Thursday, February 26, 2009

No time to run makes it the perfect time to run...

So in addition to my shoe drama (by the way, thank you all for actually reading that ridiculously long post - your comments are a testament to your love of running....non-runners wouldn't have had the endurance to read to the bottom!), I'm in the midst of one of my bi-annual "I have so much work to do between consulting, school and my "real" job, not to mention the daily work of taking care of my family which is what I'd rather spend my time doing, that I don't have time to sleep, let alone run" breakdowns.... 

As you all already know, I've not been running much lately as a result. So last night when I went to bed, I was sure that today would be another non-running day. After all, I was dressed to run all day yesterday and never found even 15 minutes to do so.

Well, the sleep must have helped because when I woke up today, I thought about all that I had on my schedule and decided I couldn't NOT run - I need every bit of energy and sanity that running seems to bestow on me. So I did. It didn't last long, but I ran. It felt good.  In fact, it felt great. No pain, good shoes, and more work than I thought it would be....I am happy.


Today should have been a great run. It's slightly overcast but not cold, Laura was in a good mood this morning which always makes my morning better, and I was actually dressed and ready to run before I even took Laura to school. On the way home I charted a course that included some running on the main road, in a different section than what I've already done. New courses always add interest to my run.

So I got home from dropping Laura off, collected Moxie, and off we went. I could feel right away this run wasn't going to be a good one. I began the course I planned to run, but only went about half of what I had planned to run on the main road before turning back around. It's really tough running there-lots of pine straw hiding all the dips in the ground, making for very uneven ground. I was shocked and saddened by the amount of trash and debris, plenty of it the broken glass variety. Cars were whizzing by and even though I had several feet between me and them, I just wasn't liking any of it. Not to mention my legs felt like lead and my lungs weren't moving any air.

I got back home, checked my mailbox watch and saw it had only been 15.5 minutes!! So I pushed on for a few more and finished at 20.5. It was a disappointing run to say the least, and really made me wish we had better places to run.

Edited to add: Checked the mileage when I drove to get Laura, and it was 1.8 miles. Yuck again.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Shoes, New Shoes!

I doubt this is terribly exciting to anyone but me, but I bought a new pair of shoes today - New Balance 1063s. They feel great, but given the past few months, I'm going to wear them around the house for awhile before I declare my undying love for them. 

So why post about new shoes?  Well, it has to do with good advice, bad advice, more good advice, and lots of drama in between. Given the fact that I have forced you all to suffer this drama with me, I feel the need to post on the topic. First, the 18-year-old guy at Inside Out Sports said I need a neutral shoe, I chose my Sauconys, and loved them for three months. Then knee problems, the "insert recommendation," and so on. And then today....  

I have no time in the next couple of weeks to head to Raleigh or Wilmington in search of new shoe advice, so I assessed more local options. I ended up at John Allen Shoes (google it - it'll make you laugh when you see the photos they have on their website...), the destination of choice for the over 80 set - these older adults crave comfort - and ugly if you ask me - but the salespeople there actually know about FEET.  Mind you, I did enter the establishment with a healthy dose of skepticism (seriously, I looked around and nearly passed out when confronted with so many functional, comfortable beige shoes at one time), but the fact that I have trusted these people to fit my darling daughter's feet with expensive Stride Rite shoes since before she could walk, and the fact that they pop popcorn there which makes the place smell....festive?....I held my head high as I passed the Hush Puppies display. My hopes were almost dashed when I found the running shoe section - they had exactly two models of New Balance running shoes that didn't appear "orthotic" in nature - but the salesperson seemed official. He confirmed that I am in need of a "neutral shoe," and after looking at my feet, he said he wouldn't recommend any special arch support at all, other than what's in the shoe. He even used the foot measuring thing I remember from when I was a kid, and of all things, a shoe horn as he slipped the New Balance 1063s on my needy feet. 

They felt good. I pranced around the store, and even ran a lap feeling like a hero - the place was surprisingly packed, and I was the youngest person in there by at least 40 years so the crowd was in awe of my speed and endurance. The shoes felt better. Snug in the heel, roomy in the toe, no slipping. So $130 later, they were mine. And it must be mentioned that the salesperson, who had a daughter (or maybe it was a granddaughter) that ran, and as I was checking out, he congratulated me on my "accomplishments" and even said "Happy Racing" as if I were some sort of olympian.  Several customers chimed in as well. A perfect day for the ego, considering I doubt I can run 3 miles at the moment without wanting to pass out dead. But that's not the end of this ridiculously long, drawn out story about a simple pair of shoes.....

