Tag Archives: wellness

Gotta Run One: So Far, So Good!

Howdy, ya’ll!

I’ve been working on my “Gotta Run One” challenge for, as of today, nine days. How has it been going? Has it been increasing my motivation or detracting from it? How are my little victory sticks doing with no official extended downtime? (Disclaimer: Every knowledgable runner I know said that I would be OK running daily as long as my rest day runs were short, slow and gentle.) Read onward to find out those answers and more!

1. How’s it been going?

So far, so good! I’ve really been getting used to the process of getting out there every day, which surprises me. Why? Certainly not because I lack an interest. Moreso because some days I genuinely do only have time for a single mile — and before this challenge, having only 15 spare minutes or whatever would mean that I just didn’t get my run in for the day. With this challenge, though, I am forced to take those 15 minutes and make it happen every single day. No excuses. And, to my delight, what’s been happening on days other than those time-crunch days? I find that once I’m already out there pounding the pavement, I’m usually inspired to stay out for more than my owed mile. Often it’s 5K for a shorter run; one day, it was 5 miles. I’m trying not to overdo it and overtrain, considering that I am a relatively “new” runner and my long run mileage is really ramping up quickly — I want to avoid injury! So I’m trying to do, out of 7 days, 2 “one or two” mile runs, a medium-length 5 miles or 10K, two shorter 5Ks, a “whatever I feel that day” run, and of course one long run. So far this little challenge has provided great reason to get out and stay out.

 

2. Is it increasing my motivation or decreasing it?

Yanno, I was really interested to see how this would pan out. I figured one of two things would happen: either 1) the mandatory mile-a-day would lead to me resenting running or 2) it would become the type of habit that I loved even more than I had previously. Thankfully, at Day 9, so far the latter seems to be the case. Rather than it being optional, it’s mandatory — that’s the point — and so instead of waging war with myself about “Eh, but this HEAT/HUMIDITY” or “Eh, but I only have time for like two miles which is barely worth it,” I’ve been happily going out there and doing what I can do, knowing that at least one goal — the goal of running every day – is being met. I actually think that’s where a lot of the joy in this is coming from: I’m being freed from my self-hewn prison of thinking that I MUST log bigger miles or I MUST try to keep a good speed every time I run. Of course, I don’t run as fast as I can every day or always run 10K or more. I have speedwork days, short run days, hillwork days, etc. I think what I’m trying to say is that I’ve been hard on myself — and, 30 lbs later, it seems that it’s been a good strategy — and that I’ve been disparaging of running very short distances. For example: the lone mile. This challenge is helping me reclaim that and is helping me find joy in the corners and hollows of the sport where previously I’d either not been looking or never noticed.

 

3. How do I feel?

This was the part I was concerned about before the challenge began. The good news is that so far, I am totally fine! Having rest days where I just jog a solitary mile has really been fine as a recovery method. Otherwise, because I’m tempering my speed and my courses, running hard(er) 5 days a week has been no problem. This week alone, on Monday I ran 5.2, on Tuesday 3.19, and Wednesday 8.18. No real soreness to speak of. Of course, today will be a 2 or 3 mile recovery run. The weekend will likely hold some shorter runs and maybe one longer one. Keeping it switched up. And on the shortest running days, I’m doing yoga as crosstraining. Gentler yoga one day, and more intense yoga (the P90X yoga actually) the other day.

4. So overall?

I’m happy, and not sore, and finding a lot of joy in the process. Stay tuned for more to follow! I’ve heard some people keep patterns like this up for a year or more… We’ll see where this journey leads!

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My Little iPod (To the Tune of “My Little Pony”)

I got a new iPod, gang.

This probably does not sound like a momentous occasion to YOU, but it totally is one. Consider this: how many iPods do any of us even buy over the course of a lifetime? Counting my original iPod (2006), iPod Touch (2008) and my first iPod nano (2012), I have only ever had three and they were all such different beasts that it hardly feels like three of the same thing.New iPod, then = big deal.

My purple iPod nano went missing a few weeks ago. I know it seems like I must have been careless but I really wasn’t — I kept that iPod safe, along with my Beats headphones, in the headphones’ case. Somehow it went missing. And it went missing JUST as I became willing to make the transition to running outside instead of on the treadmill.

