Category Archives: couch to 5k

ideal running conditions

If I’ve learned anything during this short foray into running, it’s that my body and mind depend on a certain set of conditions to be met before and during my run. Those precise conditions are something I’m still trying to nail down.

I had a wonderful 3.15 mile run on a nearby trail this weekend. It felt effortless and smooth. I took a few very short walking breaks but only because there are a few very steep hills on the trail and I didn’t want to expend all my energy climbing them: the breaks weren’t a necessity due to fatigue or breathlessness, a fact I’m proud of. I’ve been anxious to get back on that trail, and I did so today after work. This run felt laborious, difficult, and I was absolutely exhausted. I only completed 2.46 miles and I took a few extra walking breaks that I didn’t take on Sunday (but I did complete a mental and physical challenge: climb one of the steeper hills).

Last week I ate a lot of processed junk and drank a lot of beer, so this week I’ve been paying special attention to my diet: clean eating, lots of fruits and veggies, no beer. I thought this would help my run today, but it didn’t. I started to retrace my every motion from Sunday. What made that run different?

On Sunday, the weather conditions were perfect. It was about 80 sunny degrees during my mid-morning run. About an hour previous, I’d downed two cups of coffee so I was probably still feeling a caffeine buzz. Let’s not forget that it was the weekend so I’d slept a delightfully long weekend sleep. Perhaps most importantly, I hadn’t spent 2 hours in the car and 8 hours working prior to the run.

Fast-forward to today: it was cloudy, humid, and buggy. I had spent 2 hours in the car and 8 hours working before my run. And, though I’ve been trying to eat cleanly, I did eat a clif bar around 1:30 (which was the last time I ate before my run) and my body could have been experiencing a sugar crash by the time I went for my run at 5.

I’m a very calculated person and I refuse to accept that one day, I can run 3 miles effortlessly and three days later, I struggle just to get through the first mile. I’d like to get a discussion going, hopefully from both the running novice and the running extraordinaire: what are your ideal running conditions in relation to diet, drink, time of day, weather conditions, mood, etc.? How do you get through the difficult runs, if you have them? Am I the only one that experiences such inconsistency?

On Sunday, I thought I could easily blast through a 5k and potentially shoot for an eventual (in a year or two) half-marathon. Today, I don’t even know if I could get through a 5k in under 50 minutes. Are these simply the growing pains of the young runner?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

run, sweat, drink beer

I’m down 17 pounds. I’ve finally (FINALLY!) run 3.1 miles straight through without a walking break in sight. I’ve been sweating my ass off both in the gym and in my car, whose lousy A/C decided to crap out during the biggest heat wave of…ever, as far as I’m concerned. And now I have two glorious days off (the weekend before the weekend!) and I’m going to drink some beer and get all self-congratulatory about meeting my short-term goals while still trying to keep myself in check so as not to deter myself from continuing on to the next leg of this journey: the long-term goals.

Happy Fourth!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

c25k update

I’ve been cooking new meals but I have neglected to take any decent photos, so this post will not be about that. But for the record, I made vegan stroganoff this week (very tasty!), and caribbean coconut rice w/ chickpeas and broccoli (this was tasty but I sort of ruined it by adding a touch too much cayenne pepper–my mouth was on fire! I also don’t think I’m a big fan of ginger and this called for a whole tbsp of ground ginger). I used my Upton’s Naturals chorizo seitan for the MOST delicious tofu scramble I’ve cooked to date. I wish I had photos! It was to die for. It was the talk of work when I brought my leftovers for breakfast. I love when my coworkers are intrigued by my meals. They are always telling me how delicious my food looks and smells, and they’re always shocked to find out the ingredients. One of my coworkers even told me I’ve inspired her to include more veggies into her meals. I love that! 🙂

