The Thrilling Start

10-29-12: The journey begins!  Instant discovery - I need a better bra.  The ones I have are woefully inadequate.  The jog/walk routine wasn’t too difficult, but my old hamstring injuries began to hurt.  I stretched carefully afterward.  I’m proud to have taken the first step.

10-30-12 I decided to mix up the jogs by adding in one “fast” interval, and one longer one (a minute and a half).  My right hamstring is still very tight.  In addition, my left Achilles tendon has begun to hurt.  Where did that come from?  I’m also wondering if we need a new treadmill.  Surely I can’t be that slow, or the miles so long!

10-31-12: When I suggested buying a new treadmill, my husband assured me that ours is accurate, much better than the fancy ones he uses at work.  Darn.  I guess that means I really am in dreadful shape.

In addition, shopping was a bust (no pun intended).  The stores in my area don’t carry sports bras.  I ended up ordering two different bras online.  Hopefully they’ll get here soon and one will work.  The jiggling is not fun.

11-01-12:  Back to the sardines.  I’m not sure why, but I always eat better when I exercise. Maybe the general non-exercising malaise extends to a lax attitude toward my diet.  Either way, now that I am exercising again, I am paying closer attention to what I eat.  So it was sardines for lunch.  I don’t particularly enjoy them, but I need the protein if I hope to build any muscle.

My hamstrings felt fine during the treadmill slog, but my left knee inexplicably decided to act up.  No idea why.  I’ve never had that problem before.  The twinges finally went away halfway through the workout.  I added in a couple more fast/long intervals.

11-02-12:  Scratch the healthy diet -- unless half a bag of potato chips qualifies as health food?  At least the wine I drank last night was red.

Major discouragement has set in.  It all seemed so hopeless this morning on the treadmill, the odds too overwhelming, making me want to give up.  I can’t believe I used to run seven minute miles, or eighteen miles at a stretch!  Of course, I was thirty five years younger at the time...  Still, a one minute jog at a thirteen-minute-mile pace feels like torture right now.  Could I be in any worse shape?  Giving up would make me even more pathetic, though, so I must forge on.

11-03-12: Eight mile walk at the canal.  Felt great -- no hamstring, Achilles tendon or knee pain -- except that the arch in my left foot started to hurt!  What’s going on?  Are my body parts taking turns protesting this plan?  Instead of resting tomorrow, I’m contemplating another long walk to help burn off the additional chips I ate last night.

According to my training program, I should increase my running distance on Monday, but I don’t see how I can jog for two minutes nonstop.  I feel exhausted just thinking about it.  Better not think about it or I’ll give up.  But frankly, after one week on this program, running a marathon looks just as impossible now as it did at the start.  Maybe even more impossible since I now know exactly what terrible shape I’m in.

11-04-12  I walked 8.8 miles instead.  Right arch hurt.  Hamstring hurt.  Hips hurt.  Do you suppose I’ll permanently cripple myself doing this?  Is it worth it if I do?  How much ibuprofen is it safe to take at one time?

11-05-12: Bad news on the scale this morning.  Eek!  I guess watching a marathon doesn't burn off as many calories as running one...  Time to get serious with my diet.

Today is the start of my second week of training.  I'm supposed to alternate jogging for two minutes with walking for two minutes.  I eased into it with a couple of one minute intervals first.  The two minute jogs were not too bad. In fact, I found that resting for two minutes in between was too long, so I shortened the rest periods.  Unfortunately, I am terribly slow.  I tried to run at a ten minute/mile pace for one minute, and it felt like an all-out sprint!  At this rate, it will take me six or seven hours to run a marathon .   Ugghh.  The thought of running nonstop for four or five hours is bad enough!!! 

11-06-12: I did not want to run today.  I was too tired, too busy, too sore, too lazy.  I did it anyway.  I can’t say that I felt peppy, but I slogged through it.

I definitely need a stop watch, though.  I keep daydreaming during the walking portions and lose track of time.  Maybe I’ll borrow my husband’s Garmin watch for my next workout and try to get a more accurate idea of my pace and distance.  I'm not sure I really want to know, though.  It might discourage me too much!

11-07-12: Rest day!  It feels so good to have a day off -- guilt free!

I’ve decided I need a reward system.  Every time I reach a major marker I should reward myself -- but how?  I need to give this some serious thought...

11-08-12: Discovery: A minute spent walking goes by way faster than a minute spent jogging.  How can  that be possible?

