April Running Update

Total Miles for the month: 61.0
Total Miles for 2014: 226.8
Longest run: 10 miles
Fastest mile time:  Still the same from last month.

Wow, I'm really starting to rack up the miles.  61 miles this month?  Pretty impressive, especially since I had a minor surgery and didn't think I'd do much running at all.  Fortunately there was no pain post surgery, so I didn't really miss that much of my running routine.  (Though I was surprised by how long the tiredness from the anesthesia lasted).  Which is a good thing because I didn't have too long to lie around doing nothing since I have that half marathon coming up... one month and a day from now.  Eek.  :)  Nothing too much to note overall with running this month.  Other than extending all of my runs just a tad bit (and intentionally running up more hills) I'm pretty much keeping to my routine since that worked out well for the last race.
Push Ups:
So the surgery did keep me from my push ups for a while.  But I'm starting to get back on track with that now.  I managed to hit the 100 day/100 pushup mark pre-surgery, which was a good milestone.  And now that my arms have gotten stronger I'm adding in more and more full pushups.  Also, I've been getting comments on how my arms are looking more muscular... which they definitely are.  It's a strange thing, I've never really had arm muscles... and I've never really been fit and in shape.  It's a good feeling :)
Probably my biggest exercise/getting in shape milestone for April (aside from hitting the 10 mile mark), was that I have, for the first time, gone down a clothing size even though I gained about 2 pounds this month.  It's a little disheartening to be working so hard and not losing weight (I haven't lost a single pound since Christmas), but my brain keeps reminding me that my weight is not the only indicator of getting healthier.  And when I went to get out my spring/summer wardrobe and tried on some of last year's shorts, they fell right off.  So I went out an bought a new pair, in the same size I've been wearing all winter... and they were way too big.  So I exchanged those for a size smaller (a size I was pretty sure I'd never squeeze into again in my life) and they fit comfortably.  It's not that my weight or clothing size is forefront on my mind through this process, but it is nice to have some concrete and measurable results after all this hard work.  So while it's looking like I won't hit my "goal" weight it's also looking like I don't need to either.  It's kind of a relief actually :)

Total Push Ups in April:  1,433
Total Push Ups for 2014: 5,165


The Official End of Project 365

I'm done with the 365 project.  It was getting to be too much of a time commitment for me.  Either that or I'd rush through it and not really like the pictures I was taking, which made me feel even worse about this whole project.  I'm glad I made it this far, I definitely see some improvement from where I was 6 months ago. But I feel like I really need to relax on the picture taking for a while.  I've hardly used my camera in the last 2 weeks and it's amazing how much more productive I've managed to be in the rest of my life.  I am still going to work on improving and having fun with photography.  But for now I'm going to go back to a more "natural" pace.

Here's a little snapshot from earlier today.  Just playing with bubbles, sticks, balls, and anything else he could find on a beautiful spring day!

Cherry Blossom 10 miler

About 2 weeks ago I was at the bus stop waiting for Dylan to come home.  Usually he's the only kid who gets off at this stop, but occasionally there's another mom who picks up her daughter there as well.  So of course, she happened to be there that day... the day I just barely finished a 6 mile run on the treadmill and was still dripping sweat as I ran outside to make the drop off in time.  When she saw me she said "oh, are you a runner?" To which I said "no, I'm just training for a race."  Huh, isn't that a little contradictory then.  What a weird way to answer her.  But I just wasn't ready for that label... I mean, I've only been running for a little over a year, and I'm not fast... aren't runners supposed to be fast?  Isn't that what people would assume of me?

So a week later I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 miler.  It was a great race.  I was really nervous when it was about a week away.  Mostly I just didn't want to trip and twist my ankle or break a toe or something stupid like that that could keep me from even starting.  As the day got closer though, the nerves weren't so bad.  The morning of I felt pretty calm actually (thank you to my college days for teaching me how to cope with major performance anxiety).  It was a little chilly in the morning when we left but otherwise the weather was perfect for a nice long run.  My dad and brother came with me to cheer me on, take some pictures, and carry my post-race stuff.

The race itself was crowded, but pretty well organized.  There were over 17,000 people that ran the 10 miler, so we were broken into corrals with different starts based on what time we expected to finish.  Since I had no previous long distance to reference I was in the last corral.  My main goal for the race was to start it (meaning I had trained well enough to get there) and finish it.  But my more specific goal was to finish it in under 2 hours (expecting a 1:55:00 time), with a overall pace closer to an 11:30 average mile, and thought that if I really pushed myself I could get it closer to 11:00 minutes.  The course was really really flat, and the crowd was so thick that I never broke out of a dense pack.  Instead I think I focused most of my energy on passing people without knocking anyone over (which I saw happen quite a few times) and not over do it in the first 5 miles.  I had my Garmin on so I could monitor my pace, but I hardly even looked at it until I finished mile 4 and saw that I was going WAY faster than usual... and yet I still felt great.  So I kept it up for a few more miles.  Then I forced myself to slow down a little bit at mile 7 so that I knew I'd have enough energy to finish strong.  Which I did!  I actually hoped that my last mile would be around 10:00 and it ended up being 10:05... perfect.  Overall I finished in 1:44:55 which was a solid 10 minutes faster than my goal time and put my pace at 10:30!  And I felt great through the whole run.  At times it got a little tiring, but for the most part I had fun and the miles flew by.  I just kept telling myself the whole time that this is what I've been working so hard towards and I didn't want to hold back.  It felt beyond great when I crossed the finish line!

