now. It's the longer runs on the weekend that are starting to scare me. I did 3 1/2 miles on Saturday and I felt like I couldn't do anymore. I know I could have, because a lot of it is mind over matter, and having a plan and a route in place. I really wanted to complete 5 miles on Saturday but after 3 1/2, I was ready to be done. Maybe I need to work on my pace. There were times I thought I was going really, really slow but I'd look down at my Garmin and my pace was near 11:00/mi. Believe me, I'd like to be done with my runs faster, but if I'm going to finish a half-marathon, I'm going to have to slow it down a little. I'm thinking an 11:30 pace, might be good. I couldn't get myself to slow down either. Maybe the excitement of the race and having other people around will help me forget how I feel and help me get over this mental hump.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Opening post: My running history

I am a 33 year old mother of three--a 5 year old, 2 1/2 year old and a six month old. I started running a year and a half ago, when a co-worker of mine decided she and her husband were going to take a 5k training class at the YMCA. My husband had recently become a cyclist and took on running to become a triathlete. I was struggling to find my niche in the exercise community. So, July 2009, I decided that I was going to begin training too. I had never run more than I had to in my life--certainly nothing more than a mile in school. My athletic days were long gone though. I had had two kids and two miscarriages so my body was completely different than those days. I was not overweight. Having lost all my baby weight pretty quickly, I was in decent shape. I'd been going to the Y and working out on the eliptical pretty regularly.

At the end of August 2009, I attempted my first 5k. It was a fluke, actually. My husband and I were buying me some real running shoes at a running shop and outside the shop, there was a table advertising the next morning's run. Why not? I'd never run this far before and only treadmill running, but there has to be a first time. So we signed up. The next morning, my husband pushed the two kids in the jogging stroller and I ran/walked the 5k. I finished it in about 45 minutes, disappointed I wasn't able to run the whole thing.

It turns out that I must have overdone it in that race. I had tendonitis in both my knees. I was told to take it easy and it could take up to six weeks for it to heal. I had promised my co-worker that I would run with her at a race in October. I had to be ready for that one. It was the race that her class was finishing together. She and I were the same height and seemed to run the same pace on the treadmill. Luckily, I healed in time and was able to complete my first 5k in 40 minutes (really slow, I know). We completed another 5k together on Thanksgiving morning.

The very next morning, my husband and I found out we were pregnant with baby number three. We were ecstatic. Due to some complications, I was unable to continue running throughout the pregnancy. Baby #3 was born in July 2010. I attempted to start running again at six weeks but was still in some pain and unable to start again. I went back to work at 10 weeks and immediately went back to the Y and started on the treadmill again (October 2010). Due to a scheduling conflict, I was unable to do the run I did the last year, but my work was sponsoring a 5k on Halloween weekend, so that was going to be my first one. Unfortunately, I was unable to run that whole thing (it was all terrain and I wasn't prepared for that). A few days later, I was training and decided to make myself run a 5k. I was successful! Then on Thanksgiving 2010, I completed an official 5k in way faster time than I had ever run. My pace was 11:15 per mile.

Shortly after that I decided I wanted to run a half marathon. I've been running almost every day after work, before picking up the kids from school and the babysitter's house. That gives me about a half hour to forty-five minutes to work out. I've been going everyday, unless something prevents me from doing it (appointments, imperative grocery shopping, etc.). The farthest I've ever run was 4 miles, and I did that once.

My husband and I decided to sign up for the Cleveland Marathon on May 15th. He is doing the full marathon and I'm doing the half. Today starts my official training. Official as in I'm starting to follow a suggested program. I haven't picked one for sure yet, but one said do 3 miles today and one said do 4. I split the difference and did 3 1/2. Running in Northwest Ohio in January, isn't necessarily fun. It was 30 degrees today, but that's not awful. I've run in colder, but don't like to. I feel like my joints don't want to do the work. 3.5 miles today was hard around the end. I think it was mental though. When my mind knows I'm close to the end, it starts to feel like I'm done now. It makes me think my body can't go any further, but I know I can. Not having a set route doesn't help either. I should pre-plan my route before I go out.

We'll see what the week ahead calls for in the training. I was imagining the 3.5 miles that I did today and having to run that three more times to get to the half marathon distance really really scares me. I hope I can do this. I have about three months to train so we'll see how this goes.