For someone who needs to know details, treadmill running is great. You’re told your exact speed, your distance, your time, etc. And for someone who is very loathe to let other people see them run, a treadmill in a basement is great protection from prying eyes. I fall into both of the aforementioned categories, and over the past 5 months my love affair with my treadmill has reached Kim & Kanye status. JK – barf – death – more like Beyonce and Jay, everyone’s true spirit couple. As the weather has improved I’ve considered branching out to run outside, but had several concerns: 1) How would I know how far I’ve gone? 2) How will I know for sure how fast my miles are? 3) How will I even know where to run? 4) I don’t want to hold my phone while running. Hmph.

And so I hemmed and hawed. I stayed on my treadmill, locked away from the world.

But then, on my birthday weekend, my Mom and Chelsea and I all went running at the River Trail in Scranton. I LOVED IT. It was glorious and green and sunny and it was just the best way to begin a birthday weekend. It really was. The next day, Chelsea slept in and Mom and I hit Nay Aug Park in Scranton. That, too, was lovely.

I decided immediately that I needed to start running outside.

The Monday after my birthday, I wanted to attempt Vestal’s Rail Trail. It’s a four mile straight line, 2 out and 2 back, and on its best days — and in the fully florid days of spring, I think we can safely say we are in its best days — it is boring as shit. I wish it wasn’t, but it is. When I got to the Rail Trail, it was around 11 AM and about 80 degrees. OBVIOUSLY THIS WAS NOT THE BEST TIME TO TRY SOMETHING NEW, but like a Justin Bieber and his attempts to be seen as a man/taken seriously, I cannot be deterred from a plan even when all signs point to failure.

So off I went. I tried. But being so used to the treadmill, I was miserably bad at pacing myself. And then, it happened: my Beats by Dre VERY SUPER NICE HEADPHONES… died.

I was running in the 80 degree heat on a boring trail, having to hold my phone in my hand, and with no music.

Honestly: it was one of the worst runs I have ever had in my life.

I came home bitter and cranky and defeated.

I was so miserable that I took THREE DAYS OFF, which never, ever, ever happens.

But then, Thursday evening, Chelsea and I went for a walk around our neighborhood — we branched into areas I had never seen before. The street on which we live is set apart from the rest of the neighborhood, kind of, and we had never much explored. But when we did, I was delighted — Chelsea has always run in our neighborhood instead of the treadmill, so the sights were all common for her. But the unique houses, the beautifully landscaped gardens, the majestic old and huge trees everywhere…. I could run here, I thought to myself. Then, the best part of all: we discovered, as I’ve mentioned, a woodland trail near our house. It’s less than a block from our front door, but it’s cleverly disguised as a fence and a field. On the other side of the field, a path begins. We walked it out and discovered that it seems to be about 1.5 miles out and 1.5 miles back (it ends at a normal road), so 3 miles total. I HAD FOUND MY PLACE.

Friday morning, I gave my headphones one last dry. No dice. It was pouring outside. Furiously. Should I return to the treadmill? Sigh. If you know me personally, you’ll know that when I’m irritated or angry I can be very effective if I channel myself appropriately. I had a feeling that if I just SET OUT TO DO A THING that morning, despite my disgust about the weather and the headphones, I would have success.

So I put on my old shoes and a windjacket and sans music set into the neighborhood to run in the pouring rain. 6.3 miles later, I came inside feeling calm and immensely pleased.

I was hooked, then, on neighborhood running. But using MapMyRun on my phone was wildly inaccurate, and waiting until I got home to plot the streets was not helpful for while I was actually out there running, and plus MMR didn’t have the woodland trail on it. I needed a better way.

I felt the loss of my little purple iPod more than ever.

That iPod and I had only gone “running” together once or twice a million years ago. I listened to it at work often and in the car, it plugged into my auxiliary jack. I never used its workout capabilities; I only vaguely knew it had them. But when Chelsea gave her blessing to Project New iPod, I felt excited and invigorated and desperately anxious for the new gadget to arrive in the mail. I hoped to use it 1) for sound, 2) for mapping my runs and 3) calculating my efforts. As I waited for the mailman, I contacted the vendor through which I got my old Beats. They offered to send me new ones. I was ecstatic — new headphones, new iPod, new ME out there running.

