Archive for ‘Running’

December 7, 2010

Moving day!

September 14, 2010

Rookie Running: Confessions

You may have noticed that it’s been a while since I last had posted about running.  If you thought that was on purpose because my ultimate goal was to complete my couch to 5k program, you think more highly of me than you ought to.  In fact, I meant to continue, but I got sick oh… a month ago….and wasn’t sure how to run when I was coughing and phlegmy. (Gross.)  And then I had stressful circumstances to think and act through and, well, the excuses keep coming.  Yesterday I didn’t feel very good.  Today I feel fine but I didn’t eat at the right times so now I’m stuck with my office getting organized and my lunch eaten and halfway through a glass of milk with my stomach thinking, No way. Three hours from now is 4:45. Shall I go then? Oh, I hope.

I’m disappointed with running, all in all.  That’s not to say I gave it a fair shot — i.e. more than a couple months of actual, real running instead of run/walking — but I really hoped that once I “got into it” like everyone says, I’d be in love and couldn’t resist it.  ENDORPHINS, where you at?


I felt the need to write this confession because I want someone out there to tell me everything will be okay, including all my joints, which lots of people have scared me into believing will give me trouble if I continue to run. (Like I need another excuse not to, people!)  So here I have compiled a list of things that are GOOD about running:

• helps me feel less restless.
• helps me sleep better
• helps me stick to a schedule during the week.
• encourages me to eat healthier. *with the minor exception of the candy I let myself eat before I go — usually a couple sour patch kids. My father-in-law says he eats gummy bears during runs for little energy boosts.  He runs marathons; I run less than 3 miles. Anything that makes me run, right??
• allows me to be able to say “YES I exercise” if anyone (like my doctor) asks.
• acquaints me with my neighborhood.
• is FREE! Unlike a gym membership.

Goal for today or tomorrow, whichever it ends up being:  run a mile.  Just one little mile.  Next time I’ll be harder on myself.

August 4, 2010

Rookie Running: a new plan?

Here I sit.  I sit.  And sit. Oh, I get up and do things, like clean and organize and make food and eat it and run errands.  But sitting is what I do far more than running.  Before I get ahead of myself, I realized the other day that I never posted the completed Couch to 5k progress meter!  So here it is:

And now that we’ve properly rejoiced, I get to let you down tremendously with my confession that since week 9 ended, I have not run the full 30 minutes again.   I ran 22 one day, and 25 or so another day.  Today I’m supposed to run again.  Guess how motivated I am to do it? (Not very.)  Guess how long I would probably run for? (22 minutes.)  This needs to stop.  I have just felt so tired all the time the last week.  I think I’m getting enough sleep, so I don’t know what’s going on – the last couple times I’ve felt almost defeated before I’ve even started, which is a terrible way to be thinking if you want to keep your body moving for a full thirty minutes.  This is why I think I need a new plan and a tangible goal — like a real live race.

There are a few 5k’s coming up in the area, and I might register for one or a couple:
• 8/13 (Next weekend!  There’s some motivation!) –  CATnip Friday 5k, benefits Cat Adoption Team
• 8/21 – Run for the Fallen 5k in Portland, raises money to build a memorial for Oregon troops lost in Iraq and Afghanistan.
• 10/2 – Fall Finale 5k in Oregon City, free registration and breakfast afterward!  Whoa!

Once I accomplish a real 5k I’d like to move on to a 10k training program.  I haven’t found one that I like yet, but I’ll keep you posted….  and I’ll work on signing up for one of those races!

August 2, 2010

Monday: meals and money

A new week is upon us.  It’s sunshiney, breezy, perfect summer weather.  We got the grill going last week for some simple barbecue chicken and corn on the cob, and we’ve been enjoying reading in lounge chairs by our little bitty apartment pool.  We don’t get in it, though — it’s really cold.

