Shedding my Running Insecurities

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This is a tough one for me to admit and an even tougher one for me to write. I’m going to admit it to the world. I have runner insecurities….phew… there, I said it!

I hated going to the gym when other people were there. Were they watching me? Judging how fast (o.k. really slow). I was running? There was always someone there faster, slimmer, definitely younger. I would always time my workouts for when I knew the gym would be empty. (Well O.K. another reason is that they always had either sports or news on the TV). This phobia often meant that I was going to the gym at 7 or 8 at night – not very conducive for getting ANYTHING done in the evening.

OutsideI hated running on the roads. My imagination would tell me that everyone was watching how fast (O.K. slow) I was running. When I needed to take a walk break, I would wait until there were absolutely no cars on the road to watch me transition to a walk. It didn’t matter that they were passing me at 50 mph and probably didn’t even see me. I guess this was actually a good thing, because it meant that I was running further.

The only time I really felt “comfortable” was amongst other runners during a race – I know, weird right? I had joined a running group and wasn’t comfortable, yet in the midst of 1000’s of runners I was more comfortable with my cloak of invisibility. No one really paid attention to me and I could run MY race, MY pace.

Earlier this week, as I was wavering on what time to go to the gym (it was ridiculously hot outside) and a feeling hit me. “So what?” I need to embrace my grandma gait and just go. So what if there were people running a 7 or 8-minute mile on the treadmill? I went to the gym jumped on the treadmill and did my thing. Suddenly a sense of new found freedom hit me. Wow! It doesn’t really matter that all of these people are here.

 

A couple of nights ago, however, was the true test. I went to the gym right after work, instead of waiting for the “all clear”. There was only one guy there and he was using the elliptical next to one of the two treadmills. Of course the treadmill, that I just used the night before wasn’t working so my only option was to use the treadmill next to elliptical guy (or pretend that I only came to use the weights). (First time in YEARS, a treadmill wasn’t working…talk about a “sign”)

What I discovered – it wasn’t bad. He was in his zone. I was in mine. We chatted  for a few minutes about a news segment (which I was proudly able to do – while still running – and didn’t get breathless). Right at that moment, I felt almost all of those insecurities fading away. I know it’s a work in progress and I still might have those days, but now I know I can overcome them. Imagine the huge strides this will make with my training! I’m pretty excited!   think-positive-100224537.jpg

Running Means No Left Turn

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When I don’t run in the morning, I have two choices when I leave work. The first choice is to make a left at the light on the corner of the Parkway. You see, I live about a mile from my office. That mile is a convenience for which I have felt truly blessed with for the past 11 years. It’s so easy, at the end of a long day, to make that left and head home after being mentally exhausted from the job. (I’m an HR manager so mental exhaustion is a natural occurrence when I sometimes have to disconnect what I WANT to say to someone with what I’m supposed to say to someone…legally) …anyway I digress… My other option is to go straight and head for the employee gym about a half mile further down the road. (It’s too hot during the day)

So picture this. I’m in the middle lane …the lane to my left, makes the left turn home. My current lane and the one to the right go straight…hands are on the steering wheel…kind of twitching to make that left turn. However, what I realized is that I really wanted to run. I really, really did! I don’t think I’ve ever had a prouder training moment (mentally) …I WANTED to run. What is this feeling? Whatever it is…I must say…I LIKE IT!

Uphill in the Heat – Marathon Training

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Training for a 10K or even a half is not easy. Training for a marathon is work! I’m trying to get the right mix of hills and flat in an attempt to be ready for the marathon target just a little over four months. FOUR MONTHS! Did anyone else’s stomach just flip over into enough gymnastics to compete in the summer Olympics?

Anyway, today’s decision was a training toss-up between the cool, entertainment-stocked (i.e. two T.V’s), empty employee gym or the deceptively cool, beautifully blue sky of an outside run. I say “deceptively” because as I was making the decision, there was a cool gentle breeze wafting through the air, just begging me to ditch the gym and stay outside. Yes, I fell for it.  After all, it was 9:00 on a summer morning and the temperature gauge on the car said a mild 75 degrees.

LIAR! About five minutes into the run, the heat turned up full blast. A loop around the parking lot of the Potomac National baseball field, an up and back around the water office, down and back up a side street and then a final down and back onto another street.  All told, my Fitbit registered that I had climbed 14 flights of stairs. I truly think this time it was uphill in both directions. I know this would probably be easier with a running partner, but either way I am GOING to get this done. I will cross that finish line.

Feeling like a Newbie Run

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My plan was to go for a run at 6:30 this morning before the heat and humidity turned the roads into a desolate waste land of air-conditioned cars. Unfortunately, my latest round of T.V. binge watching kept me in bed until 7:30 this morning so I didn’t get out until 8:30. Not to be deterred, I decided to tackle the route that included an uphill start of 1.5 miles.