I’m chugging along with the c25k program. I decided to abandon the regimen and go it alone. I finally “graduated” week 5, finally running 20 minutes straight. I’ve really, really slowed my pace, which I’m okay with. Speed and time will come later. Right now, I’m really just trying to bump up my endurance. Being able to run for 20 minutes was a huge accomplishment for me, even if my pace is barely a step above a brisk walk. I’m going to try to add a couple minutes to each run until I get to 30 minutes. Then I’ll start bumping up my speed by a tenth of a MPH until I get back up to my original pace. I will get there. I will not give up. (However, I only ran twice this week and only worked out three times total. My boss let us leave an hour and a half early yesterday and I decided to go home and relax rather than go to the gym…and then I ate way too much food and called it a day.) I’m taking my run outside today for the first time. I’m anticipating crashing and burning. It’s much easier on a treadmill. We’ll see how it goes. I’m lucky I live in the great-freakin’-plains and I won’t be dealing with any inclines. Just flat terrain here in Illinois.

We’re leaving for San Francisco on April 21. For anyone who’s been: what restaurants do you suggest for vegans? I plan on doing some research but I thought I’d mention it here in case anyone has any brilliant suggestions.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

my big fat vegan weekend

I spent the majority of last week feeling angry and confused about why the numbers on my scale haven’t budged. I even, in all my craziness, thought that my apartment’s sloping floors were to blame. I took my scale from my bathroom tile to my bedroom hardwood and tried there. Same number. I jumped on the scale in the gym locker room pre-workout. Same number. All of this is strange to me because my boyfriend says I look like I’ve lost weight. My coworker says the same. Even if I was losing fat and inches and not weight, my clothes would be fitting differently…but they’re not. It’s as if I am living the exact same lifestyle I was before (eating lots of sweets, eating lots of cheese, and not working out at all). It’s frustrating because I’m not. My boyfriend sees the breakfasts and lunches I pack myself for my work day. I eat healthier than anyone he knows, he says. I’m not perfect the rest of the time. I do still eat the occasional sweet, but I refuse to give that up. That would be deprivation. I will not succumb to a lifetime of no chocolate. That isn’t fair to me, my body, or my brain.

The conclusions I’ve drawn are these:

  1. I’m not eating as healthy as I think I am. When I was a freshman in college, I had gained about 15 pounds (what a stereotype). I went to the women’s services clinic to refill my pill prescription and when the doctor asked if I had any questions, I said yes: I keep gaining weight and I don’t know why. I told her I thought it was because of the pill. She had me try a low-dose pill that made no change to my weight but screwed my cycle up completely. When I returned a month later to be put back on the original pill, I sat with her for maybe 10 minutes, nearly in tears, telling her how much I hate my body and how I don’t know what to do. She asked if I was exercising regularly. I said a few times a week–not as much as I could–but I lived in the farthest dorm on campus and I always walked to class, I never took the bus. She said that should be making a difference. Her ultimate suggestion was this: maybe you’re not eating quite as healthy as you think you are. Make a food journal, she said. And once you start tracking your food intake, seek a nutritionist’s advice. I never did make that food journal, I never saw a nutritionist, and I went on to gain another 20 pounds by my senior year. But that idea always stays with me: maybe what I think is healthy isn’t as healthy as I thought. This is where food tracking comes in. This is why Weight Watchers worked for me my senior year of college and I dropped 25 pounds in no time at all. This is why I’m trying to track my calories now on MyFitnessPal. I’ve learned that this is a necessary part in my losing weight, but unlike my senior year in college, the weight isn’t coming off as rapidly. In fact, it isn’t coming off at all. Which brings me to…
  2. The conditions of my first weight loss success are not aligned with my current conditions. When I lost weight on Weight Watchers, I really don’t think of it as a healthy weight loss. It worked, yes, but what I was eating was abominable. Let me paint the picture for you: I was a full-time student and I worked two part-time jobs, one of which being a retail job selling chocolate. I was incredibly busy which resulted in very quickly eating all of my meals, which were mostly processed TV dinners. I can’t think of more than twice that year that I cooked. We ate out a lot, like when my boyfriend would visit, and I heated up more Lean Cuisines than I can even count during the week. Not to mention the fact that I saved all my points for beer. I figured out the point count of the chocolates at work and I knew how many I could have that would be the equivalent point count of dinner. I knew the point count of McDonald’s egg McMuffins and hash browns for those days I was hung over but had to be at work at 9. I was incredibly irresponsible and I subsisted on the absolute worst diet you can imagine…and I lost weight. The reason for this, I can only conclude, was that I was much more active than I thought I was. I exercised sometimes, but not regularly, but the main difference is that: 1) I worked at least 20 hours a week in a retail setting where I spent the entire time standing. Standing burns more calories than sitting. and 2) my other job was on campus, so I was walking to class and/or work every day of the week. The walk to and from class or work was 15 minutes each way. Sometimes I made that trip twice, sometimes three times. I was burning calories just because I was busy, basically. Now my life is that of a sedentary deskjob worker. Now I have to find ways to schedule cardio in order to burn calories, and the calories I’m burning in those workouts aren’t even close to the calories I burned when I lost weight in college–and at that time, I wasn’t even trying.

