Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Week 6, Run 3 (19th overall)

This run was a 25-minute continuous run and I...


I did the first 12 minutes or so and then just couldn't go on. The problem was that I was going too fast, and I was going a different route that had several long uphill stretches. My calves were just not prepared for that.

I got going again after a little breather but stopped again after another 5 minutes of hill running.

I felt pretty bad about not making it. Then, I decided to look at it differently. I just wasn't ready for this run on this terrain. It's no fault of mine. I have worked hard at this program, and not finishing this run doesn't change that fact. All I have to do is repeat the week, get stronger, and then have another go at it. No disappointment. No sadness. Just re-do the week.

It was a hell of a good workout too. So, regardless of finishing, I did something good for myself.

Tonight I will be doing the week 6, day 1 re-run, providing it doesn't rain too hard. It is looking pretty cloudy right now.

No feeling bad. No shame. Just do it.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Week 6, Run 2 (18th overall)

Again, I am a day late with this run. I was going to do it the day before, but it was thunderstorming like crazy. Instead, I did it yesterday. This will push my final week 6 run to tomorrow.

I did a hell of a good job with this one. I went at a faster pace than before and did the first mile in about 10 minutes. Definitely not a world record, but pretty good for a beginner, I think. The best part is that I am having little to no pain during my runs now. This is fantastic. I have dealt with blisters, shin splins, and tendonitis. Now, I am feeling good.

Today, the day after, brings me some aching in my feet, toward the heels and Achilles tendons. This is just the muscles and tendons doing their thing, getting stronger. I am happy that both feet hurt equally today, meaning that I am doing something right. A little ibuprofen knocks the pain right out too.

The next run is a 25-minute continuous run, a step up from the 20-minute run that ended week 5. I don't think I will have a problem with it. Let's hope the rain holds off. It is supposed to be wet this weekend.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Week 6, Run 1 (17th overall)

I did this one last night instead of on Tuesday like usual. I had the day off work Tuesday and for whatever reason just didn't feel like doing it. It was the first one I missed due to laziness, and I felt bad about it.

Anyway, I did it yesterday (Wednesday) instead. It was two 5 minute runs and an 8 minute run with walking segments between them.

After having a whole 4 days off since the previous run, I was going pretty slowly on this one. My calves were burning pretty good and I was sweating like crazy. It was after sundown, but still around 90 degrees outside. Breathing wasn't too difficult, but I did get a stitch in my side at one point, which indicates that I wasn't getting enough oxygen.

My calves are pretty sore today, in a way that feels pretty good, like they are getting stronger. They even look to have gained some definition. So, that's exciting.

Since I delayed doing the first run, I am going back-to-back again and doing day 2 tonight after work. It is two 10 minute segments, so I hope I can finish. Considering I pulled off the 20 minute continuous run last week, I think I will finish this one relatively easily. Let's hope so.

Onward I go!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Week 5, Run 3 (16th overall)

This run was by far the most challenging to date. It was simply a continuous 20 minute run. It seems the formula for the next couple weeks is to end with a long continuous run, and then go back easier beginning the next week.

Considering the above, and the fact that I did not take a day off to rest this week, I'd say I did a fantastic job. I did the whole thing without stopping, except for a 5-second delay while waiting for a car to cross the intersection. I was never out of breath, and felt like I could have kept running.

The very best thing is that my tendonitis did not bother me before, during, or after the run. Even today it hasn't hurt. Is it gone? Healed? If that were true, I would be one happy camper. I will still wear the ankle brace and ice the foot, but maybe not much longer if it continues feeling good.

The run was actually an option. Either run 20 minutes, or 2 miles. I decided to run for 20 minutes, but I wanted to come close to the 2 miles also. I don't want my pace to be so far off that I am not actually ready for a 5k at the end of the program. So, thanks to mapmyrun.com, I found out just how far I would need to go to get the two miles. Basically I just did a mile out from my house, and then a mile back. At the half-way point of the run (10 minutes), I had run about 8 tenths of a mile. After the 20 minutes of running, I had run over a mile and a half. Which is about a 13 minute mile. So, I'm a little off pace. If you read this nice review of the program, you will find that this might just be a flaw in the program's design. While it is nice to go the distance in the same amount of time that the program suggests, you don't have to. And you certainly shouldn't be discouraged if you can't.

All that being said, I know I could have gone at a faster pace. I really started out slow knowing that 20 minutes of running lay ahead. Next time I think I will try to speed up my pace for a couple minutes at a time, and then slow back down for awhile. Just to see if I can make the correct distance.

