entering the great outdoors

Today’s run was just pretty fantastic.

Today I ran outside. I went to a nearby park that has a sort of asphalt track. It is longer than a regular track but probably too short to be considered a path.

Not surprisingly, I discovered many challenges that I didn’t have on the treadmill. It was much harder for me to push myself and keep running, as opposed to walking. In fact, I did a fair bit more walking today than yesterday. But it still felt excellent. I felt strong. I was strong.

Today, I ran a total of 3 miles (well, ran/walked) in 39 minutes.

Note: My distance and time is a bit of an approximation, using a regular wristwatch and mapmyrun.com. I do not yet have a GPS or any kind of super-exact tool to measure my numbers. But I will! eventually!

another solid run

Today I ran on the treadmill again. 20 minutes running for a total of 35 minutes.

Those last few minutes are HARD. For the first 15 minutes or so, it’s not too terribly difficult to convince myself to keep running. Sure, occasionally I hear that voice that says “just stop! walk! it’s not that important!” But during those first few minutes, I can convince myself to keep running.

It’s during those last 5 minutes or so that I struggle. That’s when I have to muster everything I have to quiet that voice. Usually I wind up counting, and I tell myself I won’t let myself stop until I make it to 1000. (Usually in 5 minutes, I get to 600 or 700.) I don’t like counting- in a way it makes the time drag even slower. But at the same time, it’s the only way to fill my mind with something other than “SLOW DOWN! WALK! QUIT!” And it works.

I am hoping that it gets easier. I really want to keep running and I really want to run farther. But it’s a little discouraging for those last 5 minutes to be so hard. I will keep going, though.

I actually need to start running outside, which makes me a little bit nervous. It’s silly, but at the same time, it’s different and I still can hardly believe I can run at all. It’s a different surface, with different surroundings, and just… different!

time for a new goal

20 minutes was my goal. I did that today, so now it is time to set a new goal.

If I keep working really hard, I just may be able to run a 5k before the end of the month. Plus it would be pretty awesome to run a 5k. And why wait? Plus wouldn’t it be just awesome to be able to complete a 5k?

On the other hand, I don’t know how long it will take me to transition from the treadmill to the road. It’s still pretty warm outside and won’t cool off significantly for another month. If I don’t want to run in the heat, I’ll have to get out of bed EARLY, which will mean going to bed EARLY, which will mean I will have to give up my late night sitcoms. I don’t have a good waist pack for running, so until I get one of those, I’ll have to use a makeshift armband for my mp3 player and cell phone, and I’ll have to carry a water bottle.

On the other hand, it’s supposed to be in the low 70s tomorrow. There’s no time like the present. It would take me at least a couple of weeks before I could get a good waist pack.

Then again maybe I should get some reflective gear and/or a head lamp if I go out before the sun comes up.

Hm. Maybe I need to do some shopping before I head outdoors. I guess tomorrow I will head for the treadmill again. I wonder if I can replicate road conditions on a treadmill, somewhat?

i did it!

Another personal best today- I ran nonstop for 20 minutes.

What’s even more amazing is that I almost didn’t. See, when I got on the treadmill, I set it for a 35-minute workout and did my 5-minute warmup walk, as usual. Then I started running- and after three and a half minutes, I slowed down to walking. But then I thought- what am I doing? Do I want to run 20 minutes?

So I knocked the speed up again, and I ran. Even though my legs wanted to stop, even though my lungs were screaming. I ran for 20 minutes and did a 5 minute cool off. I was exhausted. I was exhilarated. I can’t even begin to describe how I felt.

I’m so on top of the world. It’s such a mental challenge- but I did it! The last 8 minutes of the run were definitely the hardest. But I did it.

I’m actually toying with the idea of signing up for a 5k this month. I was going to wait until October but… if I can do it, why wait?

today’s run, running memories

I didn’t quite make my 25-minute goal, but I still had a great run. My longest “nonstop” run was 12.5 minutes, with a total of 35 minutes of running and walking. It still felt good.