The iPod and headphones arrived yesterday and my excitement cannot be overstated. I ran two miles by myself, then came home, waited for Chelsea, and together we ran about 3.5 more. 5.5 for the day. The iPod calculated our distances perfectly, as well as our times per mile, etc. The headphones, too, were ideal.

And me? Oh, I was hooked on it all. Finally, with all my concerns assuaged, I had something telling me how far and how fast. I also had something providing some noise so I wasn’t quite so bored.

Most importantly, though, I ran through the streets and didn’t feel like I looked like an idiot. Not because of the iPod, obviously, but because I’m over 20 lbs lighter than I’ve been in awhile and because I felt like ME as I ran along — not like someone pretending at being a runner, but like someone who just IS a runner.

Just like that, I became someone who runs in their neighborhood.

With a snazzy new iPod.

Also, ssssssick headphones.

To me, this is a transformation previously considered impossible.

So this is all to say that I got a new iPod, and it’ll make running easier. I guess this is also to share my delight at my neighborhood running. Mostly, overall, this is me saying that fitness is a journey that is constantly evolving and I love seeing the changes it brings.

Oh and one more thing: It was MY IDEA to actually go for a run with Chelsea. Me? Willingly running with someone else besides my mom? ME? The slow-poke? The amount of courage it took to do THAT will be a post for a different day.

RUN ON, friends!

Waging War with the Frenemy Within

This year hasn’t been an easy one.

Before I go on, I’ll preface with this: I’m blessed. I am nearly miraculously blessed. I am living one-in-a-million odds in many ways, from my family’s continued (or newly re-begun) health to my arrival in a PhD program at age 24 to my stable, wonderful, soul-affirming relationship and its fast approaching trip down the aisle. I am blessed with two wonderful jobs (three, if you count side work and four if you count being a student) and while we are far from wealthy, there’s always some extra cash around for frozen yogurt, or a trip to the movies. I know I am blessed.

But this year has been really hard, even with those blessings in tow.

For even the most stable person, the beginnings of a PhD program are stressful. Coupled with my teaching college classes for the first time, preparing for my wedding, and trying to live my life on a budget — well, it’s kind of like having caffeine or kryptonite injected straight into my heart most of the time whenever I think about how much farther I still need to go to get to where I eventually want to be. I try to take things day by day; I try to focus on the moment. And sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, and always I have a fresh slate in the morning upon which to try again.

I am — some of you may know — a person who lives with depression and anxiety. Not the fidgety-ness that many folks blame their inadequacies on… rather, the kind that grips my whole body and whole brain and makes it hard for me to feel, do, or grasp anything. For the past several years, this problem has been under control. I don’t require medication; I use a variety of mental and behavioral coping techniques that keep me in control of my own body, mind and life. This past school year has been really hard; this spring, I knew that my depression was skulking around in the back of my brain. I could sense it. As I’ve learned to do, though, I would not let it dictate a moment of my life.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I want you to know — whether you are a fellow WW-er or just an interested family member/friend or an adventurous cook or maybe you’ve even just stumbled upon my blog by accident — I want you to know that the best thing I ever did for myself was begin to take charge of my health. Specifically, when I began to exercise more — and even more specifically, when I began to run — I found a new and powerful way to manage the things that make my life uncommonly hard.

Everyone who’s into fitness will tell you that working out releases those happy endorphins into the brain. I think that’s probably correct, except my endorphins never arrive until after the workout is over. That’s okay. I know that on bad days, if I can get myself to go for a good run, I will walk back up my basement steps feeling calmer and in control.

And “control” can be a double-edged sword, I know; wanting to “control” my body might sound like dangerous language to be using. It can be seen as the language of disordered eating, of body dimorphism, etc. — but for me, I promise, it is nothing so insidious. Taking charge of my health has allowed me to maintain the vessel that HOLDS my poor Brain; Brain, who, for me, works overtime every day — whose goal in life is to work beautifully and well. I am an academic and a scholar. If my mind isn’t on the right set of tracks, nothing is. And protecting my body has served my mind well. Having control over my daily routine and my health has allowed me to plow through the most difficult academic year of my life with aplomb so far.

