"And I realized...this wasn't a way to live. This was a way to die." (28 Days)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


When I last wrote, I had decided to take a hiatus from running to improve my running. It sounds a little goofy, I know, but I felt like I needed a break from pounding my joints into the asphalt to learn more about how to run safely and without impact and as much effort (and therefore faster and longer). I planned to take some time to read "ChiRunning" (if you want more info, there's also a website: http://www.chirunning.com/).

I took about a week off to work on my technique. It's so funny that I had to not run in order to run better. I think it's a brilliant method and once I get it down really well, I think it will my runs will be worlds better.

On Sunday night, I spent a good part of it working on posture, etc. I didn't really get the leg part of the equation, but I tried to do as best I could. I still don't get how to work my legs!

I went for my first run yesterday morning. I didn't have any real goals except for trying to incorporate ChiRunning as much as I could during my scheduled three-mile run. I found it really frustrating--the first time I tried it I ran way too fast and had to stop really quickly because I was gasping for breath. The next time I tried it, I got the lean right, but my breathing was off and my legs hurt. A few times running later, I think I got the lean, my breathing was improving, but now my shins hurt! That has never happened during a run! (It's always my calves, but I've never had shin trouble). Gah.

So, I finished my run feeling annoyed and tired. I felt like I had only run 10 minutes of the whole session. When I looked down on my watch, though, my 3-mile run time had decreased by 3 minutes! Hot dog! So, even though I don't think I could have had the very best run, I improved! I'm excited about really getting everything down and getting even better!

As I took a large amount of time away from my training, I'm not sure what this will mean for my marathon training. Right now, I feel like my training should focus more on form and technique than on increasing distance. For now, I think I'll keep my runs under 5 miles until I feel comfortable with how the runs are going. I'll keep you updated on how this progresses!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ouch, etc.

Today was the first day that I said, "I might not be able to do this". I am frustrated by just how tired I am during runs lately. Today's run was brutal. I guess another lesson I learned from my fantastic run yesterday was "If one runs at top speed, she will not be able to run the next day." Ha! So, about 1.5 miles into my run, my body began a pretty speedy shut-down, beginning with my right calf and ending with my lower back. Gah.

I am seriously thinking I am taking this whole running thing too far. Maybe it was insanity for an obese woman to think she could start from the most activity typically performed in a week equalling opening the Oreo package and end up running an immense number of miles in the span of a year. Oy. But, I set this goal and, by gum, I will get there!

I am spending the weekend working on my technique. I think that my doing yoga has helped with my flexibility, but I'm hoping to get even better. I have heard about a method called ChiRunning (www.chirunning.com), and am really excited that it will help with my technique, amount of energy, and ability to increase my mileage. I have the book out from the library, wish me luck! If I don't find a new method soon, I won't make it much longer!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pace Yourself

Last night, I went running right after work. I hadn't planned on doing so, but a pretty wretched call at the hospital led to my work day lasting 10 hours instead of the normal 8. So, since I was too late to make it to class (not a bad thing at all!), I went home and relaxed for an hour before heading out for a 2-mile make up run (this was to finish the required miles for Saturday). Somehow I thought this would help me unwind after a long day--and it did! It was a wonderful night--a little bit warmer than I thought when I first left the house, but there was a breeze and an hour left until sunset.

The first thing I learned during my run was that I HAVE TO GET A NEW MP3 PLAYER! I recently broke mine--the result of dropping it 20,384,030 times during runs in the last 5 months, I think--and I borrowed Kalem's pristine player for this run. It always makes it go by so much faster! I know that as I increase my miles, it will be the most important equipment that I own. And also that as Kalem increases his, he will be less willing to lend his to me! So, that's definitely on the shopping list this weekend!

I started off at a leisurely pace, singing along with current "hits". Has anyone listened to music lately?! What is happening?! "F" this and sex with that and all that mess. What happened to good music? The first thing I will do with my future MP3 player is put my much-appreciated music on to it. The one good thing about most of the crap out right now is it's a good pace to run or walk to. Most of it's faster and if you can get past all of the filth they're "singing/rapping" about, it's worth working out to. Sometimes it's really hard to get a good heart rate listening to my India.Arie...she normally just makes me want to sit in child's pose or make a cup of tea and read for the night! I do have to say "I Kissed A Girl" is a freaking great end-of-the-run song. I was pretty beat, but it helped me push through it. I am not ashamed to say that my player will have a lot of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake on it to get through those long runs!

I know what you're thinking--"why not listen to Kalem's tunes"? Because I can't listen to Nintendo game tracks. It's almost worse than running just with my thoughts--to me; I know Kalem loves them and I love him for it.

Anyhoo. As I said, I started off at a leisurely pace, singing along to the radio. To tell you how slowly I run, there was a very leisurely walker who was ahead of me for most of the run. Well, at one point I caught up to him (I couldn't pass, because my lungs were already threatening to explode) and he became very friendly. Apparently, all I need to increase my speed is a creepy man telling me I'm "doing just fine". I sped up out of hearing distance (like a quarter of a mile away, I certainly could have never lapped him or anything).

