September 28, 2013

September 28

Total time: 30 minutes
Total distance: 2.33 miles

I decided to perform a little experiment with my run today. The last run had sucked; I was feeling a little defeated and I needed to prove something to myself. That I could do what I set out to do.

So I told myself that I was going to run two miles.

Whether I felt like it or not. Whether my legs were heavy or not. Whether I was in "the groove" or not. I was going to force myself to do it. Not like other days when I start off with the grand ambitious idea of running X amount of minutes or X amount of miles and then adapt to what I feel like for the day, which usually (though not always) ends up being shorter.

I told myself that I was going to run two miles... and I ran two miles. And some change.

It felt really good to be able to do that. Not only because last week I was all "two miles or bust" (though that did cross my mind), but just knowing that I could, in fact, do what I set out to do. That was a motivation boost that I really needed.

September 26, 2013

September 26

Total time: 14:59 minutes
Total distance: 1.16 miles

The good news is, the two 5Ks that I thought were coming up in October are actually in November (whew!) so I have a lot more time to get back into my groove.

The bad news is, I'm probably going to need that much time, as rapidly as I feel like I'm regressing.

I have never wanted to quit in the middle of a run quite so badly as I did tonight. Sure, I've been miserable and there were a few times when I was on the verge of tears, but I always pushed on, and quitting hadn't been an option. Today, though - there was a point when I swear my legs almost stopped moving as I trudged up the incline to cross the bridge on my way back. I felt like I was going to drop on the ground right then and there, and it's not like I was running some great, impressive distance. I hadn't even completed my mile yet.

Not sure what my deal was today, maybe it was just an off day, or, possibly (and more likely), all my birthday feasting was finally catching up with me. Maybe I'm just heavier right now and was struggling to adjust for the extra weight. I don't know. I walked another mile after I finished the first one, because hey, activity is activity. I also jogged for a little stretch toward the end but I didn't bother to track it. It was a bonus.

Interestingly enough, even though it felt worse, this run was nearly identical to Tuesday's run. Same distance, same pace - just three seconds slower. I didn't notice it until I put together my recap photo and saw it next to the last one.

I'm really hoping to get back up to two miles soon, maybe next week. If I can do two miles consistently, I'll be a lot less nervous about trying to do three when it counts. I will need to push myself harder again instead of letting myself talk myself into stopping at a mile under the guise of "hey, at least you ran" and "a mile's not bad" - ugh, I'm terrible. Two miles or bust next week, guys. I will take away my ice cream and my pumpkin spice lattes if I need to. I mean it.

September 24, 2013

September 24

Total time: 14:56 minutes
Total distance: 1.16 miles

The inherent problem with not wearing a watch is that I don't know when I'm so close to the next minute to keep running for, say, another four seconds. Alas. I still maintain that it's nice to be free of it, though I suppose at some point I suppose I should get it back out. I felt like I did better with it - sure, it was frustrating, but it kept me on task. I ran longer. I was trying to beat my previous times - not for speed, but for endurance.

It's worth mentioning that yesterday was my birthday. This is most relevant to the overall scheme of health and running and fitness because I've been an absolute glutton the last 48 hours or so. I mean, I love that people want to celebrate with me and take me out to dinner... but three meals out in a row is starting to make me concerned about my, uh, weight management. I've been pretty lax with things anyway - I haven't counted calories for months and I've done an okay job of not over-eating, or eating just to eat. But these last couple days have been rough on me, probably more mentally than physically. There's an inherent amount of guilt that goes along with such a binge, because in the back of my mind, I "know better" - and I'm afraid of ballooning up again. Frankly, I haven't made that much progress on the weight loss goals this time around, so it's not that far removed. But, instead of berating myself on my indiscretions (thanks, society!), I simply told myself that I was required to run today.

I was expecting it to be a much more difficult run than it was... though I didn't go that far. I won't let myself run less than a mile... which may not be that much, to some people (and it doesn't feel like a lot to me, either, except when I'm in the middle of it, and not even always then), but considering where I was when I started, the fact that I have set that as my baseline... well, that's not too shabby. Because running a mile was something that I used to not be able to do at all... and now it's something that I do every time. That's something, right?

September 21, 2013

September 21

Total time: 16 min
Total distance: 1.3 miles

There was nothing particularly remarkable about this run. It followed a day of errands which also seemed to result in a truckload of pumpkin-flavored goodies... which, frankly, was reason enough to go for a run. We're getting into dangerous territory with fall flavors and impending holidays. I'm already starting to be concerned about what this is going to do for my waistline. Here's hoping that all my running this summer has boosted my metabolism and that I have a fighting chance at minimizing the damage done...

September 19, 2013

September 15

Total time: 13 minutes
Total distance: 1.08 miles

Fall is finally starting to settle in, and I could not be more pleased. It's my favorite season for a thousand reasons that I can't even begin to name, and I'm adding reason #1001 to the list: it's awesome running weather. For me, anyway. Some people love to run when it's scorching hot outside (my dad is one of those people). Some people love to run in the middle of winter. I like to run when it's comfortable. I also like to run in pants and a jacket, so this pleases me.

