Slow running… it’s the new fast!

Reposted from FitMilwaukee.com:

I’ve never been fast. I don’t even know if I’d ever care to be fast.

A lot of times, you hear about how fast people run races. Don’t get me wrong. I have a time goal. It’s just no where near that of my close friends. When they’re running an “easy” 9 min pace, I’m busting my ass trying to keep a sub 15 pace.

I consider myself a runner. I run/walk and I’m ok with that. Of course, I’d love to get to the point where I’m only running and not walking unless I really need a break. But, I like the freedom that walk/running gives me. If I only ran, my workouts would be less than a mile. But with slowing things down and alternating between running and walking, I’m able to cover many miles.

This weekend, I ran just over 6 miles in about 90 minutes. Am I going to win an award any time soon? No, but I was beaming with pride when I realized this was the FASTEST I’d ever done 6 miles. A year ago, I was run/walking at a much different pace. I would hope to average 16-17 minutes per mile, but be happy with anything less than 18:30. Now, my slowest walking pace is in the 16-16:30 range… but usually falls between 15-16. My previous FAST time is now my SLOW time.

I know that as I lose weight, my pace and endurance will continue to improve, but I don’t expect to be qualifying for Boston ANY time soon.

I’m focusing on creating attainable goals for me and my body. And, if slow running is the key, then I’ll embrace it with a big sloppy kiss.

Last week, I wrote a very cathartic post on my blog about how difficult it is for me to run with anyone else. Go on. Read it. If you’ve ever felt like you’re not good enough to run in a group, read it twice. I’ll wait.

Done?

Ok, good.

The response to this post was overwhelming. Emails, gchats, comments, Facebook messages, etc. I never in a million years expected people to respond as they did. (I’m still surprised anyone reads my blog.)

I realized that I’m not alone in my running insecurity. Then I noticed some talk on Twitter that was all too familiar to me, “Oh, you won’t want to run with me. I’m super slow.” This is my general response when someone asks me to run.

It forced me to swallow my pride and do something I’ve been thinking about doing for a couple of months now. I’m starting a slow running group. All are welcome to join us (there’s a group on Facebook)… and there will be a forum coming soon. You don’t have to be fast or slow or even a runner to join us. Walk/run/crawl/skip whatever the hell you want. The key to this group is acceptance and no judging. Yeah, I said it. Don’t judge. Don’t judge people for being too fast. Don’t judge people for being too slow. We’re all in different places in our fitness journeys. We’re beginners. We’re veterans. We’re runners (or walkers).

We’ll be having a group “run” Monday, March 28th rain or shine. Meet us at Lake Park in Milwaukee at 6pm. We will be near Lake Park Bistro. I’ll probably have a 2-3 mile route planned, but you can feel free to do as much or as little as you like – and, please, please, please go at your own pace. Don’t feel you have to speed up to catch up with someone else… especially if your body isn’t cooperating. Go at your pace. Do your own thing… and I’m sure you’ll find someone who’s at your pace! It sounds like we have people with an average pace (whether running, run/walking or walking) of anywhere from 11-18 minutes per mile. If you’re faster or slower than this – please still come and join us!

I’ll leave you with these words from John Bingham, the father of slow running:

“It was being a runner that mattered, not how fast or how far I could run. The joy was in the act of running and in the journey, not in the destination.”

Bikram Yoga: What was I thinking?

Photo: Visit London

This is what I imagine hell is like. It’s smelly, it’s humid, it’s hot and you’re in a room with 30 other sweaty people. I was dripping with sweat – even my calves were sweating. Oh, and then class started.

Yeah that’s right. I was dripping sweat on my calves, feet, forearms and all the normal sweaty places before class even began.

I suppose that this description on the Bikram Yoga Milwaukee website should have been a dead giveaway, but I ignored it:

“It is normal to feel dizzy during class. Blood circulation and pressure changes rapidly this may cause dizziness. You will learn to love this euphoric feeling of stretching tight muscles.”

