C25K, W1D1

Just finished the first day of the Couch to 5K. I’ve tried the Couch to 5K plan a few times before but I usually get bored with it and quit. I’ve never completed a whole week. Day 1: I alternated running & walking at 2.5 mph & 4 mph. On the last few intervals I switched it up a little and ran 4.2 & 4.5 mph. It looks like the first few days don’t really feel like a solid workout, but I’m hoping it will improve my stamina and speed. I jump-roped… jumped-rope… started out with a jump-rope for a little bit, and man, I haven’t done that in a long time! It’s not easy! I tried jumping on one leg – It didn’t work. You know what’s cool, though? The jump-rope matches my sneakers.  I’ll probably get back for day 2 on Thursday.

Happy New Year’s Eve! Be safe!


Couch to 5K

I’m starting the Couch to 5K today!

I know – you’re saying,”But Sarah, haven’t you already run slash walked two 5Ks?”

Well, yes, I have. I find myself lost without some kind of workout challenge. I have very little discipline. example of lack of discipline: I skipped running yesterday because my husband and I went to see the Hunger Games (which was awesome) and I ate Taco Bell and popcorn instead. This is not conducive to my plan, although it was fun and tasty and it has been a long time since we had a nice date night.

I have not set a weight loss or workout goal because I am trying to avoid creating a situation in which I will feel bad about myself and inevitably quit running altogether. Although I love supporting other runners and people doing positive things in their lives, I have trouble reading their before & after stories and NOT comparing myself to them. I started reading a blog yesterday and this guy, in his first post, at the beginning of his journey, he could run a twelve minute mile. I can barely get a mile in the 16 minute range. I started to feel like I’m not doing a good job, or I’ll never improve. I feel this overwhelming disappointment that I’m still not good enough, and that’s not a thought I want to let creep into my head. I want to be positive about other people’s success, but I guess I’ve had plenty of practice at beating myself up. Don’t get me wrong, I would certainly like to drop to a size 16, but I will not fall into the mindset that anything other than that is ‘not good enough.’ I refuse to fall into that trap again. I am good enough, at whatever size I am. 

Well, that sort of got away from me. Isn’t it funny how you sit down intending to write about one thing but your brain and fingers are practically compelled to work out something else? 

My goal is just to be happy, and I am happy when I set a goal and complete it. That’s how I got started running – I signed up for a 5K and realized I had better get out there and pound the pavement. I will never be fast (damn you, short legs!) and I might never be the best but at least I can be happy. 

so yeah, W1D1 of C25K after work today!



My poor legs.

I went geocaching with my friends Steve & Nanette this weekend. So much bushwacking… pricker bushes everywhere… thank God I wore my hiking boots and not my Converse sneakers! Steve is an incredibly fast walker and he just zooms ahead while I’m trying to just keep up with Nanette.  Holy cow, my legs were killing me! I wish I’d worn my new GPS watch (Hello, Garmin Forerunner!) because I’m sure it was at least 3-4 miles. We were talking about going out to eat afterwards, but when I got back to my car, I begged out with a crappy excuse because I was just so worn out! Seriously, I needed all night to recuperate from trudging up and down mountains and over downed trees and around (well, mostly through) the pricker bushes! I haven’t been caching like that in a long time. It was awesome because we found 7 or 8 caches, one of which was an old DNF (Did Not Find) that gave me and my husband a really hard time a few years back. I spotted it really quickly – vindication! Also, it made me realize that I still have far to go on my journey. I used to go on caching excursions like this one every weekend and most nights after work. I can’t wait for winter to be over so I can get back into the swing of things!

Haters are Going to Hate.

Merry Christmas! I want to talk about how wonderful Christmas was this year, but that will have to wait until later because something happened today. Haters are on the prowl today.

Well, let’s start with this: Someone yelled “Fatty” at my husband and I while we were leaving dinner tonight. People can be jerks. We were crossing the parking lot after leaving the restaurant and someone was speeding down the lane directly at us. We didn’t jump out of the way so he had to slam on his brakes. Guess he didn’t like that, because he rolled down his window and laughed,” haha! fatty!” Both my husband and I are aware of how much we weigh, but we’re too full of awesome to really give too much thought or worry to angry strangers. Still, it’s on my mind. That’s never happened to me before.

It’s especially stupid, because I logged two awesome miles on the treadmill today. Most of it was jogging/running. I kept my walking to a few minimal intervals. It took me a while to find a good rhythm: 1 min walking, 4 mins running.  I challenged myself to a 40 minute workout, which is usually more than I run on the treadmill at work because I’m so anxious to just get home. I bet if I had a treadmill at home, I’d be on it all the time. Just aim me towards the TV / computer so I can catch up on Vlogbrothers videos / Doctor Who!

After my run, before I left work, I bumped into a few co-workers. I mentioned I had just done two miles on the treadmill, and one of my co-workers said, “Only two miles?” Whoa, lady. What do you mean only? She then went on to tell me how many miles she usually walks and runs.

OK, that’s awesome for you. Seriously, I encourage everyone who wants to run or work out in some way, because I know for some people (like me) it’s tough to take the first step and it’s tougher to keep it up. I don’t like to compare my success to anyone else. I try to only compare myself to myself. I constantly see or feel some kind of improvement; even if it’s not happening as quickly as I’d like, I’m doing better than when I was just sitting on the couch all the time. I always feel awesome after I run even if it wasn’t a great run. I’m glad I got a chance to practice ignoring the negativity today (although I did tell that co-worker that I was going to hit her with my stapler… it was in jest!)

