I’ll take “Things That Run Slower Than Shit Going Backwards, Uphill” for $200, Alex.

I won’t lie. I am feeling particularly bad ass right now.

I RAN. Sure, I walked a lot, and only ran for approximately 5 of the 30 minutes I was out. Also, I use the term “ran” loosely. It was more like meandering. Slow trotting. But, WHO CARES?! Look at me! I’m a 5 minutes out of 30 minutes honest to goodness RUNNER!

The part that makes me feel bad ass is this – the program I am following does not calculate mileage. You train by time. I used the bike trail by my house, which is approximately 2.5 miles long. This morning I did an out-and-back, but didn’t go all the way to the end. I thought maybe I did 2 miles. Well, guess what! I measured it in the car and it was 2.6 miles total!! Do you know how awesome this makes me feel? I AM AN AGENT OF THE AWESOME. I go forth and do badass things!! RAWR!

I am so AWESOME and BADASS that they laid down flower petals in anticipation of my arrival!

I am so AWESOME and BADASS that they laid down flower petals in anticipation of my arrival!

Workout Notes:

  • I didn’t stretch before my workout. I warmed up with a walk, but I am thinking that I should incorporate a more specific warm up routine because my calves ached a lot, and for the entirety of the workout.
  • It’s amazing how difficult it can be to really focus and slow down your pace to a jog that is only slightly faster than your fastest walking speed. I really had a hard time with this. According to the book “Running Your Butt Off”, you are supposed to be able to talk comfortably, and if you are breathing hard, “you are going too fast”. Well, darlings, I have been slacking off for so long that I can get out of breath if I WALK too fast. So, it doesn’t take much to get me out of breath. I didn’t beat myself up too much over this, though.
  • Did I mention that my calves hurt a lot? Well, they did. I stopped for a few seconds 1/4 of the way in to stretch and that helped a little. They were seriously tight.
  • I think I need new shoes. My poor Sauconys have seen better days, I am afraid.
  • When I got home, the muscle that runs up the front of my shins was unbelievably tight. To the point where I thought it actually might cramp. I did a lot of stretching, and that seemed to help. I also had Jello legs. I wobbled right through my front door, nearly tripping over the cat. I know that there is Runners High, but is there also Runners Drunk? That’s the best way for me to describe it. I was Runners Drunk when I got home.

This brings me to my only beef with this run, and it is an issue with myself. I HATE having low self esteem. From the moment I started getting ready for my run, to the second I got home, I battled with this issue. It started with my clothing. I had a hard time finding anything “comfortable” to wear. Even when I did, I found myself pulling and tugging at unforgiving fabric in order to appear less fat. Well, honey, guess what? It doesn’t matter how much you pull at your shirt, things are what they are until you lose a little weight. That’s the reality of hitting your highest weight in 10 years. Reality or not, I hate feeling uncomfortable and ugly in my clothing when I leave the house.

Then, I got self conscious as soon as I hit the street. All I could think about were the vehicles driving by, and how they must be either laughing at me, feeling nauseated by me, and judging me either way. I realize that not every driver is looking at me. But, I am more aware of the possibility that they are because I look at runners, all the time. Mostly out of jealousy, but regardless, I still look. You know you do, too. Do I laugh or throw up or pass judgement on these runners? No, because I know what it is like to be one of them, and I want to be like them again. I am also not stupid… there is a segment of the population who finds it fun to laugh at overweight people who workout in public. To me, when I feel self conscious, there is one of those people in every car that goes by.

QUIT STARING AT ME! FREAKS.

QUIT STARING AT ME! FREAKS.

Finally, there are the people on the trail itself. Walking dogs, jogging, biking, or just out for a stroll. I am constantly mindful of how I must look to them. If I see another runner approaching, I find myself feeling stupid when my one minute of running is over and I have to start walking. I am self conscious about being so sweaty, and passing by someone when I am walking. I think to myself… “God, they think I am this sweaty from WALKING. I should run, so I don’t look completely FAT and OUT OF SHAPE.” It’s a vicious fight that goes on in my brain.

I think I’ll call it The Inner Ugly.

The Inner Ugly makes me unhappy. It causes me to want to stay home until I lose 50 pounds. It makes me want to run only in the dark. The Inner Ugly makes it impossible for me to get lost in my run, because instead of thinking about quality things, I am focused on my perceived flaws and shortcomings. I had forgotten about The Inner Ugly. It used to plague me daily when I was running and racing last year. I hate it.