The great news is that I blew my pace out of the water. I ran 2 miles in 30:47, which is like 2.5 minutes off of my normal pace (I told you it was normally a slow, sauntering, snail-like pace). My right calf was screaming by the end of it, but after an hour of icing it afterward, I felt fantastic. I am super proud of the fact that I ran so much faster than normal. There is a chance that I will run the required marathon pace (16:02), provided that 1) a creepy, "friendly" guy keeps trying to make conversation and comments on my running "form", and 2) I have some rockin' tunes that can leave my wondering what music is coming to while keeping me at a respectable pace that ends the music torture relatively quickly.

I kissed a girl and I liked it. Hope my boyfriend don't mind it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Playing Catch Up

After ending our run early on Saturday, we took Sunday off as well to give Kalem a break and because he was still sore. He has no reason to feel embarrassed(!)--it could happen to anyone. I was glad that he stopped when he started to hurt and that his injury wasn't severe.

As a result, there is 6 miles to catch up on now, in addition to already-scheduled runs. I am trying to get them all done this and next week, but that would mean I would have to run 6 days in a row. Not so fun (or healthy) sounding. Kalem is much more pragmatic and has stretched them out more. I want to get back on track ASAP, so we'll see what happens in the next few days. With long runs coming up, I'd like to be caught up before I have to do my first five miles!

I have been sick to my stomach for the last few days. I have no one to blame but myself--I ate so much junk this weekend! I think that what really did me in was the CiCi's Pizza Saturday afternoon. We both felt awful after eating it. I took yesterday off from work because I was overwhelmingly nauseous. I feel better today, though still a little queasy.

Because of how I've been feeling, I have been doing a lot of thinking about what I put into my body. I eat way too much unhealthy, fatty foods, and my stomach is not too happy about it! I made a resolution to be more mindful about what I eat, including asking myself if I'm really, truly hungry. I think that this will help with my overeating as well. I am determined not to eat out as much as I used to as well. It just ends up making me feel bad.

That said, I feel more focused and ready to run, eat better, and take better care of my body. I have done yoga twice and I feel so great about it. I feel that it's really helping my IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome--gross, I know), too--even though I felt gross yesterday, after I did yoga, my stomach felt much calmer. My runs are much easier and more enjoyable when I've eaten well before, too. That's important for me to keep in mind if I complain about runs being hard!

It is important for me to remember that what I put in my body is just as important as what I do with it!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Falling Off the Wagon

Today’s running adventure began as any other; Chavonne and I debated on whether or not to run inside, we prepared our literature and music and got off to a steady start. Today, we switched machines and I ran on a more technologically advanced model that accurately keeps pace; apparently I could not handle this and fell almost immediately into our run. While reading, I dropped the book onto the treadmill and while tracking it, fell right down onto the machine. After pausing a moment to reflect and collect myself and with the help of Chavonne, I realighted the machine and tried my luck once more. However, immediately into the run portion (seventeen seconds to be exact), I fell again over my own feet and we decided to halt the run. I am so angry and embarrassed at myself for ruining our schedule and halting Chavonne’s progress. Hopefully, I can get back into form tomorrow.

Friday, July 11, 2008

On Addictions

Wednesday’s run was my first evening run and I have to say that I really loved it. The water was quiet and calm and there was a very slight breeze that kept me feeling cool and relaxed. We managed to forget our watches because we had originally planned to run on the treadmills, but they were occupied. So in lieu of running by the clock, we planned our run by landmarks and ran about a third of the mile-long track.

The first run was very difficult; my legs felt like lead and I struggled to get through it. However by the second run, I had a lot of my energy back and I was prepared to continue on. Although our run was cut short by darkness, I learned a lot about my running style in the process. I learned that the enormous amounts of salt I ingest through foods and condiments has really slowed my body down and that’s why I am planning to drastically reduce and then eliminate my soda consumption.

Doing so will allow me to reduce the amount of salt and fluid my body retains and save me around twenty dollars per month. However, going cold turkey as I have tried a few times before results in my getting dramatic headaches, I suppose due to caffeine addiction. So, I will have to play this just right, but the benefits are too great to ignore. Wish me luck.

Running for Clarity

I started running around the beginning of February. I had been trying to lose weight since December with no success and then decided that running would increase my intensity and would help me lose inches and pounds.

Some things are going in my life that have me all kerfluffled. I feel like not much makes sense right now. I don't feel any peace at home, at work, in my marriage, within myself. I just feel crazy!

I LOVE running. Beginning to run was the best thing I ever did for my health and sanity. It brings me so peace and focus. It feels like the only source of solace right now and I am so grateful for the chance to lace up my shoes and take care of ME. It's the greatest gift right now.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Running on Empty

We did not want to run tonight! We were really tired and didn't want to put forth the energy to get a run in. It ended up being a really good run, though--it was cool and the sun was setting, so it was lovely weather to run in.