By the end of my senior year, I had plateaued on Weight Watchers. In April I decided to give up meat and return to the vegetarian diet I had followed since my freshman year of high school until Thanksgiving of my freshman year of college. I vowed to start eating better when I moved home. I thought giving up meat again would give me the push I needed to get past the plateau I’d been at for months. I also gave up Weight Watchers because I felt like a slave to the program. I thought I had learned enough about calories and fats to continue my weight loss on my own. Slowly, without my even realizing it, I started to put the weight back on. I was at about a 10 pound weight gain when I left my first post-grad job, and one of the major perks of my new job (my current job) was free access to the office gym. I thought, this is fantastic! I will never have an excuse again! For about a month, I went to the gym religiously after work. And then work started to stress me out and I returned to my old ways of skipping the gym and comforting myself with food. Now I’m at the weight I started at, the heaviest weight of my life that prompted me to go on Weight Watchers in the first place…+5. This was one of my first and main reasons for adopting a vegan lifestyle. As a vegetarian, I wasn’t all that healthy. I didn’t eat as many fruits and vegetables as I should and I ate a lot (a lot) of cheese. I really thought that cutting all that out would make a huge difference. I thought my body would be startled into submission.

It wasn’t.

And that’s when I decided to start training for this 5k. Now it’s been 6 or 7 weeks and I’ve only lost 3 pounds. I lost those 3 pounds in the first week, which shows me that what I’m doing is not working. I’ve spent a lot of time researching this on the internet. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering what I can possibly do to remedy this short of quitting my job and working out 8 hours a day. I have at least 45 pounds to lose to be put back in a healthy BMI range. I know the BMI equation is archaic but I know that I’m 45 pounds away from being at a healthy weight. I would take a 35 pound weight loss. I would accept fighting with those last 10 pounds for the rest of my life. It seems impossible to me, though. I know the answer is adding activity into my day that doesn’t feel like organized cardio. I know I should try to take walks outside on my breaks at work. I know I should try to take walks on weekends or after work. To be honest, when I get home after my workout on weeknights, I am utterly exhausted. The idea of going outside and walking for an hour is absolutely unappealing to me. I want to shower, eat dinner, and relax on the couch. It doesn’t feel like there are enough hours in the day to repair the damage I’ve done to my body.

My cause is further complicated by the fact that my boyfriend also needs to lose weight but we both feed off each other’s addictions. I never watched TV before I met him but he loves TV, so we sit and watch every night and snack. When he’s munching on chips, I get instant jealousy. I want chips. We go grocery shopping together and I pick up my produce, my whole grains, and he sneaks a case of diet coke into the cart or a bag of chips or some cookies. I want to be at a place where I can have a bag of chips in my house and not want to sit on the kitchen floor and eat the entire bag. I want to be able to have junkfood in moderation. Moderation is the spice of life. I know myself well enough to know that if I told myself that I can have absolutely no, ZERO, chips, cookies, sweets, anything–that I will break. I will cave. and I will binge.

