Saturday, October 19, 2013

5K Runner Week 3, Day 3

I can't believe I made it to the end of Week 3! I've tried this program more times than I care to remember, and this is the farthest I've gone with it. Every week I look at the new running intervals I think, "I can't do this. There's no way I can run that long." And every week I prove myself wrong. Every week I can run farther and faster than I ever dreamed. Every week I get to yell at that voice -- the one that tells me I'm fat, I'm weak, I'm useless, I can't run -- I get to tell that voice to shut up, I get to stamp it out each time my running shoes hit the pavement. Each day I feel myself becoming more and more who I was meant to be. And all this because I started running.

Still slowly but surely getting faster. I hate being this slow, but I think the walking intervals are throwing off the overall numbers. Once I start running the whole 30 minutes (the idea makes me cringe), I'll be able to get a better feel for how fast I'm going. My goal is a 10 minute mile, and from there...who knows?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

5K Runner Week 3, Day 2: The Silent Runners' Club

I ran a slightly different route today, though I used the same park I always use. If I remember, I'll take pictures on a nice day to show you guys. It was kind of a blah day and the sky was overcast, so I wouldn't have gotten a good shot even if I had remembered that my iPhone has a camera and that I could snap some neat photos while I jogged.

There were lots of runners out today, and one of them, a thin blonde woman, actually made eye contact and smiled at me as we ran past one another. It was then that I realized that runners kind of have our own silent thing going on. There's so many dead giveaways that help us recognize each other, even if a runner is just walking down the street and not actually jogging. There's the bright, obnoxious shoes that few people other than runners dare to wear, there's the runner's clothes, the fleece jacket and leggings that are often color coordinated. And there's the tell-tale earbuds for music to break up the monotony of hearing one's own shallow breath for a half hour. All of these things are little pieces of what makes us runners. And it's so cool that when we see that in each other, we acknowledge it. That little smile meant the world to me. It kept me going and made me push harder. Because somewhere in that park was a girl pushing, just like me, and we could be runners together, even though we were running apart.

As you can see, I'm still horribly slow compared to more experienced runners, but I am getting faster! I hope to one day run a 10 minute mile, but I'm not rushing to get there. Right now I'm focusing on endurance rather than speed, and on good form while running so I prevent any potential injuries -- can't afford to be sidelined on my first race in December!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Falling Off the Wagon (And How I Got Back On)

Well, it happens to the best of us. We get into a routine, we make a commitment to do something, it lasts for a few weeks...and then we hit a wall. Sometimes we really are busy. Sometimes one off day seems to throw off the cycle and "ruin" the whole thing in our minds. Sometimes that annoying subconscious fear of failure is just nagging in the back of our minds, telling us we're doomed to fail anyway. But whatever the reason, our best laid plans have fallen to the wayside and we have fallen -- hard -- off the wagon.

It started when I got sick. I had a miserable cold and working out was the last thing on my mind. Then school happened. And thesis. And I got busy. Too busy to track what I was eating. Too busy to get up at 5 in the morning to run. I can't tell you how many times I put on my Under Armour workout clothes and my Saucony running shoes in an attempt to push myself to get out there. But day after day, week after week, something kept pulling me back. This is the point where I would usually give up completely, eat like a pig for a few weeks, gain a bunch of weight, and try to start the whole process again in the new year.

What made it different this time, you ask? The biggest thing was the race in December. I knew I had signed up for that race and spent the money on admission. I made a commitment to something and someone bigger than myself. And whether I ran, walked, or crawled past that finish line, I knew I was going to be there. But of all those options, I would prefer to comfortably jog across, able to run that 3.1 miles without feeling like I'm going to die. And in order to do that, I have to train.

So today I decided to do just that. I put on my running clothes, headed to the park, and picked up right where I left off -- Week 3, Day 1 of my program. I thought I would be miserable the whole time. I thought I would feel like my lungs were going to explode. But surprisingly...I got through it without much trouble. My body is slowly adapting to this new thing called exercising, and it doesn't fight me so hard when I try to do it. It was in that moment that I really began to feel like a runner, instead of a chubby girl faking it till she makes it. I look forward to the next few weeks instead of dreading them. I'm ready to see what my body can do. I'm ready to change -- one day, and one run at a time.

Monday, September 23, 2013

5k Runner, Week 3 Day 1

I was really nervous about running today. I knew I was going to go from running 1 minute and 30 seconds to running 2 minutes and 30 seconds -- a full 1 minute increase. If you're already a runner, it's probably not much to you, but it was a lot to me, probably because I've never done Week 3 of this program before. This was a turning point. I put it off all morning and most of the afternoon, but eventually I sucked it up and did what I knew needed to be done.