As I was leaving, I felt a little cheated, even with the ego trip considered. Had I really just bought running shoes at the store of "comfortable shoes for old people?" Seriously?  The further from the store I got, the more I was convinced that these shoes were second-rate, not "real" New Balance running shoes, and that I'd made an impulse purchase I'd live to regret. 

So, being the "real runner" I am, I checked out the Runner's World website and guess what?  These shoes won the "Best Update Award" for the latest round of shoe reviews. I'm not in love yet, but let's just say I'm ok with being the young, cool chick that impressed a bunch of old people with my fast new shoe purchase....Of course though, I'll keep you posted...

Running Out Of Titles

After my night out on Saturday, I was not in the mood for running on Sunday OR Monday! I knew that I had to get back into the swing of things today or I will loose any momentum I had gained last week. I broke my own rule of not running when it is below 40 degrees, but these are desperate times. It was about 33 degrees, but luckily it was sunny and not too windy.

I'm happy to report I'm slowly but surely increasing my time out. Today was 24:06, and the course I did was about 2.2 miles. Moxie and I were chased twice by the same loose dog, which added some excitement to our run. It seems like I can always find something to keep me moving!

I noticed that this time it was exhaustion in my legs that kept me from going farther-my breathing was actually pretty good. So good in fact that I managed a burst of speed at the end that made me look like a real pro-too bad no one was around to see it. That's actually probably good, because I don't need anyone telling me that my burst of speed is actually just a slow jog.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Just The Girls

This morning my husband was getting ready to go play with the boys (paintball!) so that meant it was just the girls on the run today. I am so proud that I kept up with running every other day since last Sunday. What an accomplishment compared to the last two months!

Today was cold but not windy, and I warmed up quickly and had to start peeling the layers off. I had Laura in the stroller and Moxie on the leash. Moxie got a bath yesterday and was inside all day, so she was ready for some action today! She really kept me moving quickly at the beginning. She usually mellows out about halfway through, but today she was strong until the very end when I wrapped her leash around the jogging stroller and made her help me pull Laura up the "hill" leading up to our house. I sprinted the last few houses and was very satisfied that she was running behind me.

We did a slightly different course today, a combo of parts of my two regular courses, so I have no idea how far I went. I ran for 23 minutes so I'm guessing at least 2 miles, which is good. I think later I will give into temptation and go map the course in my car. Running today wasn't my easiest or best run ever, but I did notice that I really didn't struggle as much as usual. Could it be that I'm finally getting back to the point where 2 miles is a doable run? And will I someday run enough each week that it will merit a mileage chart like Patty and her friends have on their blog?? I hope so!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Almost didn't...

At the moment, I've got more work to do than I can handle (well, I can handle it, I just won't necessarily like it!) so when 2:30 PM rolled around and I was still at my desk, I though "there's no way I'm running today...." I put on my running shoes anyway and headed to pick Shelby up - but I still wasn't convinced that it was going to happen. The fact that I forgot my gym id card seemed like a sign.  Add to that the fact that I'm NOT enjoying the arch supports in my shoes, I forgot to charge my Shuffle, and I only had one component of the two required to monitor my heart rate, and things weren't looking good.... So maybe I'll just walk around the track for a few laps, and head home to do laundry....

Yep, you guessed it. It was the "head home to do laundry" thing that snapped me out of it. I don't do laundry unless I have exhausted ALL other possibilities, so I borrowed an access card, left my street shoes on (which are actually running shoes, but they're not really fit to run in anymore due to use), turned the iPod on using my phone, thanked God that no one else was in the gym to hear Metro Station urge me to "Shake It" - it's a church gym so I try to be respectful - and hit the "Start" button. Almost 30 minutes later I'd walked some, ran two miles, and walked some more. My feet are tired from the shoes, but whatever. 

Who knew that hating to do laundry would actually be a good thing?  I'm going to try to hate it more in the next year.....maybe I'll run that half-marathon someday after all! 

No More Wind Please!

When I moved here from California over 4 years ago, one of the first things I noticed was that it is nowhere near as windy here as in California. What I realized today is that is a big fat lie. It is so windy here and it is starting to piss me off. How is a girl supposed to run if she is being blown backwards?

All that complaining aside, today is actually a really nice day. It is about 60 degrees right now and the rain from yesterday stopped sometime over night. The streets are mostly dry and the sun is shining. I ran to the main road again today, and went a tiny (and I do mean tiny) bit farther than Tuesday. Today was a lot more difficult than it was the first time. It always seems really easy to run a new course the first time, mostly because of the newness. Now I'm already jaded because I know how tough it is. Moxie was also in her element today, trying to check out everything and pulling me along in all directions. Maybe the plus to that will be better upper body strength from pulling her back in.

