So I should have started this blog when my training began back in January. I guess I never really thought about keeping a journal, which is what this blog is…a public journal. So since my training started two and one-half months ago I need to play catch up.
So my mileage build-up training started on Sunday January 23, 2011. This training require me to be running four to five days a week, depending on the week. Sunday is usually the longest run of the week. Since it was winter all of my training was done in the gym on the treadmill. I don’t have health insurance and decided that I would not run outside until all of the snow and ice were gone. I have a terrible fear of falling, and couldn’t afford to get hurt.
My first run was four miles, and yes I thought I was going to die. Prior to January 23 the most I had run was about two and one-half miles. Someone I managed to pull this off in 49 minutes and 42 seconds. Yes, I am slow and will probably always be slow, but I am trying. Looking back on this I am amazed because lately I have really been struggling, and barely able to keep this pace and I have been running for a couple months! So that first week I ran a total of 11 miles, and the second week 15 miles.
The third week, I missed the entire week. I know at the beginning of the week I was sick, but I no excuse except for laziness for the rest of the week.
The fourth week was a bit daunting, I had to do my first five mile run. I certainly didn’t think I was going to be able to do this, especially after missing an entire week of training. I finished and I burned 1005 calories, but physically I think it was the hardest thing I had ever done. That week I ran 15.75 miles.
The fifth week I was supposed to run 17 miles, but only know for sure that I ran 8. Pathetic, I know.
The sixth week was another scary week, I now had to do my first six mile run. I thought five was bad! I did it!! My pace wasn’t even that bad for six miles, 4.63 miles per hour. Now I know most of you experienced runners are probably laughing at this pace. Right now my only goal is to finish a marathon. In order to do that, I need to maintain an average pace of 4.5 miles per hour. I told you I am slow, deal with it. This was another slacker week. I was supposed to run 18 miles, and only ended up doing nine.
The seventh week takes us into March. March was a reality check for me. Prior to March I had the luxury of going to the gym whenever I felt like it, which was usually mid-morning. I started a project in March which required me to be downtown during business hours. This meant I either had to get to the gym at 4 a.m. or wait until 5 or 6 p.m. I have a new found respect for all of you who workout after work. This week I got sick and lazy and missed two of my workouts. I was supposed to run 20 miles this week, and only ran 10.5. Wait it gets better.
The eighth and ninth weeks were a flop. Between the two days I had missed in the seventh week and these two weeks, I was away from the gym for two and one-half weeks. This was the biggest mistake I have made to date. When I talk about momentum this is what I am talking about. First I missed a day, then it was two, then it was a week, and then it was two. In these two weeks I ran a whopping total of three miles, when I should have ran 35. Never again will I do this, this was a rookie mistake. Not only had I lost out on all that training and mileage, I lost my momentum. The ninth week also marked my 32nd birthday. My birthday gift to myself include new running shoes and a new gym. I was pretty excited to get back to the gym, little did I know how difficult it would prove to be after missing two and one-half weeks.
Week 10 was a whole new beginning for me. I completed a Resting Metabolic Test to determine how many calories my body was burning at rest, so I could properly calculate how many calories I needed to eat to begin losing two pounds a week. I have working on losing weight for about the past three years. During the year in which I worked out 300 out of 365 days, I lost about 34 pounds. The kicker is then we had Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Throughout this time I would keep track of my calories eaten sporadically. From Thanksgiving of 2010 to March 27, 2011 I had gained back 16 of the pounds I had lost. Some of this was due to the holidays, not keeping track of my calories, and missing much needed days in the gym. Oh yeah, and did I mention I LOVE sugar. Since I was working so hard in the gym, I really needed an accurate number of calories I should be eating so that I could actually start losing weight. I also made a pledge this day to really try and cut out sugar. I honestly thought this was going to be harder than running. I truly believe that sugar is an addiction, just like alcohol and drugs. Sugar runs a vicious cycle, the more of it you eat, the more you crave it. Not only that but when you workout the first thing your body burns is sugar. So if you were like me and only eating sugar (I have no doubt that I was eating 150-200 grams A DAY!) then your body never gets a chance to actually burn fat because it is burning off the sugar you ate the day before. This was probably one of my biggest problems and reasons I really wasn’t losing the weight I should have been. This week I also had an hour with the trainer to formulate a strength training plan which I would follow for a month until I met with her again. I knew I was weak, but I really learned how much upper body strength I was lacking. I can do squats with the best of them, but push up’s those are another story! This week turned out to probably be the most challenging week for me since I started training, and most of it was due to sugar. Monday I was tempted with a whole plate of cookies, Tuesday I had received a Caribou gift card, Wednesday it was bagels and cream cheese, Thursday was a good day, and Friday it was lime tortilla chips. I had an all out emotional breakdown Friday night. I cried, and I cried. I wanted to eat what I wanted to eat, but I had already made it five days and I couldn’t quit now. This pity party lasted for about an hour, and every minute of that hour it took everything I had not to eat sugar. After the crying and the tears I felt better. I knew I was making the right decision, even if it was incredibly difficult. This was also my first full week back in the gym, not only running but doing an hour of strength training three times a week. This week I ran 18.24 miles, 7.45 of which were in one run. This was my LONGEST run to date, not just mile wise but time wise. I felt incredible when I finished even though it took me forever.
Week 11 marks my second week without sugar or white flour. When I say sugar, I am talking refined sugar. I am having limited amounts of fresh fruit (bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and clementines) and occasionally some milk. I am also staying away from carbs after 4-5 p.m. This week was a bit easier than last, although I did struggle on Tuesday. I did my first outside run this week and I hated it. It seemed so difficult. I realize that running outside is going to be more difficult than the treadmill because you are on uneven terrain, and you are dealing with wind and warmer/cooler temperatures. I just didn’t think it would be as difficult as it felt, and I only ran 2.35 miles. I can’t even imagine running 5-6 miles outside. Due to missing two and one-half weeks, I was really struggling this week and last, so I actually cut my training to about 3/4 of what it should have been.
Which brings us to the present…week 12. This is my third week without sugar, and I feel amazing. The last time I checked my weight was yesterday, and I was down 11 pounds since March 28. I couldn’t be any happier. Even being down 11 pounds, I am still 56 pounds away from my goal weight. I can’t imagine how much easier running will be when I have 56 less pounds to carry with me. I did my second run outside this week, this time 3.32 miles. I still hate it. I feel like I struggle the whole way through the run, and my legs feel like dead weight. I am beginning to have my doubts about marathon. I think I might have given myself too much credit, I am not sure if I am cut out to be an outside runner. I think I probably hated running when I first started running on the treadmill as well. So I am going to have faith that it will get easier, and one day I might actually enjoy it. So far this week I have run 10.32 miles, and hopefully another four on Saturday. I finally feel like I am getting my groove back this week, and hope to be back to the regular training schedule next week.
Overall, I am just incredibly proud of myself. I am doing things that I once thought were impossible. I never thought I would call myself a runner, or that I would like it. For those of you who might be thinking of starting to run, it is one of the most empowering things I have ever done.