We watched Forks Over Knives last month and we both had a renewed interest in trying harder. My renewed interest lasted longer than his. Yesterday, I added a few other documentaries to our Netflix queue to try to get both of us re-interested. Last night, we watched Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. Such an inspiring story. And now our interest is renewed, yet again. He has to work today so we packed him a healthy breakfast and lunch and called it “Day 1.” We need to do this together. As an omnivore, he doesn’t have many food choices when he’s here. He picks around veggies when I cook and opts for the grains, the meat substitutes, the potatoes. I, on the other hand, find my tastes are changing. I made oatmeal yesterday morning but didn’t have any fresh fruit to put in it. I found myself aching for strawberries and blueberries. The same with dinner: we made seitan with red potatoes and broccoli. There was definitely not enough broccoli to go around. I found myself wanting it so badly–I would have been fine if my plate had been half full of broccoli. I just love fruits and veggies. He doesn’t have that habit ingrained in his eating.

We watched a P90X infomercial Friday night (while drinking beer on the couch, of course) and I realized what that program offers compared to what I’m doing. My workouts are routine. I run on the treadmill or work out on the elliptical and I do the same 3 or 4 weight training exercises. I don’t have variety. The “muscle confusion” Tony Horton talks about is something my body hasn’t experienced. When I do try something new and my muscles are confused, it takes my body over 2 days to adjust from the soreness. I can’t take 2 days off every time I try something new. That’s 2 days wasted. I’m knocking on 24’s door but I feel like my body is 50 years old. Part of this, I have to wonder, might be genetics. I do not come from an active family. I sometimes wonder if my food addiction has genetic bearings. My father comforts himself with food. He has type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and other diseases he hasn’t even divulged to me. But he doesn’t make a change. He doesn’t think he has the willpower. I have to wonder if I’m a product of that…whether it be hereditary or environmental, I grew up watching him and I’ve absorbed his habits. I’m trying to combat that but I’m stuck once again. I feel angry every single day while I’m on the way to the gym that I even have to carve time out of my schedule to exercise. I curse myself for not living in a pedestrian-friendly location. I live in the suburbs and here, people don’t walk or bike anywhere unless they can’t afford a car. That is crazy! One of the perks of living in the apartment I do is that I am in walking distance of all of my town’s restaurants, bars, shops, etc. I could go for walks, go window shopping, make a whole morning out of it on the weekend, but I don’t!

In the past few weeks, I’ve tried to make small changes to my diet. I’ve subbed in no-calorie stevia for the 60-calorie tbsp of agave nectar I was putting in my coffee each morning. I’ve been bringing half a grapefruit to work (52 calories) instead of the 250-300 calorie green smoothies I was having for breakfast. At the beginning of the year, I made a non-resolution to drink only on weekends. I had been drinking at least one beer a day on weekdays and much more on weekends. Now I limit that to only Fridays and Saturdays, and usually only drink a beer or two. I have isolated myself from my social circle in order to avoid overeating and excessive drinking. These changes, still, have not made a difference.

In the end, I’m not sure where to go from here. I need change but the changes I need to make feel humungous. They feel out of reach. Maybe I’m making mountains out of mole hills but I’m feeling quite lost. How I could possibly eat 1,400 calories a day and burn 300 of them working out and still not see change is utterly baffling to me. As I age, this will only get harder. I will be fighting this battle for the rest of my life.

Are you fighting this battle? How have you overcome adversity?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Today as I begrudgingly walked my ass to the gym after work, I had an epiphany.

I hate working out.

But I hate the feeling I get when I skip my workout more.

Ever since the shin splints/ankle incident last Monday, I’ve been in sort of a rut. Especially after the cupcake binge on Sunday. I think I can attribute most of my bad feelings in the past week to feeling guilty for abandoning the couch to 5k program. I think the satisfaction I felt after my workout today was beyond the release of endorphins–I think I felt good because I jumped back on the horse. (Not that endorphins don’t play a pivotal role.)

Since I abandoned week 5 after day 1 last week, I figured I’d have to start week 5 over again and it probably wouldn’t be until next Friday that I felt physically ready to tackle day 3, which is 20 straight minutes of running.