At about mile, I decided that perhaps this wasn’t the wisest choice since heat cramps threatened to take over at least one leg. I didn’t quite make it to the regular turn around point, which unfortunately shaved a half mile off my distance.  My intent, however, was to really “speed” back on the downhill. Wobbly, heat-compromised legs prevented me from moving more than slow shuffle. The up and back only totaled about 2.75 miles instead of the usual 3.1, but I figured I’m make it up on the second stretch which is usually a 3 mile down and back.  The plan was to complete a 10K, but with sweat-burning eyes, a dripping wet shirt and no other runners on the road, I felt it wise to perhaps cut the run a little short. 5 miles total.

I haven’t felt this wobbly or totally drained after a run in a LONG time. I’m actually feeling like I’m back at newbie runner status. The combination of heat, humidity and hills seems to have taken their toll and I find myself with the strength of a wet noodle. Actually a wet noodle might be a little stronger than I’m feeling at this point. With all that said, however, there is still an underlying sense of accomplishment in making today a No Excuse Day for getting out there and getting it done. It might not have been a 10K day, but at 5 miles….I’ll take it!

A Hot and Hilly Morning Run

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My son started working about three months ago. The plus side? He has his own cash now. What parent doesn’t love THAT!  The downside for me? His job starts at 5 a.m. Since it’s only about 1.5 miles from the house, he sometimes walks, but being the mom I am – most days I tend to get up, throw something on over my p j’s (it’s still dark enough to hide my Mickey outfit) and drop him off. While that may sound crazy, I do have a plan in mind – a morning run. The problem is that it always sounds so good about 8 the night before, but every morning all I manage to do is crawl back in the bed with the hopes of at least another two hours of sleep before I have to get up for work. The difficulty, however, is that I tend to be more tired trying to squeeze in another two hours of sleep, than if I just stayed awake.

This morning, however, I finally did it! I dropped him off at work, came home, sat on the edge of my bed for a few minutes to contemplate life – then I got dressed, threw on my sneakers and headed out for a morning run. WHAT? It was only 5 am. WHAT? It was still dark out! So many routes to choose from, so little time (otherwise known as “so early in the morning”). I ended up taking a route that, of course, had many hills in the short two miles I managed before the humidity finally overtook my consciousness.

The time wasn’t great, but any time there are hills involved I feel like it was a major win. Besides it’s good practice for two hilly upcoming fall races. Feeling pretty accomplished and extremely happy that I won’t have to plan my evening around what time I think the gym might be empty so that I can hit the treadmill.

What will happen tomorrow? I don’t know. I’d like to think I can make this a two-day streak, but I also know that tomorrow is his one day off from work so there’s no need for me to rise so early. Can I do it? Will I do it? Stand by…

5K a Day Weekend

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Training for the half and the full is in “full” swing. I really challenged myself this weekend. I decided how cool would it be to run a 5K a day for three straight days – Friday, Saturday AND Sunday. I must admit, what sounded like a great plan on Friday, didn’t seem like such a great idea by Saturday morning. I hate when that happens! Determined to follow through, I finished my plan for the weekend. In fact, not only did I complete a 5K each day, but I managed to knock off two minutes a day!

Not only did I manage my 5K a day, but I also managed to stay hydrated with the help of my trusty Nuun. If it’s one thing I learned from my last half is that hydration plays a big part when running.

The weekend is almost over. I get to bask in the goal of my accomplishment. Feeling pretty good today, because now I know that I can finish a 5K a day for at least three days in a row. I’m wondering if I should try for a fourth day tomorrow or rest with a cross training day. Either way, this grandma is on the move…getting it done. The fall season is full of races and I’m determined to be prepared! Here I come #mcm10K #runDisney #marathonweekend, #Princesshalf.

My Running Self-Training Program Day

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There are so many training programs out there, each one promising to train me better than the next. Promises to make me half marathon or marathon ready in five to ten weeks. So here is the problem, which one do you choose? Is there really any difference? Some are three day programs, some are four day programs – they all include cross training and rest days. Is one any better than the other?

Just for today, I created my own training program. It was supposed to be a run day, since I’ve been cross-training for the past two.  I just wasn’t in the mood to run in 90 degree weather, yep I’m a wimp. No running in heat, no running in cold…so I headed to the gym. No real plan in mind, just a determination to stay at least an hour.

It’s Sunday. The building was supposed to be empty, but there was one person and she was on my favorite treadmill and looking at the sign in sheet, she had only been there for five minutes.  Oh well, let’s see self-train. The first 30 minutes I used free weights and the machines…arms and legs…not bad. I didn’t think I would work up the sweat I did, but I did and it felt good. It’s going to hurt later and there might be some bruising, but while I was doing it, I felt like a boss.

Next 30 minutes, she finally got off MY treadmill and had moved to an elliptical, but I would have felt funny jumping on the one she just vacated, not to mention the fact that she didn’t clean it off. I hopped on the front treadmill and worked the next 30 minutes a combo of running, walking and speed incline walking. Not sure what possessed me, but I feel like I was making headway. I got my hour in.

Back at home, I was feeling pretty accomplished so I decided to pop in a CIZE DVD since I hadn’t done one in a while. I chose the 34 minute – Full Out session. Another 34 minutes of getting it done.

All in all, it was a good day.  Will there be soreness tonight? Most likely, but just for today I did my own thing. My own training program and it was a good day. A proud day. #countdowntofirstmarathon