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.