This new week is upon me.  Here I am reminded to stop feeling guilty, stop doing things if they are irritating, work hard, and take breaks throughout the day.  This is so much easier on days like today when I place myself under living water, letting it pour around me. I am the servant of the Lord;  may it be to me according to your word.

Today so far, I have accomplished waking up, reading from The Disciplines of Grace, journaling, and reading my Bible, helping a friend jump start her car, running at Gabriel Park, and toasting a bagel, which I am now eating with Good Earth White Tea. (Not the best tea, but I don’t want to waste it and it has lots of antioxidants….)  My running goal was 30 minutes but it was more like 22, partly because I was in unfamiliar park-trail territory and it was difficult to do a true out-and-back.  I really need a new BIG goal — otherwise I think my body defaults to, “You wanted me to do 30.  I did it.  Leave me alone.”

Left on the agenda today?  Lots of logistical things to keep our little home running smoothly:  I need to call and inquire about a health savings account I might start, talk to someone about self-employed tax preparation, go to the bank, plan meals for this week, and go grocery shopping.  Here’s a little glimpse into my Monday….

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July 19, 2010

Rookie Running: Week 9

I’ve officially arrived.  And the British lady on my running app said “Brilliant!” when I finished.  I ran for 30 minutes today!  But the program lied (it must not have accounted for slooowwww runners like me) and I cannot yet run an actual 5k.  My longest distance thus far is about 2.85 miles, and I’ve been running a fairly consistent 10-minute mile.  I run again on Wednesday and Friday for the same amount of time. Here’s my progress meter (starred run on Wednesday!):

After my one bad run, things picked up, although my running schedule became a little haphazard — a couple night runs, a couple skipped days and make-up days.  All in all, though, I only skipped that day, and I was able to move on to 28 minutes without it.  After all my disappointment, it was only one bad day. My first 30 minute run felt good — the only very hard part was a segment of running down a steep hill, during which I developed a terrible horrible side ache because I was so tense and almost holding my breath to keep my pace.  How does one run down a steep hill without going waytoofast and getting out of control?  I mean, without a side ache?  That’s the next running mystery I need to solve.  The one I seem to have solved is about eating — I can’t have an actual meal without waiting at least a few hours, but I used to think if I hadn’t eaten for too long, I needed to eat again and then wait again.  Instead, if I’m getting hungry, I have a handful of something sugary (nooo problem….) to give myself some simple carbs to burn.  A few raisins, a couple pecans, some candy, and I’m good to go!  The meal can wait until I get back, and it’s more satisfying then anyway, since I’m starving by then.

I’m not big on forced reflections.  That said, I really am quite proud of myself for sticking with this.   The obvious question, of course, is what’s next? Do I attempt to keep running 3 times a week knowing I don’t have a “goal,” or do I adopt a new goal and keep pushing harder?  For the sake of this series, at least, I suppose I should have another goal in mind.  MARATHON!  Just kidding.  My immediate goal is this: after this week, I will start measuring distance instead of time.  I’ll map a route before I go, and then I will complete it.  This should ensure that I can actually run a 5k before moving on to bigger and better goals.

One question, brought about by the 10k plans I have looked at, is how strength training fits with running.  Running is technically “cardio,” and many workout plans place it back to back with weight-bearing exercise; since I’m constantly progressing, though, I feel like my legs are getting the workout they need. I don’t want to tear my muscles lifting weights and then expect to be able to continue to run farther and faster the very next day.  My “rest” days so far have been just that.  On the 10k running plans I’ve seen, I’m expected to work on something every day — strength, endurance, sprinting, etc. How?

Time is also a concern with longer distances. It’s no wonder a lot of people don’t run very far.  Already my runs take 40 minutes from start to finish, not including getting ready, stretching, or showering afterward.  (With those added, it’s more like an hour and a half.)  The farther I run, the longer it will take.  I’m astonished that busy people can run long distances.  I’m worried that this fall, when I don’t have as much free time, my running will suffer and I won’t be able to keep my schedule or meet my goals consistently.

