Monday, November 30, 2009

Nice weekend

I didn't run a turkey trot this year, but I also didn't stuff myself to discomfort on Thanksgiving, and I got out quite a bit over the next few days for a nice weekend. I was scheduled for 2 miles on Saturday, but I was free on Friday and decided to split the miles between Friday and Saturday. So, on both days I walked a mile on the trail and ran the mile back. I can tell that I really lost most of my fitness. I was pink in the face and breathing hard after only a mile. It still felt good, though.

I wanted to run again on Sunday, especially because I saw the movie Saint Ralph, but in the interest of sticking to my slow mileage increase, I went biking instead. It was a really beautiful day, and I think I saw more people running on the trail during my bike ride than I had for the past month. I was in a great mood and felt very optimistic about running. I am really looking forward to the upcoming months as I build up a base again.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My blog turns 1 today!

One year ago I was so excited and worried about a 4-mile trail run that I spent hours surfing the web looking for training tips and info about trail runs. I came across a lot of blogs and the idea that I should have an online training log appealed to me. So, here it is one year later.

It's funny to think how worried I was about 4 miles. I consider that an average run for me now. And being worried about a trail race? Lately I've been fantasizing about running single-track bike trails and possibly even running on the stretch of the Appalachian Trail that passes through my town. Yeah, I'm not so scared of trails now! It will be interesting to see how much my goals/fears change in the next year.

Ever on!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Slow and steady, steady and slow...

Miles walking: 0.75
Miles running: 1.5

It was another short, slow day of running today as I continue to get back into the swing of things. I was kind of weighed down by heavy baggy pants (I wore them over shorts so that if it was raining, I could take them off when I was done so as not to get my car upholstery wet), and it seemed a little more difficult than it should have, but I think part of it was just that I have lost a lot of my fitness and have to work back up to it. Well, I have plenty of time to do so.

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's ok to walk. Really.

I was adventurous on Saturday and added a half-mile to my scheduled 1-mile run. I took a short walk-break in the middle and was surprised at how anti-walking I felt. I was actually afraid someone would see me and think I'm a slacker. Then I came to my senses and remembered that it's ok to walk. Really. When I continued running, my legs felt fine, and I finished up feeling good enough to go home, put the bike rack on the car, and go right back to the trail for a bike ride with my sister, who was home from college for the weekend. I wish there was more daylight left in the day so I could fit in bike rides and runs more often. I thought about taking the bike out again on Sunday, but I was pressed for time and settled for a walk instead.

Miles walking: 0.5
Miles running: 1.5
Miles biking: 4

Miles walking: 2

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Half-Marathon Training, Day 1: Success!

Someone at work today commented that I really had a spring in my step today - no wonder, considering I went for a great run this morning that kicked off my half-marathon training!

The race is actually 24 weeks away, but I haven't run on a regular basis for three months, so I need a lot of time to safely build my base back up. I began today by walking a mile down the trail and then jogging a blissful mile back. It seems like nothing, but I know that starting off slowly is important, and I enjoyed it, short as it was.

I can't wait until Saturday for my next run! For now, I plan on doing all of my runs on the flat dirt trail, which is only open during daylight hours, so my runs will only be on Tuesday mornings, when I work a late shift, and on Saturdays. In December, when I will need to increase the weekly mileage a bit, I may also add a mile on the treadmill on Thursdays. Whatever I do, I'm going to enjoy myself.

I wanted an image to convey my excitement, and I found this picture at the right with a Google image search for "happy running girl". Would you believe that this "Random Running Happy Hobbit Girl" from popped up in the results?! I love how she even plants her foot toes-first like I do. I guess it's a sign as I begin another Eowyn Challenge for myself.

Ever on!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Almost ready to resume running!

Since my doctor's appointment last week, I've done a lot of walking and biking. Yesterday the weather was perfect, so the support staff came riding with me. We rode about 6 miles and had a great time. Maybe I'll take this time to thank him for being so...supportive. Running doesn't interest him that much, but like a good support staff he listens to my ramblings about training plans and running gear and really, everything running related that comes into my mind, even if we're biking. So, thank you! I really do appreciate it!
Now that I've gotten some doses of exercise, I'm ready to start with some very slow jogging tomorrow. My goal is 1 mile. We'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

No stress fracture!

