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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Another day, another run...

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then Jog 8 minutes, Walk 5 minutes, Jog 8 minutes

This was a good, but somewhat challenging run today. It was perfect weather for it this and I enjoyed it. Though I will not turn down this one road again because every house had at least 2 dogs and every single one was barking at me. No chasing though. This time anyway. It still kinda freaked me out a bit though.


I came across these shoes last week and I think I want them. They are about as minimalist as you can get without going naked. Check out this blog and maybe you (or me) can win a free pair!

Monday, September 26, 2011

To run or not to run?

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, jog 5 minutes, walk 3 minutes, jog 5 minutes

That was the question for today.

My calves were still sore today from Saturday's run (where I went further than I meant to, both accidentally and intentionally) and I was worried that it would turn into top of foot pain like last time. So that and the fact that it was pouring almost all day, I had my excuse not to run. And I really wasn't feeling to treadmill, this new running style feels awkward on there.

But this evening, the weather cleared up and I was feeling pretty decent. So after watching Caitlin do Week 4 Day 2 on the treadmill, I decided to go out before it got dark.

I did my warm-up and stopped to stretch really good (feet and calves) before I started running. My last few runs, I have been getting a cramp behind my left knee almost immediately, but it always goes away after a few minutes. Annoying. Once that felt better, my run today was great! The air was dry and cool, perfect for a run. I saw a rainbow and a beautiful sunset. How cool is that?

Finished at 2 miles and stretched and drank some hazelnut coffee.

This week and next is really going to ramp things up. I am eagerly anticipating it and I am slightly worried. If my calves are already sore, what is going to happen now??? I plan on taking it one day, one run at a time. I will listen to my body and drink lots of water. And make sure I am always close to a toilet!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

You don't scare me anymore!

Dear Week 4 of the Couch to 5k program,

The first time I encountered you, you nearly killed me. When I finished on my treadmill that day, I literally collapsed on the floor and couldn't move for the next 20 minutes. I struggled each time I ran. I even repeated that week, not to further torture myself, but because I wanted to beat you. Sadly, I couldn't. When I finally moved on to Week 5, it was so much easier than you were. Even after I completed the Couch to 5k, if I ever slacked off on my running, I would force myself to go back to you to get back into my game. I hate you Week 4.

But I am no longer afraid of you. See, I got these awesome new shoes that have done wonders for my running. And guess what? I not only beat you this time around, but I picked you up, threw you on the ground, and ran this whole week right on top of you. I trampled you so far into the ground, you will never show your ugly face to me again.

Barefoot Runner Girl

P.S. I feel better now!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Successful run today!

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then: Jog 3 minutes, Walk 90 seconds, Jog 5 minutes, Walk 2-1/2 minutes, Jog 3 minutes, Walk 90 seconds, Jog 5 minutes

In the past, when I have done the Couch to 5k program, week 4 has always been a struggle for me. Really struggled. But I have a lot more confidence this time around and besides, I know I have done it before. So I wasn't nervous at all.

My feet felt really good this morning, so I decided to get it over with since I have a full day tomorrow and won't have time to run. I really concentrated on my form and I probably looked like a complete dork to all of my neighbors. Elbows tucked in and bent at 90 degrees or less, knife-edge hands in loose fists, thumb on top. I am aiming for my foot to strike near my center of gravity, which meant lifting my knees higher as I ran and also a shorter stride.

I didn't feel clumsy or awkward (not physically anyway). The shorter stride will take some getting used to. I think it will take a little time to find that perfect spot for my foot to land. My footfalls seemed louder than usual to me, but I think that will quiet down as I improve my form.

Overall, it was a good run. I didn't struggle AT ALL with this run! WOOHOO! I didn't get out of breath at all. It felt great! My total distance was 2 miles, so I think my speed was good, or at least decent. For me anyway.

