I finished Couch to 5k at the end of July 2012 and followed up with a 10 week training plan called “One Hour Runner” (see my previous post for more details about why I chose One Hour Runner over Bridge to 10k). Half an hour of running had seemed daunting at the start of Couch to 5k and starting 10k training was just as daunting. How could I run an entire hour without walking?
The other issue with looking ahead and thinking about that hour run was that it was still really hot here in Vegas despite being 4 or so in the morning when I’d head out. Many mornings the night air never cooled below 90 degrees before it started ticking up again for the new day. The mental game for me with running seems to occur at the start of my runs. I have read that for some people it is the getting out the door that is the trick but I viewed that as a practical matter. Long nights with little children make you no stranger to early wake up calls, after all. The first five to ten minutes for me are usually the hardest. That is when I have the whole distance ahead of me and I am not feeling my best. Then the minutes start to tick by and with each one that I’ve put behind me the run is more manageable. After 15 minutes into a 30 minute run, for example, I just think to myself, “I just have another set of 15 minutes left and I just showed myself I can do it.”
The moon and I had some nice times together on my runs, with the right music and the sky to look at I can see now why people are able to run longer distances. It doesn’t get boring and sometimes you get zoned out enough that it breezes by. I don’t mean to make it seem like this is something I count the minutes to the end of, I think there’s that right mix of feeling challenged but also hoping you have enough energy to finish strong with each mile you get under your belt.
The temptation hit near the end of the program, I think I had 3 or 4 weeks left in the training plan, to push myself to longer times than I was required to. At the end of week 7 or 8 I ran 1 hour 15 minutes and 15 seconds to accomplish my first ever 10K distance. It felt empowering to figure out I was capable of so many miles. Knowing I could do an hour helped me not stress about the rest of the program. The temptation hit again the next week when I wondered if another 15 minutes (90 straight minutes of running) could carry me even further. I was able to do over 7 miles that day!
For the final “graduation” run I actually only did another 10K but the big thing was knowing I had decided what training I was going to tackle next: a half marathon. Now, I wanted to try for one in December of 2013 but my husband was looking into sprint triathlon training and wanted to get a half marathon in during March of 2013. One day before our wedding anniversary at same area where we got engaged, to boot. I wasn’t going to miss out on that one even though we’ll probably be running at our own respective paces.
So I have about 23 weeks to train for my first half marathon. I have a 5K this month, I had planned in January that my goal 5K would be in October so it is funny that I am way beyond that distance 10 months later. I also have a 10K race in January 2013 even though I hit that distance sooner than I thought as well. So why not a half? Besides, so many inspiring people I know run them all the time. I can do this…right?
My goal is to complete the 13.1 distance with little to no walking. All my upcoming races are pretty hilly so I will be trying to get better at handling runs uphill which is a weakness for me. My husband has been out on some of my runs at the same time which is great, especially since I haven’t been feeling too great about running in our neighborhood this past week.
The above shot I took while running and played with some Instagram filters a little bit. I like how it just looks like a random texture. All these photos are ones I’ve shared along the way as I worked to complete the training program. I can’t compare it to Bridge to 10K because I didn’t go that route but the 10 week gradual increase worked out great for me.
With cooler weather I just felt better all around but I am glad to know I got through the entire summer, start to finish, getting out there and running at least three mornings a week. I haven’t been cross training but I’ve been continuing to count calories and am about 20 pounds down now! I was a size 14 when I started and now I am a size 8 pant and even that is getting loose on me. My initial goal was to lose 30 before I turned 30 in February 2013 and I’m on track to do that and then some. I believe my new weight loss goal will be 40 pounds total but I’ll see how I feel at each stage.
My husband and I were able to run in San Diego while on vacation and the cool air was lovely even though the humidity was something I could have done without. During our stay the San Diego Triathlon went by our hotel which was very neat and I believe sparked my husband’s idea to do the Las Vegas Triathlon next September. We also had some treadmill time which was new to me – I discovered that my pace is way over what it should be – you’re supposed to run at a conversational pace heart-rate wise and I have been pushing too hard when I run. I need to work on a more measured pace but luckily with more running my pace has improved anyway. 12 minute miles used to be much more of a struggle and now 11 minute miles feel the way 12 minute miles once did.
