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What I Miss Most About Running

I didn’t know much I loved running until I couldn’t do it for awhile.

The last few months I’ve been running at the gym on the treadmill. I’ve been happy that I am back at it–happy like you wouldn’t believe–but it’s not quite the same as running outside.  What I missed about running was how much free time it gave me. For a long time I would get my runs in during my lunch break at work. It was nice, I got to run outside on the Esplanade Loop in the fresh air. I would run for just under an hour and have enough time to shower and clean up and be back at my desk to eat by the time my hour was up. It freed up my evenings. I was able to do more things, go out with friends, whatever I wanted really.

Sometimes the whole PROCESS of going to the gym feels like a drag. I have to drive there, find parking, change, etc etc. It just gets monotonous and tedious and it starts to feel like a drag. That’s how I’ve been feeling the last few weeks with this nice weather. I hate going to the gym when it’s sunny and warm outside! Biking to work once a week this month gave me a little of that freedom and outdoor activity I’d been craving. My recent flare-up made me take some time off, though.

Instead of biking last week, I decided I’d give running outside a try. My knees were ok but somehow I felt that if I’d tried biking that day they’d hurt. Would running hurt? Only one way to find out. I got home, changed, and headed outside. I went back to week 1 of the Couch to 5k program I was using because running outside is WAY different than a treadmill. I’m always sore in a different way when I run outside.

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The C25K app starts with a 5 minute warm-up walk. That’s about how long it takes me to walk down the street to the school track in our neighborhood. I got down there and there were kids practicing lacrosse (which I’ve never actually ever seen in person). I followed the app’s prompts to run/walk at intervals. Because it was Week 1 I was running for around 1-1.5 minutes, then walking for a minute, and so on. It was a good start to running outside after weeks of the treadmill but there were times where it was a little too easy.

I did my intervals around the track, my knees feeling decent, the sun warming my bare skin, and then my time was up. There’s a 5 minute cool-down walk at the end of the app but I didn’t feel ready to cool down. Instead, I decided to take the long way back to the house and run it.

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When I got back to the house I grabbed Bella (who had been very annoyed that I didn’t take her with me on my run!) and took her for a short walk as my cool-down.

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Bella was a little pull-y on the leash but she calmed down after a few minutes.  This was my cool-down/walk with Bella:

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Another thing I love about running that just isn’t the same when you’re on the treadmill–the contemplative time. I like letting my mind wander when I run outside. I come up with all sorts of good ideas! I was so happy I go to run outside! YAY summer! I have to admit, though, while I was out there running and thinking about my 5k and started to hear that little voice putting pressure on myself not to walk any of it…I told myself I wouldn’t put that pressure on myself and even if I had to walk some of the 5k, it was still better than not being able to do it at all. Funny how that competitive streak comes out…

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After my run, I stretched, I used my foam roller, I iced my knees (twice–once right after and then again before bed) and I also took a bath epsom salts. I recently discovered the kind for athletes and it works so great! It’s got rosemary and mint in it and it makes my sore muscles tingle and feel great.

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For dinner I had quinoa and Trader Joe’s Chicken Shu Mai dumplings with quinoa and a salad. Lots of sriracha on top. It was a filling dinner and around 500 calories.

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For dessert I tried something new and it was great! I got a box of chocolate covered frozen bananas from Trader Joe’s and they are amazing. For only 140 calories you get something sweet and it’s a good substitute for ice cream. I satisfied that ice cream craving with these babies.

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It’s just a bummer that there aren’t that many servings in the box. I can tell I need to stock the freezer with multiple boxes to have these treats on hand. 🙂

Back to the knees, they felt good. The next day my hips were really sore but my knees were ok so that’s all I care about! I also had a massage scheduled for that night. 🙂 My massage therapist spent a lot of time on my legs and hips and also did some stretches to help with my tight hips. It felt awesome!

Couch to 5k Update

A little while ago I announced I signed up for a 5k. The first running event since I did Hood to Coast four years ago! It feels good to be back at it and to have a goal. The training program I found online seems to be a 9 week plan. I have MORE than enough time train for my 5k. My goal is to get started now, maybe take it easy as I go, and build up to the point where I can maintain the 5k fitness til July. I’m not feeling rushed or like I need to push the training. Also, I imagine that a lot of my running will be on the treadmill at the gym until May-ish, weather permitting! Then I can transition to running only outside.

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Couch to 5k – Week 1

The first week suggested three workouts of 8 repetitions of 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking. I decided to follow the advice of a reader who suggested I stick to the plan even if I feel like I was ahead of the schedule. As much as I dislike strict workout plans, I decided to just give it a try. The nice thing was that my usual workouts didn’t change all that much–I just added some running on a more consistent basis!

My workouts for the week were this:

Tuesday Wednesday Friday Saturday Sunday
2.75 miles  elliptical 1.80 mile walk/jog&weights 1.125 mile swim 90 minute @ Warrior Room 1 mile walk/jog& yoga

Two rest days!

It was a good week. I was happy to be back at running and feeling really good about it! Following the plan was a lot harder than I expected but not in the way you might think. I found that I struggled to do the walking intervals. Besides that it felt like a step backwards in my progress, I also forgot! I get on the treadmill, turn on my favorite music and just run. I kept having to remind myself “oh yeah, I’m supposed to walk”.

Couch to 5k – Week 2

The second week changed to 6 repetitions of 90 second jogs and 2 minutes of walking. After going to the Warrior Room after a 3 week break, I was hobbling for days. That put kind of a crimp on my training plan! Here is this week:

Tuesday Wednesday Friday Saturday Sunday
3 miles onelliptical 1.45 mile walk/jogweights 1.125 mile swim 2 mile walk/jog& weight lifting 1.55 miles elliptical& yoga

 

Couch to 5k – Week  3

Week 3 was adding longer walking and jogging intervals. This time I did this set twice: 90 seconds of jogging, 90 seconds of walking, 3 minutes of jogging, 3 minutes of walking. Here is this week:

Tuesday Wednesday Friday Saturday Sunday
1.83 mile walk/jog40 min yoga Warrior RoomTabata/Isolation 1.25 mile swim 3.05 mile hike 1.5 miles elliptical& yoga

I went a little easy on the running this week because my IT bands were feeling a little tight. Not too bad, but enough that I wanted to back down a little. So I might be repeating week 3 again this coming week. I’ve also started going to a massage therapist to work out some of the issues. My insurance pays for 12 sessions of massage/acupuncture or chiropractor services. I found a really good place near the house and the massage therapist I saw was great! She suggested I start using epsom salts, too. I bought some that is specifically for athletes and sore muscles. It has rosemary and mint in it. I love it! It feels like magic on my muscles!

Stay tuned for more updates.