Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Running into Walls

I haven't ran since Saturday. Let me tell you guys about that. After Friday's great running/walking debacle, I really wanted to go running just to run. No pressure, no expectations, I just wanted to run for pleasure. It was supposed to be a rest day, but my legs felt fine and I was ready to go. So I make it through my warm-up walk and start running...I don't know at what pace, I didn't care. Probably still pretty slow though. At about half a mile I realized that I wasn't enjoying the run like I had hoped to. At a mile, my legs were screaming and cussing at me, and I felt really worn down. I made it about another .2 miles (roughly), and then my body simply stopped. I never even made the conscious decision to stop running. It honestly felt like one minute I was running, and the next I was just standing there scratching my head!
Ironically, I have not beat myself up for Saturday's experience like I did for Friday's. I feel pretty certain that I just pushed my body a little bit too far last week, and it finally got tired of my sh*t. In one week, I went from barely being able to run a mile to running almost three. That's a lot for one pair of legs to process. So I decided that giving myself a couple of days of rest was definitely in the mix.

If my body hit "the wall" on Saturday, that was nothing compared to what happened to my mental state. Most of the rest of the next couple of days was spent curled up in a ball and sobbing. Nobody knew what was wrong with me, and I was hard pressed to explain. I'm still not completely sure myself. I'm sitting here typing explanations out, and erasing them because they don't sound right. Its hard to put into words what doesn't have any words.

One thing it will be helpful to know about me is that I'm not really much of an achiever. I'm more of a giver-upper. I gave up on college (several times), gave up on writing, gave up several work-from-home schemes, gave up on being a vegetarian (THAT little phase lasted all of 2 weeks), gave up on yoga, gave up on weight loss more times than I can number, I could go on, but you get the point. My entire life is littered with phases that I went through, threw myself into, and then gave up on. Its literally a part of who I am. This time is different, but is it? I'm so tired. How can I put this? I have come far enough with my running to know that improvement is possible, mini-goals can be achieved and turned into bigger goals, which can also be achieved. I know that right now my body is capable of doing more than I ever thought possible. I know that if I continue to work, I can continue to achieve. Also, I have done things a little bit differently this time. I have a running partner who counts on me to do this with her. I have a blog that I decided to put out into the universe keeping me accountable. Most of my Facebook statuses for the past two months have been about running. Sometimes I even take my kids with me, and they've also seen me work trying to achieve this. ITS NOT LIKE I CAN JUST BACK AWAY FROM THIS. That is supposed to be a good thing, but over the past few days, it has turned into a paralyzing fear. The old Jennifer hasn't gone away. She's in the background, always, irritating the hell out of me. She is very impatient and wonders why we haven't run a marathon yet. She is sick of running, she is sick of trying, and she's pretty damn pissed off that she hasn't smoked in over 3 months. She wants a cigarette desperately.

I'm not used to holding her off for this long. Most of the time, she eventually gets her way and something else goes into the "tried it and failed at it" pile. Now all of a sudden, I have strangers from around the country reading my story and telling me that I'm amazing, that I'm an inspiration. While SHE laughs bitterly at that, I'm actually very touched and very much like the idea of being an inspiration. I want to keep doing that inspiration thing for as long as I can!

So, anyway, back to my sob fest this weekend. I guess what I've been trying to say this whole time is that I am exhausted, mentally and physically. I'm tired of fighting myself. I'm tired of hating myself, I'm tired of being so mean to me. But I don't KNOW any other way. At this point, I am in completely uncharted territory. I am terrified and I feel very helpless. I feel raw, I feel broken, I feel hopeless, I feel beat-down. I also feel like an idiot for blogging about this, but I have always and WILL always come to this blog from an honest place, if not a pleasant one.

I'm doing a little better today. Writing all of this down is so cathartic. I think I have a little fight left in me....maybe enough to go for a run tonight.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Not Giving Up

I'm not certain how I feel about my run last night. Total ground covered: 2.8 miles. I had to stop and walk after 1.7, though. I only walked for a minute, literally less than a 10th of a mile. Then I picked it up and finished the last mile. So.
Like I said, I don't know how I feel about that. I don't know if I should count that as running 2.7 miles or only 1.7 miles. Which means I'm not sure if I should count that as an improvement from last time (my 2.2 straight miles). This may sound silly to a lot of you guys-hell, typing it out, it sounds silly to me. It sounded silly to Heather, and to my husband Jeremy. Silly Silly Silly!!!
Silly or not, I CANNOT stop beating myself up for stopping to walk. I CANNOT help feeling like that ruined everything about the run. I CANNOT help but feel like I backpedaled.
Why am I doing this to myself? In a week, I have seen tremendous improvement. In fact, last Friday was the first night that I've ever broken a mile, so my distance has more than doubled in over a week.
I am finding that giving myself credit for what I can do is much harder than beating myself up for what I cannot do. I am a naturally-prone self-loathing machine! I think that's why I have never been able to stick with anything before--feeling like I failed at something is a CRUTCH for not having to put in the hard work to DO IT ANYMORE!!
Last night's run was hard. I'm talking collapsed-in-the-driveway hard!! Seeing stars hard!! The hardest I've had since I began, and perhaps the lay-on-the-couch side of me has been shying away from having to do that again. If I can just admit that I've failed, I'm off the hook and at least I can say that I've tried.
SO!! (Deep breaths here)
NOT every run is going to feel phenomenal!
NOT every run is going to be a new record!
I will FAIL when I refuse to slip on my water shoes and start pounding pavement.