But that is really neither here nor there.  I am almost done with my Couch to 5k program, which is a huge accomplishment for me! What type of reward does one give oneself for completing a fitness goal?  Somehow indulgent foods don’t seem appropriate…

July 7, 2010

Rookies, gumshoes, and fledglings.

Isn’t it funny how things can start so perfectly, continue so earnestly, and still fail (or at least falter)?

There I was on Monday, triumphantly running up and down steep hills, mimicking the roll of the waves to my right as they beat against Haystack Rock on the gorgeous Oregon coast.  25 minutes, crazy elevation fluctuation, no problem.  When I finished I felt like I could have gone farther.

Today, I ran for slightly less than a mile before having to stop.  It’s the only run in my program thus far that I have failed to complete.  I was hot, tired, hungry, and dehydrated, and my body was telling me to stop.  I figured it would be better to stop and then try again later than to hurt myself or push too hard and set myself back further.

And then, there are my plants…  wilting tomatoes, shriveling peppers, bent-over fuchsia, and slug-salvaged spinach. (Then there’s the thriving basil and cilantro, which continues to baffle me.)

It’s so easy to become discouraged!  But I’ll keep pressing on with these perhaps silly little projects because they are what I must do.  They give me a little sense of responsibility and joy in the midst of a lonely time.  They are supposed to be my calm, and I make them my storm.  Baby steps.

Here are some pictures from my 4th of July weekend in Cannon Beach, OR….

That last one cracks me up!  Little Ana distracted by making X’s in the sand, is running to catch up with the family.

We had a fabulously fun time reuniting with Eric’s parents and sister Rebecca, and got to witness the beauty of two sensational little girls (Ela and Ana) on their first vacation with their brand new adoptive parents, Eric’s uncle Ken and aunt Trudi.

“…He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…” (Philipians 1:6)

Overdue cooking posts tomorrow, small but faithful readership.

July 1, 2010

Thursday and half a song are all I brought with me…

This week, running seems to be the only consistently bloggable “series,” so I’m just giving a general update today.  I’m not very much a foodie this week, although I did make a few good treats last week (cobbler, heart-attack buttery pasta, cheese and chive muffins) that I could blog about.   The thing is, not only has it been winding down toward the end of the month, which this month has meant an already overspent food budget, but this weekend we are going to the beach, so I haven’t wanted to restock my fridge.  And as we know, fantastic foodie-worthy food requires fresh ingredients that we will most likely not finish, and that will go bad before we get to use them!  Last night’s dinner was the surprisingly rewarding result of scraping out the fridge and freezer.  Magically, I came across some frozen chicken (I thought we were out) and decided to stuff it with blue cheese leftover from burgers earlier this week.  It was my first experience with stuffed chicken, and I’m not quite sure how you are supposed to keep everything (especially gooey, melty cheese) from escaping!  I made it on our George Foreman grill, and a few minutes into cooking had to rearrange the chicken so the slits pointed up instead of down.  Also, my defrosting failed — I accidentally put the frozen half-breasts in the microwave for 5 minutes on high instead of defrost.  They turned out a little dry, but fine.  I whipped up some oven-roasted potatoes wedges (a favorite of mine — easy and always delicious) and cooked some frozen “Tuscan” vegetables from a bag.  I wasn’t too impressed with the veggies — frozen stir-fry vegetables are good because they’re just SO convenient — I’m not going to be buying water chestnuts and bok choy often, so it’s perfect to buy them prepackaged, even if they do get a bit soggier than I’d prefer.  The Tuscan mix, though, is not a winner.  Too many varying consistencies of vegetables, so it’s impossible to cook without overcooking something. And it didn’t contain anything I couldn’t buy and use easily.  Green beans, mushrooms, red peppers, onions… standard fare.  I far prefer crunchy/sauteed to soggy/steamed vegetables, so I will try to take advantage of good produce prices this summer!