There are days where teaching is overwhelming. There’s a line in an Ani Difranco song — something like, “No one asked me if I wanted to be everything to someone.” I’m not “everything” to my students — but the responsibility of answering their never-ending emails, guiding them, teaching them and being a mentor and authority figure is SO MUCH HARDER THAN I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE.

There are days when my coursework is too much. Independent study, coupled with a psychotic history class experience that has forever soured me on branching out from my department — blah. I am drained most days just by the struggle to keep up.

There are days when the future is TERRIFYING: the job hunt in the awful academic market, the baby that Chelsea and I will struggle to add to our family,  the difficulties of paying for school and paying for life on grad student salaries, wondering if our marriage will ever be legal in PA or if I’ll have to live a state away forever, wondering if everyone I love will stay healthy, wondering if I will stay healthy…

My brain latches onto all these things and can’t let go. I get stuck. I get overwhelmed. For the past several months, though, I’ve found a temporary re-balancing cure: I go for a run; I take care of my body, so it can take care of my mind.

By eating enough nutrients — through foods like kale, berries, etc. — I have avoided being ill for most of the winter and spring. This is new for me; I’m usually decrepit by now.

By exercising, I’ve boosted my weight loss and my self-confidence. I’ve also, interestingly, boosted my comfort. For those of you who have never been overweight at all — you can’t really imagine how uncomfortable it is to carry extra weight around. Not when walking, etc. but moreso when there’s no type of clothes that are wholly loose and cozy. Moreso when there’s no way you can lay where you don’t get in your own way. Moreso when you feel like you just have too much space that you’re occupying and you wish it were different. Roughly 18 lbs down, and my cozy clothes swim on me. My couch feels comfier. I think less about moving my body around obstacles it faces during the day. I am comfortable.

By getting enough sleep, I’ve given myself the energy and stamina to tackle the above two things.

By mindfully tracking points and never giving myself the ability to make excuses, the plan continues to work for me. It might seem to you, readers, that I lose slowly — but at 5’3, if I lost more quickly, there’d be major problems.

All in all, this wellness journey hasn’t just healed my body (or hasn’t started to heal my body, I guess I should say, since I’ve got 35 lbs to go) — it has helped to heal my mind. Who knew these changes in lifestyle would heal something that pharmaceuticals struggled to manage?

I’ll end with a little anecdote.

Yesterday, I was sitting on my bed and getting increasingly anxious and frustrated about how much work is left in this semester — particularly because one of my professors has continually made life difficult. I started thinking about how busy this week will be, and about how I don’t have my usual day off on Friday and won’t be able to run, and about how we have company coming this weekend and what if I can’t run then, etc. etc. and my thoughts twisted and spiraled and wound around me like a vise. I got to a point that’s not unfamiliar to me: I felt like I couldn’t move. But instead of giving in to that anxiety, I asked myself this question: “Will you really feel better if you sit here?” The answer was no, and I knew it. Then, I asked myself, “Will you feel better if you run?” Stubbornly, I said, “I don’t know” (in my head, to myself). Through brute force — and those of you who have anxiety issues too will know the force it takes — I stood up and grabbed one of my workout tops from my closet. I flicked it at the bed and announced to Chelsea: “If I don’t go for my run, the anxiety wins. And it will not win today.” Off I went to the basement. It was a short run — 3.7 miles in 42 minutes, counting that 5-min walking warm-up — but I came back upstairs feeling better and feeling more in control. It changed the tone of my day and of my week.

Choices like the one I made yesterday? They have changed the tone of my life.

In short, I have begun to save myself from myself.

KNOW THY ENEMY, they say.

I’ll add: Yeah, know the enemy. And then, win.

 

Rest Days: A Reckoning

I am both pleased and unsurprised to say I finally need rest days on occasion.

WHAT?

Hah, no, really.

This isn’t a “You told me so” moment — in fact, the opposite in some ways.  Plenty of negative Nancy’s were like OH MY GAWSSSHHH THREE MILES A DAYYYY YOU WILL NEED KNEE REPLACEMENTS YOU WILL RUIN YOUR LIFE PLEASE RESTTTTTTT AND BY THE WAY DEFINITELY EAT TWICE YOUR BODY WEIGHT IN PROTEIN IN CASE YOU NEED IT CAUSE YOU WORKED OUT A LITTLE.