Today was almost too great - it was incredibly cool and there was a nice soft breeze and it looked like it could rain at any time. However, I was an hour and a half away from my running trail and while the thought crossed my mind to bring my shoes with me, I decided against it. The last few family get-togethers we've had didn't allow any time for sneaking off for a run... so, go figure, this afternoon was pretty chill and there would have been plenty of time. So I started to get a bit anxious around 4:00 - allowing for drive time, I was trying to mentally calculate how late I could leave, and still allow myself some daylight. I don't like running at night. And I would have been very sad to have missed out on running today.

I got held up in road work traffic coming home (naturally), but even so, I was able to dart upstairs, do a quick costume change, and hit the trail just as dusk was starting to settle. Some of the streetlights were starting to come on here and there, but I figured I had enough time to run about a mile or so. I tried a slightly different route, combining my 1 mile route + 2 mile route, but cutting out the mile that goes through the heavily wooded area that just seems like it would be creepy when it is dark. As suspected, this gave me a new 1-mile route, with the added bonus of eliminating a turnaround point. (Having to slow down to turn around always feels like it jostles my momentum a bit). My legs complained a little bit but the whole run went smoother than expected, considering that Grandma's House = Food. Lots of Food.

September 18, 2013

September 12

Total time: 29 minutes
Total distance: 2.2 miles

I'm signed up for two 5Ks in October.

This thought has been creeping into the back of my mind on all the days where I either (a) don't run or (b) have a crappy run. It seems like such a feat to be able to run that far again, even though it was something I did just a month or so ago. I know I can do it; I just don't know if I can do it again right now. Oy. This is extra worrisome because these are "real" 5Ks - they aren't gimmicky runs like the Color Run (which have their place, of course), but actual runs, with most people running them... and they're even chip timed! I've never done a chip-timed race before. My goal, really, is to just not come in last. Or, I mean, even if I come in last, I'm still in "JUST FINISH" mode.

So with each passing day where I barely eke out a mile, I get a little bit concerned about the fact that I have to run over 3 miles on command. That's... a daunting thought, right now.

I felt much more hopeful after tonight's run, though. Because while I felt myself slow down considerably after my first mile, I made it through a second mile (and change) before calling it quits. I didn't want to push myself too hard but, had today been race day, I could have slogged my way through another mile, I'm pretty sure. I thought about attempting it tonight, but I didn't want to overdo it. This is the first time I've run 2+ miles in over a month, after all.

I feel like I'm starting to get back into my rhythm again. As a bonus, it's finally starting to cool down, too.

September 17, 2013

September 4

Total time: 15:44 mins
Total distance: 1.27 miles

I don't really have a lot to say about this particular run. I've been trying to give myself "rest days" (at least one day off in between runs), not because I necessarily need it physically, but I think it's good for me, mentally. I'm still sort of bouncing back from that spell of bad runs last month and I'm trying to maintain a positive experience with running so I don't, you know, just quit.

This was a nice steady run - again, no watch, just me and the path I wanted to run. It felt good. Adding this to the "win" column.

September 16, 2013

September 2

Total time: 12:59 minutes
Total distance: 1.07 miles

So... I took a long hiatus. Not on purpose, necessarily, but lots of random things popped up, and it didn't help matters that the temperatures skyrocketed and we had the hottest week we'd had all summer. I don't do well in the heat, and while I'd braved the 90-degree temps earlier and gotten a few runs in, once that number ticks over into three digits... I'm out. I will stay inside in the A/C.

I was just about to hunt down a treadmill when the weather finally gave us a break, so I took advantage of having Labor Day off and headed on up to the park. I left the watch at home again, since it had felt so good last time, and I knew that coming off a small break might be a bit challenging, and... I was one second short of the next minute. D'oh. That's what you get when you can't see what you're doing, I guess.

My pace was pretty decent too... I felt like I was running a little too fast, which is kind of funny in a way, because this isn't even the fastest I've run all summer (there was a stretch where I was actually under a 12 minute mile, hard to believe). Even so, it felt pretty good, and I'm getting pretty adept at guessing where my mile markers are, ish. I think that will help with being able to run for longer without obsessing over how long it's taking me to do so.

September 15, 2013

August 19

Total time:18 mins
Total distance: 1.44 miles

I did something completely different for this run.

I ditched my watch.

I am a compulsive watch-checker. It gives me a good idea of my distance (give or take a couple minutes) because - usually - I'm pretty consistent with my pace. Lately, though, I've been slower than usual, and each check of the wrist seems to create a mental block of some form.

So I took the advice of one of my good friends who has been running much longer than me, and I just... didn't. I took my watch off as I walked to the park and attached it to my pouch-belt-thing and didn't even look at it. I simply started the stopwatch mode on my UP band when I was ready to start and I just ran until I felt like I needed to stop. I know my path well enough to know my approximate distances, but I wasn't concerned about how long it was taking me to get there. I just... ran.

And it was amazing.

This was definitely one of the best runs I've had in a long, long time. I think the no-watch run might need to be a regular feature.

September 12, 2013

August 17

Total time: 15 minutes
Total distance: 1.25 miles

I've been a bit behind on my updates - which is probably just some side effect of laziness, I don't know. The problem with this is that I'm really kind of drawing a blank on the details of the remainder of the August runs.

All I remember about this one is that I managed to return to my (relatively) faster pace, but I could only keep it up for fifteen minutes. But it was progress. I also remember being incredibly discouraged because the mere thought of running a 5K again seemed impossible - even though I'd been doing them. Recently.

But: I'm sticking with it. I went out and ran. So that's something.