Around minute 8, meaning I was almost done with my first five minutes of running, I got this burst of energy and I decided to try to tackle day 2 in the place of day 1. I had no idea if I’d be able to do it, but I was hellbent on trying. Today was about pushing my limits. I decided the couch to 5k program is only a framework. I don’t have to feel guilty if I don’t make it through the workout. And I should feel pretty good if I can push myself beyond it.

Today, instead of running three 5 minute intervals, I ran one 9 minute interval and another 6 minute interval with approximately 5 minutes of walking in between the two. Holy shit, I can’t remember the last time I ran 9 minutes without stopping. I honestly don’t think I’ve done that since high school. High school! I do this for time, not distance, so it’s not like I ran very far. After all my walking and jogging was said and done, I’d done 2 miles, which is about what I’ve been doing lately. I felt great during that first 9 minutes. The second 6 minutes was a little tough, but I made it through. That last minute especially had me wondering if I’d throw up or pass out, but I focused all my energy on trying to get good, full breaths into my lungs, and I counted down those last 30 seconds and felt complete elation when I was done. This was one big satisfying leap for me. Confidence, consider yourself renewed!

I can’t believe I was able to do this today. I knew I would struggle with week 5. And especially after the ankle injury that tore me away from my routine for over a week. The full 5k still feels unattainable to me, but I have a renewed sense of faith that I can get through this. I can. And I will.

And PS, my ankle feels fantastic.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

big burger

For the first time in five weeks, I am taking an off day. Granted I’m only working out 3-4 times a week, so it’s not like I haven’t had any down time, but I’ve stuck very rigidly to my Monday-Wednesday-Friday running days but unfortunately, I couldn’t make it today. After I posted about shin splints on Monday, I asked my boyfriend if he’d be ever-so-kind as to rub some icy hot on the culprits. When we lifted my pant leg up, we saw that my left ankle was double its size–nearly softball sized! My right ankle was a little swollen, but not nearly as bad. I thought back to a couple weeks ago when I was running on the treadmill and slightly sprained my ankle (which I just laughed off at the time, because who sprains their ankle on a treadmill?) I decided it’s quite likely that my ankles have been swelling through this whole program and I had no idea because I never thought to examine them. Yikes.

So I promptly iced and elevated it and went to bed early. I went to work yesterday and it was a little tender, but it’s not like I had a limp. I couldn’t work out after work because I had a dentist appointment and I had to volunteer at the pet store’s adoption room, so I figured I’d get back to my run on Wednesday. This morning, my ankles (both) were a tad bit sore, but as the day wore on, I was feeling much more comfortable in my gait. It was a last minute decision to skip out on the work out just because I thought I could use an extra day. I don’t want to worsen an injury that will keep me from the program for even longer. But for all intents and purposes, I felt totally fine.

When I got home, my apartment was blazing hot (it was nearly 80 today!–in Chicago, in March!) so I stripped off my pants to put on some comfy shorts and saw that my ankle was even more swollen today. What gives? It definitely hurts much less. I have to wonder, because my left knee is a little sore, too, if my ACL reconstructive surgery I had 8 years ago is at all playing into this. I don’t know much about the body but I know my left knee is taking this pretty hard–I wonder if somehow that forces some swelling as far south as my ankle? I don’t know. I’m just thinking out loud.

So instead of resuming tomorrow, I may be taking the whole rest of the week off. I’m really, really bummed about this because it’s beautiful weather and I even considered walking or running outside after work until I saw the swelling. Blah. I’m mentally driven but feel like my body is failing me. I’m angry and saddened that at 23, my body is so susceptible to problems. This doesn’t bode well for me as I age.

I didn’t feel much like cooking when I got home but I had a pretty big appetite. I decided to make not one but two vegan burger patties, resulting in the BIGGEST BURGER of ALL TIME. I’ve had some Morningstar patties in the fridge for days like these. I’m not crazy about them (I miss the “grillers prime” but those aren’t vegan) so I loaded up my bun with all sorts of veggies and a little bit of vegan mayo and I added a handful of daiya to the burgers as they cooked to mask their less-than-desirable flavor.

