Our First 10K in Our Pocket

Finally! We finally have gotten back to running regularly.  I have to admit that it feels really good. We are officially over all our ailments and have arranged our work schedules so that there is time to run 3 times a week again.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

We started out with the sole intention of just getting back to where we were with running before we took a bit of break in September and part of October, which was running a full hour non-stop. Two weeks ago we got back to running 3 intervals of 20 minutes with 3 – minute walking breaks in between. So the goal last week was to cut out the breaks. Last Monday we actually did it without too much suffering. We ran at night and the cooler weather really helped me get through it. Thankgoodness for autumn. It was really quite chilly walking from our house to the seaside park,  but as soon as we started I think both my hubby and I embraced it whole heartedly. It was a great run. We ran 8.58km in an hour.

Wednesday, on the other hand wasn’t as stellar. I just wasn’t feeling the run. I think a lack of sleep and not getting enough into my body before this morning run were factors that worked against me. I was dragging the entire run. It didn’t help that it suddenly felt like summer all over again. The weather has been truly bi-polar. Some days are blustering cold with rain and days can be like this past Wednesday were, which was humid and sunny. It was actually a bit disgusting. We ran 5 km and took a 2 – minute break. I didn’t think I was going to make it to 60 minutes and it took everything I had to get there. We didn’t make it as far as Monday’s run. We got to just 8.49 km. It’s a little sad in my view, but definitely leaves room for improvement.

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photo courtesy of pixabay

Having had time to reflect upon Wednesday’s semi-debaucle,  I think it also went poorly because I am not drinking enough water. In summer I must drink 2 – 3 liters of water a day. However, as the temperatures have significantly cooled off and I am wearing a light winter jacket to stay warm on a daily basis I just don’t feel thirsty and therefore forget to hydrate as much as I should.

Last Friday we went out for a night run. It was probably the coldest day we have had so far. The windchill put the temperature below 10 degrees Celsius.  We wore our jackets down to the park, but decided we would likely be too warm running to keep them on.

As soon as we started running we got looks from passersby that ranged from absolute horror to total disbelief as they gaped at our bare arms and my hubby’s bare legs. I am sure they thought we were totally nuts as everyone else was wearing full on winter coats, hats, scarves, and mittens. It was amusing running past multiple people who followed us with their eyes, mouths wide open.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

In the end it was a good decision not to wear the jackets. Only a couple of times did I feel cold when the wind gusts were quite strong. After the run we were quite thankful to put them on. I guess it will take some getting used to the cold weather.

But Friday’s run was exceptional for other reasons. We both felt really good running and instead of stopping at 60 minutes and somewhere around 8.6 km we kept going. At our current pace we figured 10km was reachable if we ran an extra 10 minutes. It felt like the heavy gusts of wind were fighting me at every turn,  slowing me down and making me work that much harder. But it was so nice running in the cold and adding those extra 10 minutes didn’t feel like a huge struggle.

It took us 1 hour and 11 minutes to run 10 km. It is our first time reaching that distance and the fact that we did it without a break makes it all the more satisfying. I am so proud of us for getting to this goal. It has been a long time coming.

So with our running back on track I only have to get back to blogging more regularly. One thing at a time I guess.

Do you remember running 10 km for the first time?

Running Is Still Challenging

Last week we finally sorted ourselves out from my being sick and my husband’s broken toe and got back to running.  We wrapped my hubby’s healing toe in a cocoon of cotton and duct tape – I don’t know the proper way to wrap a toe, but this seemed to do the job – and I had pretty much gotten over my cold.  As it was looking a little rainy we grabbed our running jackets for such weather, and headed out the door.

It was chilly and windy, but only drizzling. We had bought our jackets a few weeks before, but hadn’t had the chance to use them yet for running thanks to the hiatus we took.  So of course we were excited to test them out.

However, we had a bit of bad timing. As soon as we got to the park the wind picked up and the rain started beating down on us. Good thing we had the jackets, right?

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For our first run back I wasn’t exactly excited about it because I have been suffering from some sort of intestinal bug, the symptoms of which are traumatizing and urgent when they hit, to say the least.  I had been having intermittent stomach cramping as well, but with my hubby’s toe finally back to semi-normal I just wanted to get back to running.  As it had been a while since we ran there has been a running shaped hole in my heart.  I truly missed it.  Plus, after the most humid summer imaginable running in the rain sounded pretty good to me.

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We opted to take it easy this first run and decided to do 3 intervals of 20 minutes with a 3 – minute walking break in between.  It was so much fun running in the rain for the first interval. It reminded me of putting on rain boots and taking an umbrella to go jump around in puddles as a kid.

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photo courtesy of pixabay

By the end of the second interval I wasn’t feeling so great.  My stomach had cramped part of the way through and stayed uncomfortably tight the rest of the time.

