Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Good Week

Week 6 of training went much, much better than Week 5, largely because I actually ran this time.

Ran on a treadmill on Tuesday for the first time. I was underwhelmed by the experience. It was my first run since being out sick for a week, and I guess it was a good way to ease back into running. It was just boring. I think I've been running outside for so long that I have to feel like I'm getting somewhere, or I just go nuts. However, I was able to run at a slightly faster pace on the treadmill than I usually can outside, so it might not be a bad tool to use for speed intervals occasionally.

Thursday called for four miles, which were completed outside. This run was a fairly good one. I was nervous about it since I'm still not at the point where four miles, or even two miles, comes easily. But I did pretty well and felt really good afterward. I had to insert some walking breaks into the last half, but I'm slowly becoming okay with that. I have to do what I have to do, and who is grading me??

Sunday was my long run. Seven miles baby!! I felt like such a badass. Seven miles is a REAL distance that REAL runners run!!! It was hard, of course, but ironically the shorter runs actually seem harder for me. My time wasn't half bad, for me. I averaged about 14:20 a mile, which included water breaks and a couple walking intervals. This was also a very hilly run. I felt strong and powerful for most of it. The last mile and a half I started to get very woozy and dizzy, but I got through it.

The only bad part of training this week was that on both Thursday and Sunday, I got a very bad headache after I ran, which lasted most of the rest of those days. I think that they were perhaps dehydration headaches, and that maybe its time to consider fueling more. I usually stick to water to rehydrate because that has always worked for me in the past. However, it may be time for sports drinks to enter into the equation. Also, on Sunday I ran in the morning before breakfast. I hate running with food on my stomach, but it probably wasn't the best idea to run for almost 2 hours with no fuel. I need to find something to fuel my runs that doesn't lay heavy on my stomach. Any suggestions would be welcomed!

I'm working on my attitude. I'm tired of being a negative Nancy. I'm never going to be the fastest runner in the world, and that's fine. I need to get in touch with my star player, which my best friend helped me to realize in this post of her blog. I also realized that everybody has issues with their own performance, no matter how great they are. Beth from Shut Up and Run talks about that here. These two blog entries gave me a lot to chew on this week.

A lot of this is about attitude, and mine has really sucked for most of this journey. Negativity is a defense mechanism of mine because if I say how much I sucked before anyone else does, then NOBODY ELSE can criticize me or hurt my feelings. Putting yourself out there and saying how great you think you did is a risk. There's always somebody who could tell you "um no, not really. You should be going faster/farther/more often, etc." And of course that would crush me. Okay, I have issues. I'm going to work on them.

I love running because it teaches me so much about me that I never knew before! Nothing will pull layers of false bravado off of a person and make them get real like a good long hard run, that is for sure.

Have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Under the Weather

Ugh. Week 5 of training was nonexistent. If it isn't one thing, it's another. I ran 2 miles on Tuesday and had to stop because my body was all of a sudden racked with excruciating pain all over the place (totally freakish and out of nowhere) and I've been sick and horribly run down ever since.

Today was supposed to be my long run of 6 miles-um, nope. I have been listening to my body and resting. Hopefully I will be able to bounce back when I am well with little difficulty.

Thanks everyone for your kind words about my grandma. Ya'll are the best.
Here's hoping I have a better report next week!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Week 4 Wrap Up and Some Questions about Speed

Week 4 of training had its ups and down. On the down side, my grandmother passed away and that knocked the wind out of my sails as you might imagine. It was very hard to stay focused through my shorter runs, and I ended up having to turn one of them into some weird speed session-I couldn't keep my mind focused on the run, but I had a lot of restless energy that I needed to get out., so I just ran all out until I had to stop and walk, and then repeated for a couple of miles. It wasn't exactly what I was supposed to be doing, but that was what my body needed at that moment.

Saturday night was my long run-5 miles! I rocked it. It was pouring rain and I had no visibility and my glasses kept fogging up and my water shoes are ironically NOT very suitable for getting wet, because the soles come up and start sliding around and I had to stop every mile to fix them. All that being said, that was the best run I've ever had in my life. The first couple of miles were rough, but by the time I hit mile 4, I was got a nice little burst of energy and was able to speed up and finish my run with a flourish! It was exhilarating.