As for gardening…. there’s another depressing topic.  Literally three hours after I posted my last triumphant Gumshoe Gardening post, I was driving home talking to Eric, and he told me my tomato plant was falling over.  After ruling out violence and wind (the stalk was curved over and nothing was broken), I staked the plant with a metal rod I found upstairs (part of a shoe rack we’re getting rid of).  Then I did some research.  I suspected, and still kind of suspect, over-watering. The pot the plant is in sits on the ground, and though it has holes under it, water might have been sitting inside unable to get out well.  However, I took the plant out of its pot to try to get at the problem and treat root rot, if necessary, and the soil did not seem over-damp at all.  The roots were white and smelled fine, and they were growing around the base of the pot but weren’t over-crowded.  So I put it back and am going to wait a little while before watering anyway.  In the mean time I will hope I didn’t needlessly traumatize my poor little plant.

Other than those things, here’s what’s been on my mind:

  • Looking forward to an Independence Day beach trip with Eric and his family, including uncle/aunt/cousins and newly adopted cousins!  It will be a great family get-together, as well as our 2-year engageaversary. <3
  • Trying to spruce up our budgeting system.  Perhaps a post on this next week?
  • Also trying to figure out a housework schedule that actually works for me…  so far there are several that do NOT work.  Being a homemaker + insert any line of work, hobby, etc. is confusing.
  • Anxiety, unfortunately.  There’s a reason this blog is about taking things one step at a time.  It’s been working for running, food, and gardening, but unfortunately there are plenty of other areas in my life that worry me silly.  Some are for good reasons, and some just aren’t at all.
  • Attending my parents’ (my home) church last week was such a blessing — a wonderful sermon on Rahab’s story in Joshua 2 that demonstrates God’s merciful pattern of salvation.

Happy 4th of July to everyone, if I don’t post before the weekend!


June 28, 2010

Rookie Running: Week 6

I’m back from a lovely weekend in gorgeous Spokane with my family.  We assembly lined an impressive amount of handmade wedding invitations (around 140). This included manually stamping/embossing, hand-addressing, printing and applying 3 different labels, tying tags, and grommeting each one.  I also got to watch my brother and soon-to-be brother-in-law compete in Hoopfest.  I even got a little sunburned!

Today I started Week 6 of the Couch to  5k program.  I’ll be reporting on two runs, because last Friday I ran for 20 straight minutes!

Week 5, Run 3: This run was a 5-minute warm up walk, 20-minute run, and 5-minute cool-down walk.  I was pretty scared going into it, but remembered to pace myself and start slow.  I had to run in Spokane because I flew there at 6 am.  Thankfully, the route was fairly flat, with only one slight hill that I climbed during the first half — which meant I got to run down it on my way home.  I took my family’s dog Molly with me, which also made me nervous because I’ve never run with a dog, but it was okay.  She made me feel lame because her running alongside me was much more like trotting (okay, it could even have been called fast walking). I thought I was going extremely slowly until I told my dad about it later and he said she doesn’t really “run” with him either.  One thing that made this run exciting was that my neighbor’s psycho dog came out of nowhere in the last 20 feet of my run, blindsided Molly, and started attacking her.  I screamed — loudly — and Molly fought back for a minute, and then the dog ran off.  It was terrifying.

Week 6, Run 1: Today’s run was not quite as encouraging — I actually had my first side-ache in a while.  This might have been due to the fact that my schedule was a little thrown off – I worked from 11-1 today instead of from 12-2, so I didn’t have as much time before work to get everything done (including running) that I wanted to.  Instead I ran as soon as I came back, but my food/water situation might have been different.  I’m also thinking that walking between runs actually breaks up my rhythm and messes me up.  My feet hurt today, too.  I think they were achy from walking around at Hoopfest.  I spent the morning walking in uncomfortable flats that started giving me blisters, so during my trip home for lunch I grabbed some flip flops that are slightly stretched out and are therefore too big for me, making my feet muscles probably do awkward things to keep them from slipping around.  Hopefully these are the reasons, and not any sort of shoe/running injury issue!

