I have been training for a 5k for 7 weeks now, and am running my first official race this coming Sunday. I know, I know... we've been through this before, you and I. And, then, I quit on you. Not only did I quit, but I didn't even tell you I quit until way after I quit. That was in November, and I said as soon as I was feeling "fully mobile" I was going to get back on it. Well... obviously it took me a little longer than that, but come on, I did buy a house, move, had eight weeks in a row of visitors, etc. Anyway, I was totally ashamed last time I had to quit publicly, so this time, I figured I'd make sure I was sure before I told you.
If you remember correctly, there were several issues I was having during my runs, finally culminating with a strained muscle in my ankle which caused me to bag the whole thing. (Incidentally, even though I gave Justyn mad props at the end of my quitting post for going on without me, he did quit like a week later, too. I realize that is officially me throwing him under the bus, but I can't have you guys thinking I'm the only quitter in this household.) Anyway, I was running in some pretty old shoes before, so that was the first task on my list before I started training this time. So, I found a sweet deal at REI for these babies:
I got them for half-price, around $45, which is totally awesome. And, they feel really good on my feet. I have had zero pain in my left ankle this time around after 7 weeks, so I think I'm good. Issue # 1? Resolved.
Another issue I was having was with my ears, which through the use of my iPod, has become a non-issue. Issue # 2? Resolved.
Issue # 3 was temperature control. I've since figured out my temperature thresholds, which has helped a lot. 65 degrees is definitely my optimum running temp, in which case I wear calf-length leggings and a racerback top with a sports bra. Over 70 calls for shorts instead. 60 degrees and I have to throw on pants and a super thin cotton t-shirt over my sports bra, which usually ends up pushed way up to my biceps after about half a mile. But I found some awesome brand new Nike running pants at Goodwill for $7 which are absolutely perfect for cooler mornings. I definitely need to get some winter running tops, though, which will be next on the list for sure. Another issue resolved.
I was also having problems with my posture and breathing, which both seem to have worked themselves out on their own. I think a big part of my success this time around has been the warmer weather. We started training in October last year, right around the time it cooled off and started to get a little rainy, not to mention it was getting dark super early. I realize that time is coming up again soon, but I'm hoping my habits will be set by then enough that it won't be that big of a deal. Issue # 4? Mostly resolved.
Finally, the issue of timing. This was a big one for me, and honestly, I think resolving this issue alone has made the biggest difference. The Couch to 5k program is great, but requires a lot of different timed intervals which is difficult to keep up with while you're running. So, this time around, I googled "Couch to 5k iPod playlists" and found some chick who had put together some music with voice cues to tell you when to start and stop. I was so unbelievably psyched to find this, and it has made a huge difference. And, of course now I'm running 25 minutes at a time, so I can finally listen to my own music which totally rocks. Final issue? Totally resolved.
The other thing I'm worried about is this: When you start the program, they tell you that you can either run for time or distance. Well, time is so much easier, so that's what we've done. Until today, when I actually mapped 2.5 miles beforehand, just to see how I was doing. So in 25 minutes of running, I should have run 2.5 miles. But instead, I only ran 2.37 miles (averaging about a 10:30 mile... which, by the way... is that like laughably slow?). Could I have pushed my way through to the 2.5 mile mark? Absolutely. Is it a big deal? I don't know. All I know is that on Sunday I have to run 3.1 miles which, at my pace is going to be about 33 minutes and I don't know if I can do it. Or more importantly, if I should.
On the flip side, I am super excited about running my first race (for a good cause), getting my first race t-shirt, and a real live BIB!! I totally can't wait.