My schedule this week picks things up quite a bit. Last week was a 9 mile week, and this week is 14 miles. My short runs increase in length to 3 miles, and an extra 2 mile run is added in as well. My long run will be 6 miles.

A word about speed. I'm NOT a fast runner. A 12 minute mile is really good for me, and I average 13-14 minute miles. How important is speedwork at this point in my journey? The race in Augusta gives you a 3 hour time limit. Should I be working on speed in order to come in under that, or should I just continue to focus on my training plan and increasing my distance? I'm also kind of under the impression that because I weigh 200+, its pointless for me to worry about speed too much, because the extra weight just makes it all that much harder? I would really appreciate your opinions on this. Any advice is welcome!

I hope everyone is having a great week!

Monday, August 9, 2010


Week 3 of training complete! Wow, what a difference a week makes....this one was infinitely better than Week 2! I am proud to announce that I completed my longest distance yet on my run yesterday- 4 miles!! Go me!!!!!!!!!!!!! I probably should have planned out the route a little bit better beforehand because this was supposed to be an easy run, and instead it turned into a "hell", excuse me, a hill run. The first 2 1/2 miles were nothing but one very steep hill followed by another hill that was slightly steeper. I couldn't help but chuckle a little bit to myself (as I was panting up these monstrosities) about how I NEVER paid any attention to how hilly this road was before. I must have driven this route eighty five thousand times and I never realized that it was so... NOT flat.

Oh, well.

Something else that I was pondering during my run. Hills are downright unpleasant, but they make your legs stronger. Indeed, I could FEEL the strength pulsing through them, buzzing all the way up my body, and I knew that next time I ran on this road, my experience would be easier. That's when it hit me that I've been traveling over mental hills this entire time, and just getting stronger. I keep expecting that one day I am going to wake up and everything is going to be easy. That I will just strap on the sturdy ole water shoes, head out the door, run 37 miles, come back home and lose 42 lbs. It doesn't work that way!! (DUH, you may be thinking, but I'm having a revelation here.) I'm waiting for something that is never going to happen, and it isn't supposed to happen.

What's really going on is that I'm just running up and down hills. Sometimes its uphill and it sucks. On those days, I seriously doubt my abilities to do anything but raid the fridge for a gigantic chocolate cake. But every time I press on and continue the climb, I get just a little bit stronger and more prepared for the next time things get hard and overwhelming.

Looking back over this journey, its very easy for me to remember all the times I wanted to give up. (Well, all I really have to do is go over some of my older posts...which I actually did the other night and had a nice laugh with myself) I've never been proud of those moments, but they are what they are. But when I look a little bit harder, I see that each meltdown was a little bit shorter in duration than the previous one. Each one was just a little bit easier to come out of. I am getting stronger.

And now I can breathe easy knowing that there isn't going to be one magic day when everything will click into place and stay that way. That's not the way life is designed. I need these hills to make me strong and keep me strong. I say bring on the hills and I will climb them! And there is immeasurable comfort in knowing that when I feel down and out, that is just part of the process. All it means is that I have another hill to climb. And I know that I'll be strong enough to climb it because I've had a lot of practice!

Oh, and by the way...I'm down to 213. ;)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Somebody Likes Me! Somebody Really Really Likes Me!!

Wow! I am so new to blogging that I didn't even know the existence of blog awards until I was nominated for one. Tara at So Skinny on the Inside nominated me for the Versatile Blogger award! I am touched beyond words. I love this blog with all of my heart, but even so, never expected anyone else to think much of it. Thank you, Tara!!!

Ok, so the rules of this award are as follows. You have to share 7 things about yourself, nominate 15 other blogs that you have recently discovered, and let your nominees know about the awards. So here goes:

Seven Things About Jennifer
1. I really don't like to be called Jennifer at all. The people closest to me call me Jenny, and if my husband ever calls me Jennifer then I know he's mad at me about something. Oh, and I'm cool with being called Jen, too, but please not Jennifer.