I need to find a new go-to route.  They are starting to do sewer work under the Fanno Creek Trail and have to close it off for the rest of the summer.  Summer is, of course, a logical time to do this, but so terribly inconvenient for those of us who need NO excuse not to exercise.  But then, I jest.  Because amazingly, I do feel very motivated to at least finish this program.  If I need a program in order to keep at it afterward, maybe I’ll just start training for a 10k! But don’t hold me to it.

Here is my progress meter.  I’ll do the starred run on Wednesday.

June 21, 2010

Rookie Running: Week 5

First, the weekend update:

We went into this weekend with two plans, brought about by two exciting additions to our stuff pile.

1) Last week, Eric’s brother David sent us a surprise — Secret of Mana for SNES. (!!!)

2) Eric also received some new-to-him bike racks that he ordered in the mail. We saw that they were a little scuffed up and teeny bits of rust were threatening to grow larger, so…

Our plans for this weekend were born:  lay around playing Super Nintendo, and spray-paint bike racks.  Yes, these plans were pre-arranged, and we stuck to them, mostly.  We did get bored by Saturday night and decided to go out for an impromptu Toy Story 3 excursion.  We went to the 11:15 non-3D showing, and my elderly body was seriously disoriented.  I don’t remember the last time I was up until 1:30 am!  We really enjoyed the movie, though.  Sunday evening, we also added in a church visit to Door of Hope, which we’ve been meaning to check out since it started last Summer.  There, we ran into a friend and spent some time with her after the service.

I began week 5 of my Couch to 5k program today feeling…well…exhausted.  I don’t know if it was the laid-back nature of this weekend combined with some later-than-usual nights or what, but I couldn’t stay awake through my devotions this morning.  When 10 rolled around and I laced up my shoes, I was feeling sleepy, drained, dehydrated, and hungry.  I grabbed a small handful of pecans and chocolate chips and went.  And I felt great. It was such a nice surprise to not be dying at the end of the third five minutes.  It’s funny how my perspective has changed so much with the small increments — before beginning this program, believe it or not, I could run about a mile, even a one and a half with pushing (i.e. Eric running next to me), but I qualified as one of those “starting too fast” runners whose body then hates them.  Now, I look at my running app (more on that later) and can’t believe they want me to run a whole 5 minutes.  The audacity!  And on Friday I have to run for 20 minutes, which makes we want to quit and die right here and now.  Until I think about the fact that today felt good, and then I get a little glimmer of hope.

Here are some observations I have made, now that I have been running for over a month and feel slightly more qualified to give them.  Note that these are my observations and quite possibly specific to my body.

  1. I don’t feel hungry if I eat breakfast about 2 hours before my run and then have a tiny snack (like 5 pecan halves and a couple ounces of water) before I leave.
  2. I feel better when I look at my feet, but I don’t like that.  I want to run with my
  3. Although warm-up/cool-down walks are obnoxious, they really are helpful.
  4. Stretching after a run and on off-days makes the off-days much more pleasant.  I can feel my muscles tightening up if I don’t stretch enough.
  5. Instead of stretching before I leave the house, I like to do the warm-up walk, then pause my app and stretch, then start it again to transition into my run.
  6. Music absolutely helps and makes everything better.  My running favorites so far have been Lecrae, Streetlight Manifesto, and the Living End.  I also tried listening to a sermon one day.  I noticed that it passed the time better because I wasn’t thinking as much about running or wondering how much time was left, but it did definitely lack the motivation factor, which is perhaps more important for the tough parts.
  7. I have realized it’s easier for me to keep going if I am watching my feet instead of looking ahead.   I dislike this fact, because it makes me feel like I’m not confident — we’re always told to walk with our heads up, looking the world in the face and paying attention to where we’re going.  But for now, I’m not fighting it, because I think it does actually fit quite nicely with my one step at a time mission statement: It’s about paying attention to the process. If I don’t look ahead, I don’t get overwhelmed by how much is left and whether or not I can make it.  Instead, with my head down, I watch my feet take each step and stop worrying.  Looking up can come later.

