Wednesday, July 31, 2013

C25K: Week 8

This week, which actually started last Thursday, I ran three times for 28 minutes. The longer time is actually not too bad--my heart can take it, but my body has been struggling a bit. Running is hard. Every day that I do it, I feel like it might be getting easier and then it takes me about 20 minutes to actually feel "comfortable" (I'm using that term lightly). My shoulder's still hurting, but I find if I let my arm hang at my side, the pain lessens and even goes away. However, that makes me look like a malformed monster lady, hobbling around on the treadmill like Igor.

I'm supposed to start my 30 minute runs tomorrow, but I'm heading to NYC with a friend for two days. I am going to bring something to workout in, but the likelihood of that happening is low, but I'm going to try. If it doesn't, then I'll have to pick up the runs next week, which might mean that I need to redo this week.

Last night my sister and I watched Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition. The woman that was featured said that one of her goals was to face something that she hated and conquer it. Her thing was running. After losing 92 pounds (in 3 months... lets not talk about how unrealistic that is for the normal person), she ran a marathon in Paris. Do I want to run a marathon? Gosh, I don't know--I can't even imagine it. I have a hard time running 2 miles nonstop. Can I really get to 26 miles?

Maybe it's something to strive for. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

C25K: Week 7 (take 2)

As I mentioned before, I did decide to re-do Week 7 for this couch to 5K program. Yesterday was my last 25 minute run. Did they get easier? Ummm... yessss? The first was smooth sailing (nothing hurt, I wasn't overly hot, etc.), the second was very difficult (shoulder pain came back and I was too hot), and the third was "meh." But the average feeling for this repeated week was "all right, this is fine." So, tomorrow I will start Week 8, which is three 28 minute runs. I haven't decided if I'll listen to Laura or not--it couldn't hurt, but the music is just not that great.

Anyway... that's where I'm at with the C25K. I don't think I've really lost weight in the last eight weeks--I'm too hungry all the time. I was kinda hoping that would go away after a few weeks, but it's sort of sticking around along with the weird shoulder pain. I gotta research that again.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Complacency or Fear?

I feel like I'm coming up to a point when I have to make some decisions, and I keep hearing myself say: "I'm not ready for/to ___________."

What I can't decide is if this feeling comes from fear of the unknown or from complacency, and whether or not fear/complacency are the same thing. Neither of these things sits well with me. I spend too much time being fearful and I can't really stand complacent behavior in other people (so why should I allow it in myself)?

I also worry about letting people down by dropping the ball on my responsibilities. It's sometimes hard for me to stop taking care of others and to focus on myself. It's also hard for me to figure out what I'm really worth.

I've been grappling with these thoughts/questions for a couple days, trying to decide "am I ready?"

I guess we'll see.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

C25K: Week 7 (run 1-3)

Holy crap... this was a hard, HARD week.

And now, at the end of it, I realize that it wasn't the actual running that was hard. It's been dealing with, exercising in, and trying to adjust to the heat. A lot of people who know me might say "You lived in deep south Texas for half of your life, suck it up, Buttercup!" But what they may not know is that I hated the heat there as well. I never got used to it, not even after 15 years. I doubt that I ever will.

My facebook avatar ( That's heat coming off me, not funk.
All week long it's been in the 90s (today was at least 97 degrees), and like I mentioned in my last post, the AC in my gym went out at the beginning of the week. The temperatures inside were over 80 degrees. Brutal. I was worried that come Tuesday I wouldn't be able to complete my second run of the week. Luckily, the AC was fixed pretty quickly. It was noticeably cooler inside by Tuesday evening and I was able to complete the run, but it was by far the hardest one yet.

That weird collarbone pain came back. My back also started hurting. I really, really wanted to stop and bend over to stretch it out, but I pushed through, dropping down to 3.8 mph, which is a very awkward speed to try to jog at. It's more of a speed walk, but "walking" isn't allowed. It was by far the worst run of the entire program for me. I almost didn't finish it. On the way home, I decided that I needed to repeat Week 7. Why? Because not only was the run super difficult, my thoughts were borderline "I'm done with this nonsense. I hate it." I don't want to quit as I've come really far. I also don't want to hate it and never run again. Knowing that the next week would add three minutes, I felt apprehensive. Who knew what these additional minutes would do to my waning morale. I might thrown in the towel all together. So, I need to repeat Week 7 until the run doesn't hurt.

Today's run (#3) was actually much easier than Tuesday's. I jogged for a longer period of time (about 15 minutes) at the higher mph before dropping it down for the last 10 minutes. My heart rate was good--I didn't feel uncomfortable or overly tired. I managed to get a good treadmill and watched half of an NCIS episode, and instead of listening to Coach Laura, I had my own music playing. I felt much more comfortable. I also think that the gym was even cooler than prior days. My body didn't have to work as hard, I guess.