Running seems to give a lot of people issues with their intestines.  For some the urge “to go” hits, some get stomach cramps post – run,  and others find that they are rocket propelled with all the gas they are passing.  Before we had set out on this run I had mentally prepared myself for the possibility that I may have to run off course to find a bathroom or, horror of horrors, find a bush or something to squat behind. Luckily it didn’t come down to something so drastic.

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photo courtesy of pixabay

Constant unpleasant trips to the bathroom for almost a week left me perhaps more dehydrated and weaker than I realized. The rain stopped and the sun came out, bringing with it some humidity. With the sun came a pretty sharp headache. It was agonizing. We started the third interval, but 4 or 5 minutes in I just couldn’t go on. I felt defeated, but I was dragging myself through the run.

We tried again two days later on Wednesday. Again, we decided to take it easy and just go for 3 intervals of 20 minutes with a 3 – minute walking break in between. This time I was feeling more like myself. I didn’t have a lot of energy,  but I finished the run. On Friday it was a much better run and I actually felt good afterwards. After both Wednesday and Friday’s runs my husband expressed, much to my chagrin, the fact that he could “keep on running” after we finished our 60 minutes.

While I was happy for him that his toe was feeling good and the weeks off running didn’t seem to be holding him back, I can’t say I felt the same. I was just happy finishing the runs. It was not our plan to take a break from running. However, I don’t think we could have avoided it. But, because it was a struggle last week, I couldn’t help but get a little mad at myself for letting it be so long between runs. I think I am just annoyed it became a struggle once again to run an hour. Regardless, both of us are glad to be running again and this week has been going much better than last.

Illness and Injury

So things have not been going as planned. First, my husband went out of town leaving me to run solo, which I was game for. As soon as he left, however, I managed to get sick. It’s a running joke that whenever he has to go somewhere I get the flu or a really horrible cold. Needless to say I did not disappoint. Since I had a fever and a cough running was not possible.

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Photo courtesy of pixabay

He came back last Thursday and the new plan was to go run on Friday, but low and behold my hubby hit his foot on a chair, a big heavy one he says, and arrived home with a bright purple toe. He hobbled into the house and we decided to go to the doctor the next day instead of running. The verdict: they couldn’t see a break. That’s the good news. But the doctor didn’t rule it out from the x-ray.  The bad news is that he said no running for 2 weeks.

It’s been a week and a half since then. I still have a minor cough and my hubby is still not 100 percent.  But his purple toe has slowly resumed it’s normal coloring. Small miracles.

I’m honestly surprised it wasn’t me who broke the toe because I have a solid track record of breaking toes at the worst moments. Like the night before leaving for 3 months of backpacking through Europe and spending the first 2 weeks stuck in sandals, rain or shine, trying to take in the sights of Pisa and Salzburg.  That was not so enjoyable. I have broken many a toe and never gone to the doctor for it, but they are also kind of ugly and permanently knobby.  So no toe pics if I can help it.

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Photo courtesy of pixabay

I was going to throw up a pic of my hubby’s best efforts at derailing our running, but even without the purple he has the toes of a hairy hobbit. I will save you the torture.

I am hoping that if not this weekend then Monday we will go for a run.  We will take it easy considering his toe,  my being sick, and the fact that we haven’t run in some time.

I hope we can get out there and do it.

Running Plans Gone Array

This keeps happening. I make a plan and a thousand things get in the way of those plans coming to fruition. So, this week my husband suddenly had to go out of town. The consequences being quite immense. Firstly, it means he won’t run just after we both decided to re-focus our efforts on running more regularly. Secondly, it leaves me alone to run on my own, mustering my own motivation to get out and run after a bit of a break in September.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

But, I was sure that I would do it. I was game. So, my hubby left and since Tuesday was a rest day I didn’t run. It also rained like the world was ending so no loss there. Wednesday, I woke up sick. A dreadful stuffy nose, nasal drainage, sinus pressure, basically breathing was the main challenge of the entirety of the day. I hoped that if I really rested, which I’m really bad at when I’m sick, that I might feel good enough to run the next day. However, no such luck. Wednesday I felt worse than the day before, feeling foggy and a bit of a fever.

Which leaves Thursday. I felt disgusting. I wanted to curl up in the corner and hibernate. I felt so defeated. I really wanted to run this week and get back to our program. But, maybe it was timely since my hubby isn’t here and I would have felt a bit guilty running without him. As soon as he find out he was going out of town, he turned to me and said “Are you going to run without me?” a hint of envy in his voice, not that it would stop me.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

Today, I’m starting to feel a bit better, but not good enough to run. Perhaps it was the sudden change in weather that we are currently experiencing. It has inexplicably gone from hot to cold in a week. People are actually wearing jackets during the day. We are a bit unprepared to run in cooler temperatures. We don’t have running gear for anything but brutally hot temperatures. So, this week I’ve been researching cold-weather running apparel. There’s a lot to choose from and for the novice it can be a little over-whelming. I did order a couple things online and we’ll see how they work out when I’m feeling better and my hubby gets back.