Lemme tell you, I did not find it euphoric. It was my first time trying Bikram Yoga. I was able to do many of the poses (or modified versions of them) thanks to my regular yoga practice, but oh my goodness, this fat girl couldn’t take it anymore.

After 30 or 40 minutes, I had to lie down. I couldn’t stand anymore. I couldn’t breathe (blame the asthma – I always have huge problems breathing when the air is hot and humid). I was seeing stars. I got dizzy. I thought I was going to puke.

Then I did something I swore I would never do until I’m at my goal weight. I took my shirt off in public. Ok, well it was a tank top but still. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I sat there in my sports bra and yoga pants. And then I wondered if I could get away with taking my pants off. I wanted it all off. I couldn’t bear it anymore.

The breathing, the dizziness, the nausea didn’t get better so I got the hell out of there at the 1 hour mark. Within 10 minutes, there were four of us in the lobby, dripping with sweat (sexy), out of breath (also sexy) all wondering what the hell we got ourselves into. Coincidentally, we had all gotten the Bikram Groupons. LOL.

I’m sure I’ll try it again, but I have no desire to do that again anytime soon.

I owned 10 miles

(This was written Sunday afternoon… which should explain all the references to “today”).

I can’t even describe the sense of accomplishment I feel right now. I did 10 miles today. Without stopping. (well, I made a couple of water stops but that is expected – no stops to stretch or rest though!)

My body hurts so much its almost laughable. Seriously. It hurts so bad I can’t help but chuckle. Why do I do this to myself? My feet, my ankles, my calves, my knees (oh lordy my knees), my hips, my core, my neck… everything. hurts.

I would SOOOOOOOOOO go sit in an ice bath if there was enough ice in this house. Unfortunately those two trays won’t be doing much for me.

Today’s run/walk started out horribly. I totally psyched myself out this morning while I was eating oatmeal. I almost threw up I was so nervous. I’ve never done a double-digit workout (well except for biking)… and I know how much I’ve hurt from the shorter distances (6,8)… so I knew today was going to be horrible. Then I realized I didn’t charge my Garmin so it was going to die mid-run. Then I couldn’t find my inhaler. Then I couldn’t find the sunscreen. Life was anti-amy this morning. I got pissed at my Garmin for not being charged and tried to get it off and in the process completely ripped the watch band. So that meant absolutely NO Garmin today. I ended up using an app on my phone I used in the pre-garmin days which kept a decent record (timing at least) and only looked at it twice the whole route today… but of course that’s cuz I got some encouraging text messages and tweets from my family and friends. You guys rock.

I got to practice late, waited for Coach Anne to tell us the route for the day and then I took off without the rest of the team while they were talking. I just wanted to get today over with, and chatting wasn’t going to help anything.

I walked the first half mile or so then ran down the hill for just over half a mile… walked for a bit, then ran another half mile or so… then Stephanie caught up with me. She’s a runner on the team but didn’t have childcare this morning so she was going to walk while pulling her kids in a stroller. We walked together at a good pace for a couple of miles and then the rest of the team caught up with us as we headed out this little point off veterans park. Then we headed back towards the Art Museum where we lost Marge and Dave.

Stephanie, Anne, Kevin and I went through Lake Shore State Park to the red lighthouse and when we turned around we saw Marge. Anne broke away and continued with Marge, Kevin stopped for a bathroom break and Stephanie got held back for a bit with the kids… I knew if I stopped I wouldn’t keep going so I just went. I ran back through the park (half mile or so) and into Discovery World, down the hall to the bubbler to refill my water. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy but I didn’t want to fall behind the group.

I saw Stephanie and Kevin up ahead by the Art Museum and ran until I caught up to them and walked along Lincoln Memorial Drive with them.

At the entrance to Veterans Park, we found Anne, Dave and Marge and kept with them to the bubbler by the tennis courts and then north along Lincoln Memorial. At some point (I think near the Northpoint custard stand), Kevin and I lost the rest of the group and kept going towards Lake Park Bistro. I had already decided that I would do 10 miles and forego the final mile in lieu of the stairs. OH MY GAWD. Climbing up the stairs at Lake Park Bistro AFTER having done 10 miles was brutal. Absolutely brutal. It hurt so bad to lift my legs up the stairs. Kevin and I got halfway and cheered on the rest of the team who was heading up the hill.