Until then, I have to admit-I'm doing pretty damn good.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Feelin Cocky!!

I'm feeling pretty good about life these last few days. Monday morning I ran 2 miles!! Yay me...I did have to walk for about 45 seconds after the first mile and a half though, but I picked it right back up and finished the 2 miles. Yesterday was a rest day, just went on a long walk with my sister. This morning I got up very early, headed over to the best friends house, and ran a 2.2 mile loop around her neighborhood. I DID NOT have to stop and walk and we made it up a very steep, very long hill.
Last Friday I tried to run this same route and only made it 1.4 miles--the hill stopped me. Today, I really didn't think I was going to make it up the hill, but I kept my head down and tried to concentrate on something other than wanting to die. I wasn't thinking of anything beyond getting past this hill until I actually got to the top. Once we (finally!) reached the top, I made the decision to keep going until the red light. I ended up being SO GLAD that I did this, because by the time I made it from the hill to the light (about a tenth of a mile), something amazing happened! My breathing regulated itself, my leg muscles stopped screaming at me, and I realized that I could continue on the next half of a mile to our destination, Heather's house. I made it all the way, and that feels...beyond words.
Here are some things that are helping me increase my distance:
*Running with Heather. I cannot stress what a difference that makes from running alone...Having your best friend along to push you really helps a person to keep going. The whole time I was going up the hill, I took comfort in the fact that she was there to call an ambulance in case I passed out. I also did not want to have to stop running before she did.
*Running using a good breathing pattern. I breathe in for 3 steps and out for 2 steps. That is the golden ticket to being able to propel forward and avoid getting stitches and cramps. It also helps me from getting winded too easily. I got this from an awesome book, The Complete Book of Running for Women. This is a GREAT read, and the author gives a lot of useful tips and mental "hugs"! Great for motivation.
*LOSING MY RUNNING SHOES. I am totally aware that this goes against almost everything you read. All I know is that when I was using my shoes, I got hurt all the time. Not just the big knee injury, but I was always in pain. Now I am able to increase my distance so much easier because my joints aren't hurting all the time. My legs are allowing me to run further and build up more stamina to run even further! My body is amazing me.
*Stretching after running. Even minus the running shoes, my muscles still hurt, but after a proper stretch they feel fine again.

These are some things I really need to work on more:
*Staying hydrated
*Eating properly
*Getting enough rest
*Strength training. I love running, and running is what I want to do, NOT strength exercises. I don't know a whole lot, and I've never enjoyed them in the first place, but I know that strength training is important and I really need to buckle down and do it.

If you are still here, thank you for staying with me throughout this long, rambling post. I promise to keep the next one shorter!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Good Run

Well, I changed it up a little bit yesterday and went running with my best friend in her neighborhood. She is slightly farther ahead of me as far as running goes, but to her credit, she only left me in the dust for about 30 seconds and then came back for me. :0) Anyway, I finally broke the mile and ran 1.4 miles!
I have done some run/walk sequences, but I'm finding that just running as far as I can seems to be working better for me. I have a hard time picking back up after stopping to walk, and I think that's more mental than physical. I think I just enjoy all-out running more, and feel like I'm accomplishing more.
Today was a rest day, and I'm sure tomorrow will be too as it is Father's Day and we will be going out of town for the day. But as of Monday, I'm digging in my heels and really getting started working towards this 5k. I hope to be able to increase my distance to 3 miles within the next 3 weeks.
We'll see how it goes!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bad Run

So I decided to jump into w5d1 of the c25k challenge. The biggest reason that I chose week five is because it wasn't very complicated. Week 4 seemed a bit more involved as far as remembering when to run and when to walk...ok, yeah, it's a little embarrassing to admit that. Anyway.
Tonight, for the first time since I began running, I felt NO enjoyment in it whatsoever. It was hard and I didn't want to. My right leg hurt and I let it psyche me out. At the end of the second 5 minute running sequence (there were supposed to be three of them), I just gave up and went inside. After fuming at myself for about 5 minutes, I went out and finished the run, and even threw in a little bit of extra running as punishment for quitting! Because it certainly FELT like a punishment tonight.
Even though I ended up finishing, I still feel like I failed. That sort of thinking won't get me anywhere, but tonight I am doubting that I'm going to get anywhere anyway.
If anyone is reading this...do you ever feel the way I am feeling tonight ? I have read that a bad run is better than no run....that sounds great except now that I've had a really bad run I just feel BAD.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Couch to 5K???