I have to do something about timing my workouts.  The display on my treadmill keeps blinking off and resetting, so I never know how far I’ve gone or what my pace is.  Right now (after warming up), I’m doing two minute jogs interspersed with one minute walks.  I think I did eleven of those, but I lost count.  I also threw in two one-minute “sprints” (i.e., slightly faster jogs) just to mix things up.

I've also discovered that I clench my toes while jogging.  Where did that habit come from?  It wouldn't be a problem except that the knuckles press up against my shoes, causing calluses.  I sure hope this isn't a sign of hammer toes or something as bizarre....
11-09-12: My favorite part of running?  Putting lotion and soft socks on my feet after my post-workout shower.  Bliss!

The sports bras arrived and are great.  Love them!  The only tricky part is getting them off after a workout.  I feel like a pretzel.  These bras need to come with a manual!

Speaking of clothes, I ordered some running gear yesterday: moisture wicking socks and t-shirts, and two pairs of running shorts.  It might seem premature since I'm still doing intervals (two-minute jogs, one minute walks) and can't even run a quarter mile non-stop yet, but I thought that the special clothes might inspire me.  If nothing else, after spending all this money, I'd feel guilty giving up!

11-10-12I walked for nearly three hours at the canal this morning.  10.8  miles.  Now if I just double that distance and run it instead of walking it...I still won't have run a marathon!  My goal really feels impossible at this point.  I've nearly finished two weeks of training, and feel just as out of shape as I did at the start.

11-11-12: Who would have thought that a hangover would lead to a running breakthrough?  After a dining adventure gone awry (duck served in some sort of awful sauce, plus three glasses of cheap wine -- two white, one red), I spent a sleepless night wracked with hot flashes and nausea.

The good news is that I felt so miserable on the treadmill this morning that I barely noticed the hip/arch/knee pain.  I was too focused on not losing what was left of that terrible duck.  The other good news is that I ran for a quarter mile nonstop!  Four times!  Maybe five (I lost count).  Somewhere in the middle of my warm up, my tired brain realized that if I ran for three minutes at a 5mph pace (12 minute miles), it equated to a quarter mile.

So I adjusted my workout to the following intervals: 3 minute slow jog, one minute walk, one minute very fast jog, one minute walk.  I did that five times (I think).  I ran less overall than I did with the 2 minute jog/one minute walk intervals, but a quarter mile jog still seems like an accomplishment.  If I just do that 105 more times back-to-back, I’ll have run a marathon!

11-12-12: I RAN HALF A MILE NONSTOP!  Twice! I think I'll rest tomorrow to celebrate!

11-13-12: Rest day!  Time to reflect on the nuggets of wisdom I've gleaned over the past two weeks:

Good: After 35 years of inactivity, my old hamstring running injury finally healed.
Bad: Unfortunately, the rest of my body has aged during that time, and I have a myriad of bizarre new aches and pains to contend with.  The sore arches worry me the most.

Good: I love my new sports bras.  I'm still waiting for the shorts to arrive.
Bad: Just when I need arch support, running shoe manufacturers have embraced the barefoot craze and come out with flat, minimalist shoes.  This does not bode well for my feet.

Good: I actually ran a half mile.
Bad: Can I really go from slow, one-minute jogs to a marathon in one year? I fear that someone devised this training schedule as a joke, and I'm foolishly deluding myself that it can work.

Good: I have discovered that I can run even when nauseous.  I'm not sure why this is useful information.
Bad: The calories don't magically melt off the way they used to when I was younger.  Note to self: never run in Spandex in public!

11-14-12: The batteries on my clock must be bad.  There is no way a minute can go by that slowly!  I’m changing the batteries to make sure.

I don't know how far I’m running these days.  Trying to add up all these intervals makes my head spin.  But I think I’m running around 2 ½ miles total, broken into one, four, and six minute segments (maybe longer if what I suspect is true and the clock batteries aren’t working right).
I'm trying really hard not to look ahead at what kind of  shape I need to be in to run a marathon because it seems so utterly hopeless.  One day at a time.  Wait!  That slogan sounds awfully familiar...  Maybe sloth is an addiction?

11-15-12: Running is making me fat!  It's not water weight, and there is no way I've put on that much muscle considering how little I run.  This is not helping!!!  It's hard enough to get on the treadmill every morning, but knowing my weight is going up as a result...