I got to Becky and the picnic table and collapsed… stretched… drank water… tried to wrap my head around what I just did. I got into my car and almost sat there crying but I didn’t want anyone to see so I headed home.

Today was magical. Today was horrible. Today was awesome.

I can hardly walk now. But it was worth it.

I owned those 10 miles.

I’m going to own 13.1 in 4 weeks. Scratch that. I’m going to make 13.1 miles my bitch.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

First it was good. Then it was really good. Then it was ok. Then it was meh. Then it was bad. Then it was really bad. Then it was oh-my-god-I’m-going-to-die. Then it was over.

My left foot/ankle bothered me quite a bit yesterday. I’m not sure what happened. I iced it on and off all afternoon and evening, hoping it would feel better.

When I woke up today it was a little bit better, but not great. I did not have high expectations for today’s run/walk. I was completely prepared to do a couple of miles and go home.

Around the first half mile mark, Coach Anne asked if I was going to run down the hill (I like to run down the hill at Lincoln Memorial Drive cuz it makes me feel fast). I told her that I would probably run down the hill and how I felt at the end would determine if I’d run any more today.

Well I started running. And I kept running. Before I knew it, I was by the Northpoint custard stand which is the 2mi mark of the route. And I was running. woah. I walked for the next 3/4 of a mile. Then I started running again. And I kept running. My pace was slowing considerably but I just kept going because I was afraid of what would happen when I stopped. I continued running til I got to Lake Shore State Park and then walked the first half to 3/4 mi of the loop. Then I started running again. I continued running (ok at this point it was more like a shuffle) to Discovery World. Then I realized that the route I thought was 10 miles was actually going to be more like 9 and I got mad and I went up Michigan past Discovery World out onto the pier to add some mileage. It was about half a mile but whatever. It was some additional mileage.

By this point my foot was starting to hurt more, but I kept alternating between walking and running for a bit longer. As I passed the lagoon the pain started getting worse. My pace was slowing. And slowing. And slowing. I ran out of water and bought a bottle from a vendor at the entrance to Veterans Park. I kept going even though the pain was getting worse. I was determined to show the lakefront who’s boss. As I reached McKinley Marina, I knew there was no way I would be running any more. The pain was getting worse. I was glad I had sunglasses on because I’m pretty sure I was crying a bit.

I’ll be honest. There were times during the last couple of miles that all I wanted to do was sit down and cry and call someone to come pick me up. But I didn’t. I kept going, despite the pain.

When I got to the Lake Park Bistro stairs and stared up Lincoln Memorial I knew there was no way I was going to make the last mile of our normal loop. So I cut it short and practically crawled up the stairs. No joke. It was so painful going up those stairs. My knees were aching. My ankle/foot was throbbing. I made it to the top and collapsed near the picnic bench Becky was sitting at. I almost lost it then but managed to keep my shiz together as I talked about what happened.

The rest of the day I was really depressed about what happened today. I focused on the bad so much I forgot that I RAN 1.5 miles today. And then another mile. And then a half mile. And then another mile or so.

I’m going to spend the next couple of days resting my foot and hoping that some RICE action will get it better so I don’t throw off my training. Here’s hoping my workouts at the beginning of the week are more strength-focused than cardio. Cuz the treadmill and eliptical aren’t happening.

SPLITS: 15:51, 15:13, 18:08, 16:17, 18:03, 17:33, 18:10, 19:39

The one where I accidentally run .85 mi without stopping

It started off like any other hot, muggy, late-night run. I walked a .25mi warmup (about 4-5min) and waited for my Garmin to beep at me that it was time to start running. it just wasn’t turning over.