Can you tell by my tone how very much I disagree with those offers of advice?

I’ve always maintained I would eat what I felt I “needed” to eat, and would take a rest day if/when one was needed.

When I was averaging 3 miles a day on the treadmill, I never needed a rest day. I was never sore. I just kept on with my life. Same went for my eating habits; I ate bananas and extra protein near running time, but never felt the need to eat more. In fact, for the purposes of weight loss (and within reason/proportion) it makes no sense to eat back all the calories you just burned. That only really works as a strategy if you’re seeking to maintain.

Now, that being said, things are changing. I run about 4 or 5 days a week now instead of 7. I also tend to run 4-5 miles (usually 5.2) instead of 3. I find myself much more full-body-tired after I run (not immediately after, but in the evening and next day). I am still never sore (no achey legs!) except for in my shoulders and upper back — largely because I have shoulder problems.

FINALLY, the day I knew would come, has come: I can tell when I “need” a rest day or two. Logging 20 miles in four days usually requires a full weekend of rest, depending. I can also tell when I need a little more food. Yesterday evening, I had two “peanut butter spoons” (slightly heaped tablespoons) of Better ‘n Peanutbutter that ate up 2 of my activity points. I felt like I needed it.

It’s not that I didn’t think I’d need rest days. It’s that I got frustrated that everyone else thought they knew what was best for my body. Anyone who knows me should know that I am smart; I research EVERYTHING; I do nothing without thinking it through over and over and over. And so constant reprimands to rest more when I am trying to explain that my body doesn’t need it (or didn’t, at the level I was at, then) and demanding I eat more/suggesting I’m eating too little when I’m trying to explain that I had been feeling GOOD eating the way I was eating — well, those things were pushy, rude, and unhelpful. I know there’s plenty of people who want to support me on this journey, but I’ve done my research and if I’m not soliciting advice, perhaps I don’t want it.

In the end, yes, I now take rest days. But that’s because I’m running 5+ miles, not 2 or 3. And I eat a couple activity points (though never ALL of them — what fool would!?) when I feel it’s needed. And I can tell when it’s needed, because I’ve learned to listen to my body.

That, I think, is something I’m more proud of than anything else specific about my journey: I’m doing what I do without fat-burning pills, without supplements, without fad diets or bad habits. As a result, I’m really learning to listen when my body speaks. Knowing its ebbs and flows, the things it needs, the things it doesn’t. Knowing the ways and limits to which I can push it, and the ways to back away or be gentle. A huge part of Weight Watchers (and wellness) is coming to learn yourself — if you’re doing WW right, you too will be becoming friends with your body, and understanding its intricacies.

My advice to you, dear readers, is to work hard on doing the same. Know when others are being helpful, too, and when (conversely) they might just be contradicting your vote of confidence in your body. THIS IS NOT ME SAYING TO DEVELOP BAD HABITS OR UNSAFE HABITS OR TO STARVE OR TO OVER-EXERT YOURSELF. Moreso, this is me saying: “If I wouldn’t accept someone’s unsolicited advice about my very personal, intimate and private emotional relationship with Chelsea because, well, ‘how would anybody else know better than Chelsea or me?’ then why would I accept what someone else tells me about the relationship I have with my body?”

My body and I.

My body and me.

Me and mah bod.

Awhile ago, we didn’t need rest days or peanut butter spoons.

Now, we do.

I know it, because she told me.

And I listened.

Stress, And A Joyful Run

Sorry for my absence on Tuesday! It was a roller coaster of a day.

Taught three 1.5 hour classes back to back, one of which got observed by my supervisors. Terrifying. But my students knew I was nervous and they were total rockstars today. It was amongst the most moving experiences I’ve had in a classroom — I could genuinely tell they were trying to 1) make me look good and 2) impress the supervisor.

So that was great.

Then the stress of waiting all day to see if I would get an interview to teach at the summer program I applied to teach at. All day comes and goes. 5 o’clock comes and goes. No email. Sad and defeated I went to go hop ok the treadmill to improve my mood. I refreshed my email one more time — AND I HAVE AN INTERVIEW!

