Sunday, January 31, 2010

What Happened?

I haven’t updated my blog for a couple weeks because there hasn’t been anything noteworthy to write about. Mostly, because I haven’t been running and I am feeling shame about it. It started out because I was busy one night after work that I had planned on going to the gym. Then I started feeling a little run-down. So, I allowed myself to skip out again. I didn’t say anything to anyone, hoping that no one would notice, or start asking me how the running was going. I had very good intentions of picking it back up that weekend but, well . . . I don’t think I have to say.

Now this week I have been very sick, which is my best excuse yet for not running. Although I heard somewhere that you should run (or exercise) when you are sick and that will help you get it out of your system faster. I just can’t muster the energy for that. I’m feeling weak and unmotivated. I spent all weekend in bed reading Sookie Stackhouse books and watching stuff on Netflix. While that was much needed (since I decided I couldn’t use any of my sick time while I was really sick during the week since I had so many pressing things to do at the office), I just wanted my life to be back to normal. Kind of like one of the many fictional lives that I’ve peered into this weekend. It would be great if I could cheerfully go to work, do my job, come home and cook a great dinner in a clean kitchen (without yelling at my child), have time to work out, have a social life and always have something cute to wear in my closet. Is that too much to ask?

Can I make myself go running tomorrow, and then make myself go running the day after that and will I feel like that will make a difference? Because that is the real issue – I need to feel like I am getting somewhere. I am lacking motivation and direction. I need to get back into it and stop being so defeatist about my lapse. Oh, what a whiner. I always get a pretty dismal view of life when I am sick. Hope next week is better!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Week 1 - shoes can change your life

It’s been one week and the running is getting better. A big part of the reason for that is I got fitted for running shoes. What a difference! Amy and I begrudgingly went to Road Runner Sports on Saturday to spend a lot of money on something we would have never spent money on. We would have rather gone to the Dansko store if we had that kind of budget for shoes.

We walked in like sheep into a wolves den. When we were asked if we needed help, we immediately surrendered and confessed that we had no business being in there. We aren’t runners and we have no idea what we are doing. Please help! Our friendly salesman, Daniel (we remember this because that is our brother’s name), had us step barefoot (thank God I’d had a pedicure) on this electronic pad that measured how our feet struck the ground. Then he instructed us to get on a treadmill (what!) where he would videotape how our feet and ankles looked when we were jogging. It sounded embarrassing but I’m pretty sure they don’t keep those around for later viewing. And it was enlightening. Apparently, my arch likes to collapse and it looks like my whole foot/ankle/leg falls inward each time I step down. I thought this was strange because I am a pro at rolling my ankle to the outside just on a walk to get coffee. You know what I’m talking about.

So, based on this information that Daniel gathered from making us feel vulnerable, he decided what type of shoe would be best for each of our feet. I need a stability shoe, where Amy needs stability with motion control. He went back and brought out several options for us to try so we spent the next half hour or so in a sea of boxes and paper and mismatched shoes, trying to find the perfect pair. And it worked. I am now the proud owner of a really cute and comfortable (and expensive) pair of Nike’s. Thank you, Daniel.

But we weren’t done. I had read that socks are also very important for runners. Road Runner has a line of cushioned socks that claim to be the world’s best socks and so far they are right. Get this – these socks have arch support! It’s weird but very comfortable. My feet feel like they are wrapped in cotton balls.

Now I am “geared up” and running with my new miracle shoes. Remember how I was saying that my shins hurt really bad? Now, not so much. I won’t say it is 100% comfortable because I am still, after all, just starting out and out of shape. But now when I feel like I need to stop running, it isn’t because of pain; it is my heart rate or my breathing or, probably some mental fear of succeeding that I need to overcome. Whatever it is, the shins are good.

When I started at the beginning of the week, I was only able to run for 1-2 minutes at a time. Now I am able to run for about 3 minutes at a time. I’m still only going for 30 minutes a day but this means that instead of running for 7 minutes total, I am up to 12-15 total. That’s almost half! For now, I like this pace. I still have so much time until the big day that I am not worried about success or failure yet. So for this week, I will work on maintaining my current level and running for longer stretches of time. Maybe 4 minutes?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 1 (Yes, it Really Happened)

I surprised myself, and probably anyone else who knows me, and I actually attempted running today. As I was getting dressed for this adventure, I looked out the window and saw that the roof across the way was frosty. I went anyway. As soon as I took off though, I wished I would have thought to bring a tissue. So the whole way all I could really think about was I wish I could blow my nose. The book I have been consulting (Marathon Running for Dummies) says that you should either plan to use your sleeve to wipe your nose or practice the "open air" nose blow. Neither option seemed acceptable to me at this point. Perhaps I will change my mind later on.

So the run. My plan was to walk out my front door, keep walking for 2 minutes to get warmed up, then run as much as I could for 15 minutes and turn around for home. Out of a 30 minute exercise, I ran for a total of about 7 minutes. I am out of shape. My shins were hurting so bad! The book says I'm not supposed to stretch before I run but I really think that would have helped. I had to stop for a minute to flex my feet to try to get the pain to stop, and then I walked for several minutes.

The other obstacle - it was freakin' cold! It must have been about 35 degrees this morning as I was out there. The air was stinging my cheeks and my throat, and it was making my nose runny (I already covered that part). I think I need to wear gloves and probably long pants. Yes, I was wearing yoga pants since that is the only kind of exercise pants I own. Perhaps I should sport the short pant with knee high argyles tomorrow?

In all, I think I made it between 1.5 and 2 miles. And it wasn't all bad. I have driven that road a thousand times but I have never really seen it. Turns out it is a nice road. Can't wait to really see what is further down.

While I was feeling intense doubt that I will be ready for 13.1 miles in 9 months, I know that today was just my starting point. The place from where I measure my progress. And maybe I won't be ready to run in this marathon. Or perhaps I will have to run/walk it. It doesn't really matter, I'm still going to try.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Day -7

Last Labor Day, my sister and I were driving through downtown Bothell in the midst of some kind of running event. Traffic was diverted and we had to wind through all of the back streets to avoid the runners. I was mostly annoyed, but not terribly, when my sister pipes up, "let's do this run next year!" This may not seem like a strange thing for sisters to say to one another but it was for us. We don't exercise. More than that, I detest running. So, it was even more strange to hear myself respond to her comment with a "sure, sounds great." I don't know what came over me but in that instant, I felt like I commited myself and I haven't thought once since then that I won't do it. I have been reading about running and mentally preparing for this event since then and I will take my first run on Thursday.

My sister, Amy, and I will be participating in the Super Jock 'n Jill Half Marathon this coming Labor day. I thought about creating this blog so that I would have a fun way to document this experience but as I prepare to hit send on this first entry, I realize that I am really commiting to this. I can't post something on the internet for all to see and not follow through, right? Amy may join me in contributing to this blog or she may start her own, I'm not sure. Either way, I expect this to be fun (at least for me) to look back when the run is over to see how I transformed from couch potato (yes, I eat ice cream while I watch Biggest Loser) to marathon runner (okay, 1/2) in the next nine months. Check in after Thursday when I write about how Day 1 goes.