You see, I had set up this great program for myself tonight – a bunch of intervals to work on speedwork on my favorite route from my house to downtown Milwaukee. I created the workout in my Garmin training center program and uploaded it to my Garmin. What I didn’t realize until, oh 15-20 min into the run was that my Garmin never connected to the satellites, so my plan to run a quarter mile, then walk for a min and so on was never going to happen.

Hence the title, the one where I accidentally run .85mi without stopping. You should also know I did this in 9 or 10 minutes. I don’t know what happened. I really don’t.

I started the running portion near Humboldt and Ogden… and it wasn’t until I was at Prospect and Wisconsin (and running out of air – literally) that I realized that the satellite thingamabob wasn’t working. There was nooooooo way I hadn’t gone less than a quarter mile. I’ve done this route before. I just got in the zone and bam. Perhaps it was the sheriff’s deputy who waved at me as I ran past Juneau Park. Perhaps it was the desire to get this run over with ASAP because it’s so freaking humid out. Perhaps it was none of the above. Perhaps, just perhaps, I’m awesome. Your guess is as good as mine.

Regardless, I ran my longest distance ever without stopping to catch my breath or to walk. A non-stop mile is not far away. Hell, running an entire 5k without stopping isn’t far away. Speaking of which, I have one in 2 weeks. 😉

Now I’m off to shower and cuddle with this gal.

Another 8 miles down

Sunday’s 8 miles was felt so much better than last week. That’s partly because of the heat, but also because I rock. (Let’s be honest here). I was more into this mentally than I was last week. I had myself freaked out. This week, I kept a fairly consistent pace and was able to do a little running at the beginning, the middle and the end. In fact, I was so determined to do a sub 2:20 today that I ran the last quarter mile. 😉

Around mile 1.5, Marge caught up to me so we stuck together for the remainder of the training run/walk. I think it helped us both keep moving knowing that we couldn’t slow down too much because of the other. We did a couple li’l running intervals by the Art Museum. After the turnaround, we were both very pumped to realize we were leading the pack of walkers! So we were determined to keep that going and kept the pace going for the last 4 miles.

I realized that around mile 4-5, I’m definitely hurting, but once I push through that… by mile 6 or so it sort of goes numb and it isn’t until I stop moving that my legs hurt again. I’m sure that as I do more and more of these long distances, that my body will adjust and I will hit that pain max at a later mile. It is really funny though that by mile 6 it didn’t matter anymore. It was totally mental by that point.

Somehow I ended up with 8.1 so whatever, I’ll take it. Oh, and I crushed last week’s time for the 8 miles by more than 5 min!!! Sha-weeeet!

SPLITS: 16:33, 16:55, 17:35, 17:47, 17:37, 18:26, 18:06, 16:56

PS Can anyone tell me what the difference between Ave Pace and Ave Moving Pace on the Garmin means?

Fundraiser: Stone Creek Coffee

Hey everyone! I’ve teamed up with Stone Creek Coffee, a Milwaukee company, to sell coffee and raise money for Team Challenge and the half marathon I plan to run/walk in July. I am selling the Custom Blend (that will have a special label on it, created by me!), French Roast, Hazelnut, Organic Fair Trade, Cream City Blend (regular and decaf) along with Hot Chocolate.

$5 from each pound of coffee and $3 from each tin of hot chocolate will go directly toward my goal of raising $3800 for Crohn’s and Colitis Research.

I am running this fundraiser through March 7. If you’d like to place an order, click here or send me an e-mail (me-at-losingitwithoutlosingme.com). If you live in the Milwaukee area, I will personally deliver the coffee to you! If you’re not in the Milwaukee area, contact me to work something out.

Helping the hungry: Pound for Pound Challenge

You may have noticed this li’l graphic in my sidebar:

I signed up for the Pound for Pound Challenge, committing to lose 35 pounds. I thought this was weight you committed to lose by June but I obviously misread… so I could have pledged more but oh well.

Basically, for every pound you pledge, they will send a pound of food to a Milwaukee food pantry. Right now, Milwaukee is #9. So c’mon and join the party!