About Me

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CA, United States
I have been a stay at home mom for the last 5 years. I love being with my children and feel so blessed and lucky to have the opportunity to do so, but I often get lost in the shuffle of it all. I have tried to lose weight and get in shape many times in my life, with varying degrees of success. It has seemed especially hard since having kids. So, I've decided to sliver out a little piece of time for myself to get back in shape and get back to feeling good about myself. I am hoping that this blog will help me find an outlet to talk about my experiences and find a community of people who have similar goals. I hope you enjoy reading this blog as much as I enjoy writing it!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An amazing breakthrough and the program draws to a close

It has been a tough couple of months for me and the C25K program.  I haven't given up though and despite the great desire to stay in bed, morning after morning, I forced myself to get up and go for my run.  Last week, I decided I needed to really take stock of my situation: (1)  I wasn't seeing any new results on my waistline, (2) I wasn't really feeling I could add more distance, (3) despite the fact that it is usually quite chilly, I was feeling too overheated during my runs, and (4) no matter how much stretching I did, my lower calves always seemed to be too tight to continue running. 

I decided I had to make some changes - both mental and physical.  First, I decided I needed to stop wearing my ball cap while running, so I braided my hair and clipped the bangs out of my face.  This may seem a minor point, but I can't stand having hair sticking to my sweaty face and I also hate the feeling of a pony tail or clump of hair bouncing on the back of my neck.  I also decided that I needed to loosen up a bit while I was running and take longer, more bounding strides.  I figured my calves were cramping up so much because the effort of taking smaller more controlled steps was working against me.

So last Saturday, I had planned on running in a 2M race.  I had been looking forward to it until I found that the route was mostly uphill and that by and large, people walked it.  Once I found that out, I decided I would be better off hitting the trail near my house and trying for a 2.75 mile run for week 8.  What a good decision this turned out to be!  Not only did the changes I made help, I felt totally in control.  For the first time in a while, I felt strong enough and sure enough to make it.  I stopped twice for about 30 seconds to catch my breath a bit, but I ran the entire way and in fact, when I got to my end point, I felt so good, I kept on running and by the time I stopped, I had run almost 3.5 miles!  That is the longest run I have ever completed and I was AMAZED that I had done it.  I repeated it again yesterday and will do so tomorrow as well and it is my intention to declare myself a C25K graduate once I have finished!

I am so glad I stuck with it through the rough patch and can only say that if you are out there and you are going through a rough patch and you feel that it just isn't clicking, don't give up.  Persevere and you will feel the rewards.  I can say this because I now know it to be true and if I CAN DO IT, so can you!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Week 7 finale and feeling good!

I had a great run today!  I am so happy to say it because it has been a long time since I've been able to do so.  I began at the same place (once again) that my race began and I followed the same route, except instead of turning around at the one mile mark, I kept running along a little one lane dirt trail that follows the coast line.  It is only about .25 miles until it takes a big turn and moves steeply upward, but it was long enough for me today.  When I got to that point, there was a tiny little trail about 50 feet long that led right out to the water and a huge piece of drift wood.  I stopped there to take a look and stretch my calves (because let me tell you, they get so darn tight and I can't really seem to stretch enough to keep them loose) and after about 2 or 3 minutes, I was back on my way.  I stopped again only for a few seconds to greet a father and his daughter that I knew and I ran back to the park.  I ran the rest of the way and had no inclination or desire to stop at all.  I was enjoying it and feeling really good.  My journey was 32 minutes start to stop which is not great, but I did it!  And for the first time in a while I am really looking forward to my next run.

I hope this keeps up and I feel like today was a major breakthrough mentally for me.  Another good run or two and I will believe that I am back on track.  For now, I remain cautiously optimistic and surer than I have been in a long time that I CAN DO IT!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Another week 7 run with some better results

I did manage to get out there yesterday and go for a run.  I repeated the same run I did the time before on the same trail and it was nice.  My wonderful husband postponed going to work (it is nice when you work for yourself!) so I was able to get my son on the bus at 7:30 and then go for my run.  It was nice to be a little more awake and have the blood flowing a little more before I hit the road!

What was also nice was that I felt a little more able to push myself than I have been of late.  Again, I think the physical part has been there all along, so I think the mental aspect is starting to come back.  I need to find a way to get in a workout tomorrow or Friday since my hubby went out of town and I'll be on my own with the kiddos.  I know I can take my daughter with me in the stroller and I suppose I will if I can't work anything else out, but really, I just want to go alone (hear my toddler whining voice there?)!

Also, I am pretty far away from hitting the 5K mark.  I should have been there by now, but alas, I am not and so I am thinking that I am going to run the two mile race again next weekend and will attempt to better my time from the first race (20:54!).  There is another 5K I can run in early October and I think I am going to shoot for that one.  Sorry if I am letting anyone down, but I'd like to run an entire race and not have to stop and walk, so this is the direction I am going.  I've adjusted the path I am taking to get there, but the goal remains the same... I will finish C25K and will continue to run because I know it is what I need to do to BE healthy and promote healthiness to my children.  If ever there was a good reason to stick to something, that is it.  And for that reason, because I love my children and myself and I want to live long to see them grow to be health,y happy adults, I remain convinced as ever that no matter how tough it may seem at times, I CAN DO IT!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Week 7 - limping right along

While I haven't really hit my stride since racing day, I haven't given up either.  I know that I am physically able to do this, so the problem I am experiencing lately is clearly mental.  I feel quite sure that a large part of it is my boredom and frustration with the local route.  I haven't really gotten to the heart of anything else, but I have a mental block happening and it is making this process quite challenging.

Despite the fact that I haven't been blogging religiously (in part due to a very busy end of summer schedule and in part due to computer issues that I hope are nor resolved), I have been getting up every other day and completing a run.  I don't feel they have been very impressive and I don't even feel that I have pushed myself to the next level.  In fact, I'd have to say that what I have been doing these last few weeks is going through the motions.  I VERY much want to overcome this and get back the passion that had been building over the first part of my C25K journey.

Today was a good step in that direction.  After a cup of coffee and a few bites of breakfast, I was able to dress and head out...except this time, I got in my car and did some driving around to check out some other neighborhoods and the coastal trails near my home.  I ended up starting my run where my race had begun a few weeks ago, but this time, ran in the opposite direction.  It was a nice trail and people were riding their bikes, jogging and walking their dogs.  I ended up down on a little trail off the main one along School Road that had me running right at the ocean.  It was breezy and quiet and I quite enjoyed the run.  At the end of the trail, I stopped and stretched some more and then turned back to head toward my car.  I admit that I did walk a few times for 10 - 20 seconds, but ran most of the way and enjoyed it far more than I have in weeks.  The total distance was just shy of 2.4.  I wasn't keeping track of my time, but am pretty sure I was going for a little more than 25 minutes.  Not great.  Not a total week 7 success, but a step in the right direction.

I wish that I could share a more successful outing with you, but I have confidence that more will be coming soon!  I hope my honesty about this reminds you all that we can't give up and that everyone struggles at times.  If you are out there trying to find the motivation to get out there or have, like me, been struggling to finish C25K, like me, just get out there.  Even if it isn't as good as it has been or you can't quite get as far or as fast as you want, you just need to get out there and put one foot in front of the other.  Stick with the routine and commitment to the overall goal...even if you get off track a bit, at least you can feel good about being out there and not derailing completely!

My son starts kindergarten tomorrow and he is slow to get going in the mornings.  This means I'll be waking him at 6:30 to have him ready on time for his bus.  What this means for me and my run schedule, I do not yet know.  Something will have to change because I won't run alone in the dark and as the fall continues on and winter moves in, I won't be able to run earlier...My husband is very committed to doing his part to make me successful in this goal, so I know we'll come up with something that works.  Of course we will because he knows and you know and I know:  I CAN DO IT!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Running, exercise and apologies

So the fact that I haven't updated my blog since the race does not mean that I have abandoned my mission!  I have done a couple runs and went on a little end of summer vacation with my family, so getting to the writing has been difficult.  My computer is even down and my husband left me his laptop for the day so I could catch up on some business.  While visiting family and friends in Sacramento, I did get to use my mother-in-law's gym and did my miles on the elliptical trainer.  I must say, I LOVED IT!  It felt like a great workout, but my knees felt so good.  It is now my mission in life to attain one for my home.  Would be nice to have it in the winter especially!  But until then, I'll keep running! 

Tomorrow is another run day and I am planning to repeat Week 6, Day 3.  Interval running is a thing of the past and I need to now focus on getting the distance under my belt...I need to be running 5K in just under a month, so that needs to drive me forward.  I am hopeful that I'll be able to write tomorrow, so keep your eyes out for the update!  And remember, we can do this.  We can be healthy, happy, physically fit, and sane.  Some days it may seem impossible, but we must always remind ourselves that though there are bumps in the road from time to time, we can do it!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

On your marks. Get set. Go!!!