I’m fighting a LOT of mental energy. It’s just really hard to see myself as a runner and to see myself as capable of running for 10, 20, or 30 minutes. I know that sound silly and whiny- I mean, the mental part should be the easiest, right? But for me it seems like the mental part is the hardest.

I place a lot of the blame on my old P.E. teachers. I still have a vivid memory of my freshman year of high school, which was the last time I took a PE class. If you’ve taken a PE class in the last 20 years, then you know about “the mile”, presidential physical fitness tests, and so forth. I have NEVER been the athletic one. In school, I was the academic student, NOT the athlete. At the end of my freshman year of high school we had to do all these physical fitness tests. Now with all the exercise I had done that year (due to PE), I was in remarkably good condition, so I decided to make a challenge to myself: For the first time in my life, I was going run the mile without any walking. It was HARD. I had to really push myself. But as I ran around the last curve and approached the “finish line” I was bursting with pride and happiness. I did it! But I’ll never forget my PE teacher’s words:

“Time, 11:00 exactly. You’re the last one to get finished. Slowest in the class.”

It took me nearly 12 years before I had the courage to attempt to run again.

I’m still not a fast runner. But I WILL run. I will run a 5k. After that, maybe I will run farther. I will not stop. I can do this.

self lacing shoes?

Not surprisingly, Nike has patented them.

But I just can’t see them coming into frequent use among athletes. To me they look bulky, heavy, just not comfortable. Plus they don’t look like they allow much leeway in terms of tension- a definite problem if you like to wear your shoes a little tighter or a little looser than average.

Speaking of tension, I wonder how the shoe knows when it needs to stop tightening. Could this cut off the circulation to the foot?

These almost remind me of the old “air jordan” shoes, which were a big deal when I was in school. They were definitely the fad, and everyone had to have one. But in terms of their quality as an athletic shoe- well, Air Jordans were just pretty average. Most people who trained competitively or seriously, though, preferred something that was much more specifically designed.

I would imagine these shoes will be the same way. They will be the “cool” thing to own but they will not be useful for the serious athlete.

why I run

I don’t know why I started running.

Scratch that. I know why I started running, but I don’t think I can put it into words.

Some of it is the “traditional” stuff. I needed to lose weight and to be fit. I’d been swimming pretty consistently for about a year, a feat of which I’m very proud, but I was starting to burn out. I didn’t want to come to a place where I would burn out on exercising entirely, so I knew I needed to try something else.

Part of it is my own desire for an accomplishment. I still have vivid memories of being the last kid to finish running in PE as a child. I’ve never been a runner. I thought it would be pretty cool to finish a race (like a 5k), because then I could call myself a runner.

But I think the biggest reason I began running is to give me something that I could do myself. That sounds like mumbo-jumbo, and it doesn’t really explain the way I felt. A lot of changes were happening my life, very unexpected changes, and all happening at once. I was dealing with a lot. I was struggling all over again to find my place in life. I needed something that could be mine.

So I ran.

a canine’s views

From today’s Runner’s World Daily:

I just read my owner’s latest Runner’s World article on dog breeds best suited for a running partner and as a highly fit and trained dachshund, am greatly offended by your omission of my breed in your recommendations. I have personally spent a great deal of my life in training and running, primarily on anaerobic training and short distance racing. While I spend most of my efforts on sprints — to the car door, my food bowl, and chasing birds on the beach and crumbs on the kitchen floor — I am capable of intermediate distance training.

For example, I spend what seems to be hours of running around the house after my toys, the brain-dead cat and my humans. My aerobic base is conveniently done while I nap — I take several hours at a time chasing intruders and wild beasts in my sleep. So while a great deal of attention was given to those long-legged breeds, please consider the short-legged breeds when you amend your article in the future.

I was considering discussing with my human canceling her subscription to RW but it is a great magazine to shred when I get left alone.

Ziggy the Dachshund