Thursday, June 30, 2011

The people at 'RunningJunkies' are Wicked Awesome!

  Today being rest day, it seems improbable that at this point in my training I would have anything to post about, right?  That is what I thought until this afternoon at lunch when I was checking out facebook on my iPhone.  It turns out that I had won a contest I had entered on RunningJunkies.  The contest required you to send an email explaining why you were training for your first marathon or half marathon.  I sent my story, which I had put into my first post and apparently they liked it and decided I deserved to win.  The prize is a  copy of "The Beginner's Guide to Marathon and Half Marathon training" by Marnie Caron.  I was Wicked excited to win the contest.  I very rarely win anything so it made my day.  I cant wait to receive the book and start planing the rest of my training that comes after I finish my 13 week walk-to-run program.  RunningJunkies has a few sites aside from the facebook page above., and A RunningJunkies Blog as well.  They seem like awesome people, and I am not just saying that because they are giving me a free book!  All of my correspondence with them was very pleasant and they seem to be very excited about running and supportive to beginners which is awesome!  They are worth checking out. 
     Well I have used 2 "wicked"s and 2 "awesome"s already.  My Boston is showing.  I should probably finish this post before I start talking about the recent capture of Whitey Bulger, The Bruins recent win of the Stanley cup or any one of the Kennedys.
Keep Running!

Week 1, sessions 1-3

Week one of the 13 week walk-to-run program involves 3 sessions of running for one minute and then walking for two minutes and then repeating several times.  Session one is 12 repeats for a total of 36 minutes, session 2 is 9 repeats for a total of 27 min ending with session 3 with 11 repeats for a total of 33 min.  I have little intention of posting once a week lumping they whole week of sessions into one post, but sometimes it happens.
     Session 1: 6/24/11 I went out for my first walk-run on a rather cool wet afternoon, around 60-something degrees.  Started out with a hoodie, but didn't wear that for very long.  The ground was wet so I wasn't able to fully stretch after my warm up of a brisk walk over from my house.  On the second repeat I had to stop at  30 seconds into the running to stretch the sides of my torso.  I believe it was a combination of lack of proper stretching an drinking too much water all at once.  The run wasn't too bad and I got back before dark.   I felt some pain in my knees at first but it sounded like something they described in The Canadian Book so i kept running and the pain went away soon after that.  
     The next day was not so great.  I was very sore in the front of my thighs and shins.   No real joint pain though, which is what I was worried about most.  I had intended on going on a bicycle ride for some cross training but I felt beat and had a head ache I believe resulted from being dehydrated and not having eaten enough.  I iced my legs a little that evening and took an ibuprofen for swelling.  
     Session 2: 6/26/11  My legs were still really very sore but I persevered and went running any way because I was supposed to.  I got to do more stretching this time, but then I saw a tick on the ground where I was sitting and freaked a little and just went running.  The run definitely started out worse than session 1, but ended much better.  At this point I was getting pretty nervous about the jump from 1 minute running this week to 2 minute next week.  The running was really feeling good, but I was still nervous.  This time after some cool own stretching when I got home I iced my legs well with 2 large bags of frozen green beans i purchased specifically for this purpose. (i should probably label them so they don't accidentally get eaten)  Before bed I took 2 ibuprofen and the next morning I was much less sore.  I took another ibuprofen before work the next morning, but didn't bother to take another later in the day.  That day I had planned to take a bicycle ride just as i had planned on 6/25, but again chose not to.  According to my reading it seemed to make sense not to do cross training until my muscles felt up to it.  At this point my legs were less sore, but still pretty darn sore. 
     Session 3: 6/28/11  This walk/run went very well but I started out a bit later than I should have.  on my walk over I ended up walking behind the guy who always gets written up in the police log in the paper for being called in on for smoking pot at the lake I have been training around.  It was rather unpleasant so I ran around to get in front of him.  The running portion went by much more quickly that previous sessions, and the walking portion went by much slower.  Both these things made me feel less nervous about next week's ump to 2 min running.  It was getting dark on my run so I went a little farther around the lake before doubling back in order to give myself an adequate cool down walk if I ended up calling some one to pick me up because it was too dark to walk home under the highway.   It turned out just like that.  I made an attempt at walking home but i got about 10 paces into the bridge under the highway when I thought I saw someone lighting a cigarette or something on the other side.  At that point I turned on the spot and called my mum to come and pick me up.  I then went over to the well lit flag pole by the lake, across from the doughnut shop all the bikers hang out at to show off their motorcycles. I didn't ask for it, but they all seemed like they would have been pretty helpful had the situation demanded it.  I think I am going to have to get some pepper spray.  That evening I did some more icicng and took another ibuprofen.
     The next morning I felt very little soreness.  I was able to go on a 10+ mile bicycle ride this evening and noticed already an improvement in my self.  My endurance was much higher as I was able to make 3 hills I had walk on the shorter bicycle ride I took on the 23rd, the day before I started the walk-to-run program.  The only hill I was not able to make and had to walk was my own fault as I had got it into my mind that I was not going to be able to make it.  I will make it next time!  The other thing I noticed was that I must be better hydrated than the last time as I didn't need to drink from my water bottle as often.  I got some cheering on from a group of people chilling on their front lawn and that was nice.  I would like to give a shout-out to the nice man in the pick up truck who stopped to see if I needed help when I was having a bicycle issue.  That actually made my day a lot better because some other guy was very rude to me at work that day.
     Thursday is the official rest day.  I am not supposed to walk/run or do any cross training one day a week.  Its seems sensible to me to rest the last day before the next week begins becasue the longest session tends to be the 1st one of the week.  Back to running on Friday and we will see how the change to 2 minutes running goes.
Keep Running!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