Strange as this may sound, I was not the least bit nervous when I woke up yesterday morning.  I'd been battling the nerves all week, but when I got out of bed, I felt calm and collected.  Sweet!  Started the day with water and a few sips of coffee.  I got ready  and dressed the kids, then said goodbye and drove away.  I parked about a mile from the starting line so I could walk and get warmed up.  It was super foggy out and the mist in the air was pretty thick...it was going to be a wet one for sure.

I arrived in plenty of time to sign myself up and get my number.  I can't tell you how proud I was to pin my number to my shirt.  It was very exciting.  While stretching and waiting, I was happy to bump into a few ladies I knew.  To my surprise and awe, they were running in the half-marathon race.  I never would have imagined at the beginning of this year that I'd be voluntarily entering myself into a 2-mile race, so I'll never say never, but it is difficult to imagine myself running over 13 miles.  And these people are running 13 miles at the same pace I run 2, so my hat is off to them!

My family arrived about 15 minutes prior to race time and my 5 year old son was excited to see one of his old preschool mates there...getting ready to run in the 2-miler.  His mom was running the 1/2 marathon and he and a small group of his friends were running the shorter race together.  First, kudos to them...I respect greatly that they are capable at this age of doing this and following through.  That being said, all my previous banter about coming in dead last went out the door.  There was no way I could let a bunch of 6 and 7 year olds beat me!  So with a new sense of purpose and motivation, I got myself over to the starting line and waited for it to begin.

That's me at the front of the pack, 3rd from the right.
I stood there listening to the instructions being given then heard the words.  "On your mark."  Here we go.  "Get set."  Oh my goodness.  "Go!"  Holy shit, I'm doing this!  I took off with everyone and saw my kids and husband waving goodbye out of the corner of my eye.  I quickly came to realize an important truth about racing:  unless you're really fast and you're in it to win it, don't stand in the front!  I came out running far faster than my normal pace and regretted it right away.  I had to resume a more normal pace or I'd never make it, but had to let countless runners pass me to do so.  My competitive instincts and my sense of self-preservation were at odds, but logic had to win out over emotions here.  By the half-mile mark, I was far more winded than normal and I had to work really hard to maintain my pace and catch my breath.  By now, the leaders had already reached the mile mark, turned around were beginning to pass me in the other direction.   Not sure who was running the shorter race or the longer, I had no idea where I stood at that point.  Finally, I made it to the halfway point and stopped just long enough to take my jacket off and tie it around my waste and take one long, deep breath.  I turned around and was back on my way.  It was not until this moment that I realized that the small, wee ones were close on my trail!  Let me tell you, it was just the kick in the pants I needed to keep the pace up.

It wasn't more than a quarter mile later that two of the boys came screaming by me.  I couldn't believe it, I thought I had been keeping up a rather good pace for myself and I was surprised to be passed so fast and watch them create a large and larger distance between us.  I stayed my course though and kept moving as fast and best as I could.  Slowly but surely, I gained on one of the boys, then, he had to stop, but as I passed him, I saw the other boy staying strong.  I just focused on that kid and set my sights on catching him.  We were getting closer to the end and I was beginning to see the finish line.  He still had a sizable lead on me, but I was making up some ground.  As we exited the trail we had been running on and the space opened up into the lot where everyone was gathered, he slowed, but I stayed strong.  In the end though, he crossed the finish line 5 seconds ahead of me!  I thank that little guy though for keeping me strong and making me push to the very end...the next runner ahead of us was about a minute away, so having someone (even, especially, because it was a kid) so close to me kept me pushing hard.
Just a few moments before I crossed the line, before
my son passed me with my husband and daughter
following in the rear.  What a great cheering squad!

I do need to mention that as I came into the big lot near the finish, my 5 year old ran out to me and finished the race with me, or, I should say, just ahead of me and as I crossed the line, he turned to me and said, "I beat you mommy!"  That's fresh.  In the end, I finished the race 20th out of 31 people with a time of 20:54 and I felt really great about that.  I far exceeded my own expectations for the race and I felt so proud of myself.  I also felt exhausted, thirsty, sweaty and hot!  I got myself some water, a piece of watermelon and slapped 5 with some of the other runners I had met that morning.  I even congratulated the little guy that beat me and told him how impressed I was (then secretly sneered to myself that I had his number and I'd be kicking his ass next time!)

So now I get back to finishing the C25K program and preparing for my next race...a 5K on September 11.  Today I feel much more enthusiastic for it than I have in a few weeks.  I also feel a bit sore, but that happens!  So any of you out there reading this who feel fear or doubt, just know that you can do it.  I never would have thought I could, and after yesterday, I feel on top of the world and proud to not only to say that I CAN DO IT, but that I DID DO IT!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The pre-race run

Once again, I decided to skip the program run and do my own thing.  Today, my own thing was to run two miles without stopping.  Not 20 minutes or two miles, whichever comes first, but two miles, and today I timed myself (to the minute, not second).  This was a very good idea because what I found was I was doing a lot better than I thought I was.  At then end of the first mile, I was at about 9-10 minutes.  I stopped briefly to stretch my calves and take off my sweatshirt (about 1 minute) then got right back to it.  My second mile was slower, about 11-12  minutes, but to have gone start to finish in 23-24 minutes, I was very pleased with myself.  Sure, I have room for improvement, but I feel much more confidant going into my race on Saturday and feel a little closer to where I was before vacation.  That is some great progress and I am so relieved for it!  I will keep this brief today and end with a promise of details from the first race (and a picture if I can muster it!)...Saturday is the first real test of my progress and I feel better about it than I could have hoped.  I am filled with excitement and confidence and the knowledge that I CAN do it!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Getting ready for my first race

Since I will be running in my first ever race as an adult this Saturday, I decided that my time was best spent this week making sure I was ready for the 2 mile event.  That said, I skipped week 6, day 2 this morning and plotted out a 2.6 mile route.  I did my warm-up walk and got to running.  I ran most of the way, but did stop briefly to stretch my calves and catch my breath a couple of times.  All in all, I'd say I ran close to two miles, but not all of it.  I know that I've said it is OK if I come in dead last on Saturday, and it is, really, deep down I know that it is OK, but still, there is a part of me that is really nervous and hopes I don't make an ass of myself.  It won't be long now until we know and the comfort I will take, if I do in fact embarrass myself, is that it will make for an entertaining blog update that will provide my loyal readers a hearty laugh.

What I really hope though is that I exceed my own expectations on Saturday.  I hope that the energy of all the other runners helps me get back the spark I've been looking for.  I looked up the results from last year's race and am fairly certain that I will be in the back of the heap.  The course is a one mile there and back so we finish where we started.  My husband and kids will be there to cheer me on at both ends, so that will be really nice. I laugh to know that some people finished the race last year in less time than it takes me to go a mile, but with any luck, seeing a runner passing me in the other direction will give me some motivation to kick it up a notch.  The real goal for Saturday though  is that I finish the race and feel good about it and myself.  That's all I can hope for.  So the rest of this week, in addition to readying myself physically for Saturday, I will also be readying myself mentally.  I have to talk my nerves away, and remind myself that I can do this.  I will do this.  When summer began, the idea of running in any race was absurd and I can't let myself forget how far I have come.  I am so proud and excited to say that I know I CAN DO IT!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Week 6, Day 1 and a little recognition!

Well, I got through it.  Week 6, day 1.  Seems like it should have been easier than it was.  I did great for the first two legs and even did OK the first 2 minutes of the last 5 minute leg, but then I was really feeling it.  I know that the third leg must have been comical to watch from the outside.  I know I wasn't walking, but I wonder if everyone else watching did!  I had Chubby Jones with me though, and her encouragement to keep it up kept me going.  I will say that when she announced we had only one minute to go and pushed us to sprint it if we could, I could only stare at the hill before me and let out a laugh.  Thanks for trying Chubby, but not this time!

I also ran on Tuesday of this week.  I went out to run the 20 straight minutes again and ended up walking for a minute or two after the first 10 minutes before finishing the last 10 minutes.  I intended to blog about it, but it has been a crazy week and my computer has been a bit in limbo, so no go on Tuesday.  C'est la vie...

Despite my frustration over feeling like this process is a puzzle with a missing piece, I continue to look for it and strive for completion.  But more than that, I strive to get back to that place I was in my head where I looked forward to running and felt exuberant about it.  I liked how that made me feel and I won't give up until I have it back.  I am so thankful for this blog and all of you who read it because it is helping to keep me honest and forcing me to keep thinking about this and not pushing it to the side.

On that note, I move on to some recognition I have received!  Tara from So Skinny On the Inside nominated me for a blog award called The Versatile Blogger.  I've never received any kind of recognition like this, so it is kind of exciting!  It isn't a contest with winners and losers, just a way for bloggers to recognize each other.  There are a lot of amazing blogs out there covering every topic under the sun and this award is a great way for people to share some of the great ones they know.  I think it is great!

