Monday, March 22, 2010

One-year runniversary

Not a year of running exactly. I took two months off last fall due to my hip injury, and almost a month off in the late winter what with travel and Sophie's illness. But it was March 23rd last year that I started running using the Couch to 5k (C25k) program. The first two weeks just about killed me. I was 45 and hadn't really run since 15 years earlier, when I was pregnant with Erin. Every muscle from my navel down hurt. I had blisters that bled in my (crappy) shoes. I wasn't in terrible shape, but running on mountain highways with their steep long hills I needed the walking intervals at first, and I was slow.

It's a year later and running is definitely a part of my life. I miss it when I can't run. My weekly maintenance mileage is about 20-40 kms depending on the weather. My pace has improved from 11-minute miles at the completion of C25k to 8.5-minute miles for a Tempo run, and 9.5-minute miles for long trail runs of 10 miles or more (a bit faster on the roads).

This spring my push is to develop more balanced strength, especially in my core and upper body. The form-filler in me was inspired by the nifty hundredpushups, twohundredsitups and twohundresquats programs. I did the Initial Tests for all three and the results were kind of telling. On pushups I ranked in the poorest of six categories. Situps I was mid-range. And squats -- I maxed out, graduating from the program before I even started. So there you go -- my upper limbs are wet noodles, my trunk plastercine and my legs, well-trained from a year of running mountain highways and trails, are (relatively speaking) well-oiled pistons.

As spring arrives and the trails are free of snow and muck, I'm increasing my running mileage again, and I'm making good progress on my quest to become something other than a bunch of flabby noodles on a pair of legs. I'm well on my way to that goal, and the bonus is that I'm not losing as much weight as I did last summer when I was also running lots. I was happy about the first 15 pounds of weight loss, but when it kept dropping I was starting to get worried. During the fall and winter, with less running, I gained back to where I'm happy, and I'm staying there now.

I'm on my third pair of shoes now. My Asics Kayanos, bought last fall, were a godsend. The day I put them on my hip pain, which had scarcely improved at all despite two months of complete rest, began to disappear. I'm already keeping my eyes peeled for a deal on my next pair. I will never wear anything else. For me they're the right shoe. Best hundred and forty bucks I've spent in a long time.

My celebratory run to round out the year was a lovely 10-miler along a fabulous trail in the woods on the edge of the lake. It's low elevation and therefore entirely free of snow already, and yet virtually unpeopled (and unbeared) at this time of year. The woods and the lake scenery were amazing.


  1. Congratulations!

  2. Anonymous8:33 am

    Good for you for keeping at it. My son and I did the Couch to 5K in the fall, but we stopped once the goal had been reached, and now I just can't get up the motivation to do it again. Running is not something I enjoy.

  3. Happy anniversary! I'm trying to work out your route along the lakeside. Did you go past 'our' house in the woods?

    The first two weeks of that programme are unbelievably tough. M and I started it and agreed that if you were truly 'on the couch' you'd just get right back on again. Dark nights (our only time to run during the week) and an onslaught of homework put running aside during the winter. Perhaps we'll emerge again soon.

  4. Yes, Linda, the trail goes right past "your" house. You can zoom in a bit on the map by clicking on it. Heading along the red route from the bottom of the frame, just where it heads from the greyer part of the image into the greener, the route passes just above the house, crossing the last switchback of the driveway.

    I have a friend who is starting the C25k program and I just said to her last night "the first two weeks are a killer!"

  5. I think it varies by person - I sailed through the first 2 weeks, did okay with the 3rd and then really bogged down in week 4.

  6. i was just reading this and thought you might find it interesting.

  7. Anonymous3:16 pm

    You've definitely gone way past the 5K mark. 10K is my max but I'll have to step up a bit to get there again. I've been barely maintaining my fitness level through a recent move, winter conditions, and a husband who is away often. But somehow I've managed. It took me a long time to get to this level of fitness and my motivation is not to have to repeat the training schedule again!

  8. Bug, I have been toying with barefoot running since last summer but since I injured my hip right after beginning the shift and moving to more minimalist footwear I got spooked. However I just finished reading "Born to Run" and I'm going to give it another shot. More gradually, and hopefully with a bit of pro input. We'll see.

  9. This is so neat for me to read. Congratulations on the runniversary!!

    I lost track of your blog when life got busy quite awhile ago and it's nice to find you again, still blogging.

    We are in the same home learning program, and also I just started the C25K program last month, so you're exactly a year ahead of me!

    I'm finding it so helpful to have the weekly podcasts and the slow, gradual goals. I am so impressed with (literally) how far you've gone since starting it yourself.

    Lately, I have been really enjoying your archives when I get a chance, your posts on parenting, home learning and especially the honest and real posts in "the ugly face of reality" are right up my alley. Love it!

    Take care!

  10. Anonymous5:48 am

    Perfect timing! It's taken me forever to comment here because I didn't want to get ahead of myself but I'm now on week four of each of the sit ups/push ups/squats programmes and they really are what I was looking for. Now I just need something that gives extra credit for doing the push ups while spelling for the oldest and sit ups while answering math inquiries for the middle one, not to mention squats with the littlest pulling me down.


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