I met with the doctor this morning to get the results of the bone scan, and there's no stress fracture! He said that it's shin splints, so I can stop running for however long it takes for the pain to go away or just run through the pain. I asked if running with the pain would cause something worse, like a stress fracture, and he said no. He also said I should go to a specialty running store to get fitted for sneakers according to my gait.

So, I now have peace of mind knowing that I can run. Honestly, I was going crazy without it. The stress was building up, and on a lot of days I avoided posting because I didn't want to sound like Debbie Downer. Now I can't wait to get back on the road/trail, but I know that for my legs' sake, I should do so gradually. The doc said that it could take up to 6 months of rest for the pain to go away. The half marathon I signed up for is 6 months away, and I am determined to run it, so resting for that long is out of the question. Then again, I don't want the shin splints to get so bad that I'll be miserable for the race, either.

So what should I do? Enter Jeff Galloway and the walk/run plan. I think that I'll rest for another 1 or 2 weeks and then begin walking with some intervals of light running. If I don't push it with the running, I might be able to build up the miles without pain. I'll also really focus on stretching my calves, Achilles tendon, and ankles. I think that this is a reasonable and safe way to get back into running, and with shoes selected specifically for me at a running store, I should be posting in 6 months about how awesome the half-marathon was...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A memory

Eight years ago I stayed after school for a club, then headed up to the track to run. It was cold out, but I didn't have any real running gear, so I wore a sweatshirt and gym shorts. I stretched, jogged two laps, and stretched some more. Then I started some repeats from a workout from the track coach to help prepare me for spring track.

I didn't have a stopwatch, nor could I judge what 80% effort was, as dictated by the workout, so I just ran. After each interval, I stopped and walked.

It was getting dark, and deer had wandered within the fence around the track. As I came around the bend at the 200m mark on one of the intervals, I startled them, and they scattered. Most leaped over the fence, but one just ran alongside it, parallel to the straightaway, where I was sprinting. I heard its hooves behind me, and I surged faster -- faster than I had ever run before -- and as I did, the deer pulled up alongside of me, and we were running side by side. I didn't think about anything. I was just flying over the track with the deer. There was nothing but the sound of its hooves and my breathing. Then I fell behind, the deer leaping away to the gate at the end of the straightaway, and I was left alone, panting, and feeling more exhilarated than I ever had before.

This memory always flits through my mind at this time of year, when the days get shorter and colder. It reminds me of those evenings alone at the track when, even if I didn't become a track star, I did become a runner.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Good weekend

I may not have any medals to show off for running achievements (I would have gotten one at a race in June, but I had to leave to go to a wedding before the awards ceremony started), but I can now display a trophy for best Halloween costume!

The support staff and I were Gilligan and Maryanne from Gilligan's Island. Some friends of ours have a big party every year, and since we were colossal disappointments last year when we showed up without costumes, we decided to be more festive this year. We put together our outfits with some clothes we already had, with the addition of a sailor hat and a red shirt. I was afraid that I wasn't distinctive enough, so we also made life preservers that said "S.S. MINNOW". We had a good time, got a lot of compliments on the costumes, and I won a t-shirt and a snazzy trophy of a skeleton holding its head.

The day before Halloween, I got my bone scan. I'm itching to find out the results, which should be sent to my doctor today or tomorrow, but I won't hear anything until I meet with the doctor during my appointment on the 10th. 8 days and counting...

Yesterday was a good end to the weekend. The support staff and I celebrated our 29 month "anniversary". We ended up helping my parents rake leaves for most of the time that we hung out, which is not the most romantic activity, but it was a special day nonetheless. It was also the day of the New York City Marathon, which I got pretty excited about. I tuned in to the tv coverage when the runners were in the last 5 or 10K of the race and watched the re-cap from the rest. I was so excited to see an American win 1st for the men! I was rooting for Ryan Hall, mainly because I felt bad that the cover of last month's Runner's World said: "He's special. But will he ever win?" I kind of wanted to see him win just because of that, but I was not disappointed to see Meb Keflezighi on the podium instead. I have to say, though, my favorite part of watching the marathon was a commentator discussing the slowing pace of the women's race: "Something must be wrong. They're running a 5:50 mile. That's pedestrian." Pedestrian? If that's pedestrian, I probably classify as tortoise! It just goes to show how awesome those marathoners are. :-)

Anyway, I hope everyone had a great Halloween!