My new brilliant idea for when I run in my neighborhood is to start my watch, put it in my mailbox, and then check it when I get home. That way I know how long I ran but it's not taunting me as I run. The bad news was today was only 19:10. I really need to increase my runs by AT LEAST 10 minutes. Hopefully that will be happening soon!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Road Running

Today I had a little course in my neighborhood all mapped out, but when I set out to run it, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. It's a small loop through the older part of the neighborhood, and I ran it once with my husband and HATED it. So I started running down the street that leads out of our neighborhood. Next thing I knew, I was on the main road (Elk Rd for those of you who are locals!)

I didn't go far at all-maybe just a few minutes on the main road since Moxie was not liking all the cars driving by, but it felt great. I imagine that is what it will feel like some day when I decide to run to a destination. Not that there's anywhere around here I could safely run to, but that doesn't matter right now!

I was very disappointed when I arrived home and checked the clock-I had only run for about 18 minutes!!! I thought for sure it was a "long" run, but when I drove the course later I found I ran only about 1.7 miles. Bummer. I guess next time I'll have to go farther up the road. Which is kind of upward sloping, by the way. I am feeling it already!

Blowing off work...

Today is Tuesday which means ballet class for Shelby and no afternoon running for me. So I thought I'd blow off work for a bit and hit the treadmill this morning instead. I finished up a conference call just after 11 am, and got right to it. I walked for five minutes and ran for about 15 before utter bordem set in, but at least I ran! It actually felt good too - my knee felt stiff, but didn't hurt. And the 20 minutes off of work has to make me more productive in the long run, right?

I'm going to run tomorrow and Friday too this week I think - 2 miles each time - and then on to over 2 miles next week! I have to break this 2-mile thing soon, or I'm going to go crazy!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Some Semblance Of A Routine!

I ran again today, which is (in my book) a huge deal! That means I have run every other day since Wednesday. I really hope to keep this up and make it my routine. The whole family went out today, in the somewhat cold, somewhat windy weather. Once again I thought I would only last about 5 minutes, but we did the whole neighborhood loop. I wish it was a bit longer, maybe 2.5 miles, but for now I will be happy with the 1.8 I think it is.

I didn't wear my watch but luckily my husband had his (when does he ever not wear his watch, were his exact words) and he said we did the loop in 19:30. Much better than Friday at 22 minutes, but I do seem to do better when he is around. Plus I didn't have to be in charge of the stroller and the dog like I did on Friday-today I just pushed Laura. I'm glad, in a way, that I'm back to pushing her, because that definitely makes it harder.

Fingers crossed for at least 3 runs during this week!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday Run

I forgot to post yesterday! It wasn't an exciting run, so maybe that's why. I pushed Laura in the stroller and had Moxie on the leash and did my neighborhood loop, which I think is about 1.8 or 1.9 miles. I didn't have my watch but I checked the clock in my car when I left and came home, and it said 22 minutes. I was really happy, since when I first started out I told myself I would just go to the end of my street since that was all I felt like I could handle. I think not having the watch really helps-it makes me set goals of distance, not time.

It's raining today and we are off for a delicious Valentine's Day lunch, so I think running is out of the question today. Maybe tomorrow!

Early run....with some success...

I ran early this morning on the treadmill....I walked for a full five minutes first, ran for about 15 minutes and walked to finish up at 30 minutes. I actually felt good the entire time, so I'm guessing this week's setback was due to the running+soccer+bicycling on Sunday - too much for one day right now. I'm going to run again tomorrow, still keeping my distance under two miles. In fact, I think the under two mile plan is probably my best bet for next week too, and then I'll reassess. 

Who knew that putting one foot in front of the other would prove to be so complicated and frustrating?!  Still, it feels good just to be moving again! 

Thursday, February 12, 2009

No fun...

I must have done a little too much on Sunday, because I've been ready to run all week, but my knee has not. It really isn't too bad (not nearly as bad as it was in December), but I'm trying to be smart. It isn't all....

I put in less than 10 minutes on the treadmill yesterday and between my knee and the 500 things on my mind, I just couldn't do it. I hate this...... I should be looking forward to that 10K.......

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Windy Run

Despite the horrible wind today, it is just beautiful and I couldn't pass up the chance to run outside. Maybe I should have because we were literally walking in place at times with the strong headwind. A few times Moxie lost her footing from being blown so hard!!!

