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.
I CAN'T BREATHE!
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.