As you can see, my pace improved a bit, though speed is still abysmally slow. I'm not too focused on it right now, I just want to be able to run for long periods of time without feeling like I'm going to die. Also, see the little green bar? That means I've run 6 miles toward my goal of 100 miles by the new year! Very excited to see that bar continue to grow as I move along. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

My Jack Rabbit Experience and Saucony Guide 6 Review

As I mentioned in a previous post, I wanted to show you guys my (limited) running gear and tell you about my experience at Jack Rabbit. So, being that I live in NYC, I went to the one on Union Square in Manhattan. It's only a 30-45 minute ride form my house. When I got there, the store was smaller than I expected, but I loved that it was dedicated, for the most part, to running. There were also sections for swimming and yoga, and the clothes looked awesome. But I ignored all that and made a beeline for the shoe section at the back. I wrote my name on the waiting list and patiently, albeit awkwardly, stood by the sign in sheet until I was called.

The woman who helped me was short, slightly shorter than me, and I'm 5'4. She had medium length black hair, a few tattoos, and seemed to be an all-around bad ass who didn't take shit from anybody. I liked her almost immediately. First, she had me run in my K-Swiss Tubes on one of the three treadmills in the shoe section. I noticed immediately that there were cameras behind all the treadmills, and that there were TVs next to each one. I started running and a zoomed in shot of my feet was projected on the screen. I was told not to look at myself running on camera, so that I would not try to adjust my gait or "fix" my running form. She wanted to see how I normally run and what shoes could possibly make adjustments that would be helpful for me.

She discovered immediately that I have slight overpronation in my right foot, but not my left. In English, that means my right ankle rolls a little too far inward when it hits the ground. My beloved K-Swiss shoes were also too small, which was what was causing my feet to go completely numb when I ran.

I tried on at least 5 pairs of shoes -- I remember at least one being Mizuno, another being Asics. I ran in each pair, and with each run my feet were filmed and analyzed. The shoes that were the best fit, and the most comfortable to run in, were the Saucony Guide 6 shoes.

Aren't they adorable? I love the blue and coral combo! It's not something I would normally have picked out for myself, but it was the only color they had a available in my size, which surprisingly ended up being a 9 -- apparently the shoes run small so you need to go half a size up, plus your feet swell when you run and need the extra space in the toe box.

So far, they're super comfortable to run in and haven't given me any trouble. I can't wait to see how they perform when I'm able to run longer distances!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Running While Sick and Week 2 of 5k Runner

Leave it to me to get sick two weeks into my running program. I'm not a finisher -- I'm a starter. I enthusiastically start all kinds of fitness plans, only to let my dreams of athleticism die as the weeks go by. But this time, I was determined. This time I decided to be a finisher.

I've signed up for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk, a 5k in December. The money is paid, the T-shirt should be coming in the mail, and there's no turning back. So sick or no, I knew I was going to run this morning. I slept in my workout clothes the night before, threw on my running shoes when I woke up, and headed to the park.

And you know what...I didn't die. It didn't even hurt as bad as I thought it would. My right foot went slightly numb, but that's owing more to my lacing my shoes a tad too tight than anything else (more on my running gear in a later post). My lungs supported my slightly faster 4.5 - 5 mph jog with relative ease, and before I knew it the workout was over. Today I had to run 1 minute and 30 seconds, and walk for two minutes. I kept alternating for about 30 minutes, with a 5 minute warm up and cool down walk.

This is my Runkeeper app, which I'm using to track how far I walk/run. My goal is to run/walk 100 miles by January 1. As you can see, so far I'm 4 miles in. I run slow and walk often at this point, so it'll be awhile before I'm able to get in a decent mileage each week. I'm debating whether or not to count the walk from home to the park and back -- it's about a mile and certainly burns lots of calories.

The rest of the day, I'm staying home from school and just focusing on getting better. I wanted to do my Ripped in 30 DVD, but it's not looking like I'm going to make it through that in my current condition. I definitely don't want to over train and and injure myself -- I'm already sore all over!

Tomorrow I'll talk about my first ever trip to Jack Rabbit, a specialty running store, and which running shoes ended up being just right for me!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Story

Hi there. My name is Jackie, and I am 21 years old. I live in beautiful NYC, and after years of starting and stopping, giving up and giving in, I am proud to say that I am a runner.

Allow me to clarify this statement. I am not a fast runner. I am not a marathon runner. As of today, I am not even a 5k runner (still in training). I am teaching myself to run one step at a time. And trust me, it's not easy. I have very mild asthma which makes keeping my breathing under control difficult. I'm 180 pounds, which means I'm about 40 to 50 pounds overweight for my height (5'4). I also suffer from depression and anxiety, and my interest in health and fitness has helped immensely in dealing with my issues.

I don't know what exactly I plan to get out of this blog. I want a place to log my progress -- how I feel during and after each run, how far I'm running, and how fast. But I also hope that by stepping into the world wide web, I might be able to make some friends who can help keep me motivated.

I'm on Week 2 of a 5k running app similar but not identical to Couch to 5k. I will track my progress, write about my struggles, and hopefully look back on these early entries knowing I accomplished much more than I had planned to