Although the last run of the week was easier, I'm still going to repeat Week 7. Week 8 has three 28 minute runs. Week 9 has three 30 minute runs. Even if I stick with Week 7 for a little longer, it shouldn't take much more to get another 5 minutes out of me. I do want to complete the goal of the program, which is a 5K (I'm at about 4K right now) or to run 30 minutes. Maybe I don't need Laura to do it? Wait a second..... saying that, I feel a little like a person who goes off their meds because they feel so much better and think they don't need them.

Hmm... I'll probably stick with Laura for Weeks 8 and 9, but this coming week I'll repeat Week 7 on my own.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pending Derailment

My next 25 minute jog is tomorrow and the heat is threatening to throw me off track completely. In some ways, I feel like I'm just making excuses and in others I feel like I have a valid concern: the temperature in my gym today was 82 degrees.

That's dangerous... right?

I mean, people were working on like no big deal, but it took an extra push to get me to start peddling.  I almost left--twice!

They (some guy behind the counter who didn't seem 100 percent confident in his answer to my question: "Um, is the AC broken or something or is this normal?") say that they've got a contractor going in to fix the AC tomorrow, but that doesn't mean that it'll be working by the end of the day. In the interim, maybe they should invest in some shades to block out the sun that sears through the front windows all day long? Maybe invest in some more industrial fans.... It's just so hot. What if the AC isn't fixed tomorrow when I start my jog? What if I'm  unable to complete it because I've passed out, smacked the console of the treadmill, hit the spinning tread (because I don't wear the emergency stop thingy), and then shoot off across the gym (or as far as 4 mph will propel me)?


I might have to switch gyms after such humiliation. Or sue for heat stroke.

Either way... I will attempt a jog tomorrow, even if the temperature is borderline gateway to hell.

Even though I want to do nothing but sit in my car with all of the vents pointed at my and the AC at full blast.

If you couldn't tell, the heat is really taking a lot out of me. It's bursting my normally zen state. I feel so cranky... I want to bash things. Seriously, I want to Hulk smash the sun.

Another funny thing... I keep thinking "maybe when I lose this last 50 pounds, I won't mind the heat." Bullshit, Tanya. When it feels like your flesh is burning off it doesn't matter if you're a healthy weight or obese. The sun is unforgiving and it's only getting worse.

*wailing moan of despair*

All right, let me stop being a baby.

My mom keeps telling me that I should move to Alaska. Maybe I should. I definitely don't get cranky when I'm cold.

Friday, July 12, 2013

C25K: Week 6 (run 3)

So... today I jogged for 25 minutes. I actually completed 25 minutes of continuous jogging. It was harder than hell, but I completed it.

25 minute run with 5 minute warm-up walk = 2 miles.

Afterwards, I wondered if I needed to repeat week six. For the last two jogs, I've had this strange pain on and around my right collarbone. It makes jogging VERY uncomfortable. It's bad enough that I want to stop jogging (and I nearly did several times). In earlier weeks, Laura talked about stitch pains, which I haven't experienced yet, so I thought that maybe this was it. Nope, not stitch. But this shoulder pain has been a pretty steady this week, and coupled with the faster, continuous heart rate (anything over 175 feels pretty taxing), I felt like maybe I needed to repeat this week's runs.

So, when I got home today, I walked into the house and asked my sister about week seven. As I've said in earlier posts, I don't like to know what's coming. But after my struggles this week, I needed to know if I should actually repeat one week.

Week 7: three 25 minute runs. Yikes!

According to my sister, who told me she experienced the same shoulder pain, it's my posture and probably the way I move my arms. I think they're kinda high and close to my body and I think my shoulders are all bunched up. So, I need to loosen up (a lesson for my life in general). I probably need a massage--although that's a difficult thing to swallow when you don't like strangers touching you.

The only consolation about this coming week is that they will eventually get easier, just like weeks 1-5 have. And I did complete all this week's runs--hard or not.

I've decided to press on with week seven and hopefully I'll find some relief to this odd problem.

So, instead of sore legs, I have overworked muscles around my collarbone. Such is life.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Let's Take A Moment to Consider Pencils

I realized that pencils make me very happy. I love the feel, shape, and smell (especially a box of pencils). I don't even use them on a daily basis, but they make me excited nonetheless. Two years ago, my sister gave me a package of large, yellow pencils as a stocking stuffer. Best present ever. I haven't used them, but I love them all the same. I have to wonder if it's the writer in me? Or maybe it's the nerd (I love school and school supplies). Maybe it's some strange non-kinky, utterly bizarre, yellow-number-2 pencil fetish....