So, this week has kind of been a bust. We unintentionally continued the running-once-a-week habit. It’s making me a bit unbalanced not being able to run, especially since I was really excited to run in cooler temperatures. We struggled through the Summer and unlike most people cool, overcast days are the kind of days I particularly enjoy. For now I’m sneezing my way through the days hoping that this illness passes a little faster.

What do you run in when it gets cooler outside?

The Downside (and Upside) to Quitting Mid-run

When we got back from our holiday my hubby and I both decided to hunker down and return to being dedicated about running. No more excuses. We will run 3 times a week hell or high water. Does that sound convincing?

On Sunday night we checked the weather forecast for Monday, our first run day post-holiday, but were met with an unfortunate weather forecast that showed a 90% chance of rain all evening, which is when we have time to run. So, with our renewed dedication to run consistently we decided to wake up Monday morning and run then instead (See how dedicated we’re being). We haven’t run in the mornings since the beginning of Summer when we were running 6 intervals of 6 minutes I think or something like that. It’s a far cry from running a full hour non-stop.

The seaside path we take, but now in daylight.
The seaside path we take, but now in daylight. It’s a nice change from the park’s electric lights at night.

We had a pre-running snack, I had a coffee and we went out. It was surprisingly humid during the run, but thankfully it was not sunny. In fact, dark clouds hovered above us the entire time and there were a few random sprinkles every now and then. We ran exactly the same course we always run at night, but in the daylight it felt surprisingly strange. It was like running a new path.

However, we only made it 6km in 42 minutes. Both our bodies sort of just gave out. We were lacking energy, and by energy I mean food. We weren’t running on empty tummies, but we hadn’t eaten enough. It was terribly disappoint. We both felt defeated.

We sat down on a bench on the seaside and decided that if we continue to try to run in the mornings we’ll have to do things a little differently. What that is I have no idea. There must be an art to the morning run that I’m unaware of. I think we were also hindered by the fact that we haven’t been running so regularly this month. Our bodies aren’t used to it.

But, the bad news doesn’t stop there. Do you know what one of the disadvantages of quitting mid-run is when you run outside? You don’t make it to your planned end point, which means you have to drag your sorry, exhausted body there walking. We had 2.5 km to go on our run when we stopped so after a break on the bench we hauled our tired soles through the park on the very long walk home (because it is 2.5 km to the entrance of the park and another 1 km back home). Remind me to try to do my best to power through next time I feel like quitting mid-run.

So, on the way back we cut through the center of the park where we never go since it’s windier right on the seaside and more wind is always a plus in hot summer temperatures. What we found was a running/walking loop that was not made of cement and was a little bouncy to the step. Unfortunately, there are no distance markers, but it looks like it is about 1 km around. It gave me the idea that this might be really advantageous in winter when a windy seaside is not so much fun to run on when it’s cold. Since the loop is set back from the seaside and protected by some trees it could really be an alternative to a cold and gusty path.

The other benefit to walking through the park is that instead of running past the park cats that live on the seaside we got the chance to play with them. They are so cute and it’s fun spotting them on a run and laughing at them playing on the rocks.

A park kitten enjoying the view.
A park kitten enjoying the view.

In the end, perhaps quitting mid-run wasn’t all bad news. I will definitely try to keep going next time I want to quit and attempt to encourage my hubby to do the same. But, if we hadn’t prematurely stopped we never would have found the running loop that might just come in handy in the next couple of months.

What do you eat before a morning run? And how long after eating do you start your run?

Back From A Break

It’s been a few weeks since I posted. I’m really sorry about that. I hope you can forgive me. Life seems to have gotten in the way of not only blogging, but also running. First, work started getting busy and then we had a holiday, which kept me away from the glory that is the interwebs. But, we came home this weekend and it’s back to the usual. And most importantly back to running.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

So, what have we been up to? Well, despite being busy we did our best to keep running the past 3 weeks. The first week we managed to run twice, and the last 2 weeks we ran only once. Not so great. My biggest concern was losing what we had worked so hard to achieve with running. But in the meantime, the weather, which has been my nemesis all Summer long, has finally taken a break from being a total pain and the days are actually beginning to feel enjoyable – to the point where a walk outside no longer ends with us looking like we took a shower in our clothes. In fact, we have had a few days of rain, which has been sorely needed around here. With the cooler weather we managed to run better even though it wasn’t often enough.

When last I left you guys we had achieved running one hour in 2, 30-minute intervals with a 3-minute walking break. We were debating how to get to one hour of full-on running. We had 2 choices: gradually add time to the first running interval or decrease the walking break. By the next run we still hadn’t decided which option we would take. I think we were both just playing it by ear and leaving it up to how we felt at the 30-minute mark.