So here are the rules that go along with this particular award:

Thank the person who gave you the award.
  1. Share seven things about yourself.
  2. Nominate bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are   fantastic! 
  3. Let your nominees know about the award.
 And so with that:

1. THANK YOU TARA!!!   You like me, you really like me!  I can't tell you how much I appreciate your recognition and praise.  There are so many blogs out there and it means a lot to me that you chose mine to honor.  I love writing the blog and it is enough motivation in and of itself, but I love that it is helping and inspiring others.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Your blog is also great and I encourage my blog readers to check yours out too:  http://soskinnyontheinside.blogspot.com/
2. Seven things about me:

  • I can't even remember what my true hair color looks like anymore.  Between the hair dye color that changes every other month (because I can never remember the brand or exact color from last time) and the almost full head of grays I have now, the truth is likely to remain a mystery until the end of time.
  • I like to play the guitar.  I used to do it far more often, but my time is in high demand these days.  I look forward to getting back to it more in the future.
  • I am 35 and have lived at one point in time in all of the following cities:  Peabody, MA, Allenstown, NH, Manchester, NH, Durham, NH, Dover, NH, Portland, OR, Chicago, IL, Oakland, CA, Berkeley, CA, Sacramento, CA, Fair Oaks, CA, Orangevale, CA, Bayside, CA and McKinleyville, CA...those of you who have been in my life long enough started using pencil in your address books for my info long ago.
  • I met my husband in Las Vegas in early summer of 1999.  We were married on September 8, 2001
  • I love to play board games.  Scrabble is my favorite, but love any game that challenges my mind
  • I am a life-long, die-hard Red Sox fan and therefor hate, loathe, detest the Yankees.
  • My favorite flavor of ice cream is Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby:  vanilla ice cream with ripples of peanut butter and fudge throughout and chocolate covered, peanut butter filled pretzels throughout...it is salty and sweet heaven in a carton.
3. I wish I had more time to read more blogs.  I know there is so much out there that inspires, motivates and helps people through their day.  I will nominate some now, but in the future, if I come across more that are deserving, I'll take the time to recognize them too.  Without further ado:

There are so many more, but I'm feeling like a mushbrain now and need to go to bed.  I will finish step four tomorrow and let my nominees know.  In the meantime, as always, discouraged or not, don't forget that we are all capable of acts of strength bigger than we can imagine.  That's what it feels like I need to channel some mornings to finish a run, but the bottom line is that I CAN DO IT!  And so can you :-)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Week 5, Day 3 - if at first you don't succeed

I decided at some point last night that I was going to move along to the day 3 run of week 5.  I just didn't want to deal with intervals.  So I headed out this morning and gave myself a good warm up walk and some good stretching.  At first, I felt tight and winded, but I warmed into it and it felt pretty good.  I made it most of the way, but at about 17 minutes, I felt my legs getting rubbery and I need to stop for fear that I might fall. 

I could be disappointed with that, but I'm not.  I'll do the same run on Tuesday and I am sure that I'll finish then.  After that I'll move along to week 6 (where I was when I went on vacation) and get the rest of the interval runs behind me.  I do need to stay focused and work hard the next two weeks as I am entering a 2 mile race on the 11th.  Not a huge one, but the first race I have run in since high school.  Having never done this as an adult and never having witnessed a race before, I have no idea how my pace will stack up against the rest of the field.  I have no illusions of winning and even suspect that I could finish dead last, but to me, that hardly matters.  Having the motivation of a race is what is helping me right now.  Knowing that as long as I run the two miles without stopping to walk, I'll feel a huge sense of personal accomplishment.  And hey, if I do finish D.F.L, then at least I have no where to go but up!

I have my first 5K planned for Saturday, September 11, so I have just over a month to be ready for that.  My husband, who is not training, is planning to run with me in this race.  I am both excited and nervous about this...you see, he has always been more athletic and in better shape than me and so I look forward to running with him and being able to keep up.  However, I am nervous that he might still beat me and that would just drive me crazy!!!  So there's some more motivation:  small and petty, yes, but also effective, I hope. 

Onward I shall run then.  I feel like I am getting back to it, but I still feel I am missing some of the fire I had before I went on vacation.  I'm still looking for it and if anyone knows where I could find it, I'd love to hear from you!  Until then, I'll try and remember that I CAN DO IT!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

week 5, day 1, version 3 - getting the spring back in my step

So, for the third time, I began week 5 today.  If you recall, I did days one and two twice before I moved on to day 3 last time around.  As they say, practice makes perfect and I'm pretty sure I have this one down now.  It was really nice to have a good run.  I didn't run into any wild animals and I didn't hate being out there.  I finished the intervals with relative ease and felt good at the end.  All in all, a very successful outing.

I am going to run the second interval the day after tomorrow just to give myself one more ramp up, but once again, I'll say it - I am getting over the intervals.  I think I have reached the point where I just need to go out and run and adjust my pace as I go.  I refuse to watch a stop clock while doing this program and as much as I like the Chubby Jones Podcast, I don't love all the music she chooses.  I just look forward to going out there, listening to what I want and running. 

As you might have ascertained by reading my various blog entries, some of my surrounding area leaves a bit to be desired.  I live in an absolutely beautiful place though.  People travel the world to come visit the majestic Redwoods we have here and I live two miles from the beautiful California coast.  There are beautiful trails that follow the coastline and weave in and out of the wooded areas.  Sounds perfect, right?  Here's the thing:  am I safe to go out into the forest by myself and run these trails?  Is it wise for me to go running alone on the Hammond Trail when many parts of it are somewhat remote? 

I love the solitude I have while running.  It seems like the only time in my day when I don't need to be responsive to anyone else for any reason.  You stay-at-home moms out there understand.  I love what I do and feel very blessed to be able to stay home with my kids, but that doesn't mean it is perfect.  Like every job out there, it has its frustrations and aggravations.  So this being said, I am not particularly interested in finding a running partner.  It would be fun to run with friends now and then or enter races with other runners I know, but as far as the every day routine goes, I prefer to go it alone.  So what's a girl to do?  I want to venture out and find better spots to run in, but I don't want to be putting myself in peril for it.  What do the rest of you do?  How do you shake it up and keep it fresh while staying safe?

I look forward to hearing from you all.  In the meantime, I wish you all safe and happy trails and hope you feel as I do -  that this mission is possible.  We can be fit.  We can be healthy.  We can run and we can even like it!  You can do it and I can do it too!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Week 4, Day 1 revisited and reunions of the animal kind

My daughter was feeling better yesterday and I thought I would get more sleep last night, but alas, my son was sick and I was up quite a bit with him.  This did not get in the way of my run this morning though.  I didn't want to get up.  I wanted nothing more than to stay warm and toasty in my bed and catch as many more zees as I could before the little ones woke up.  I didn't though.  I got up, dressed and got out there to do the run.

Three weeks of vacation really made my memory short because I took an old path this morning that led me to some old canine friends.  At the same corner where I once encountered a big black dog and Cletus, I found myself "face to face" with what seemed an older golden retriever.  He didn't advance on me, but he followed me giving the occasional bark.  I wasn't feeling too threatened yet, but soon THE black dog was on the scene and he was acting more threateningly.  He barked, growled and followed me more closely.  I was walking backwards, facing the dog, pepper spray in hand, finger on the trigger.  I am happy to report that I did not need to use it, though I was very happy to have it!

Up to this point, I had been walking, trying to clear the cobwebs in my head.  But the sudden surge of adrenaline made me decide that the time to run had come.  All in all, I was very comfortable with this run.  As I recall, the middle two segments of running were the best for me.  Once Chubby Jones told me to walk after the first 5 minute run, I felt I could have gone on.  The next three minute run was likewise a good one and at its end, I could have kept going.  The we hit that last 5 minute run and that was the one that killed me.  One segment over the line for me...I would have done better to start on week 5 and run the 3 longer segments, but I didn't feel confidant enough that I could have done it.  Shame on me for doubting my abilities. 

The mental game is back on.  I almost forgot that it was almost as big a part of the deal as the physical part.  Believing I can do it.  Believing I can finish.  Psyching myself up for a run and wanting to get out there and do it.  Sleep should help.  But mostly, it is on me to get my head back in the game.  I am working on it.  I'll be running Week 5, Day 1 again the day after tomorrow and you can rest assured that I will be working the old positive affirmations at bedtime.  Because I want to do this, I know that I CAN DO IT.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I'm back, but the mojo hasn't caught up to me yet...

I am back from vacation, unpacked and getting back into the swing of things.  Somewhere between New Hampshire and California, Ella caught strep throat, so sleep is in short supply and patience and understanding is in great demand.  I did manage to get in a run yesterday before our trip to urgent care and it was not pretty!

Got my stretch in and started with a nice walk and then got to jogging.  I decided not to jump back in with a program run, rather, I'd just  go out and see what I could do after three weeks of very undicsiplined, unstructured running.  It was not good.  Far from going out there and running 20 minutes without stopping, I was tired and out of breath far earlier than I had been.  I went about 2 1/2 miles and I'd venture to say a good mile plus of it was walking.  I'm sure that part of the problem was lack of sleep.  Of course, some of it was just being out of practice and routine.  The last of it though, I suspect was lack of structure.  I should have had more of a plan and pushed myself to reach goals.  C'est la vie.  Live and learn.  Tomorrow morning I will get up and I am going to step back to a week 4 workout.  I will most likely do this once then go back to week 5 and repeat it in its entirety then move forward from there.