I have been feeling really tired lately and have had trouble sleeping. It's strange because last weekend, I was so exhausted that I could barely get out of bed and stay awake. Either way, my body is tired and my head is continuously hurting. I'm wondering if I'm going through caffeine withdrawal (I stopped drinking coffee in hopes that it would help me sleep). I hope I start feeling better soon!

I'm a little sore in my "haunches" (not my quads, not my hamstrings, like the "outer thigh"...I don't know). It hurts to get up from sitting after a while. All things considered, though, I feel good. I feel healthy and proud of the efforts I have made. I love running!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Pushing It

Kalem and I took a run yesterday evening around 7 PM. It had been raining outside so we decided to run on the treadmills in the "exercise room" of the apartment complex. I am trying my best to avoid them because I'm afraid of falling again, but I hate getting wet and it was insanely humid, so we ended up inside.

When we first started running, each session focused on the amount of time run rather than the distance. However, now that we have started marathon training, miles are what matter--building upon them regardless of the intensity.

So, we got on the treadmills to start our run. I felt like I wasn't getting anywhere (I was impatient and wanted to be done!), so I increased my speed to "get it over with". Oy. My body started cramping like crazy and I almost had to stop. I decreased my speed, but it was too late. So, instead of running 4 miles, I only ended up running 3.

I was really frustrated with myself for not finishing, but I am glad that I learned a valuable lesson: I have found a pretty comfortable running pace though it is fairly slow. I need to be comfortable with taking forever to run three miles because if I push myself too hard, I'll never make it any further in my training.

I am ready to take on our next run at my snail's pace! Finishing is what's most important. That and being able to still feel my legs!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Beginning

I am so excited that Kalem and I have started this blog. We have decided to run as a way of getting healthier. (I think that Kalem is thinking of looking into other forms of exercise, too, so that may be discussed later on). Our main reasons are to lose weight and to get healthy. We want to have the happiest, healthiest, longest marriage that we can. In addition, we want to be healthy in and when we decide to have children. WE ARE NOT PREGNANT (I realized Kalem's entry may have given that idea)! We want to have a healthy pregnancy and raise healthy children.

Our first marathon will be the Richmond Marathon on November 15th. I am really excited and nervous about it. I think it will be a great goal to have as we get in shape. We also are tentatively planning to run the Pittsburgh Marathon May 3rd. This depends on how we feel after our first--if we aren't too broken after this one (!), it may become an annual thing.

Well, Friday's run was certainly a kick in the butt. In case you didn't know, I had taken a three week off to nurse a painful groin pull. I was really ready to get back in the swing of things--before my injury, running had become an important, almost integral, part of my life. I missed having the outlet for stress and way of centering in a fairly busy life.

So. It was a difficult run, but I am so glad we did it! It was wonderful to watch Kalem run--he was always ahead of me. He has such beautiful form. At one point I got teary, because I know how hard he was working and that his main goal is to be healthy enough to play with the kids we are seriously discussing having in the next few days. I am so proud of him. When I saw him sprinting the last of his run, I thought I would burst with pride.

As for me, I too, like Kalem, had a heck of a time on the second-to-last lap. My leg was bothering me a bit after, but I feel fine now. I ran at a snail's pace, but I did it! I think that, with time and more muscle, I will be able to increase my pace to the necessary 16:02. I look forward to increasing my mileage and rediscovering the peace I used to feel while running. We have what feels like a kabillion miles to run during training for this marathon and, though I may complain a few (ha!) times, I can't wait for each and every one of them.

On the First Time

On Friday, Chavonne and I had our first re-committed run as a marathoning couple and I have to say, it really was a challenge and a gift. We walked and ran a split of five minutes each, and the pace we were able to keep was pretty impressive over our three miles. The runs remained difficult and my feet in particular continued to hurt as I was breaking in a new pair of running shoes with insoles. At one point, I was passed by a blonde woman whose pace inspired me to do my best to keep up and I managed to run about a third of a mile over the five minutes; that may not sound like much but it is a fairly major achievement for someone with as sedentary a history as I have. The second-to-last run was by far the most challenging; my stomach began to cramp, by calves and hamstrings began to burn, and my mouth began to choke with bile. I was fairly positive I would throw up into the city reservoir, which would have been an ecological disaster to say the least.

However, the walk restored my strength and my breath and I even found the energy and drive to sprint the last fifty yards to the finish so I could make a time under fifty minutes for a pace of sixteen minutes and forty seconds. I could not believe I had it in me to sprint as fast as I did which, again, is not objectively fast, but an achievement nonetheless.

The best part (other than finishing and sitting in our air-conditioned car) was seeing the look of happiness on Chavonne’s face as we both pressed and encouraged each other to run harder. It really drove home the point of why we are running in the first place for me, which is to extend our lives with each other by getting healthier. I want to be able to play with our future son (named "Noah," we believe) without getting short of breath; I want to live to see him grow up; and I want to live to protect and love my wife as long as I possibly can. Maybe marathoning is only a step on the road to better health and better lives for both of us.