Here is a little ode to pencils:
Stop. Pencil time...

You now know something weird about me.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

C25K: Week 6 (run 2)

So, today was another 20 minute run, although it was broken up into two ten minute sessions (with a three minute walk in between).

I decided to try a pre-warm up on the elliptical (because I thought the 5 minute walk from the program wasn't warming me up enough). That was probably a good choice because my muscles didn't feel as tight as they normally do in the first 10 minutes. Today I went at the "faster" speed for the first 10 minutes, and kept it up for the first 6-7 minutes of the second set and then went down a couple notches. This week's runs really have been a little more difficult and I think the culprit is the temperature in the gym. It's been so hot and humid in my area lately and the gym just isn't cooling down (I checked the thermostat yesterday--it was set at 65 degrees, but the temperature in the building was 78). Seventy-eight degrees is a little high in a gym packed with hot people (and I'm not talking oooo la la sexy). I feel like I'm running in a rain forest.

Running pencil = awesome.
I have a problem being in high heats. If I get too hot, I tend to pass out. I can't be in a hot tub for more than ten minutes before my heart starts racing. I'm not sure if I should be concerned about this or if it's just my body's natural response to heat? Probably something I should look into.

Anyway, run 3 is on Friday and it'll be another long one. I feel semi nervous about it (because of the heat). I'm dreading it, only because running still isn't fun... I tend to watch the clock on the wall. I'll admit, I like watching the five minute intervals tick by, especially when I hit the last five minutes.

The best part about running is stopping.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

C25K: Week 6 (run 1)

Like week 5, week 6 also consists of three separate runs.

Here's the breakdown for the first run: 5 minute jog, 3 minute walk, 8 minute jog, 5 minute walk, 5 minute jog.

Not too bad when you consider the 20 minute run last week. However, it was more challenging for me for a number of reasons: (1) I'd had a two day break from cardio of any kind; (2) the gym was pretty warm (hello summer... hello cheap gym--Is this the downfall of a $10 membership?); and (3) I jogged at a slightly faster speed.

I think tomorrow's run is the last one that will be broken up into these smaller intervals. So, my game plan is to not let two days of rest fall between runs, if possible. I also plan on going a little slower for the long runs. That seemed to work last time.

Let's talk about something else that I'm experiencing: HUNGER.

I feel like eating anything and everything. And most nights I do. Hello Life cereal sprinkled with a little cinnamon. Hello fro-yo. Hello FOOD!

It's a little frustrating because I am trying to lose weight. I'm allotted a certain amount of Weight Watchers points per day and I've been over this count most days of the week (for the past several weeks, which means the scale's not really moving). The only good thing about WW is that I gain points with activity, so I could technically be eating these activity points and theoretically not have a problem with the scale. The problem with that is that I'm not accurately weighing/measuring food (who wants to do this all the damn time? Not me... and yet, I have to if I want to be successful). I know that I'm going way over my points and basically cancelling out the work I did in the gym. I need to get a handle on this. But the last thing I want to be is cranky all the time because I'm hungry.

Maybe I should lay off the cereal and eat something more substantial... but... cereal is so good, quick, and satisfying!

If anyone has any helpful tips to fight the hunger bug, let me know.

Friday, July 5, 2013

C25K: Week 5 (run 3)

Well, I finished the killer 20 minute run. Huzzah!

I jogged the first 5 minutes at 4.2 and then did the rest at 4 mph. So, slow, yes, but doable--and I completed it, so that's saying something. Part of me wonders if the .2 less was actually easier, or if my brain tricked my body into thinking so? Anyway... I know that I ran a mile today. It's been a while since I've done that. And I didn't even cry! haha. (confused? read this) Moving forward, I think I'll tackle these longer runs at a slower speed and the shorter runs at a faster speed. Maybe this will help with conditioning... maybe not.

It felt good to finish such a long run. I had my doubts and concerns, but I fought through them. Who knows how I'll feel about the runs for the next four weeks, but I'm glad I know I can finish 20 minutes.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

C25K: Week 5 (run 2)

So... lets talk about running for eight minutes.

I usually blog at the end of a week, but this week has three separate runs. The first was broken up into five minute runs (three of them). This wasn't bad. That last minute of each run was a strain, but it really wasn't hard. The second run of this week (finished today) was broken up as follows: eight minute run, five minute walk, eight minute run. When Laura, the 5K coach, mentioned eight minutes, I didn't really freak out like I had with the three and five minute runs. I feel like week four prepared me a little for this longer run. What I wasn't prepared for was the amount of times I wanted to stop.

