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.