I ran for a total of 21 minutes, less than 2 miles given my slow, wind-induced pace. I feel like I write this every time, but I haven't been feeling so great the last few days, so I view any amount of running as a success. I was also satisfied to see Moxie struggling towards the end when she started out straining at the edge of the leash and begging me to go faster. Isn't that mean of me? But if she was tired, I know that my being exhausted at the end was totally justified!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Another good run!

I really need to be working as a deadline is staring me in the face this morning, but I have to take a second to post about yesterday's run....

The weather was so beautiful, so Ed, Shelby and I headed to HM Park - they play, I run.... According to my Garmin, I covered 2.37 miles (before you yell at me, please know that I really only RAN about 2 miles - the rest includes pre- and post-run walking!). I wouldn't consider it an easy run (please don't ask me what my average heart rate throughout was, because it was too high!), but my knee felt nearly perfect throughout. At least 3 more 1.75 mile to 2 mile runs this week are on the schedule....

I didn't do myself any favors after running though (although seeing Shana and Olga at the park was wonderful!) - once I got home, I cleaned garden boxes, took Shelby on a bike ride and played soccer with her in the yard.  My knee hurt last night, and I can still feel it today. So, today is an off day, and I take it easy I guess. 

I'm determined to run outside again at least twice this week though - to warm outside NOT to run!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Outdoor Fun!

No run today, but the wonderful warm weather allowed us to have a lot of fun outside today! Moxie and I had her last obedience class this afternoon, which was an hour of walking around and working with her. We went straight home, picked up the rest of the family and headed to Ft. Bragg.

We took Moxie to the "Bark Park" which was okay except Moxie was pretty intimidated by all the other dogs. Plus someone's dog escaped while we were walking in and the lady gave me attitude about it (hello-it's called watching your dog!) So that was kind of a bust. After that we headed over to a outdoor track which is a regular 4 lap/1 mile track. I had wanted to know where it was in case I ever wanted to time my mile. Since we were there, I ran 1/2 mile just for the heck of it. Because that's the kind of pro I am...a few spare minutes, why not run a 1/2 mile?? It was so ego-inflating to do that (not because I did a great job) but because back in the day I never would have just run 2 laps at a track simply because it was there. Also a good ego boost was my time-5 minutes. It looks like a 10 minute mile may be becoming my pace!

Then Laura, Moxie and I walked about 10 minutes to a nearby park while my husband moved the car. We played there for a bit and then walked back to the car. All in all, a great day to be outside. It was great to enjoy temps in the high 60's and have fun with my family while spending no money. Can't wait for more weekend days like that!

Friday, February 6, 2009

No Watch Equals More Running?

It was still very cold this morning but I had told myself I was going to run no matter what. I debated going to the gym and running on a treadmill, but I really wanted to be outside, so I headed to the park after dropping Moxie off for a bath. I thought for sure I would run faster since I didn't have her to be reeling in every so often, but it turns out I am just slow no matter what.

I forgot my watch which I was really irritated about but I figured maybe it was fortuitous since Patty reminded me not to be so concerned about my times and just worry about distance. So I told myself I would do the figure eight at the track which we now know is 1.5 miles. I finished that and wasn't dead, so I kept going and did the smaller loop again, which is supposedly .6 miles. I'm not sure how much I trust their sign though since the 1.8 miles thing seems wrong, but for now I'm going with it.

I completed the smaller loop and ran a tiny bit more in front of the library to get back to my car. I "sprinted" for the last minute or two and when I got back to my car I almost barfed. So I feel very official now! I checked the clock in my car-I was out for 27 minutes, and I'm guessing about 3 of those minutes were walking. So I went farther than I have in a while, and it was all because I didn't have my watch. If I had, I probably would have set a goal for myself of 15 or 20 minutes and wouldn't have done as much. It felt so weird not knowing how long I ran for, but I may have to do this more often. It really did help me go farther. And thank goodness for finally cracking the 2 mile barrier again, I thought it would never happen!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Best run ever! Or at least since December....!

I'm pleased to report another successful 1.5 mile run, with improvements!  This is the first time I've run since my knee issues began that I felt as though I really could have run another mile, which is a definite good sign!  I wanted to go another mile, I debated about going another mile, I even decided at one point during my run to actually run another mile, but in the end, I didn't....visions of my ridiculous attempt to run with Claire a couple of weeks ago kept me in check.....

I have to say this still sucks, and I'm so disappointed that I won't be running that 10K in March, but I've already moved on with my life and decided that the next best thing is a 10K in May, during which time the weather may be appropriate for debuting my new running skirt (which I have yet to purchase....) to the world. I can hear you all laughing....but remember, I'm trying to look at the positive side of life here and what can be more positive than a girl running in a skirt?!  According to my husband, not one single thing... ;-)

Not A Run, But Still...