I have mixed feelings about what has happened here.  I am glad I made the most of my vacation.  I saw so many old and good friends, spent time with my family and did so many fun things with my kids.  It was a very well spent, exhausting time and I loved every minute of it.  I am disappointed though that it came at the cost of my running momentum.  I wish that I had been able to carry on while I was back there and not lose the drive I had.  So many of my fellow runners are so crushed to lose their momentum due to injury and I have always felt so bad for them because I knew how important the routine and consistency was to my success.  Now I am there because of choice, not circumstance.  Honestly, I am not being too hard on myself.  I just wish I could have had my cake and ate it too. 

I do remain committed to this and tomorrow will be the first day of the next stage in this process for me.  A new starting point with the same finish line in sight.  My choice may have made the road to the finish a little harder, but I will get there.  So, here, I pick up the old mantra, like the Olympic torch, raise it high and carry it with pride:  I CAN DO IT!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Running on vacation

I have very limited time at the moment to write.  My sister is undergoing surgery today for a herniated disc in her neck, my mom as with her at the hospital and I am watching over my children and my brother's as well.  I have been having a very enjoyable vacation and have found it to packed full of daytime and evening activities that my C25K journey has been temporarily interrupted.  I have been getting in some quick jogs on the treadmill and even tried running on the treadmill with a Wii remote in the running program.  made it less boring, but still, not the same.  My runs have not been routine and I regret that, but I have been having an incredible vacation.  I will be getting home next Thursday and intend to get back on the horse once I do.  I think I will have to backtrack a bit...do a few workouts from earlier weeks and ramp back to Week 6 and beyond.

I continue to appreciate the support I get from my fellow C25Kers and I hope that your journies are continuing with great success.  I very much look forward to returning to my routine and completing my program!  While a little sidetracked for the moment, I continue to be sure that I CAN DO IT!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

No week, no day - a case of spontaneous fun time

It is difficult to stick with the running routine while on vacation.  My us for dinner after work.  mom and I decided on Thursday to take a day trip to Boston so we could bring the kiddos to the Boston Children's Museum.  I figured I would hit the treadmill when we returned.  It was a very good time and my children really loved this amazing museum.  As we were heading into the museum gift shop, my mom slipped away for a few minutes and when she returned, she announced that she has used points to book us a room at a hotel for the night.  That way, she figured, we could go hit Quincy Market, get some dinner and then take the kids to the aquarium the next day.  We were totally unprepared, so we needed to go pick up some clean clothes and pajamas (thank goodness for the $2.99 deals at The Children's Place!!), diapers and toothbrushes, but what the heck, I was game.

We had a fabulous night and returned to the hotel with two exhausted human beings (and the kids were pretty spent too).  The next morning as we were getting ready to go out, my mom decided extend the stay another night and make another entire day of it.  We had another killer day and my sister came and joined us for dinner and merriment after work.  We had so much fun!

Today we hit the IMAX Theater, shopped around and had lunch at Pizzeria Regina (the greatest pizza EVER).  Finally we loaded up the car (much heavier than when we unloaded it, that's for sure) and headed back to my folk's place.  It was amazing fun and living a bit spontaneously always does something good for your soul and spirit!

So, this is a very long winded way to tell you all that I haven't run since Tuesday.  I will get out tomorrow, but I am not quite sure what I will do.  I need to sleep on it and see wh\at feels right in the morning.  Until then, I hope you are all doing well and making great progress.  Despite the lack of structure, I know I will get back on course.  I am determined to finish this program and have fitness be a part of my regular routine.  And I know, if I am determined to do something, that I CAN DO IT!  And I will :-)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Week 6, Day 1, version 2 - getting back to it

OK, I am finding it much more difficult to keep this up on vacation than I thought I would.  For starters, its like 100 degrees here.  I am running on the treadmill in the house, so that isn't so much the problem, but the heat is wiping me out.  I feel so low energy that it is a Herculean effort to go upstairs for a run.  Also, I don't like running on the treadmill.  Even with the iPod and a TV in the room, I find it very boring to run in one spot.  That being said, I ran yesterday on the treadmill after having blown off running on Sunday AND Monday.  Our fourth of July party started on Saturday afternoon when the first revellers arrived.  The last of them did not leave my parent's house until Monday evening.  It was so much fun, but absolutely impossible to motivate for a run.

I have said it before, but getting off schedule is a big problem.  The routine is important and I think your body gets conditioned to the schedule.  Boy did I feel it yesterday.  It was a miserable run and I hated every second of it.  It is so tough when that happens because then the dread sets in for the next run.  I need to hit it again tomorrow, but I can't think of anything I want to do less.  I am loving the time I am spending with my family and so glad I still have 2 more weeks of vacation here, but in addition to seeing my husband, I look forward to getting back into the routine I love at home.  I don't think I will ever love running on the treadmill and as long as this heat holds up, I just can't bring myself to run in it.  Seriously, there is a 30 degree difference here from home...I did see that there is rain on the horizon this weekend, so I may take that opportunity to go outside and run.  THAT would be more like my home routine.

No matter where or how though, I need to just keep it up.  I will do my very best to bring a bit of sunshine back to my blog next time (and BTW, it is very difficult to write this blog here...the computer is upstairs and my kids are very bored up here!).  I don't want to let any of you down though nor do I want to let myself down, so I will push through this slump and I will do better!  Though it seems a little more challenging today to hang onto the motto, I will tell myself over and over until I am really feeling it again:  I CAN DO IT!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Week 6, day 1 - Intervals on a treadmill

I went out last night with some old friends from high school and didn't come in until almost 1:00 in the morning. I tell you this because I did not run this morning as I had planned to. I took advantage of my mother's generosity and slept in while she cared for my children. We spent the day shopping in Portsmouth, NH and had a great time. By the time we got home, it was nearly dinner time and I knew what I had to do...there was no putting it off any longer, it was time for some C25K. I can't lie here and tell you I am feeling as enthusiastic about this as I usually do. Au contraire, I am finding it very difficult to motivate. The one thought driving me here is that I will be so let down and will let so ma people down if I flake out at this point, so I must keep going and hope that I'll get my mojo back sooner than later.

So, I changed into my running clothes, put on the new shoes and hit the treadmill. What I liked about the treadmill was how I could experiment with my pace while I was watching my time. I liked that I could kick up the speed and then see if I was going to be able to go the distance. It was kind of cool to turn up the speed dial and finish each segment with a 60 second push. What I hated about the treadmill was how I could see the time. While I did enjoy the benefits previously mentioned, I did find that my mind lingered much more on the task at hand while I watched the seconds tick away. I really think I do better when I am completely unaware of the time and either respond to prompts to walk or run or just run while listening to my audiobook and checking the time once I've come close to a mile marker. Like we've all learned so well along the way, so much of this process is mental. What I was putting out physically wasn't any more than usual, but I still seemed to be harder. I don't know...what do some of you treadmill runners think? My next run day is supposed to be on Sunday. We're having a big party at my parent's house and I fully expect to eat and drink a lot, so I have to, have to, have to run in the morning. It is also expected to be extremely hot, so I think I will hit it on the treadmill again, but maybe this time I'll hide the display and go with my podcast again.

Once again, I've written this on my mom's iPad and editing is kind of hard, and for some reason, the spell check button doesn't come up on the page. So, my apologies for typos and errors and I hope you will continue to bear with me. I hope you all have a safe and happy Fourth of July. A very special shout out to my amazing, wonderful husband who will be celebrating his birthday on Independence Day without me and the kids. I love you and want you to know that in addition to my own drive to do this program, because of your love and support, I continue to be able to say with certainty, I CAN DO IT!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Winging it

So, I am in New Hampshire. I am typing this blog entry on my mother's iPad which is pretty cool, but very strange. I wanted to run this morning, however, both my parents went to work before 6:00 and I was way too tired from two days of travel to get up that early. Also, as it turns out, I forgot to pack my running shoes. When my husband reads this, he is going to think that this was intentional, but it really wasn't. I ran the morning I left for the trip and simply forgot to throw my shoes in the suitcase before I left. So, I went and got new shoes this afternoon. I've wanted to get some for a while, so this was not really a great tragedy.

I ended up visiting my old B.J.'s store, Runner's Alley in Nashua, NH. He spent a great deal of time helping me find the right shoe and in the end I went with some Saucony Progrid Guide 3 running shoes. If you are in this area, I highly recommend you give Runner's Alley a chance to earn your business. I feel confidant you will not be sorry you did!