When we did hit the 30-minute mark on the next run we just kept going, and going, and going and we ran 60 minutes without a break at all. It was AWESOME! We’ve been waiting all Summer to do this, but the heat and humidity had kept us from doing it. So, it was quite an achievement to finally do it. My hubby was more thrilled than me actually. I didn’t even take a few seconds to walk and grab some water. By the way, I’m going to have to learn the art of running and chugging water simultaneously. It was not graceful. I took a mouthful of water and could not swallow it. I think I’ll have to pause a second to drink water until I figure it out. Despite my water issue, it was a great run.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

In the 3 weeks since that first run of 60 minutes, we have continued to run 60 minutes without breaks. We are running about 8.5 km in that amount of time, which is not so fast, but I feel like we can improve upon that with a little more time and more frequent running. Since we could only find time to run once a week for the last 2 weeks we could see our performance was suffering. But, I think if we can organize our work hours a little better we will be running farther in 60 minutes soon.

In other news, we’ve also decided to forego any races this fall. Summer temperatures really held us back from advancing in a decent timeframe. I mean, it was basically a battle all Summer to just run and survive it. And the sporadic running we managed in September didn’t help us improve much either. I don’t have the confidence to run a race for a couple of months at least. We still haven’t reached 10 km yet, which is the distance of the race we were going to enter. So, instead of putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves we decided to put races on the back burner for now. But, October is almost here and a new month helps me mentally wipe the slate clean and start fresh, not only with running, but losing weight as well.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

Being busy with work and taking a holiday did not help either my hubby or I lose weight. The good news is that we managed to maintain our weight – I’m at 95 kg and he’s at 102 kg – despite the holiday indulgences of alcohol and fatty foods we thoroughly enjoyed. So, not only are we getting back on track with running, we are refocusing our weight loss efforts in terms of diet. No more alcohol for a while, no sodas, no fries (I’m so sad about the last one).

I have been lingering near 95 kg for what feels like an eternity. I’m really done seeing that number on the scale. I’ve made up my mind that by the end of the year I really, really want to weigh 90 kg. I think it’s something I can manage in 3 months. It’s just going to take some will-power on all fronts.

So, we’re back on track. I hope all of you have been continuing to run and I hope you have been getting closer to achieving your goals as well.

More Running Less Walking

Getting to the point where we could run 60 minutes was our first major running goal. We’ve been running 3 intervals of 20 minutes with 2 walking breaks of 3 minutes for a little over a week now. But, of course, we are anxious to cut out those walking breaks, especially my hubby. He really wants to barrel-through an hour of continuous running. Our approach to this task is just extending the running intervals of 20 minutes longer to, ideally, 30 minutes.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

We’ve been waiting (im)patiently for the weather to get a little cooler and a little less humid. Something more pleasant than that feeling that you are running circles in a giant’s sweaty bellybutton. Last week was awful, dreadful weather. But, last night things were different. There was still humidity, but the temperature was a couple of degrees less than “let’s see if we can fry an egg on the roof of the car.” When we walked down to the park we said that at 19 minutes of the first interval we’d decide if we would keep going or not.

A nice breeze picked up as we started and off we went. We saw the beer belly trio of guys running as usual, only last night they had expanded to a quadruplet. These guys are pretty consistent. I wish they’d discard the jackets when they run in the heat because it makes me hot looking at them, but I admire their nightly dedication. I think 2 random people saw us running and started running themselves for 10-second bursts (weirdos). We even saw another couple running in the opposite direction and the park kittens were so cute jumping all over each other being playful. It was the typical evening run. In fact, the only thing out of the ordinary was that there were far fewer people at the park – you gotta love it when school starts and the kids have to be home early.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

At 19 minutes in the first interval I felt pretty decent. We hadn’t run on the weekend and I didn’t walk too much yesterday so I was rested. As we approached running 20 full minutes of running, I wasn’t itching to walk as is sometimes the case. I had steadied my pace so I wasn’t burnt out. I turned to my hubby and said I felt pretty good and he left the decision up to me. So we kept running. 25 minutes of straight running would have been a nice goal, but in the back of my mind I wanted 30. And 30 we did. I’m really proud of us for breaking our 1 hour of running into just 2 intervals of 30 minutes tonight.

photo courtesy of pixabay
photo courtesy of pixabay

It may seem like a small achievement to those of you who do 18-mile runs once a week (masochists), but for us this is a huge step towards running that full hour non-stop. I’m hoping that we will get there not too slowly. However, I’m not really sure how we should proceed once 2 intervals of 30 minutes feels good.

Should we cut the walking break from 3 minutes to 2 minutes to 1 minute to just 1 hour of running? Or extend the first interval of running from 30 minutes to 40 to 50? I’m not quite sure. What would you do?