Tuesday, January 8, 2013

This is Gonna Be Huge

First and foremost, Happy New Year to my 4 subscribers and random readers who accidentally get a twenty-something's blog about running instead of what they were actually searching for.

2012 was a big year for me...
  • I set a new "PR" (23:55 in the "5K" in Manassas.. which was short by 0.3 miles) 
  • And I set a new PR (26:52 in the Canada Day Road Races -- this is the race I'm ACTUALLY counting as my PR).  
  • I got a competitive spark by winning my age group in a race (yes, I actually got 1st.. of SEVEN. Not like 1 of 1...) 
  • And I managed to throw it all out after racing a bit too hard on back to back days on back to back weekends. 
  • My summer ended with me getting a concussion while wakeboarding and spending the following months recuperating, only to be taken down by something else (ITB pain! Knee pain! Kidney infection! 3-week long flu!). 
  • I rediscovered how much I hate swimming after years of competitive swimming and waterpolo 
  • I got a running coach that was, how shall we say, not the right fit
  • And I got the best coach I could hope for... the guy that got me into running and fitness 10 years ago (Stew Smith)!

It was all a very interesting time for me.

Well, time to move on, so here we go... my big goal of 2013:

RUN A SUB-25:00 5K (for real -- no short courses)

2013 has been the year of 2-milers so far. I've done three 2 mile-ish runs this week and they've all been horrible in their own fashion. My first one was not too bad. I'm recovering from a flu that has staying in my throat/chest for the past few weeks and, given my lessons learned with my bronchitis last year, I opted to take it easy. I did 15 min of walking, then a walk/jog combination 'til my 30 min was up (which equaled a little over two miles).

My second run of the year was terrible. I was on my university campus and my class had ended early (I'm taking evening classes to finish my degree). Since I'd paid for parking and I really wanted to check out the Carleton track, I headed over. I got into the women's locker room with my gym bag to discover that I'd forgotten jeans. I practically live in yoga pants and the one day I decided to wear jeans was the day I needed my yoga pants! With the urge to run at peak levels, I headed to the university bookstore and grabbed a pair of Carleton basketball shorts. It was only when I got back to my gym bag that I realized I'd also forgotten socks (and the thermal ones I was wearing with my boots were NOT going to work). I figured my running socks are thin, so running without socks can't be that different -- right? Well... the first mile was okay. By the time I started to work on my second mile, my arches were KILLING me. The blisters that I suffered years ago were back in place on my arches. Owwww! I cut the run short after 2 miles (despite being able to go longer) due to the pain. And you can't push through blister pain.

My run tonight was a little better, and a little worse. I did 20 min of elliptical before heading onto the treadmill. I did my first mile at a comfortable 6.0-6.5 mph pyramid that felt pretty decent cardio-wise. I was determined to run more than 2 miles tonight, so I decided to up the speed to get the run done faster as the blisters were really hurting (even through the bandaids on my feet). I managed a nice 7:55 mile somewhere in there but I was gasping. I don't know if it was the lack of any real cardio in the past month or so, or the leftovers from the flu, or both, but I was puffing and wheezing by my second mile.

It was tonight that I realized that dreaming about sub-25:00 5Ks and winning age groups and all that was all well and good, but it's just that: a dream. I want to be able to do this stuff this year and I know I can, but going "oh yeah, I can run a 7:30 mile right now" and going and doing it are two very different things. I realized that I need to take my health seriously, and that includes easing back into things. Not only did the breathing feel crappy, but my left knee started to hurt 2 miles in... this is something that used to happen about 6 miles into a run. I'm not sure if it was indicative of my loss of protective muscle, or bad form, or both, but in that moment I just felt completed deflated. I get so caught up in my own competitive streaks that I sacrifice the one person I'm trying to please the most: me.

I'm planning to attend hot yoga a bit more this year, especially in the next few weeks. The main reasons are:
1) It won't bug the blisters and give them a chance to heal
2) It won't bug the throat/chest and it'll give that a chance to heal
3) It's a 90 min sweatfast
4) My Greco Yoga prepaid classes are about to expire

Yoga really boosted my fitness last year. I'm hoping that my runs, coupled with Stew's workouts, and some yoga thrown in there will really give me the jolt I need to meet my goals.

Here we go!