My legs are currently made of lead but I am still not a robot.

I got home on Friday planning to throw on my workout clothes and Zumba, but I decided I’d rather sit on the couch and play videogames… so I did that instead. BUT – I ran on Saturday morning. I had to make some effort to push myself out the door, and I didn’t really have a route mapped out in my head. It helps me to have a route or some kind of plan, because then I feel obligated to see it through to the end, and then I feel like I’ve actually accomplished something when I’m done. I went out into the world with new sneakers and a lack of direction. Well, I turned right and just kept going forward until eventually, I had to turn left. I usually like running on trails or in parks so I don’t have to worry about cars, but I find that I really like running past people’s houses and yards. Speeding by in cars, you don’t really get a chance to see some of the weird stuff that you notice when you’re only moving 3 1/2 miles per hour. For instance, there is one house completely obscured by trees and brush. There isn’t a paved driveway, but there is a serious gate that blocks a clearing on the yard that I have decided is or was where a car used to park. I have never actually seen a vehicle, but I can see tire ruts in the grass. I can also see a stack of tires (?) in the backyard, so I’d like to imagine these people are either really cool modern artists, serial killers, or hoarders. Maybe the house is just vacant. There is an old “Beware of Dog” sign, but I see no signs of life in the bit of the yard that is visible. They have a patch of bamboo right in front, and all I think when I see bamboo is “Well, there goes the neighborhood.” Talk about an invasive species. Oh my, I’m veering away from stories about running. I’ll have to write a short story or something to satisfy my curiosity about that house later. 

Seventeen minutes and a little over a mile later, after making other turns in various directions, I found myself back at my front door. It might not seem like a great run, but in my defense, I was breaking in new awesome electric green sneakers, and for some reason, my legs felt so incredibly heavy- I could barely get them moving. I was totally running out of steam by the time I got home. I was using the stopwatch feature on my phone to keep my time. Normally, I just hold my phone and estimate my time to the minute. I got inside, sweating in an entirely too-disgusting manner for the middle of December (seriously, my husband kissed me on the forehead after I had sat down inside and then declared me ‘gross’). I entered my time on the Excel spreadsheet where I track my runs only to find out that I had actually run the best mile I’ve ever run. 

I think I’m learning that running never really gets easier because I push myself to run a little farther or a little faster without realizing it. So while it doesn’t feel like it’s getting easier, I do keep getting better at it. It’s kind of like a Catch-22, but it works in my favor? Once I hit my goal of running a mile under 15 minutes, maybe I’ll take it easy some days and just run long distances without worrying about my speed. 

The Sound & The Fury

I got to work and sat down and got started with my day and quickly realized I’d forgotten my workout clothes. During the winter, I run on the treadmill at the gym at work. The gym is for the police officers I work with, but they have granted me access to the inner workings! The only things I’m sure I know how to work are the treadmill, elliptical, bike, & rowing machine… everything else has so many handles and looks really heavy and I can’t quite figure out where I’m supposed to put my body. It’s so dark and cold once I get home from work that it’s kind of not optimal for running outside, but maybe I’ll give it a shot tonight and run around my apartment complex. My husband Gary & I have plans for later, so I won’t have time to go get my clothes & come back to the gym… also, Christmas traffic. No, thank you. Who decided to put a mall EVERYWHERE? ah, New Jersey.

Otherwise, I think my options are to do a workout video or find something fun on Youtube. I found a Zumba video that I kind of liked but didn’t feel like I got a very good workout.  Any other ideas?

Speed Training

In keeping with my “run every other day” initiative, I ran yesterday on the treadmill after work. I took Monday off because I ran a 5K on Saturday and needed a little extra time to recover. Running on a treadmill is incredibly boring unless you have a good distraction. It helps to listen to a good running mix on your iPod or switch on the TV just to keep from quitting early, cause, let’s be honest; running on a treadmill is really boring. You’re either staring at a brick wall in front of you or at the panel on the treadmill, willing the seconds to tick away faster. But neither of these tricks really work for me. Literally, the TV doesn’t work, and while I like listening to music, I hate listening to the radio, because some stupid song I hate will start playing and I’ll want to stop running just on principle alone. I find some great ideas for running challenges online, so yesterday I challenged myself with a speed/interval program, which is a great idea to keep focused on a treadmill. Increase your speed by .1 or .2 miles per hour at intervals so you find yourself running faster by the end without a whole lot of effort. Cool down by decreasing the speed at the same intervals until you’re back at your starting point. It’s kind of the frog in the pan approach to speeding up your pace. (You know, you put a frog in a hot pan, it jumps out, but you heat the pan slowly and the frog… would probably still jump out eventually, but not until it is much hotter). I normally run about 3.7-4 mph so I started at 3.4 mph so I wouldn’t go too crazy fast on the high end. I increased the speed .1 mph every minute, and ran until I was running 4.5 mph. I liked this because if I start to run faster than I’m comfortable and it’s too intense, I’m more inclined to quit early or give up. Whew! I did a little walking to cool down afterwards, and in the end, I wound up running about 1.09 miles. Kind of low on the mileage compared to what I consider a good run, but not bad since I was more focused on speed. I’ve got to figure out other ways to learn to run faster – maybe that will just come as I keep running & getting in better shape.