With Couch to 5K included I have run for 19 weeks straight and before that I was running off and on without a training plan since the end of January 2012. Time passes so strangely – it feels fast when I just rattle off that I started in January but it took a lot of work to get where I am right now. At the same time I wonder what other goals I can set and look back on. 55 days ago (I am 155 days into tracking everything I eat on My Fitness Pal) I committed to not eating potato chips at all. I couldn’t be trusted to weigh them accurately. Other chips I was fine with but not potato chips. Here I am and I am still going strong. I want to make more resolutions to be healthier, I am so pleased with just feeling better about life when I am active. I don’t feel like I was just dealt this hand where I am the out of shape one, I can make my own destiny (to a point, of course).
The other thing that has struck me is that I need to run for those that can’t. I think about people I care about a lot when I run, I also compose blog posts in my head which is odd considering how September only had one post here but I promise I think about how I am processing life in general and how communicating that may be of use to someone, somewhere.
I considered two main plans for half marathon training, one by Jeff Galloway and one by Hal Higdon. Miriam over at Sometimes I Veg is a hardcore half marathoner and told me the Galloway method includes walking which is fine but I have been sticking with running goals all this time so her suggestion was to check out Hal Higdon’s plans. I have noticed that all training plans have gradual increases of weekly mileage so with about double the time to train (Higdon’s plan is 12 weeks) I have a lot of flexibility. Which is good considering it has gotten cooler and it is tricky some days to get out the door, run, and come back in time so that my husband (who is watching the kids) can go to work. We’d like to run together more too since the neighborhood feels less safe and it is darker in the mornings. At any rate, the big plan right now is to do two “short” runs per week of increasing amounts – from each being 3 miles to 4, to 5, etc. as shown in the Higdon plan and then also increase the longest weekly run as well. Higdon’s book (amazon affiliate link) is one we’ve gotten from the library and though it is about a longer distance, his writing is engaging and has helped focus some of my plans for approaching distance running. I would love to know I am capable of 13.1 before the race out at Red Rock and also do a training run on the actual terrain. There’s the 5K and the 10K to look forward to as well.
I think what I’ll do is keep track of my runs as I have been all along and check in on the blog at the point of each of the upcoming races leading up to the half marathon. I’ll have to explore fueling and hydration options as well as phone carrying ideas as my mileage increases. I also need to get properly fitted for running shoes as my pronation in my neutral shoes is putting stress on my ankles. I don’t want to get injured, that is for certain. The other cool thing is that the half marathon is just a week or so after my 30th birthday so I am already excited about what the next few months holds. I have been seeing an increase in my caseload at work and working on our new firm website so that is taking time and attention but really there’s nothing like going into a court hearing after having run in the morning. I feel confident and ready to take on the world. Whether or not that is actually the case, I don’t know, but feeling good is part of the battle, I’m sure.
Favorite running songs of late include:
Sia – She Wolf (amazon affiliate link)
The Script – Hall of Fame (amazon affiliate link)
Passion Pit – Take a Walk (amazon affiliate link)
Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks (amazon affiliate link)
Karmin – Hello (amazon affiliate link)
Demi Lovato – Give Your Heart a Break (amazon affiliate link)
Calvin Harris – We’ll Be Coming Back (amazon affiliate link)
In fact, “Little Talks” is on my playlist multiple times – I have fallen in love with the lyrics. Here’s a link to the music video but maybe listen just to the music first since the video might be distracting at first. The song has a male and female vocalist and the female vocalist sings “There’s an old voice in my head / that’s holding me back,” to which the male vocalist responds, “Well tell her that I miss our little talks.” I really like the idea of treating that voice of “can’t” as if it is just something to talk yourself out of. I realize this may not be the intent of the writers but in this moment of time it had that particular meaning for me. My runs are turning into little talks with myself to prove that I can be stronger than I thought possible. I’d especially like for my children and husband to be proud of me. Here’s to reaching 13.1 (and beyond)!