It was so flippin' cold today (under 30 degrees is just too cold for me!) so a run was out of the question. I am having enough breathing problems as is and just didn't want to risk the cold air doing a number on my lungs. But by the afternoon, it had warmed up a bit and our cabin fever got the best of us. So I popped Laura in the stroller (complete with jacket, hat, mittens, two layers of pants and a giant blanket), grabbed the leash, and we went for a walk.

I only walked for about 15-20 minutes, probably just a mile or less, but it felt great to be out. It was surprisingly hard to keep myself from running. I actually did run for about 4-5 houses, but with jeans and a giant coat on, I probably looked pretty silly so I decided to stop. I hope to run tomorrow, it is supposed to be warmer and I haven't run since Sunday. I hope I can do a decent run to get my confidence back up after Sunday's bad run.

I hope that the coming weeks will bring some warmer weather and some consistency on my part. I keep moaning that I have no idea why I'm not losing weight, but it's probably because I'm only running about two times a week. It needs to be more than that!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Mission accomplished....if 1.5 miles can be called a "mission!"

Back from a 1.6 mile run, of which I ran 1.5 miles with minimal knee discomfort. If I hadn't been through a month of knee-related issues, I would have brushed off what I felt as "first mile stiffness." So - my 1.5 mile per run week begins on a high note!  I still wonder if I'm the same person that ran over 4 miles with delight just before Thanksgiving, but I have to believe I'll get there again soon...

Oh, and I've tried to look at the positive side of the shorter runs.... I took a break from writing today, ran, showered, put on make-up and did my hair in less than an hour. Back to the couch (my office for today - a benefit of writing and working from home!) in plenty of time for a 1:30 PM conference call. All this to say, the short runs may be hard on my ego, but they're easy on the schedule!!

Sunny - and 68 Degrees!!!

Ok, just checked the forecast, and it looks like this weekend is going to be beautiful!  Sunny and 68 degrees on Sunday according to the Weather Channel....  Since Sunday is a run day for me, I'm going to do the HM Park loop that afternoon --- maybe with Shelby, maybe without -- probably around 2PM.  Anyone want to join me?!  An aside...this warmer weather means I must buy shorts, and I am now officially on the look-out for a running skirt...cute AND functional....what more could a girl ask for? :-)

Anyway, going now for a run....and as I look outside, I can see the wind is pretty significant. But's still sunny and in the forties, so no complaints here. Will let you all know how it goes!  :-)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Better and better...

More progress!  I ran the Hope Mills Loop today, and then some (by the way, according to my Garmin, the  figure-eight really is 1.5 miles). Quick recap --- walked .2 miles, ran 1.3 miles, walked .2 miles figuring my knee could use the rest even though it didn't hurt, and then ran .3 miles for a total of 2 miles. I'm not sure how fast I did it, and I guess I don't even care. The running part of my run hurt - I never got my breathing right, the wind whipped me around a lot and I'm sure my heart rate was higher than I would have liked (I'll look later when I download) - but it felt GOOD....  I guess what I mean is, it felt good to deal with "regular" running issues, and not be held back by my knee. 

The rest of this week....I'm going to run three times, maybe four at most, and the actual running won't exceed 1.5 miles, unless my knee tells me to stop first. So maybe that 5K for the USO at FTCC on March 7 is possible after all?!?!?

Oh, and I've got to get back into my yoga workouts and that my "I can't run" temper tantrum is over, I'm excited to get back into it all! 

Doggie Guilt

I really, really did not want to run today. But now that I have a dog, I usually don't have a choice in the matter. Moxie hadn't really been exercised since Thursday, save for a short walk yesterday, and she was bouncing off the walls. The weather was actually quite pleasant, so we set out around 11. I could tell it would be a tough run for me since my breathing was bad before we even set out.

I managed about 1.5 miles of running. My first mile was 10:15, so I'm happy to see that I've been able to sustain a somewhat faster pace. Looking back at my notes from when I first started, my mile times were about 11:30 or 12 minutes. So a definite improvement! I'm feeling greedy though and really want 9 minute miles to be my norm, with 8 minute miles my fast time. Right now 10 minutes is really pushing myself.

We ran 15 minutes altogether, and walked for about 7 afterwards, completing probably about 2 miles. I guess before I worry about my times I need to worry about endurance. I need to make 3 miles an average run for me. 1.5 miles isn't going to cut it!