My feet are sore this afternoon, but not the tops. I am sore around the arches. Which is a good thing, it means I am building up my feet muscles. Break tomorrow and back on the road on Friday!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Still hurting

I hate this. Woke up Sunday and my feet hurt. Not too bad, but noticeable enough. Today, they are a little better but still hurt. I am at a loss. I am not sure if it's injury pain or if my feet muscles are simply sore. Ugh.

So this morning, I have a dilemma. Run or not run? Barefoot shoes or try my regular shoes? Why can't my feet just get completely better?

Dilemma Update: I decided to go on the treadmill (raining outside) with my barefoot shoes. Today is my final run in Week 3. I felt good during my warmup, noticed a little burning in my right foot. I am guessing (hoping) that is from working my muscles. During my run, I felt pretty good. Noticed I was scrunching up my toes and had to keep forcing myself to relax my feet. Did my cool down, stretched pretty good. My feet actually feel better post-run, not sure if that is due to the advil I took ahead of time or just from working and stretching my muscles. I will go with the latter, it makes me happier. I am hoping I am past the actual injury and my current pain is from building up my feet. That makes me happy too.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Well, it's Saturday...

And both of my feet are feeling great! I wouldn't say they are 100%, maybe about 90% to 95%.

Thursday, I wasn't so sure I would be healed by today. I was still in quite a bit of pain and limping. Still praying for healing, I had happened to come across some ballet stretches for feet. I tried a couple out on and off throughout the day. It hurt so bad, my right foot was so tight, I could barely get on my tippy toes. After a few reps, I felt my foot release and there was less pain. I woke up Friday feeling shockingly good, continued stretching whenever I had a few moments (busy day) and it no longer hurt to stretch. I woke up today feeling even better. Right now, there is still a little stiffness in my right ankle and I am still walking kinda funny. But there is almost ZERO pain. And that's the most important part.

Prayer works!

I haven't gone for my run yet today, I am hoping to meet up with Pastor at the track later. He is feeling better after some injuries as well and I figured we could lend some support to each other during an easy run. I will update post-run!

I did Week 3 of Couch to 5k, I figured I would repeat a couple runs of that since I lost so much time from healing. I admit, my feet did hurt. But it was tolerable and it didn't get worse. I figure one one Week 3 run and I will move on to Week 4. As long as my feet cooperate. So here is to continued healing!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Foot pain

My foot is slowly getting better. It hurts less to just walk around, I am almost not limping! However, I still get a sharp pain when I land mid-foot. I am trying my best to hold out till Saturday before I run again. I am praying that by then it will be healed enough to go out. This beautiful, cool weather is killing me!

I still believe it was caused by over-tight calf muscles. Another tidbit of interest I picked up was to make sure your heel lands on the ground with the mid-foot strike. Otherwise, your calf muscles won't lengthen and will get too tight. I know my heels weren't even touching the ground when I run uphill (unfortunate side-effect of living where I do). So when I get back out there, I will need to make a conscious effort to lower my heels.

I am starting to get a little antsy too. I even gained a few pounds already from only running once in 10 days. I need to keep my stomach in-check, but it's hard when one of my medications seems to make me hungry! I did buy a giant bag of broccoli to snack on. But I have a feeling it won't satisfy my craving for something sweet. Grrr.....

Hurry up foot! I am begging you!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My partner

Have I mentioned that my oldest daughter Caitlin (9 years old) is doing the Couch to 5k with me?

How cool is that?

She said she wanted to run in a 5k race with me next summer, so I offered to have her do the program with me as I transition. So we have been running together. I am enjoying it, we get to have some private girl time together.

Unfortunately, due to my injury, she is getting ahead of me. She finished Week 3 on 9/12 and will be moving on to week 4. So I will have some catching up to do. Good thing I have mornings to myself now, so I can run. Once those pesky feet heal up anyway.

Week 3 (week of Sept. 4)

Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following: Jog for 90 seconds, walk for 90 seconds. Jog for 3 minutes, walk for three minutes.