2. I got laid off from my job at a luxury accessory company last August, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me! I am now a full time student and mother and am able for the first time in years to really work on ME. Sometimes blessings come around in the strangest of ways.

3. My husband and I got engaged on the day that we met! We will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary next February, and it has been a fantastic decade.

4. I am very absentminded and have been known to go buy groceries, put them in the trunk, forget to close it, and lose them all on the way home. I've also lost my wallet/purse in the same store so many times that they started to just put it up for me and wait until I came in looking for it. I'm a huge ditz.

5. I have never been off the east coast. I've been as far north as New York and as far south as St. Augustine, and to every state in between, but I have never even ventured next door to Alabama!

6. I like to watch really trashy reality television. I can't help it, I just can't turn my eyes away. 16 and Pregnant, Teen Moms, Real Housewives of New York City, A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila...basically everything that most normal people want to avoid, I love! It's my guilty pleasure.

7. I used to be a writer...I was published in a few newspapers and won a few awards when I was younger, but I put it down after I became a mother. That's one reason why I love this blog so much...I feel like I'm reconnecting with a part of my former self.

Okay, so as for nominating 15 other blogs, I'm going to have to break the rules here. The following blogs are blogs that I truly love, and that you should really check out because these women are AMAZING, but I decided to do a top 6 instead . Oh, well! I nominate the following people:
I will notify all of my "nominees" on their blogs today or tomorrow. I want to thank Tara again for this awesome award. (Her blog is also totally worth following, by the way). It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside!!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

What the Problem Really Is

I almost quit Sunday night. I had all of my excuses and justifications ready and organized, and I was already planning a dramatic final blog entry detailing my tragic, heroic exit from the fitness world!

There was no way that I could continue training because:
--The weather is too hot and humid!!
--By the time it cools down, its too late to run very far and what would I do when I get up to the longer distances in the plan?
--I've been running and exercising for 4 months now and haven't lost weight yet.
--I don't have a hydration belt and can't go for miles and miles without water.
--If I join a gym and run on a treadmill then that won't be effective enough training for an outdoor race.
--I don't feel comfortable going more than a few miles from my house, what am I supposed to do when I have to go on a 10 mile run? What if I get abducted and raped?
--I'm just too overweight to be able to go very fast and who wants to be the last one crossing the finish line??
--I read lots of other running blogs and nobody else seems to struggle as much as I do, so I must just not be meant to be a runner!!

These are only a fraction of the excuses that have been formulating in my head and getting louder over the past few weeks. Running seemed to be nothing more than a convenient time to think of more reasons to quit. Sunday was supposed to be my long run of 3 miles- I walked most of it, telling myself that I had finally HAD IT, I was tired of always feeling bad about myself, that I just lost the ability to run somehow, and I wasn't going to torture myself anymore.

But deep down, during all of this mental back and forth ass beating I was giving myself, I knew all along what the problem was. I Don't Believe In Myself. I don't believe that I can finish the race, I don't believe that I can lose weight, and I don't even believe I can complete the entire training period! I've never undertaken a goal of this magnitude before, and I'm frightened.

There is something very comforting about taking responsibility for your own thoughts and actions. The universe isn't conspiring against me to make sure I never reach my goals. My head is the problem, and everything else can be overcome! Once I allowed this to digest for a little while, I mustered the courage to go for my scheduled 2 miles today. I ran it, and I ran it pretty darn well...I didn't stop, and I didn't let myself think a bunch of negative thoughts. I really enjoyed myself for the first time in the past 3 weeks.

This journey has a lot more ups and downs than I ever imagined it would. THIS IS HARD. I guess I keep imagining that the obstacles will all go away soon and everything will just get easy. But I know that's not going to happen. And you know what? It's okay that this isn't totally smooth sailing. I think I'm going to keep hitting many highs and lows as I continue on. At least I'm getting a lot of practice at persevering!! What's that quote? 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration? Well, its taking a hell of a lot of perspiring, but I seem to be plodding through the hard parts and maybe eventually I can run that race.

So I guess you guys are going to have to wait a little bit longer for my big dramatic exit from the blogosphere. I am over my latest hump, and ready to take on the world again (until my next meltdown, anyway.)