After buying the shoes, I returned to my folk's place and my brother and his kids were there, so I spent time with them, had some dinner, bathed my daughter and got her to bed. Then finally, it was time for me to go for my run. I was to begin week 6 today, however, for some reason, I did not have the week 6 podcasts on my iPod and my C25K program printout was in the room was daughter was sleeping in, so I decided that I would simply run. It was not the greatest I've ever felt running. I think it was because: (a) I was running after a meal in the evening and I am used to running early in the morning on an empty stomach, (b) I forgot to grab my inhaler out of my suitcase before I left, and (c) while it is far from oppressively hot here, it was much warmer and more humid than I am used to it being while I run. In short, it was not exactly the run of my life. Better luck next time. That will be on Friday and I intend to run early and most likely inside on the treadmill. Wish me luck! Despite a less Han stellar outing, I remain as certain as ever that I can do it!

(p.s... It is very difficult to edit this on the iPad, so please excuse typos. when I can get on to a computer, I will come back and fix any mistakes.)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Week 5, Day 3 - Oh, what a feeling!

Last night I was really excited to do this morning's run.  I kept thinking about my route and the pace I would start at.  I was looking forward to putting my headphones on and losing myself in the audio book I am halfway through.  I went to bed astounded that five weeks in from the starting line, I was about to go for a 20 minute run and I wasn't dreading it.  In fact, I have 2 races on my calendar now - a two mile race that is right up the street from my house and a 5 K on September 11.  I can't wait either.  And I can hardly believe that I am doing this.  It is a most amazing physical and mental transformation.  Go me!

My run was no let down either.  I took a nice almost mile long walk to get me warmed up and then I started in on my run.  About 8 minutes in, I stopped for a few seconds to stretch my calves out as they were getting really tight and starting to hurt.  I went right back to it though and never once was I feeling like I couldn't go on.  I just ran, listening to my book, concentrating on my breathing and posture and felt great.  I didn't look at the time again until it had been 22 minutes and I couldn't believe it.  I ran for 22 minutes and I could have kept running.  I didn't.  I slowed down and walked strong to give myself a good cool down.  I felt amazing and proud and strong.

I don't know how I could have gone so long without feeling like this.  I am excited to get through week 6 so I can put the interval running behind me.  I liked just running.  I need to complete this program in its entirety so I can say I am a graduate of it, so I can have that sense of accomplishment and follow through.  If I didn't need that, I'd be throwing interval running out the window and going for it.

Monday morning I am going to repeat W5D3 with a little bit of a quicker pace.  I will be leaving that morning to make the trip down to San Francisco with my kids and will be flying to Boston the next day at 6:00 a.m.  My husband is staying home, so I'm on my own with the two kids, so it's a pretty busy and hectic schedule and for that reason, I doubt I will have the chance to blog about my run.  Rest assured, I will do it and I will update the Facebook C25K to make it "official".  I'll be doing my runs in New Hampshire for the next three weeks though and will blog from there.  So, look for the next update on Wednesday.  In the meantime, continued luck and encouragement goes out to all my C25K comrades!  I did it.  If I can kick W5D3's ass, then you can too.  I'm going to be a runner.  I'm going to run in races.  I am going to be strong and healthy.  I am going to teach my children how to do the same.  We can all do this.  You can do it and I CAN DO IT too!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Week 5, Day 2 interval 2 - program alterations and being chased by a dog

The plan this morning was to drive my car to the car dealership for servicing and then jog home.  I spent a good deal of time online last night plotting out the route I would take so I could get an ample amount of walk time before and after my run.  I had it all figured and had decided to shorten the walk time to 3 minutes between my two 8 minute runs.  I was going to need to have my pepper spray with me this morning as I would be going on the street where the loose dog had scared me once before (which I haven't jogged past since).

So, off I went this morning, dropped the car and started on my way.  First obstacle:  a road that appeared to go all the way through neighborhoods on the map did not, and I had to turn around and find another way through.  No problem.  I can handle that!  I ended up heading back up a way further to a cut through I've taken many times.  As I made my way out, about 2 minutes into my run, a HUGE German Shepard rounded the corner all alone.  I stopped dead in my tracks and watched.  In an instant, the dog darted in my direction and started toward me barking.  Shit!  I forgot to grab the pepper spray.  I turned and ran toward a driveway and came around the back side of someone's SUV.  The dog stopped on the other side of the car, watching me, growling.  I was ready to jump on top of the car if I needed to when an old man came around the corner.  I yelled to him and asked if this was his dog and he said, "yes, don't worry, he won't hurt you."  The hell he won't.  I have had far too much trouble with animals in the last few weeks and this was the final straw.  I just unleashed on this guy.  I started to yell at him that if he has an animal that would chase someone and growl at them, then they are capable of hurting them too.  I told him that if I had a phone, I'd be calling the police.  He apologized, but that was not enough for me.  I said that everyone thinks their dogs are the nicest and would never hurt anyone, but dogs do hurt people.  Dogs, no matter how much we love them, are animals and are therefore subject to erratic and unexpected behavior and THAT IS WHY THEY HAVE LEASH LAWS!!!!!  "Get your dog on a leash!" 

He dragged the dog off by his collar and I took off running, my body surging with adrenaline that I didn't want to waste.  Boy was I pissed off.  I ran for 6 more minutes at a very fast speed and then slowed down to recover a bit.  I didn't want to walk a full 5 minutes again, so I shortened it to 3 minutes and then started running again.  This time, that last eight minutes was really good.  In fact, I ran a little more than 9 minutes.  I had decided to forgo the podcast this morning and ran listening to my audio book (it is a really good one and I've been listening every minute I possible can).  The segments are long enough and I've done this enough times now that I know when I need to check my time.  When I looked at the clock at the end of my run I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only had I finished, I had surpassed my goal!  A great feeling to have just before the 20 minute run.  I feel very encouraged and actually excited for this.  I think I'll enjoy it.  I hope so anyway.  But today's run melted my doubts away and has lifted my confidence.  Saturday morning, I will run for 20 minutes without any walking and for the first time since this all began, I feel very sure that I CAN DO IT!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Week 5, Day 2 - Too much of a good thing?

Ain't nothing gonna break my stride
Nobody's gonna slow me down
Oh no, I've got to keep on moving
Ain't nothing gonna break my stride
I'm running and I won't touch ground
Oh no, I've got to keep on moving

Those are the words that went through my head as I started my first eight minute segment this morning. I wasn't sure what to expect when I started out this morning, but I quickly felt that I was hitting my stride and was enjoying the run. For the most part, I have been running the same route the couple of weeks. I do it in part because there is a good amount of dirt roads and paths and I find it much easier on my body to run on dirt. Also, I like being able to see how much further I am running as time goes on. It is another way for me to measure my success.

What's funny is the fact that though I am seeing the same scenery day to day, I am always seeing something new as well. Sometimes it is something like a bird's nest I didn't notice before or a nice yard with pretty flowers that I am enjoying for the first time. Other times, like today, I see new people walking their dogs, letting them take care of business on other people's lawns and leaving it for the homeowners to clean up later. I know you all know how much I love bad animal owners and if you knew me personally, you'd know how hard it was for me to keep my mouth shut this morning. Obviously, it would be unwise to confront someone when I am all by myself and there are hardly any other people out and about yet, but some people really need to hear how lame they are!  I can only hope that my disgusted gaze burned some self-awareness into John Q. Lamo's  thick, inconsiderate skull.

But I digress...eight minutes went by really fast and then my 5 minute recovery walk began. And here's the thing: three minutes would have been enough and five minutes was too much. Once the next run began, I felt it was much more difficult to carry on than it was last time after a three minute recovery walk. I am very happy to have found this program and am grateful to it for the progress it has helped me achieve, so forgive me for being critical, but I don't understand why such a long recovery walk would be built into the workout when the very next day in the program more than doubles your run time without any walking break at all. I don't understand the logic. Shouldn't we be gradually adding more running time and less walking time? I am going to repeat this day once more before moving on and I think I will try reducing the walk time. I'll let you know how it goes. Until then keep thinking positive. I know you can you it just as I know, I CAN DO IT!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Week 5, Day 1, version 2 - Booya baby!

I did it!  I mapped out my route in advance and made a goal to make it the entire 2 miles regardless of how long it took me.  I figured I would be really tired because I didn't know what my pace was, but I was pretty sure it was slow and that I wasn't really hitting the distance marks.  So on Sunday morning, I got up early and set out. 

As I usually do, I started with a short walk and then some stretching before I kicked into my 5 minute warm up walk.  Then the running began.  So far, W5D1 is my favorite run.  I find the run times to be challenging, but not defeating and the walk times in between to be just enough.  It is amazing to me that as I am moving along, watching the scenery go by, running further than I have in a great many years, I find myself actually feeling stronger by the minute (as opposed to weaker like I did in the beginning).  And do you know what I found even more amazing???  I hit the 2 mile distance marker 20 seconds before the last 5 minute interval was over.  I know it is only 20 seconds, but to me, it was so much.  It told me that I was stronger than I had been giving myself credit for.  I really felt so full of pride and accomplishment!!!!