Here’s my progress meter!  Almost half-way through!  I’ll do the starred run on Wednesday.

June 15, 2010

Rookie Running: Week 4

Rookie Running

Eric and I had a full couple of days this weekend, which was a lot of fun.  On Friday, we went out on an overdue date to celebrate his promotion and my getting a job.  He took me to Wildwood, which was a definite splurge but well worth it for a once-a-year type of date.  I absolutely recommend filing it away for your next special occasion.  All the food is locally grown and they change the menu daily.  They’re also known for having a wonderful wine selection.  We had the most knowledgeable waiter I’ve ever experienced, and one of the restaurant’s owners was circulating the dining room meeting guests and making sure they were enjoying themselves.  We shared an amazing salad with strange little mushrooms, and for dinner Eric had a grilled pork chop and I had lamb shoulder with all sorts of amazing stuff like crushed pistachios and orange zest and mint.  We tried two different Pinot Noirs (our favorite) that our waiter recommended to pair with the salad and the entrees.  We finished with a rhubarb pistachio hand pie and coffee.  Delicious.  Saturday we watched the England/U.S. World Cup game at McMenamins Baghdad Theater, hit up Cirque du Cycling for a couple hours, and then headed out to the Mt. Hood National Forest, where we met Burk and Lydia for a climbing and camping trip.  Sunday was church and relaxation.

Yesterday I began week four of my Couch to 5k program.  Here’s what I have to look forward to this and next week…

Week 4: 5-minute warm-up walk, 3-minute run, 1.5-minute walk, 5-minute run, 2.5-minute walk, 3-minute run, 1.5-minute walk, 5-minute run, 2.5-minute walk, 5-minute cool-down walk

Week 5:

(Day 1) 5-minute warm-up walk, 5-minute run, 3-minute walk, 5-minute run, 3-minute walk, 5-minute run, 5-minute cool-down walk

(Day 2) 5-minute warm-up walk, 8-minute run, 5-minute walk, 8-minute run, 5-minute cool-down walk

(Day 3) 5-minute warm-up walk, 20-minute run, 5-minute cool-down walk

Considering the schedule for the last couple of weeks, I feel like this week and next are significantly more challenging.  So… how did I feel yesterday?  Pretty good.  No crippling side-aches, I didn’t get hungry until the very end, and the first half was actually easy.  The tricky part about my route is that the way back is slightly uphill in parts, which is hard when I’m already tired.  I’ve thought about running it from the other direction, and maybe I’ll give it a shot sometime.  I’m actually quite blessed when it comes to running locations.  My 5-minute warm-up walk happens to take me exactly to the start of the Fanno Creek Trail at the Garden Home Recreation Center.  It’s a lovely paved trail surrounded by trees and tall grass, which makes for a significantly more pleasant experience than running on sidewalks with cars all around.

One thing I’m trying to work into my running routine is a good stretching regimen.  I’m a big fan of stretching, except that it’s time consuming.  But I have seen a difference in how I feel the next day if I stretch before and after, and I’m also all about preventing injury.  The site I’ve been referring to so far for running-specific stretches is Cool Running, but I also find that just doing some easy yoga for 10 minutes stretches similar muscles and is a really good whole-body cool-down.  If you’ve never done yoga before, I highly recommend it — even going to one or two beginners sessions will introduce you to enough basic poses to do it yourself.

Here’s my progress meter!  I’ll do the starred run tomorrow.

Hopefully I will have a gardening update ready for you tomorrow, as well.

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