For my own personal record... here were my splits from Sunday:

Mile 1: 11:29
Mile 2:  10:31
Mile 3: 9:53
Mile 4: 10:04
Mile 5: 9:53
Mile 6: 9:58
Mile 7:10:38
Mile 8: 10:57
Mile 9: 10:32
Mile 10: 10:05

Afterwards my legs were SORE.  So so so so sore.  But only for a day and a half.  But Monday night, I felt totally fine.  I think that made me feel even better... that I manage to run so far and so much faster than usual, and yet, my body recovered quickly.  So what did I do first thing Tuesday morning??  Located a local half marathon (that still had openings) and got signed up for that.  My runner's high was going strong, and you know what, even now I still feel it a little bit.  I just never in a million years thought I'd be capable of accomplishing anything so physical.  Me, the quiet girls who spent her childhood reading and playing piano... walking the mile in school... never going outside.  I wish I had known back then how good running could feel.  Although, maybe I just appreciate it more now because it's so new to me and I don't take it for granted.

So now starts the training for the half!  I'm sure I wont be as fast during that... farther distance and it's a pretty hilly course (some of it on gravel), but for this one I just want to finish strong and happy.  I'm actually really really looking forward to it :)

Maybe the next time someone asks me if I'm a runner, I'll feel confident enough to say "yes."


March Running Update

This was the month for me to really push things while running.  And I'm really proud of how well the month went.  I managed four easy 9 mile runs (as in, I let myself run easy, not that running 9 miles is easy), worked on speed, and worked on my ideal long run pace.  I don't know much about official training routines, but I think this has been working for me.  I did get REALLY tired toward the end of the month, and would have loved to take a week off to rest and recover a bit, but I'm so close to the 10 mile race that I made myself push through it.  Which was hard, but I managed.  Besides I'm having a small surgical procedure in 2 weeks which will require time off from exercising, so I will get my (well earned) rest soon enough :)  And then I'll start running again as soon as I get the okay... I've already got a few races in mind for late spring, so I really hope I can be ready in time.

Total Miles for the month: 65.2 (wow, that's higher than I expected)

Total Miles for 2014: 165.8
Longest run: 9 miles
Fastest mile time:  on the treadmill as part of a 3 mile speed workout- 8:34; outside, at the end of a 6.5 mile run 8:52

Indoors, on the treadmill:  Maintained Wednesday as my "Run 3 miles in under 30mins" day, though it still hasn't gotten easy, and I always think there's a chance I won't make it.  And actually, for some reason I seem incapable of doing simple math while running (I need to subtract my warm up walking time and distance from the overall time and distance), so there's also a good chance that I haven't made it some weeks, or that I'm actually running the 3 miles in like 27 mins.  But either way, I think it's close enough, and it definitely feels like I'm pushing myself to be fast, which is the point.  On Fridays I switched to a 1 hour run, hoping to manage a decent 5.5 miles in that time.  Which went over pretty good.  Now I'm thinking that 5.5 mph is a pace I can hold for a long time (an 11:00 minute mile).  Also, one day I ran 8 miles inside on the treadmill because I was tired of running in the cold.  Freezing cold vs insane boredom?????? Neither would be nice.

Pain:  Last week I had the worst side stitch of my life.  I get little ones from time to time but they dont usually hurt enough to slow me down and usually pass on their own after a minute or two if I ease up a bit.  This one did NOT.  It hurt so bad that I was involuntarily screaming and nearly in tears with each step.  So after a few minutes with no relief, I realized I needed to stop.  It took a good 15 minutes of sitting and careful breathing to get it to ease up to a manageable pain level.  At which point I jumped back on the treadmill and finished off my last 2 miles (at a very easy pace to make sure it didn't get worse again).  Please please please let that not happen this Sunday.  Otherwise, I've been pretty much pain free!  Which is really nice :)

Push ups: So I've learned that it's easiest for me to do them at night before going to bed.  We usually put a show on (it was Walking Dead for a while, but we're all caught up now, so we're trying to find a new show to binge watch) and I get through my pushups pretty quickly before hopping in to bed to finally relax.  I've been breaking down the amounts into sets of 25 (5 full push-ups and 20 knee push-ups per set) with a little break after each set.  I also started taking 1 or 2 days off a week so my arms can rest and I think that has helped tremendously.  I'll be hitting the 100 push up mark next week... I'm really looking forward to it! And right after that I get a break from push-ups too while I'm on a forced exercise break.   Hopefully I'll be able to pick up where I left off, but if not then I'll just slowly work my way back to this point.

Push-ups this month:  1,940

Push ups total:  3,732