Once I returned home, there was little time to relish my milestone.  It was Father's Day, after all, and I had a breakfast to make for my husband (eggs Benedict), food to cook for a potluck, children to get ready and day bags to pack.  I barely had time to squeeze in a shower and get myself ready, never mind sit down to write my blog.  It was a wonderful day though...and while I may have eaten and drank more calories than I ran off during the party, it was a really fun and special day.  More running to do in the morning and less food to consume over the course of the day, so hopefully the scale will tip the other way!  Tomorrow, I move on to W5D2.  I will be running for time and then I will repeat the day and run for distance on Thursday.  That gives me until Saturday to mentally prepare for W5D3, the dreaded 20 minute run without any walking.  No matter how good I am feeling, that run still seems like a giant leap...I will be prepared though.  I am doing now what I though impossible a few weeks ago, so why not 20 minutes?  I can do it.  I CAN do it.  I CAN DO it.  I CAN DO IT!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Week 5, Day 1 - Restless nights and early mornings

The first words I uttered in my head this morning were, "No Excuses."  I had many for not wanting to get out of bed:  up many times last night with a distraught toddler who has 5 new teeth arriving all at once; a stuffy nose and itchy throat from the brutal allergy season; still feeling salted about the Celtics loss last night.  But alas, I dragged myself, bleary eyed and bitter, out of bed and dressed myself.  My blood was slow to start moving.  I walked for several minutes before the yawning subsided and I felt at all ready to fire up some Chubby Jones and begin the power walking.  Once I did though, it all started to click into place.  I always stop mid walk, be it at the beginning  or during the so-called recovery walks, to stretch my legs, calves, and lower back a little more.  It amounts to about 30 seconds, but it makes all the difference to me.  I have yet to experience any shin splints (which I always have in the past when I run) or cramping in my legs, so I stick with it religiously. 

Once I started running, it felt really good.  I found today's intervals to be much easier to finish than last week's.  I'm not sure I am quite hitting the total distances the program calls for, but I think I am pretty close.  I discovered a website that allows you to enter your running routes and then it calculate the exact distance.  I was going to check out my total mileage this morning, but the site is down until tomorrow.  If you're interested, the address is www.gmap-pedometer.com.  At any rate, it felt good and I think I am going to run W5D1 once more with the goal of hitting the distance mark.  The cool thing about today's run was that for the first time since I started this program, I really did feel that I could be running 5K.  I mean, up to now, that always felt so far away.  And while I have been positive about this C25K thing, it has still been hard for me to even imagine myself running for 20 or 25 or 30 minutes without stopping.  Even last night, thinking about day 3 of this week, I felt nothing but dread, but now, I know that while it may be hard, I will be able to do it.  It's like the more I say it, the more real it actually becomes.  My hard work, my commitment, my mindset, and the support of friends, family and fellow C25Kers - it all adds up to the wonderful truth that I know deep down:  I CAN DO IT!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Week 4, Day 5 - The real deal

Since I haven't actually run since Saturday morning, I was quite fearful that I would find myself out of shape and unable to run this morning.  I was afraid that 4 days without a run was going to be the undoing of all my hard work.  I was, I am happy to say, a bit of a Chicken Little in this regard, as the sky did not fall and I was fully able to run my last week 4 workout without too much difficulty.  I was sucking air pretty hard that last five minutes, but I made it.  In all honesty, the last of the week 5 workouts scares me, but the first looks very doable.  In fact, I think that I'll prefer three 5 minute runs to the varied run and walk durations of week 4.  We shall see. 

I realize after this little hiccup I encountered how important the routine is in physical fitness.  Each day away from it seems like a exponential leap from the last.  And while I did walk on Monday, it didn't have the same impact on me as a run would have, and as a result, I felt miles away from Saturday morning in my head.  On Monday evening, I laid out my clothes intending to do my run Tuesday morning, but a bad night of sleep with a teething baby and a stuffy nose had me rolling back over and going back to sleep.  Now, I know this is hardly the end of the world, but that one break from the routine I had established also altered the mindset I had established about it - NO EXCUSES.  I have to say all this and cement this idea in my mind because in two weeks, I am travelling back to the east coast to stay with my family.  I'll be there for three weeks and if I wasn't totally sure of what my commitment level had to be and didn't have my attitude about carrying on the C25K program set, then I can see how easy it would be to slip. 

We've all said it before, but so much of the success of this program, or really, any fitness program, is dependant on attitude.  It is mental toughness as much as physical toughness.  I must stay committed to my routine and the program and to myself. No excuses, I CAN DO IT!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Week 4, Day 5 - A day late and a dollar short

I had just an amazing weekend!  Starting with the arrival of a good friend and his kids and ending with a great wedding and a fun night camping.  I was so glad I got up early and ran on Saturday before we left.  It was a far better run than the last and I felt energized by it.  I had a ton to do so we could get out of town on time, so I couldn't sit and write (much anyway).  My plan was to write yesterday, but I returned home with the most unbelievable allergy attack I think I've ever had.  I couldn't breath.  I couldn't stop sneezing and my nose wouldn't stop running.  My sinuses were stinging and swollen and I hated life.  I was in no mood to sit and write anything. 

Despite this, my resolve to stay on track had me doing the normal nightly preparations for my run and I set the alarm to get up at 6:10 am.  I got out of bed, still feeling pretty crummy, dressed and left the house.  All started well, but as soon as I started running and breathing heavy, I thought I was going to DIE.  The sinuses were burning and I felt like my temples were going to burst open, so for the first time since I started this program, I abandoned my mission.  I could not go on.  I walked the entire route I normally would just to go through the motions and not feel like a total loser.  Providing I feel better on the morning, I will try it again.  Since I am not feeling great and now I missed a day, I am going to do W4D5 one last time before starting week 5.  If I am still illing tomorrow, then look for me on Wednesday, but I really want to jump right back in before I lose my momentum.

I remain committed and have my goal locked into my view.  This day is but a small setback and I am choosing to focus on the positive that I still got up and tried.  I want this, I need this and I am determined to do this.  So, watch out, I'll be back and I know that I CAN DO IT!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Week 4, Day 4 - Running, Running, Running

Woke up this morning and went running.  Came home and ran around getting ready to go to the wedding and camp.  Was running late all morning and now I have to run out the door, so I will write my blog tomorrow when I am not running myself ragged.

Hope you all have a very nice day!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Week 4, Day 3 - not every day can be a good day

I want to be honest here, so I have to start by saying that today sucked.  I was awake for hours last night and when I was just on the verge of falling back asleep and able to catch an hour of precious slumber before the alarm went off, my daughter woke up.  All she wanted was her pacifier and she went right back to sleep, but I would not be so lucky.  So, a few minutes before 6:00, I got out of bed, drank some water and scarfed down a banana.  I don't usually eat before I run, but I figured I had the time to let it sit and digest before I hit the pavement, so I gave it a try.

I don't know if it was the lack of sleep or the food in my stomach or both, but this run never felt good to me from the start.  I finished each run interval, but labored through them all.  Try as I might to think positive thoughts, each gruelling minute seemed to last an eternity and I felt nauseous the entire time.  Normally, I really enjoy walking at the end of the last run interval and intentionally go further than I need to so I have a good 3/4 - 1 mile to  cool down, but today it was tough.  My legs were rubbery and slow and it seemed like I would never get home.  It was, of course, raining, but the one bright spot in this morning's workout was the beautiful rainbow I got to see along the way.

Some days are just going to be like that I guess.  I'm glad I pushed through, but I wish I felt better about it.  I have a wedding to go to on Saturday in a nice grove in the Redwoods.  We are camping there afterwards and I decided that there was so much happening that morning to get me ready and out the door that I was going to repeat one more week 4  workout rather than trying to take on something new and unknown.  I'm glad I decided that in advance, because after today, I definitely am not feeling like I am ready for week 5 yet.  Hopefully, like every other 4th workout I do, I kick its ass and move on the next day.

I'm sorry, my friends, that I was not able to sprinkle a little ray of sunshine today.  As much as I try to be positive, I am also trying to be honest, so there you have it.  I wish you all the best in your runs today or tomorrow and leave you with this though...if I could get up today and finish this run, despite feeling tired and sick to my stomach, the YOU CAN DO IT too!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Week 4, Day 2 - half way through the program

On my refrigerator is a spreadsheet with the entire C25K program printed on it.  Every time I return from a run, I "X" out the corresponding box.  When I repeat a day, I make a cross through it so it looks like a little star.  It is a very satisfying exercise and it gives me a visual representation of what I am accomplishing.  Today, as I marked the W4D2 box I realized I was half way through the program.  Wow!  I have come so far and am excited to know that there is still a long way ahead of me.  If I have made such amazing strides for myself in 4 1/2 weeks, just think what I can do in the next 4 1/2 weeks!