Anyways… that’s my first day back to running recap. Overall, I feel pretty awesome and proud of the fact that I didn’t really want to go out and do it, but I still did. I’m excited about the fact that there was a tiny voice in my head that piped up and said, “Hey… no one is going to run this program for you. It’s only 30 minutes. You can spend 30 minutes on yourself. Get up and GO.” And so, I did.

When I am not busy being self conscious, I sometimes look up and enjoy the scenery.

When I am not busy being self conscious, I sometimes look up and enjoy the scenery.

Questions for those of you who have been so nice to read this far…..

Do you have The Inner Ugly battling you? What have you done to combat that? I need ideas… because it never goes away. Thanks!

 

 

Tomorrow…. we RUN.

IMG_62825257531559I finished the first week of my running plan, which incidentally required me to walk for 30 minutes, three to four times a week. Walking is my specialty. I am phenomenal at it. I may just be the best walker in my whole neighborhood. I don’t mean to brag or anything.

Tomorrow, I will move to Week Two, which involves 4 minutes of walking and 1 minute of running, alternating for approximately 30 minutes. I haven’t run in a long time. According to this plan, when you run you are supposed to run very, very slowly. Just a tiny bit faster than your fast walk. That is going to take some getting used to. Not that I was a speed demon before, but being mindful and forcing yourself to go that slow takes some real effort. I’m not quite sure why this works. I have to re-read my book tonight and see what I can figure out. Regardless, slow it is and slow it will be. I am determined to run races, and this will be my vessel by which I get there.

So, for tomorrow, I am doing everything differently. I am going to walk four minutes, then run for one minute. Run s-l-o-w-l-y. I am not going to stretch before I head out. I used to do that, and recently I have read a lot of information that suggests NOT doing that. Good to know now. After suffering with shin splints, buying expensive compression sleeves, ingesting a shit ton of Advil and completely losing my desire to run, EVER. I will stretch after, and see how that works for me. I’ll do some warm up exercises of course, but none of that ridiculous stretching that apparently tears muscles? What the….?

On the eating front… I really haven’t had much of an appetite. I am sure this will change once I start logging some miles but, for now, I’ll take it. I have been making somewhat better choices. Admittedly, it is difficult to eat super healthy on a tight budget. I am a single mom with very little assistance from my ex. Now that summer is here, farmers markets are popping up and fresh produce is more accessible at a (somewhat) reasonable price. I am grateful that my children love fruits and vegetables, so I don’t have to make completely separate meals from them, for the most part. The biggest thing I need to focus on is portion control. I love me some noms, and when things are especially nom, I nom two platefuls. For shame.

Goals for this week:

Walk/run for four days. Portion control. No second helpings. No desserts (not tough, I don’t usually crave dessert). Behave myself with eating and exercise so that I may indulge just a little on Friday night when I go to see Aaron Lewis from Staind in an intimate little outdoor venue for an amazing acoustic set!!! Can’t wait! My one summer treat, just for me!

10 Signs You’re a Running Junkie

I have quite a few friends like this. I love it. It is my goal to be every single one!

Bad Angel Rules for Running

We’re all self-proclaimed running addicts. We love the sport. We love the social aspect, the individuality and endless health benefits we reap. Bu have you ever wondered whether you’ve crossed the line from “not hating it” to “can’t live without it”? Here are a few ways to tell:

junkie1. You keep running clothes with you in the car. And have a set at your desk, just in case the opportunity arises.

2. When you hear a catchy tune on the radio, your priority is to determine whether it’s run-worthy.

3. You have different playlists for different types of runs. You can’t run easy with tempo-run music! Jeez.

4. When your legs are sore and heavy, you figure a nice easy recovery run will make them feel better.

5. Resting, as in not running, takes physical restraint. And you have these days marked in your calendar, as a reminder.

6. You map out your…

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I am an Elite Walker!

Screenshot_2014-06-18-13-09-32-1I started my walk/run program this week and so far, it is going well. Turns out I am phenomenal at walking! Who knew? I feel like, if there was a walking championship, I would have a serious shot at winning the entire thing. Hands down. I am THAT GOOD.

It is definitely frustrating to start from square one again, but the reasonable part of my brain knows that this is the only way to start anything. Even the things you were, at one time, able to do somewhat decently. Everything is a process, and I have come to the conclusion that, if I want to achieve my goals, I need to be patient and embrace the process. So, this week I embrace walking. And I OWN you. For I am an elite, badass walker.

My diet has been better, but not perfect. Last night, I pretty much screwed up all the good work I’ve done this week. A friend of mine had one of those Party Lite candle parties, and the theme was “Flip Flops & Jello Shots. Oh yes. Lots and lots and lots of Jello Shots. She had a lot of snack food, and while I did indulge, I ate a lot of raw veggies and shrimp. I rarely eat seafood, so I saw this as a Good Thing. I did, however, have way more Jello shots than necessary. Oh well. They were ridiculously delicious and frankly, I don’t care. Not. One. Bit.