And we are off

    About 2 weeks ago I decided that i should start running.  Now this was no light decision, I have never really been an athlete, nor has anyone ever thought of me as such. I was not a very athletic child growing up. I was a slow runner, a non-runner really and always at least a little over weight.  I can remember a time in the 4th grade when doing laps around the field when the gym teacher made all the other kids (seriously the entire class) do an extra lap for making fun of me being a lap behind everyone.  In high school I was on the flag team and I remember the coach making the rest of the girls do laps at my pace because I was soo slow.  he wanted us to run together as a team building activity and trust me it was not the most supportive group of teenage girls I was running with.   These 2 stories are just a few out of many that happened to me in the past.  Both incidents as well as many others were really embarrassing even though the gym teacher and coach had the best intentions.  As soon as I graduated high school and escaped gym class, my official stance on running was "I don't run"  Recently I have been working to loose weight, be more active and healthy (successfully).  I set a goal for the Disney princess half marathon.  I figure if I schedule a very expensive vacation around running a race i cant afford to let myself get behind in my goals.  I am not a "runner" I was never a "runner", but I have decided that I will be a "runner."  I don't even call myself a runner yet because I am just starting out and am in the process of building up my cardiovascular endurance.   I want to be healthy and I want to run this half marathon for myself.  I know when I approach the finish line of that first half marathon I will be remembering all the times I was picked on, made fun of or singled out because I was a slow runner, but I am pretty sure that when I cross that finish line it will be the last thing on my mind for a very long time.
     I am planing on running in the 2013 Disney Princess half marathon.  I would love to be able to run in the 2012 race this up coming February, as it is the 5th year of the event, but many things keep me from being able to do that.  The most prevalent reason is that I can't afford it this year.  Many things such as student loans and the need for a new car have to come first.  I know that in the approximately 8 months until the 2012 event I could be in shape and conditioned enough to run the event without being pulled out for going behind pace, but I would be more comfortable having a full 3 seasons (spring summer fall) of actual road running under my belt.  I plan to run in the winter, but New England winters have a reputation for a very good reason.  My friend Juli, a Disney fanatic, is planing on running the race with me and it everything works out that way it should be a lot of fun.   If for unforeseen circumstances I end up running alone, I will at least have a few official Amy fans at the finish line.
     I have a tendency to jump head first into things, however I always do my research before I dive in.  Running for non-runners seems a fairly simple concept: put on sneakers and just go run.  That is apparently why non-runners generally stay non-runners.   Running is a much more complicated activity to get into than it seems.   I did some Internet research, but it was all quite muddled together.  The 2 main points I got everywhere were that i would have to start off slow, and descriptions of what my urine is supposed to look like if I am properly hydrated (seriously, that last one is in just about every other article on running.)  So I purchased a book on running for beginners and downloaded it to my nook.  The beginning Runner's Handbook is actually a pretty good over all book for beginners, and it's written by Canadians and Canadians are pretty cool.  It covers just about all the basic information on running that 99% of beginning runners need to know before starting to run.   I was most impressed on the information  it gave concerning pregnant women and running.   Its not information I need, but its also a group that i doubt gets a lot of information on running.  The book was sprinkled with 'Runner's Profiles' that helped bring the information the Authors were trying to get across in such a way that the reader could relate.  Anyone wanting to start running, I would recommend this book to you.  In the back of the book it gives a 13 week walk-to-run program, which they refer to through out the entire text.  Run-to-walk programs are very common and apparently work well.  They vary in length of time, and specifics but they are all basically the same.  they start off with alternating short periods of running and longer periods of walking  with 3 sessions per week.  over time the time running increases and walking decreases until eventually you are just running and running for anywhere from 30-60 min in the last week.  The book also had 2-3 other training programs varying in length that focus on just walking, running faster, running longer and various training activities common for runners.
     The Canadian Book (as I will no be referring to it as) as well as 100% of the Internet sources on the topic, recommend being fit professionally for running shoes.  I did this and it went very well.  I have a history of having my toes go numb in sneakers with almost any level of activity, including walking, and that has not been a problem with these shoes.  If you can find a Running specific store that would be the best as I am sure the knowledge of the shoe dept staff at many large sporting goods stores can vary from associate to associate as well as store to store.   I ended up with a pair of Saucony which turns out to be the brand my grandmother used to wear.   They must have stopping making her shoes around 2005 when she passed because I can't find a picture of them on their website.  I will have to look for a picture of her wearing them.
    My next post will be about my 1st official week training with my walk-to-run program.  I am up to date on my training, but behind on my posting.
Keep Running!