Yesterday afternoon was just beautiful.  I had every window in the house open and the evening was warmer than usual.  I got my things ready last night for today's run expecting more of the same, so was deeply disappointed to awaken to the realization that I'd be running in the rain again.  It's fine to run in the rain, but really not as enjoyable to me as starting the day running in the crisp, clean, cool air of a bright, blue morning.  On top of the crummy weather, the rain brings out the slugs.  I swear, it's like the onslaught of rain is to slugs is what the lighting of the Olympic torch is to humans.  They come out in force ready to show off their finesse and skill.  The only problem is, I feel like I am running on an obstacle course.  I haven't spoken to this yet, but I have a history of unique and cataclysmic accidents that have landed me hurt, on crutches, in the ER, and wrapped in bandages on many occasions.  I'll say that no one has ever used the word graceful to describe me, so it is with extra caution that I tread on this slug land mine field.  And of course, as I've mentioned before, I don't live in an area I would consider to be inhabited by the most responsible dog owners, so there are quite a few land mines of another kind I must watch for on the sidewalks (argh!).

Nevertheless, I kicked W4D2's ass.  It had me in a tight corner that last 2 minutes of the last run, but I found some punch and finished strong.  It felt good.  I felt strong and alive.  I want to continue feeling this way.  I hope now that we are moving into a phase of longer running, I'll start to see more results in the weight loss department.  I am still noticing differences in how my clothes fit, but I'd really like to start seeing more differences on the scale.  I am committed to this 100% though, so I know that I will reach my goals, I know that I CAN DO IT!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Week 4, Day 1 - I have to do what?

I am so very glad that I didn't read ahead to today's workout ahead of time.  It would have given me far too much time to fret.  The task seemed very daunting to me:  3 minutes of running, followed by 90 seconds of walking followed by 5 minutes of running and then repeat it all again.  I decided that my best approach would be to get a lot of extra warm up and stretching in advance, so I walked for quite a while before I stopped and got in a great stretch session.  Then I started the Chubby Jones week 4 podcast and got moving once again. 

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the first eight minutes of running went extremely well.  In fairness, part of the first 5 minute run was downhill, so that helped, but I was feeling good at the end.  The vengefully fast 90 seconds of walking between runs seemed too short, but  isn't it always?  The next three minutes were good, but I was starting to slow down a bit.  But oh boy, that last 5 minutes really killed me.  I did OK for the fir 2 minutes, but then I was really hitting the wall.  I really had to push myself.  Mia kept coming on to be encouraging and was pushing for a last kick of speed to end the run, but there was no reserves for me to do that.  I made it the full distance, but man, it exhausted me.  I walked for a while afterwards.  I just needed to keep moving, albeit, very slowly.  I even passed my house and kept walking because I felt the need to keep cooling down.  I wanted to have my breath back and feel human again when I got home.  I was at a particularly enthralling place in my audio book, so the extra time was nice.

So, I'm home now, baby is napping and my husband took our son to a baseball game. I have utter silence and solitude and I didn't even need to lace up my running shoes to get it. So on that note, I will leave you for today. I am tired and glad for a day of rest, but feel sure the next run will be even better.  I would have found it impossible to believe a month ago that I was capable of finishing a run like today's.  I need to remember that going forward, because bigger and more difficult challenges await me!  No matter what though, I'll be out there, working hard and trying to make myself a stronger and healthier person because I know that I CAN DO IT!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Week 3, Day 4 - Another week bites the dust!

Today is going to be a good day.  I can tell.  I woke up feeling well rested and looking forward to my run.  And even though it was raining really hard (seriously, I am about to start a new Noah's Ark themed blog), I couldn't wait to get outside.  I stretched in the rain and to my great delight, just as I started walking, the rain stopped.  This really is going to be a good day!

My run went well too.  I felt pretty loose and strong through all the runs.  I even added in an extra 3 minutes run to test my endurance a little.  I was tired at the end, no doubt, and there was certainly less spring in my step for the rest of the walk home, but I started and finished strong and that feels so great.  I'm not even going to look ahead to what comes next in week 4 until tomorrow because I want to ride high the rest of the day without fretting about the next big leap I am about to take.

This entire experience so far has been so empowering to me in so many ways.  First, taking the steps to make this time for myself.  Sleep is great, don't get me wrong, I love sleep, but there is no better way to start the day than getting up alone, leaving the house alone, and doing something that makes me feel good in my body and my mind.  To feel such a sense of accomplishment by 7:30 in the morning is great!  Second, having found an outlet to talk about the experiences I am having, whether they are good or bad, has been huge.  It is so nice to use this part of my brain on a regular basis.  It is surprising how little it gets used when your mothering and housekeeping and you don't realize it until you start using it again!  And last, though I absolutely love and need to the support of my friends and my family, I have found the support and encouragement from my fellow C25Kers and bloggers to be inspiring, motivating, and heartfelt.  We need each other as much as we need our loved ones.  There is an understanding and a true sense of camaraderie in this community.  We all seem to relish each other's successes and feel each other's pain.  And though I have not met the other people I have been going through this program with, I feel so invested in urging them on and enjoying their successes as much as my own.  It has been an unintended but unbelievably wonderful benefit of writing this blog.   So friends, keep up the great work!  If you can do it, I CAN DO IT!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Week 3, Day 3 - No rain, no gain

I need to start going to bed earlier.  That was my first thought this morning when the alarm went off at 6:20.  Didn't turn over to go to sleep last night until 11:30 and then had my slumber rudely interrupted by my daughter at 3:30.  I have plans to meet some girlfriends in town this evening for a Cosmo and some Sex in the City 2, so it will be a late one and the prospects of me getting any sleep between now and then are doubtful.  As I continue on, I know that being well rested is going to be a key to my success, so today a new resolution is born:  I must get to bed by 10:30 the night before a run.

I allowed myself a single snooze and then bounded out of bed and got ready to go.  It was raining pretty hard this morning, so I threw on a rain jacket and headed out the door.  I had hoped to get in a little extra warm up walking before I started the C25K podcast, but it was too wet and I just wanted to get it done, so I stretched and jumped right into my 5 minute walk.  The first 90 second run was OK, though I still felt a little tight.  I did a little extra stretching during the 90 seconds of walking and the 3 minutes of running that came next were great.  I felt looser and was really into it.  When Mia told me to slow it down, I think I could have kept going.  When the next 90 seconds came, I powered through and did well, but the last 3 minutes of running seemed unbearable.  Honestly, it was night and day from the first 3 minutes.  I am not sure if it is all in my head or if there is too much walking in between or what.  If I look back, I always struggle with the day 3 workout and then kick ass on day 4.  I don't know...I am going to do another week 3 workout just because it has worked out so well for me up to now.  I am planning on adding one more interval to increase the challenge a bit and see how I do. 

One thing I think I'll reconsider in the future is the rain jacket.  It was both too hot and too heavy (not that I don't like hot and heavy like the next person, just not while jogging!).  If anyone out there has any suggestions on what to wear in the rain, I'd love to hear them.  I figure unless any better ideas come my way,  I'll be going with the C25K wet t-shirt program.  Who knows, maybe I'll inspire some new runners that way!  In the meantime, you all keep up the good work and I will too.  Remember, when excuses start to clutter your thoughts, beat them back with the mantra of champions:  I CAN DO IT!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Week 3, Day 2 - just a matter of getting out the door

It has been a glorious weekend.  The best weather we've had all year and lots of fun activities, parties and BBQing.  The perfect Memorial Day weekend filled with lots of sunshine.  And let me just tell you, it has taken it out of me!  The entire family slept in this morning and the kids did not wake me until 8:30.  We got on with the morning shuffle of coffee, juice, oatmeal and at about 10:00 I decided that I needed to get moving or I might never make it out.  So I dressed and was ready to go, but was still finding it hard to take that step out of the house.  To be completely honest, I was not really motivated to run as much as I was motivated to not let myself down.  With some encouragement from my supportive husband and kids, however, I was able get a move on.

I started with a little audio book today though and walked a good 1/2 mile before I fired up the C25K podcast.  Was feeling a little slow and stiff and figured a little extra warm-up would do me right...which it did.  I felt much better during the entire run today than I did on W3D1.  At the end of my second interval, I was actually feeling like I could keep going.  In fact, when Mia announced that we were done, I still did one more run. 

I can't believe how far I've come in such a short time.  If I could bottle up how I feel about myself and let people sample it, everyone would be doing this.  And what is so crazy to me is that as good as I am feeling now and as far as I have come, I am still just at the beginning.  While I am intimidated by what is yet to come (W5D3, gulp), I am so excited to get there and know the feeling that will come with accomplishing it.  2010 did not get off to the best start for me and for a while there, it seemed like this would become just another year of broken resolutions.  I am so grateful to have found this program and that it has helped me find myself again.  No more doubt, no more excuses, no more forgetting to take care of me...I can do it!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Week 3, Day 1 - and a little about "the number"

My husband will be reading this, so I won't say too much on the subject, but our alarm went off this morning at the same exact time that both children woke up and there was a new sense of motivation that came with watching him get up and tend to the kids while I dressed and readied myself for the big run!  This was needed, as I was stuck in a bit of dread about the start of week 3...