In the first eight minutes, I'm not sure that I was properly warmed up or maybe I was just tired, I felt a little ache in my muscles. I haven't really felt much by way of "pain" or "fatigue" in my legs this far--so, obviously this meant that it was time to take a break. But this was just four minutes in.

One minute, thirty seconds later: Wow, my legs really are tired. This would be a good time to take a little break, I think.

Sixty seconds left: Okay, let me just finish this and then I'll get to walk. 

Laura says that this week is all about mental toughness. She claims that I'm conditioned enough to know about pacing... and at this point it's a "mental" thing. I have to agree--jogging is a total mind game. I didn't need to stop during that first eight minutes. I wanted to, but I wasn't in pain--just uncomfortable. What do we do when we're uncomfortable working out--we back off or slow down or even stop. I had to push through.

In the second eight minute run, I decided to push myself a little--which was basically one notch higher in miles per hour (4.3 instead of 4.2... this might be a brisk walk for some, but it's a light jog for a shorty like me). At five minute intervals, I can manage 4.5 mph, but with these longer runs I thought it was better to stay on the lower end. Needless to say, combining one little point of speed coupled with eight minutes of nonstop running brought these thoughts:

My chest feels a little tight. My heart might explode--I should probably slow down.

No, I'm fine. Keep pushing--deep breaths.

Meerrraah, but my heart might actually explode.


Wait... yes I can. Stop panicking. Deep, slow breaths in and out, concentrate on that.

Deep breathing actually helps. We learned about deep (steady) breathing in week 3. It's quickly becoming my go-to method to calm down when I'm feeling a little freaked out. It works most of the time.

Four minutes in: I really do think my heart is going to pop.

One of my biggest exercise-related fears is having a heart attack. When you're 100 pounds overweight this is a legitimate fear. When I first started working out steadily (back in November 2011) I would get periodic little "twinges" in my chest. When this happened, I'd back off in the intensity a little and would be okay. It wouldn't happen all the time--every few months maybe. I got myself checked out at a cardiologist. I was the youngest person in the waiting room. When the doctor conducted the stress test, he did the equivalent of an eye roll and told me I was perfectly healthy (except for a slightly leaky heart valve which will likely have to be replaced when I'm a geriatric patient). After that diagnosis--I never felt a twinge in my chest again. I can only assume that some of the chest pain was brought on by panic and fear. Now, 50-60 pounds overweight, and having worked out for over a year before doing this C25K program, my cardiovascular strength is much better than what it was. But, running/jogging is a new stress and it gets my heart rate up pretty high, so I still feel anxious about heart attacks.

Four minutes thirty seconds in: My heart is fine--it's not going to pop. Just keep going.

Five minutes in: I feel like I'm breathing REALLY hard... maybe I should slow back down a little? That might make it easier.

Six minutes in: Just watch Dr. Phil. Don't think about it.

This is another good technique--distraction. Today's episode of Dr. Phil's was on elder abuse. Depressing. However, reading subtitles did actually help me. I like having something a little more exciting to watch... TNT offers a lot of good variety, but today (and most days) almost all of the TVs were tuned in to sports (talk sports... you know four dudes sit around a table talking sports highlights of the day). This is the one thing I hate about my gym. You have eight TVs--why do six of them have to be on sports, and two of them be on the same damn channel?!?!). There's nothing wrong with sports--hell, I've watched golf tournaments while at the gym and gotten so into them that I turned it on once home. I just have a problem with all of the TVs being tuned in to the same crap. Okay... tangent over.

Reading subtitles is a good distractions--good TV would be a better one.

Laura: You have sixty seconds left.

Me: That's it? Okay, I can totally finish at this speed.

So, I completed the last eight minutes at 4.3mph. My sister says I shouldn't increase my speed yet, but I am running inside on a treadmill with no incline--outside running will be different and I figure if I can push myself a little speed wise, it might help when I transition outside (probably not until the fall... it's too damn hot and humid right now). Today, I ran for 16 minutes total, and along the way I had to talk myself off many "stopping" cliffs. I didn't stop.

Friday's run, the final for this week, is 20 minutes of solid running (no breaks!). If eight minutes was a mental game, this is the damn mental Olympics.

I'm scared... I'm pretty sure I can do it. But eight minutes was hard... by far the hardest run. I think it's a little unfair that Laura's going to make me jump from 8 minutes to 20, but I can't yell at the podcast. So, I'll just yell at my brain to keep on going, remember that my heart will not explode (I don't think), and just keep pushing.


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