I am very happy that I have THREE DAYS OF REST! My feet and calves deserve it.

I need to make my mp3s for week 6. And then I will tackle it head on.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Week 5, Run 2 (15th overall)

Just got out of the shower after doing this run, got my foot on ice, and could not be happier. I kicked this runs ass! It consisted of two 8-minute running segments with a 5-minute breather in between. I was nervous about it, because I had previously only done 5-minute stretches. I was pleasantly surprised by how well I did. I actually wanted to keep going when it was over! It caught me off guard a little when my music changed to the "run is over" segment at the end.

If I learned anything tonight, it is DON'T NEGLECT THE HEEL. Barefoot running (or minimalist running with vibram five fingers) is all about the fore-foot strike. And it is true, the forefoot hits first. But the heel must come down! I realized tonight that I have been running too much on the front of the foot, leaving the heel often never touching the ground. I started bringing that heel down tonight, and it is amazing how the arch of your foot just propels you forward. You literally don't have to put any effort into pushing off. It just... does it. And when your feet are doing the work for you, you can go much farther and longer than otherwise.

I haven't put it in the blog, but I have been taking a bottle of water with me on my runs. It really keeps my throat from drying out, which in turn helps me breathe better. Of course, it keeps you hydrated too. So that is a big help.

I have another schedule change at work that will keep me from my Saturday night run, so I am going to do the final run of week 5 tomorrow night, without a day of rest between. I know this is not recommended on a regular basis, but doing it just once shouldn't be a big deal. It is a doozy, though. It is a continuous 20-minute run. We'll see how it goes!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Week 5, Run 1 (14th overall)

I just finished the first run of week 5, comprised of three 5-minute running segments with nice 3-minute walking breaks between. It could not have gone better.

Where is the final run of week 4, you ask? Well, I didn't run it. An unexpected schedule change at work derailed my plans of running Saturday night. Sunday, I was planning on making up for it by riding my bike around a local park, but alas, it started to thunderstorm just as I was getting ready to leave. I don't feel bad about it. After all, I did the week 4 run four times... it was just in a span of two weeks.

So, I felt ready to go ahead with week 5 starting tonight, the usual schedule I follow.

It really felt great. The foot was feeling great. My form could not have been better. You just get a good rhythm going and simply KNOW you are doing things right. The other day, my wife was driving by and saw me running. When I got home she said, "I didn't recognize you until I got close, you didn't look awkward at all!" Thanks, honey. I choose to ignore the underlying insult and instead focus on the positive: my form looks good. Or, at least, "not awkward." :)

Currently my foot is elevated on a pillow with a bag of ice under the ankle, as the doctor ordered.

Oh, and I wanted to mention that I followed my own advice and sat on the porch for awhile before going inside after the run. Cooling down while still outside in the warm air is less shock to your system than going right in to the air conditioning inside. It really seemed to help.

The next run of week 5 is different than the first one, which is the first time that has been the case thus far in the program. I have two 8-minute running segments to look forward to Thursday night. I don't think it will be a problem. I am feeling good right now.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Week 4, Run 2 Re-run (13th overall)

Again, this run hurt my foot. I had my ibuprofen, ankle brace, and it still hurt like hell. This is surprising to me because I just did this same run two days before and the foot felt fantastic. After this one, I was limping home.

After I got inside the house, I began to have some major chills. This is probably due to the air conditioning in conjunction with the foot pain. It just made me feel sick. It also might have been a result of not cooling down enough after the run. I did the 5-minute cooldown walk, but I still had a pretty high heart rate by the time I got home. Next time I will probably sit on the porch in the summer air until I recover, and then go inside.

The only thing I could do when I got inside was lay down in bed. I wanted to do my post-run stretches, but I just felt awful. My beautiful wife offered to get me a bag of ice for my foot, which I accepted. The ice really helped. I would have gotten it myself, but like I said, I didn't feel like doing anything.

Today at work the foot aches, but not as bad as last night. So that's a good thing. I suppose this is how it will be. I am not going to stop running because of this. The doctor said I didn't have to. So I won't.

The only thing I can think of that caused it to hurt more this time was that I ran a different direction, with lots of hills compared to the relatively flat route the opposite way. It is strange, but going downhill actually hurts more than going uphill. It is very difficult to not get a heal-strike when going down a hill. The last running segment was uphill, and I ran it hard. The foot didn't hurt at all during that part. Go figure.

One more week 4 run to go and then it is on to week 5. C'mon, foot. Give a man a break!