After my first run, I was injured. The top of my right foot was killing me. I was not expecting this, I hadn't read anything about it. I opted to take 5 days off to see if it would get better. I iced and took motrin religiously. I loosened my laces in case that was the problem. I read everything I could online about this kind of pain and the same things kept coming up: tendinitis and stress fracture of the metatarsal. Now, I have fractured a metatarsal, so I wa 99.9% sure that wasn't it. Not sure I believed the tendinitis either. It sucked though, I could hardly walk.

After the 5 days, I did my second run of the week. I was feeling slightly better and had a fabulous run. I let go and really sprinted for one of the 3 minute runs. It felt so good. But the next day, my left foot started hurting too (my right foot was no worse though). So gimpy me has been limping like crazy, hoarding ice packs and eating a diet of anti-inflammatory pain-killers.

I finally found a barefoot running blog that explained my top of the foot pain. Basically, the tight calves I had the previous week caused my feet muscles a lot of strain. If I would have stretched properly and a lot more than usual, I may have avoided this. Bummer.

So I am taking a full week off to recover. My right foot feels like it is on the mend and I don't think my left foot will get quite as bad. So instead of running, I am concentrating on strength and flexibility. I did a yoga/pilates dvd this morning and I have no doubt I will be feeling that more than my feet tomorrow!

I plan to run on Saturday and since I only did 2 runs of Week 3, I plan on doing 2 more before I move on to Week 4. That one always seems to be the hardest for me.

Week 2 (week of Aug. 28)

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

I LOVE these shoes! I love how light I feel. My feet are 100% comfortable. They don't seem to swell as much or seem as confined. I can wiggle my toes while running! My form is a lot better and my speed is definitely increasing from my improved form.

This week, I was feeling it in my calves. Feel the burn, as they say. My second run of this week, I decided to push it. I texted my pastor (also a runner) to find out if he was going out that day. He was. So I invited myself to tag along on his run and went 2 miles. I did stop to stretch a few times (my calves were screaming for mercy) but I made it the whole 2 miles! I was sore after that though. I finished out Week 2 of the program with some sore, tight calves.

I also want to add that my confidence in my running is at an all-time high. I actually feel good about it. I can see myself setting some high goals once I am fully transitioned. I look forward to running now and enjoy it completely.

I truly feel like a real runner.

Week 1 (week of Aug. 21)

Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

It seems as though using the Couch to 5k program to transition was a good idea. Having done the program before, I know what to expect and week one went well.

I did have some achy-ness in the bottoms of my feet around my arch. I completely expected this, after all, those muscles are very week from wearing conventional shoes. What I didn't expect was the feeling of having stood on concrete for 24 hours straight. My feet just hurt, especially around my feels. I assume it was from the lack of cushioning in my shoe. These issues mostly cleared up by Week 2.

Monday, September 12, 2011

My running history...

I have almost none. As a kid, I played softball for 9 years until I fractured my foot. Then I did nothing. Got married, had 3 kids. Still nothing. Finally, nearly two years ago, I begged my husband to get a treadmill. I need to lose the generous amount of weight I had somehow gained doing nothing. He reluctantly agreed and we both started the Couch to 5k program.

There were many struggles. And some shin splints thrown in there for good measure. And Shaun and I finally made it to our first 5k in August of 2010. I didn't run it straight through, though I did finish! I ran my second 5k a few weeks later (again, did a little walking too). Then I slacked off. I started up again over the winter and ran my third 5k this past August.

I admit, I have really struggled with running. Not just physically, but mentally too. From shin splints and general shin pain to mental barriers I just couldn't get through. I had never felt good running. It always seemed as though I was just blundering through, in a constant state of struggle.

Then I discovered barefoot running. I was very intrigued. So I kept reading and researching. The more I discovered, the more it made sense to me. I felt this was my answer. So a few weeks ago, I bought a pair of Merrell Pace Gloves.

I decided to use the Couch to 5k program to transition. Three weeks into it and I have never felt better! My form is better, I have more speed, I feel lighter on my feet. Although I have had some aches and pains and strained muscles, I feel GOOD running for the first time in almost two years.