So today’s run (3.5 miles) was supremely joyful. The stress of the observation, the stress of the waiting — all over. I did a dance while running. I fist-pumped. I grooved. I smiled the whole time. I rapped. Oh, it was a sight. Tag approved though, because he loves a good campy show.

It was the first time I felt “runner’s high” WHILE running — and it was a glorious feeling.

Today was the first time I got to celebrate with a run, instead of deflect with a run. Now, I know how it feels to run with joy in my heart — and I am hooked.

Project Speed Demon: Week 1, Day 3

I hit four miles today!

There were a few very brief ten second pauses today to switch shows, strip off a longer sleeved shirt, and adjust a strap.

So I ran an extra 0.1 to make up for it.

I walked for 5 minutes to warm up at 5.0, then ran for 5 minutes at 5.0 and 2 minutes at 6.0 over and over until the very end, where I ran at 6.0 for the last 0.2 miles so I’d hit 500 calories on the treadmill.

I know those counters aren’t always accurate! I do know. But sometimes little numbers games like that keep me engaged when my motivation starts to wane.

But yes: 4.1 miles! A new record for me.

On average, including the fact that I WALKED the first five minutes to warm up, I was doing about an 11:40-minute mile. That’s 20 seconds down from my precious best!

NAILED IT.

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Recipe: Hidden Valley Ranch Dip

This one isn’t so much a recipe as it is a suggestion/pro-tip.

At SAMs Club, near the spices and baking supplies, they sell a fairly big bottle of ranch powder.

The nutrition facts on the side are for 1/8 a teaspoon which is useless since half the values are set to zero, but I’ve done a little figuring and I think it would take over two tablespoons of the powder to make one PP. Which is really not bad, considering that for 8 oz of dip, you only need 1.5 tablespoons.

The directions suggest milk and mayonnaise.

I KNOW you guys aren’t dumb enough to think I would use mayonnaise in anything except maybe poison.

So here’s what I did:

1.25 cups of plain Greek yogurt (I used fat free chobani)
1.5 TBSP ranch mix
3 TBSP water
A pinch of salt

Then I mixed it together with a whisk in a bowl.

I tell you: it did not taste like diet ranch dip or low calorie ranch dip. It tasted like delicious, creamy, mmmmm ranch dip. Not as thick as a full fat store brand but not at all thin. Store brand can be clumpy. This wasn’t. Think, Greek yogurt consistency. Because #obviously.

For 4 PP total this dip was a hit at my house — we ate some with snap peas and celery stalks while watching Pretty Little Liars. We’ve eaten some of it two more times and are still on the original batch — so the above recipe makes a fair amount.

All in all, a really richly-flavored and fun to snack on dip for movie night or get togethers. I’m keeping it in mind for if we ever go to a party and need to bring a dip or veggie tray!

Couch to 5K: FINAL UPDATE

Guys, it happened:

I graduated from Couch to 5K.

Thinking I had more than one workout left because of the “free run” button at the end, I went into yesterday’s run primarily concerned about getting to run in my BRAND NEW SHOES (see post below; they’re glorious). However, at the end of the run, I realized that the “free run” was an indefinite button — I could log workouts into the future.

But that meant that after yesterday’s run, my first stab at Couch to 5K was over. Just like that.

For my last workout, I did what I’ve been doing — I ran for about 39 minutes, using the extra few past 36 to make up for (more than make up for, really) any time I took a sip of water or changed the TV station, and did my five minute walking warmup. This amounted to 3.6 miles, all told.

And so, my last three miles of Couch to 5K and my first three miles in my new shoes were one and the same. The passing of a torch, in a way.

I’ll be updating soon with my plans for how I’m going to continue running (and I am, of course, going to continue) and you’ll be hearing about my adventures. The new “title” for my running adventures?

“Project Speed Demon.”

YUP I REALLY AM GOING WITH THAT.

#srrynotsrry

What’s really amazing to me, though, is that I finished the C25K program at all. When I first started, I thought nine weeks sounded like forever. I also felt very skeptical that I could ever, ever, ever finish that much running. I also didn’t believe I’d do it three times a week — let alone 6. I also didn’t believe I’d ever grow to like it.

But the nine weeks flew by; I not only finished “that much running,” but added 6 extra minutes to my daily routine (because I run 12-minute miles, not 10-minute miles, those extra 6 minutes are needed to reach the full 3.1 miles); I run 5-6 times a week happily; I’ve grown to enjoy it — I look forward to it every day.

