Monthly Archives: April 2012
MY WALKS ARE TURNING INTO RUNS!
Not long runs. Not fast runs. Not even continuous runs. But not entirely just walking anymore, either.
I’ve been jogging the last 400 meters of a 5K whenever my iPod says that’s all I have left. It wasn’t a lot, but it was more than I’d been doing.
Today I decided to add a few jogging segments in whenever I felt like I could handle it. I’d look for a target up ahead and jog to that point without stopping, then continue with my walk until I felt like I could handle jogging again. I’d estimate that 1/2 of every other quarter mile was done at a slow, deliberate, almost shuffling trot. And of course, that’s when I’d get passed by these cute guys and svelte girls with like NO BODY FAT loping along like champion thoroughbreds looking like they haven’t yet broken a sweat even though it’s probably mile #16 for them. *whine* Some day I’ll be like that.
But you know what? Once or twice I passed by others (one woman in particular stands out in my mind) who were going at the same slow shuffling pace I was. I remember looking at that one woman, feeling envious because she looked like she’d put in a few miles and had a few left. I knew I was a while away from looking like one of the thoroughbreds, but there she was like a workhorse, huffing and puffing and pushing through it with strength and determination, and I wanted to be HER at that moment. In some way, I was proud of her and she unknowingly became my role model.
Then I thought, “Hey wait…I probably look like her when I’m jogging. I’m not going fast, but I’m going. And maybe…just maybe…there is someone on this trail who has seen me today and thought, ‘I can’t wait to be doing that someday.'”
So my running might not be fast or long or even pretty. I’m making sure it’s not unhealthy, dangerous, or risking injury. But it’s running. It will get better as I get used to it.
I’ve never really been a runner. This year that’s changing.
I mentioned I’m planning to start the Couch To 5K (C25K) program soon. There are a couple things I’ve learned even BEFORE starting the program that I want to share:
Wear good shoes.
The last time I tried to do it I was using OLD sneakers that I thought were just fine. They were NOT. I ended up bruising my joints so bad (ankles and knees) that I could hardly walk for several weeks.
Know your trails.
I live in an area where we have a great network of bike/walking trails, plus the American Tobacco Trail which actually has distances measured. If you know your trails, you’ll know which ones to avoid during certain weather. Sunny and hot? You’ll know which ones are shady. Rainy weather? There’s actually a trail nearby with a flood warning sign. Bug season? Avoid the ones by the slow-moving creek.
Walk your trails before you run them.
I considered just starting C25K without any kind of “warm up” as far as getting used to moving again. I seriously would have been going from the couch into the program. I discovered quickly that trail-walking involved using muscles I wasn’t used to using anymore! MY HIPS! THEY WERE SORE! So I’ve been spending a few weeks just walking the trails (trying to pick up my pace or increase my distance with each walk) to get used to using muscles that are involved with things like stabilizing my body or climbing up/going down hills.
Check your distance.
SparkPeople has a handy-dandy “Map Your Route” function (Don’t worry, a membership to SparkPeople is free! Tell them Ailinea sent you!) to help you with distance. The route I did today was almost exactly 3 miles. I originally thought it was longer! Glad I didn’t set out to do more only to discover I’d have to keep going!
Music is your friend!
I’ve made playlists of songs that are fun and upbeat, or remind me of my college crew days. For example, I remember “One Headlight” by the Wallflowers had a great beat to row to, so I included it in my “Upbeat Gym Rat” mix simply because it reminds me of those gym workouts. I have HOURS on that one playlist. When I set it to shuffle, I always have something new to look forward to.
Get a good set of earbuds.
I just picked up a pair of Yurbuds Ironman Series Headphones. I had a pair of in-ear earbuds from Apple that I used with my iPod, but they tended to fall out. I’ve only tried these new earbuds once, but so far there’s a vast improvement. They’ll take some getting used to, but they definitely stayed in. (I will do a review of them later after I’ve tested them some more.)
Other motivational accessories!
I love my Polar FT60 Heart Rate Monitor. A pedometer is useful too, and you can get one pretty cheap. Lately I’ve fallen even MORE in love with my iPod Nano (6th generation) because it combines a pedometer with a fitness tracker, has the vocalized “coaching” to go with your runs/walks, and hey! It plays music, too! You don’t even need the Nike+ shoes to use it. When I hook it up to my computer, it automatically uploads my workouts to the Nike fitness sites. I just LOVE tracking that stuff.
