Monday, January 31, 2011

No Pain, No Gain

1.5 miles - 23:33
2 miles - 32:07

Dude, my knee hurts.

I find it ironic that I have something that could loosely be called "runner's knee" considering my inability to call myself a runner. I have taken the title "runner" and have put it on a pedestal - an elitist club of people who can get somewhere fast; who can put one foot in front of the other continuously for seconds, minutes, hours on end; who look fresh and dewy after a long run rather than bright red, dripping with sweat and snot, and bent over trying to catch the breath they lost within the first few minutes of hitting the pavement.

Unfortunately, I do believe my goal of getting into this elitist club called being a "runner" has been my first downfall. I've been playing head games with myself, striving to become an athlete and a runner. I've been so focused on getting to a certain time and being able to run more than walk, I haven't been taking care of myself. After I ran on Sunday, I didn't stretch like I was told to do. I got on the treadmill on Tuesday and pushed harder than I should have done. And I didn't go back to the gym again until today, almost a week later.

I realized today though, that as soon as I started training a few months ago, I became an athlete and a runner. I should be striving to be a better athlete and a faster runner. That means stretching before and after each run, drinking enough water throughout the day, and making sure I have protein before my workouts to get me through. These things aren't a big deal and they aren't major changes to my day or life.


You read it. I'm now held accountable.

I got on the treadmill and tried to run, but my knee felt like it was giving out every time I came down on it. I stayed on that treadmill though for two miles and I walked it as fast as I could.

Unless Mother Nature derails my plans, I will back in the gym tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Running Time

1 mile - 12:26
1.5 miles - 18:45

I was going to allow myself this week off, since I had devoted all of my free nights to training last week. However, since I indulged in more carbs over the past two days than I did in 2010, I felt a strong urge to get back into the gym.

This is not where I want to be. I will be better.

Where are those cookies?????

Just kidding.

Sort of.

22nd Road to the Super Bowl 5k

When I think Super Bowl, I think football, chicken wings, football, beer, nap time, football, family and friends, and the Eagles not playing. This year, though, I signed up to run in my very first official "race". The 22nd Road to the Super Bowl 5k was on Sunday, January 23 and I was one of the 208 runners, ages 10 to 78, to participate. Soon after I decided to start running in mid-November, I found this 5k on a local website. The timing seemed perfect! I would have been training for almost 2 1/2 months and I would of course be ready. Right??? So register I did.

A quick overview of my training leading up to that point: I joined Planet Fitness on November 18 and could barely run, much less run a mile and there was zero possibility of me being on a treadmill for 3.1 miles. I followed the Novice to 5k training schedule rigorously for the first few weeks - and then the holidays came.

For my first note of advice to all those reading this blog who are not runners, IT IS OKAY TO BEGIN YOUR TRAINING AT THE HOLIDAYS. I absolutely did not stick to my schedule, and I was not able to get to the gym 3 days a week like it said. But I did go to the gym. Some weeks it was once and some weeks it was twice. However, I got through the holidays feeling a lot better about myself than I normally would because of those few times I got my head out of the refrigerator.

Back to the 5k. By the time Sunday rolled around, I had prepared and I had a goal in mind. Two days before, I had run/jogged/walked 3 miles consecutively for the first time in my entire life. My time was 39:46. Even though my training to that point had been 99% treadmill, I felt ready. I ran a mile down the Jersey Shore boardwalk on Saturday, and though it wasn't the best day of my life, I felt okay. I knew I could make it the entire way, and given the course was "mostly flat", I felt I could handle the cold as well. Goal: Complete the 5k in under 40 minutes.

Well that was complete crap. Have you ever stood outside in 20-something degrees with a wind chill in the single digits? It's frigid. I knew going into Sunday that it would be cold, but that was the only problem that I had foreseen. Every single thing that could have been opposite of my training was present:
  • The "mostly flat" course ended up being "mostly icy". So they switched courses to the "mostly hills" course. Again, to all you non-runners, this sucks. It is a horrible, nasty joke that trained runners play and it's not okay.
  • The cold weather that I could handle (see 2 paragraphs above) and that I had foreseen (see 1 paragraph above) was nothing that I could have predicted. Even during the downhill parts of the race, it was difficult to catch my breath and my $55-keep-you-warm-in-Alaska pants apparently did not apply to that day's weather.
And finally, as we rounded the last corner only to hear the organizers say we had gone off course and ran too long, I realized that as much as one may prepare for their first competitive race, you can never be ready for something you have never done. As I ran down the street with legs that walked half of the second mile and most of the third mile, I was filled with pride because I was finishing. Even with all of the complaining (thank you Megan for listening without judgement) and all of the desire to quit (thank you again Megan for being my cheerleader) during the race, I was going to cross that finish line if it was the last thing I did.

One last bit of advice for all of you non-runners who are considering training for a race, set your sights high. My goal was to finish my race in under 40 minutes. Even when it was extremely cold and they changed the course, I still had that goal. Turning that final corner, I had no concept of time but I ran that last bit with every ounce of energy I had. And in the end....

Final - 39:46.4

You're darn right, I'm proud.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Here we go.....

This blog will chronicle the next 3 months of my life as I prepare to participate in the Broad Street Run on May 1, 2011. Ten miles, straight down Broad, past one of my favorite places on Earth. And I'm going to finish it if it's the last thing I do.

2 months ago I had never run a mile in my life. 3 months from now I'll be running 10.

So here we go.....