I am still having issues with exhaustion. Two days this week, I slept a lot despite having already slept 7 hours at night. I am in the middle of switching primary care doctors because of a change in insurance, so I can’t go and have all sorts of fun and invasive tests done just yet. I am wondering if maybe it is a vitamin deficiency, so I have vowed to begin taking my multivitamins on a regular basis. I’ve been getting a good amount of sunshine, so I think I should be okay as far as Vitamin D is concerned. I have a friend who had seriously low Vitamin D and he was tired all the time. Or, it could be an Iron deficiency. Or I could just stop self-diagnosing myself and get some blood work done. There’s a thought!

I am hoping to get some more good walks in this weekend. It is going to be beautiful here in western Massachusetts, so I plan on doing a few morning walks so that next week I can get this running business started. I hope that the sneakers I have can hold up for a few more weeks without causing me any issues. I have a pair of Saucony ProGrid Guide 5’s and they have served me well. I bought them at Dicks Sporting Goods, and tried on many different pairs before deciding. Unfortunately, there were no sales team members available to help me, so I am not sure if they were the right pair, but they feel good and I like them.

Random side note: I Googled my shoe to make sure I had the right one, and did you know that there is a website called www.shoebacca.com? SHOE-BACCA. That’s so clever. I now have Chewbacca noises playing through my head. You know you do, too.

The Plan

It’s official. I have figured out my plan of action. ::cue the angels singing::

I started reading “Run Your Butt Off” by Sarah Lorge Butler (a Runners World contributing editor), Leslie Bonci (one of the country’s most recognized sports dieticians, consultant for all of the Pittsburg professional sports teams) and Budd Coates (the Runners World running coach). I feel fairly confident that this group of people know that they are talking about. The book cover touts this as a “breakthrough plan to lose weight and start running (no experience necessary!). While the weight loss claim is attractive, it is the running thing that enticed me to pick it up.

I am 70 pages into the 270+ page book, and I am sure that this is the avenue by which I will start my journey back into running. The running schedule is paced over 12 weeks, but you can repeat a week as many times as you want until you feel like you can move to the next level. The part of this plan that made the most sense to me came in Week One, where you are advised to just walk. For 30 minutes. 4 times a week. I think my biggest error when trying Couch to 5k two years ago was that I had never run a day in my life, and started out with no base, completely out of shape and absolutely no direction. I just downloaded the C25K app, bought far too much music on iTunes, and set off thinking I was going to be just fine. My increasing shin pain taught me otherwise.

RunRodRun over at My Life As An Ultra Marathon Runner linked me up to a video on YouTube that shows some exercises to prevent shin splints. I have been doing these faithfully every day, and see a slight improvement already. I can do the exercise for much longer without feeling that atrocious shin burn. This is a good thing. My shins can get pretty darn painful. I am hoping that this, combined with the walking base, will help strengthen my legs and prepare me for being a Grown Up Runner someday soon.

The basics: Week One, like I mentioned previously, is 30 minutes of walking, 4 times a week. Week Two, you move up to walking for 4 minutes, and running for 1, x4 times. You end up exercising for 29 minutes, 4 of which are running. Each week, you seem to increase the running time by a minute, and eventually you are running for the entire 30 minutes. There is no focus on distance, because the experts in the book recommend running very, very slowly. A pace that is just barely faster than your fast walking pace. I think this is going to help me build up endurance after being away from exercise for so long. When I was running using C25K, my pace was all over the place. I was struggling to breathe and it was really discouraging. This, I am hoping, will be better.

So, I am not waiting for a Monday to begin this. I want to start it today. After dinner, I am going to head out and reacquaint myself with the bike path right down the street from me. I am going to do my 30 minutes, despite the heat outside today.

No. More. Excuses.

Date a girl who runs

Another great article, this time focusing on why it is great to date a woman who runs.

The qualities and characteristics that are described in this article are things I strive for. Things I want for myself. Sure, the weight loss and increased strength and fitness are a huge draw to me, but more than that… I want clarity of mind, confidence in self and the ability to make my goals happen and enjoy the proud feelings that come from it.

I’ve had zero self esteem for far too long, and I crave it. I don’t want to feel good or bad about myself based on the opinions and actions towards me by others. I want the confidence to be able to ignore all that BS, because I find my self worth.

It’s on the top of one of the mountains around here, I just know it.