11-16-12: I decided to go high tech this morning and wear my husband’s Garmin training watch during my workout.  I attached the pedometer to measure the distance on the treadmill, and the chest band to measure my heart rate.  I really wanted to know if I was estimating my distance and speed right.  In other words, when I jog at a 5mph pace for six minutes (according to the clock and treadmill), am I really going half a mile?  Secretly, I was hoping for good news: that I was running farther and faster than I believed.

So of course, it didn’t work!  I killed myself during my workout, really pushing the distance, only to discover that the watch malfunctioned.  The only thing it recorded was my heart rate.  I learned that my heart generally beats 145 beats per minute while I’m jogging.  So what?  How does that help me?  And to add insult to injury, the display on the treadmill also quit working, so I couldn't even estimate my pace that way.  Grrr...
11-17-12: Thanks to the internet, I now know that my toes can do sit ups!  In fact my toes are going to have to do sit-ups if I want to have any chance of running a marathon.

As if I needed another obstacle, I found out yesterday during a physical that I really do have hammer toes.  How bizarre is that?  I spent the evening researching the condition and have come to one conclusion.  My training success is going to depend on keeping my toes from getting worse.  Today I am heading to the pharmacy to hunt down some toe splints.  I also spent quite a bit of time looking for toe exercises online.  Not only will I be picking up marbles with my toes every evening, but I'll be doing toe sit-ups.  Who knew my life would get so exciting?

11-18-12: I’ve decided that my hands are the only part of me that doesn’t ache when I run.

On the positive side, I excel at picking up glass beads with my toes.  This has to be a good sign, right?

11-19-12: This figures. I had a major breakthrough this morning, an uncommon burst of energy, and ran for twelve minutes nonstop.  Twice!  But the display on the treadmill stopped working and I have NO IDEA how far I ran!  If I was jogging at my usual pace, twelve minutes would have equaled a mile.  But I felt slow, and without the display to measure my pace, I had no way to tell.
So I might have run a mile.  But I can’t get out the champagne and celebrate until I'm sure.

11-20-12:  Now the knuckles on my big toes are inflamed.  I think I strained them doing too many toe exercises!  Is that pathetic or what?

I've also got the beginnings of a sore throat, so instead of working out today I'm taking tons of vitamin C and zinc to ward it off.  I do not want a cold to derail the progress I've made!!!

11-21-12: Is it possible to hit "the wall" one minute into a run?  I don't think I've ever had a worse workout!  My lungs burned, I had zero energy, and I wanted to quit every step of the way.  I managed to do two twelve-minute jogs (and a few shorter ones), but only by sheer dint of will.  And I still don't know how far I'm running.  Unless that display on my treadmill starts working, I'm going to have to head to a track later this week and figure it out.

 11-22-12: For some odd reason, changing the incline on the treadmill makes the display come on.  Talk about unfair!  It's not my fault the display keeps shorting out, and yet I have to run up a hill if I want it to come back on.

In any case (drum roll!), I really am running a mile! I'm slogging along at a 5.1 mph pace (12 minute miles), but I managed to do it two times.  I also put in a few one minute "sprints" (6mph).  Now I just need to run those two miles back to back.  That's my goal for the next month.

But today I'm celebrating.  I RAN A MILE!  Happy Thanksgiving!

11-23-12: How can a shoe fit one day and be too small the next?  I walked 10.8 miles at the canal today and discovered that my right shoe has mysteriously shrunk.  My toes were cramped the entire way.  (And no, I wasn't wearing different socks.)  Whatever the cause of my sudden shoe shrinkage/foot growth, I now urgently need new shoes -- which means braving the post-Thanksgiving shopping crowds.  Uggh.

11-24-12: How come I experience the famed "runner's high" after my workout instead of during it? Where is the euphoria that is supposed to transport me to transcendental bliss and make running such a joy? I'm ready for the rapture to set in!

Even though my workout this morning was grueling, two days of Thanksgiving carbo-loading definitely paid off.  I ran a mile and a half on the treadmill -- eighteen minutes nonstop! 

11-25-12:  I've become the Goldilocks of shoes.  I went to a specialty running shop yesterday where they filmed me jogging on a treadmill to analyze my gait.  I tried on all sorts of shoes designed to correct my particular problems and finally settled on a couple of pairs -- but when I got home, they were suddenly too big!  This is insane.  How can shoes fit in the store but not at home?  Now my old ones are too small, the new ones too big. And if the thought of battling holiday crowds to find the perfect running shoes weren't depressing enough, my weight has reached an all-time high.  What a way to start a new week!


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