It probably sounds hokey to say that Couch to 5K changed my life, but I suppose it did. When I started, I was nearly ten lbs heavier and incapable of running a single mile. Now, even though I run slow, I run steady. And as I always say, “That’s not nothin’.” For most of my life, running has felt like a door that’s been closed to me. Mom is good at it. Matt is good at it. My friends were good at it. I never was, but always wished I could be. What I’ve learned, I think, these past nine weeks is that I AM a runner/can be a runner, and that “good” is relative. I don’t need to be FAST to be good. I don’t need to run marathons to be good — although it would be cool to run one (baby steps… baby steps…). The discovery: All I need to do, to be “a runner,” is to run.

And I do run.

And I like it.

A lot.

And for me, that is nothing short of a miracle.

Really.

So thanks, Couch to 5K. Your terrible voice actors and occasionally glitchy logging feature were there for me every step of the way. Literally. You gave me structure and routine, and pushed me harder than I thought I could go (DAMN YOU WEEK THREE). You made me feel accomplished. You gave me a visual representation of how far I’ve come. You kept count for me. You counted ON me to be there three times a week (at LEAST), and always made me want to be better and to keep going. In your strange little poorly-voice-acted way, you changed who I am.

How can I say “thank you” enough times for that?

(But don’t worry, my little App Friend, I have plans for you… you’ll be seeing me!)

SUCCESS, guys. SUCCESS.

Thanks for accompanying me on this journey so far — we’ve got many more adventures to experience, too, what with me and these great new running shoes.

Three more miles.

And then, three more.

Three more after that.

And on we’ll go.

More Couch to 5K

Ran again today – 3 miles again. I stopped once to change episodes of my show (damned Wii remote) and once for a sip of water since I coughed, for unknown reasons.

Including my warmup, it was 3.5 miles.

Sometimes I worry that I get too giddy about this stuff — that I’m annoying anybody who might read or hear about it; but then I think to myself, If I can’t talk about it here then where CAN I talk about it?

I figure, if you are reading this or following the blog, you’re probably interested in wellness or at least in me, so maybe you’re as happy about my successes as I am.

And so I will say this: it just occurred to me that in the past two days, I have run 6 miles. 6 miles in two days! Sheepers creepers! If you count my warmup of brisk walking, it’s been 7 miles.

Even this time last week, I probably wouldn’t have believed that the third mile would come as easily as it did.

But somehow, it was easier than the first two miles — I’m not complaining!

Anyway, just thought I’d pop in to say I repeated yesterday’s success.

By the way, here’s a picture of yesterday’s treadmill post-run!

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Couch to 5K Update: Week 7

Um, Week 7 is SO not subtle.

Day 1: Run for 25 minutes.

Now, because I forced myself to do this back when they only asked me to run 20 minutes (I was intent on hitting that 2 mile marker, and at 5.0 24 minutes is needed for that), I was not too terrified.

I did it, and it was fine. At one point I did have to stop for about 23 seconds to hit buttons on the remote to start the next episode of The Office (we have the Wii hooked up in the basement which is how we’re streaming Netflix to that TV and I CHALLENGE you to use a Wii remote while still running), but I ran for an extra 1 minute at the end (so, 26 minutes total) to make up for it. I didn’t linger. I just had to wake up the remote and clickety-click.

As I’m running the full 26, I find that I get a little bit restless but I think that’s only because I have gotten so used to the time being broken up into smaller increments — it’s not because I’m TIRED or DYING. But it’s hard to figure out how to deal with the restlessness. I’m sure I’ll get used to it as time goes on. I find myself eying the clock too often. And again, it’s not because I’m too fatigued — I think I’m just too used to those distances being broken up.

 

I tell myself, The important thing isn’t whether or not you’re bored at times — the important thing is that you can (and HAVE) run more than two miles without stopping, now!

 

I tell myself, You will get used to this. Just like you got used to the broken-up times, you’ll get used to the all-at-once times.

 

I tell myself, You are seven whole weeks in, and going strong. An actual 5K run is within reaching distance.

 

I tell myself, Yanno, I’m really proud of you.