I was ready though, had my week 3 podcast all queued up, stretched and was off.  I had what I hoped was a relatively dog-free route planned (since I hadn't gotten my mace yet) and I found that being out on the road a bit later than normal, there were many more joggers on the road.  I love the knowing nod that you give one another as you pass by.  The one that silently aknowledges that, "we kick ass!"  My first 90 second interval went well and I even felt ready to run again when the time came.  The next run, 3 long minutes worth, was actually not too bad.  No lie, I was very happy when Mia told me to slow it down and was equally happy to hear that even she was dreading this run.  Before I knew it, even though it was 3 minutes of walking, it was time to run 90 more seconds.  They weren't the quickest 90 seconds ever, that would be saved for the next 90 seconds of walking.  I felt like I had barely caught my breath when my next 3 minutes of running began.  This one seemed long.  Mia kept coming on to be encouraging.  After ninety seconds, she said, "You're half-way there!"  What the EFFFF?  Only half way there?  I felt like I had been running for way longer than 90 seconds.  But it came to an end and I was ever so greatful to walk for 3 more minutes.  The last interval was difficult, and even though Mia was encouraging me to push it hard, I was not able to push it beyond a slow jog.  That's OK though, I made it!  I did it!  I was so relieved to have some time to walk and breath, and listen to my book.   It is a very gratifying part of the experience.

When I got home, I had to jump back into action to get me and my family ready for some morning plans we had.  I got the shower started and decided to jump on the scale and see how I was doing.  I've been eating really well since starting this program and have all but cut out deserts and unnecessary snacking.  So, naked and without any food in my body, I stepped on and took in the new number:  178.  3 1/2 pounds down from the beginning of the month.  I know that's good, especially since I know I am building muscle right now.  The reality is that the number doesn't really reflect the real changes I can see for myself, that I can feel when I button my pants.  That is why my goals didn't include any specific new number...I knew that as I got back into shape the number wouldn't spiral downward very quickly.  Still, can't help but wish that I'd been more pleasantly surprised.  it is what it is though and I still feel good about myself.  Actually, I feel great.  I was afraid of this workout I had to take on today, but I conquered it.  I didn't give up and because of that, I grow ever confidant that no matter what the challenge before me, I CAN DO IT!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Week 2, Day 4 - Another close encounter of the canine kind

This morning did not go to plan exactly.  Despite ensuring last night that my alarm was set to the right time, set to a.m. and was turned on, I was not awoken at 6:35.  By some stroke of luck, my husband happened to open his eyes and see that it was almost 6:50 and woke me up.  It seems that the radio station dial had been messed with and the volume turned all the way down.  I have a little 23 pound suspect who gets her hands into everything these days, but since she doesn't speak yet, the questioning will have to wait.

I dressed quickly and dashed out the door, forgoing my usual stretch session and got right to the 5 minute walk.  I stopped once or twice to stretch my calves and shins, but my fourth week 2 run came upon me quickly.  I was not as loose as I normally am, so I wasn't really hitting my stride right away.  I took a new route today to keep it fresh and it did not take me long to regret it.  In the middle of my first run interval, I watched as a huge black do came running out of its yard toward me barking.  It stopped advancing me when it was about 10 feet away, but kept barking and growling.  I was paralyzed with fear and was completely unsure what do do.  I moved slowly along, keeping my eyes on him always.  I was doing kind of a side step trying to keep as much distance from him as I could while still trying to get away from him.  The barking never stopped and I was so afraid that he would lunge at me.  As I reached the corner of the street, I noticed a man who I shall call Cletus standing in his driveway watching the encounter with a sort of stupid grin on his face.  I asked him if he was the dog's owner and he said no, but not to worry, the dog was all bark, no bite.  He actually said he thinks the dog is funny.  "Real $#*#$%ing funny," I said as I kept moving further away from Cujo.  Once I made it to the next corner and was able to get off the street and out of site, I began running again, just trying to get more distance, but looking frequently over my shoulder.  As opposed to my last canine encounter, my confrontation with Cletus and Cujo left little to laugh about. 

I backed up my podcast and went back to run one and continued on my way.  Adrenaline was pumping now and I was beginning to get back into stride.  I will not allow myself to skip the stretching again because I felt tight through most of the run.  And since I wasn't dying at the end of my run today, I will prepare to move on to week 3 on Saturday.  In the meantime, I think I will go ahead and pick up a small can of pepper spray to keep with me on my runs.  I can't be that vulnerable again.  If people can't be responsible animal owners, then I will have to do what it takes to be protected.  I hope I'll never need to use it, but I know I need the peace of mind.

Though I am nervous about keeping up with the next level of the program, I need to keep pushing forward if I am to make progress.  As many of you have shared with me, this program is not the same for everyone.  If it takes me longer to master a week, that's OK.  If I struggle with a workout, it doesn't mean I've failed.  What is important is that I keep up with the routine, I make exercise a part of my life, and I get my body healthy and strong.  C25K isn't a race to a finish line, it is a map to better physical and mental health.  So each day, each morning that I rise to run, I will cling to my new mantra:  I CAN DO IT!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Week 2, Day 3 - pushing through the pain in the rain

I really enjoy starting my days with some solitude.  I love being able to do something for myself first thing in the morning rather than starting my day be responding to other people's needs (i.e. my kids).  I feel so alive, my cheeks hot and brow sweaty, legs rubbery and tired, heart pounding as I push to make my last few running strides strong.  And it is so refreshing to feel my breath returning to me, gasps returning to deep inhalations of crisp morning air.  It really is a great start to a day.  So, why is it that when the alarm goes off, I find it so dreadful to get out of bed?  Where's that old childhood enthusiasm that could get me out of bed with a spring in my step and excitement in my blood? 

Despite its absence, I slowly get out of bed and start getting myself dressed and stretched and ready to go.  Looks like a good morning to run, a little grayish, but dry and cool.  I've determined that I am going to pick up my pace this morning.  I don't want to watch a clock while I am running as that seems to have a negative psychological impact on me, so I remember where I was when I had finished my run last time and aim to be further along my route when I complete today's program.  So I get started and and in the middle of my first run, the rain started pouring down.  I wasn't prepared for it, so I got very wet, but it wasn't so bad and I guess I am glad that the rain didn't get the chance to give me pause this morning.  Running in the rain was actually refreshing in its own way, so now that is one less obstacle in my way in the future!

I found the first few intervals to be challenging, but I made it without great difficulty.  The third interval is where I started finding it hard to keep up my quicker pace.  I was panting and my muscles just burning by the end of 90 seconds and I barely felt ready to run again after two minutes.  My running slowed quite a bit from that point and while I did make it further than I did last time, I felt a little beat up.  Today should be the last of the week 2 workouts, but I don't feel entirely ready to move on.  Reading through other people's experiences on The Couch to 5K Facebook page, I know a lot of people repeat weeks until they feel more ready to move on.  I know that it isn't a big deal to do so, but still, I wonder if I'm just telling myself that I need more time because I am afraid.  I don't know.  I don't want to sell myself short, but I also don't want to move on before I am ready.  I feel like the confidence I build at every run propels me forward.  I fear what a bad experience would do to my mind set, so I think I will run another interval of week 2 before graduate to week 3.  I am going to go out there on Thursday with a positive attitude, ready to kick some ass because I know I CAN DO IT!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Week 2, Day 2 - beautiful day for a run

It is a glorious day for running.  Cool, but not cold, blue sky and quiet on the roads.  My daughter is still sick and EXTREMELY whiny, so I must admit, I was anxious to get out of the house for a bit this morning and enjoy some solitude.

After a good stretch (one that I really needed as I found myself quite sore from yesterday's Zumba workout) and a brisk 5 minute walk, I was off and running.  Ninety seconds flew by and I began my two minute walk.  At this point, 2 dogs from the neighborhood behind mine approached me and one was sniffing in areas I'd rather he hadn't.  The owner was outside and yelled to me, "Don't worry, they're nice dogs.  They won't bite."  First of all, I don't care...sorry if you're a dog lover out there, but your dogs should be trained to leave strangers passing by alone or else they should be kept on leashes.  Second, I usually get at least a dinner and movie before anyone gets this far with me, so I was not appreciating this encounter.  Finally he called them off and I moved along, albeit, feeling just a little dirty.

The rest of the intervals came and went without incident.  Mia was playing some great music today and she was really encouraging me to pick up the pace at the end.  I did, but I sure was feeling it.  I am trying not to get too ahead of myself here, but I have to admit, when I read ahead on the plan I start to get pretty nervous.  I know I need to take it one day at a time, but it's still hard for me to imagine running 3 + miles without stopping.  This self-doubt still creeps in despite the fact that I haven't felt this good about myself in a long time.  I believe in the program though, so I have to focus on where I am today and look forward to gaining new confidence in myself once I succeed at the next plateau.  My attitude and will to succeed are the keys that will get me to my goal, so I'll keep saying it and saying until I reach the finish line:  I CAN DO IT!