I have a variety of t-shirts and shorts/leggings to work out in. Already I’ve worn one shirt that I will NEVER wear again for exercise. The neck was too tight! Good sports bras are also important. And SOCKS! Some of my “athletic” socks have a seam that ends on the curve of my claw-like baby toe. The blister I worked up just from a short (~1.5 mile) walk bothered me in other shoes I wore for the next few days.
I have very fair skin. Sunblock is a must! I need like SPF 5000 to not get a sunburn! Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses!
If you can’t carry it with you, have easy access to it when you’re done. Rehydrate even if you think you haven’t sweat that much. Do it for your body.
Do you have any other tips that you can think of to add to this list? Are you a runner with any advice? Leave a comment to help a running noob out! ^_^
I know, I know. I keep saying I’m going to get back on track and write more. I’ve finally been getting back on track, just haven’t been writing about it.
Here’s the thing: I have been suffering major clinical depression. There, I’ve said it. I’m not always a strong person. I’m good at putting on a strong face and supporting others when I’m crumbling inside. But the first step to healing is admitting you have a problem, right? Well there you go.
I will post my story eventually. It’s helped to finally talk about it with people. I kept it all bottled in and didn’t get any professional support or help since my world fell apart in late 2008 when my dad died. Things went downhill from there with lots of other major setbacks. Some days I struggled to just get out of bed. Strangers tell me how strong I am and how impressed they are at the transformation I went through last year…all I saw was a fat girl struggling to tread the emotional waters in a deep, dark place. I didn’t ask for help when I needed it. I cried myself to sleep nearly every night hoping SOMEONE would see how badly I needed help. I hated myself every day. Living like that was hard. In fact, there are no words to describe how hard it is, and it certainly isn’t “living.” You have to experience it to know, and I don’t wish that kind of situation upon anyone. It was that bad.
But like losing weight last year, I had to rely on myself. I wanted to change so badly, and only had the words of a few “strangers on the internet” and a few people who knew me to keep me going. I wasn’t working, was finishing school online, and only had in-person social contact with my fiance who really wanted the depression to just go away. So no one really knew what I was going through except maybe two long-distance friends who have struggled with depression themselves. Hell, there were times I considered suicide, but decided that would be too much effort. Yeah, I didn’t even have the strength to actively pursue ways to remove myself from everyone else’s problems. Besides, that felt like a coward’s way out…plus what was left of my inheritance would have gone to my brother and he’s such a cockbite that I wasn’t going to let him benefit from it. =P
I couldn’t stand being in that dark place and struggled to pull myself out. Even my 10-year relationship suffered. I was not able to give my fiance the affection he wanted, so he looked elsewhere. He’d told me that my depression was “bullshit” and I should “just get over it.” In our last argument in late February, he first screamed at me about how he couldn’t stand living with me and couldn’t wait until I was gone. Later he admitted to cheating on me. I said I’d be out that Friday. And I was.
Not gonna lie, it hasn’t been easy. But the scary unknown future is better than the familiar dark place I was in. I moved into my childhood home (I inherited it in the estate and was too scared of the bad memories to move into it before, and finally found some self-confidence when I faced them alone), and one of my long-distance friends later moved into the spare bedroom.
A mix of sunlight, a new place, eating right and exercising again, and having a dear friend in my actual presence who understands depression and actively listens (and on whose shoulder I’ve left a few mascara stains already) has helped a lot. Money is scary now, but I’m looking for a job. That and the remnants of Hurricane Depression are what’s left to face right now…I think I can handle it.
I’m starting over again, but this time I’m not alone. And finally being able to name my demon has been helping me face it.
I’ll be writing more for real this time. I’ve already started exercising again to get my body used to working out, and have added walking on the vast network of trails by my house to get me moving. I plan to start the Couch To 5K (C25K) program in a little over a week (look for that either April 15 or 17) and have just completed Week 1 of 100/200/200 again. I’ve been keeping a mini-journal on paper lately, and will probably move it back/copy it/elaborate here.
I also plan to post more about depression, helping yourself through it, and how to help someone you know who has it. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m not totally out of that bad place yet, but I can finally a light up ahead and am certain it ISN’T an oncoming vehicle! I hope to be able to help others who may be going through the same thing I did but don’t know how to get to a better place in life.
I feel reborn again. I’ve been wearing the phoenix pendant I already own, and haven’t taken it off since I moved. It’s a constant reminder that change is always happening, and you can either just go with the flow or use it to better yourself.
Because this post is of a rather personal nature, I’ve turned off comments. If you feel the need to respond to anything in this post in particular, you may email me at firebudgie (AT) gmail (DOT) com. Thanks for understanding, and I will be back with new posts soon!