Ok, so I ran another mile last night and tonight. That puts my week's mileage up to about 4 miles (I really need to keep track better). I seem to be stuck at the one mile mark. Different things seem to go wrong at a mile-sometimes I'm too winded to continue, sometimes my leg muscles are screaming at me, and lately I feel nauseous and dizzy by the time I reach a mile. I am attributing the latter problem to the stifling heat we have down here in Georgia. It got over 100 degrees today, and it's only June! I do try to run late in the evenings, but the heat and humidity get to me. Anyway, I'm getting off subject here. The point is, I run a mile and then I can't go anymore.
So! I am considering jumping into the Couch to 5k program I have read about online. I wouldn't start at Week 1 because I'm definitely beyond that, but maybe somewhere around week four. I haven't made any decisions either way, because the plan offers a little bit more structure than I would like. However, that may be what I need to push myself forward.
On a side note---adopting the "barefoot" running style has been the best thing that I ever did! My knee hasn't bothered me once since I ditched those blasted running shoes. I experience muscle soreness, but my joints are absolutely fine. I would encourage anyone who experiences a lot of joint pain when they run to consider the benefits of barefoot running.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ran another mile last night. I really need a better way to keep track of mileage and progress on here. I can't find any gadgets to that effect yet, but I am a beginner blogging moron.
Oh yeah, and I couldn't resist the lure of the scale any longer. I lost 2 pounds, down to 215. And my waist has gone from 40 inches to 36. Good stuff, but such a looong way to go!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Miles Apart

Yesterday was a very important day for me. I ran my first mile!! If you would have asked me a month ago if I thought I would ever be able to run a mile, I would have probably burst into tears. I had that little faith in myself. Amazing the things that can change in a month!
It was a great moment. My husband and children were waiting at the mile mark cheering me along. My breathing was controlled, and my legs felt wonderful. I started out the run with a lot of negative thoughts, but I just tuned them out and tuned into my breathing and concentrated on the sounds of my footfalls on the asphalt.
I realize that, in actual distance, a mile is not very far. However, this achievement changed a lot for me. I set a goal,and I actually reached it. Now that I can wrap my brain around being able to run a mile, I'm starting to visualize a 5k in the near future.
I don't know how much weight I have lost so far, if any. I've decided not to concentrate upon weight loss right now. I have fallen in love with running, and because of that, I am shifting naturally into a healthier eating pattern. If I eat too much, or if I eat a food that is too heavy, my running will suffer for it. I'm finding that that is all the motivation I need to put down the chocolate cake! I know that the weight loss will come, because I'm finally doing the right things for my body. I'm looking forward to seeing my pants size shrink, but I truly don't think that anything will be able to beat the sense of accomplishment I felt yesterday.
A mile is a short distance, physically. Mentally, I am miles apart from the woman who almost gave up three weeks ago.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ran 2/3 of a mile yesterday! God, that's pathetic but it's also my personal best, and I'll take it!! I can feel the mile creeping up and I want it so badly. I never in my life thought that I would be able to run a mile, and I think if I can do that, then I will probably be able to do just about anything.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Ran a little further today. My neighborhood goes in a circle and the diameter is 1/3 of a mile long. Last time I walked a lap, ran a lap, walked a lap, and ran half a lap. Today I walked a lap, ran a lap, walked a lap, and ran an entire lap. I am still getting winded pretty easily, but it was much easier today than it was two days ago.
I'm feeling pretty confident, even after such a small improvement. Maybe this is why running is so addictive...because it just gives you so darn many opportunities to feel good about yourself. God knows I need all of those I can get to combat all of the horrible insults I deal myself on a daily basis.
By the way...I've ditched the running shoes for now. I'm running in an $8 pair of water shoes that I picked up from WalMart. My best friend convinced me to give this "barefoot" running a try...there's a lot of science behind why running shoes ultimately end up hurting instead of helping, but I'll get into that at a later date when I'm more of an expert on it. For right now, its amazing to run and not be in excruciating pain afterword. My joints feel perfectly normal, and that includes the knee that I hurt. Does anybody want an almost brand new pair of Asics??? I don't think I'm going to have a use for them anymore.
Anyway, things are looking up for right now. I'm going to try to get past a lap tomorrow. (I am so pathetic!! Why can't I fast forward to running REAL distances?? I can't wait til I hit the one mile milestone!!)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Here we go again!

I am still panting as I write this post, but I just had to let everyone (ha!) know that I RAN today!!! My endurance is pretty pathetic, even more so than it was before I got injured. But I ran 1/3 of a mile before I tired out which is better than nothing at all. In total, I ran 1/2 a mile out of a 1 1/2 mile walk...but I am back in the game!!