Behold, monster burger:

I unabashedly consumed it in its entirety. Don’t judge me.

I’m off to ice my ankle, I guess. Blah.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

feel the burn

I’m beginning to think my fancy new running shoes are causing more grief than good. The reason I bought them was because of some mild discomfort in my ankles and knees when running–it seemed obvious to me that this was due to poor running shoes and I needed an upgrade. So I bought running shoes that are full of good support (I can feel it, really!), but today I experienced a common little side effect: shin splints. Burning, awful shin splints. I have avoided them up until now, but now my workouts are upping the ante and I’m running for more prolonged periods.

It seems the longer I run at one time, the worse my shins feel. And it doesn’t really go away during the walking recovery. In fact, I’d say it’s worse during my recovery walks. I almost gave up on my workout entirely today, but decided the only option was to tough through it. By the end of my workout, the pain was markedly lessened–either that, or the pain had a numbing effect on my stupid little legs. I have yet to decide.

Today was three running periods of five minutes each. Wednesday will be two running periods of eight minutes. Friday is the make-or-break day: 20 straight minutes. I thought my biggest issue was my breathing–because I normally don’t feel much pain, fatigue, or discomfort in my legs at all, it’s really just the breathing that trips me up. Now that the breathing is more under control, I have the shin splints to tackle. It’s always something! Can’t I just have a good workout that leaves me feeling good and accomplished? It seems I always have some ailment to complain about.

I wonder if I should give my old shoes a go and see if that cures the problem. I’d rather feel mild knee and ankle discomfort than the shins-on-fire feeling I battled today.

If you have any suggestions or home remedy tips, I’m all ears.

Tagged , , , ,


I’ve got to say that I was discouraged today, all day, because I knew run 3 of Week 4 was knocking on my door. Do I enjoy working out on a Friday after work? No. Do I enjoy running when I know it’s hard and it hurts? No. But am I keeping up with it? Yes, somehow, I am.

I am slightly ashamed to admit that I googled “when does running get easier?” today, hoping I could find some tips or some inspiration. And I did. There’s a discussion here and I have to say this comment really, really made me smile:

It depends on your goals.

If you’re running strictly for fitness, once you get to 3-4 runs per week, 3+ miles each, it really becomes pleasant.

If you’re training to race, the only easy day was yesterday.

I just really love that. That really resonates with me. Until I get to the 3 miles, it’s going to be hard work every single workout.  But I am pleased to say that today, the last workout of Week 4, I passed with (in my opinion) flying colors. I did not have to adjust my speed to run slower during the second half of the workout. I did not have to stop and walk in the middle of the last five running minutes. I really, really tried hard to focus on my breathing. And my heart rate never exceeded 180 until the last five minutes, when it got to 190. For the first two runs, it didn’t get past 175. This is a huge improvement from maxing out recently around 190-195 after the first and second periods of running in my last few workouts.

What this boils down to is I am going to attempt Week 5 next week instead of repeating Week 4, giving myself permission to step back if I feel I need to. This is huge!

That’s really all I have to report. My run left me energized. I’m glad it’s the weekend. I’m hosting some friends tomorrow and I’m going to make some delish vegan schtuff. Oh, and I’m drinking a beer. Friday beers are the best kind. 🙂

Tagged , , , , , ,

couch to 5k plateau

I had my second run of Week 4 today. Contrary to what should be happening, things are getting harder, not easier. I find myself just barely getting through each workout, sheer exhaustion afterwards, with only an even more difficult workout the next time to look forward to.

I think the terminology “couch to 5k” is a little bit misleading. The first couple of weeks were pretty easy, I felt like the program was easing me into a more active lifestyle, but then all of a sudden, things jumped up big time. I went from running 1.5 minute and 3 minute intervals with lots of walking to running 3 and 5 minute intervals with virtually no recovery walking time. Next week, I’ll have to run 20 minutes straight. Whoa, slow down there. I think I need more time!

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t consider quitting around the halfway mark of each workout. And I don’t mean quitting that workout on that particular day…I mean quitting the program entirely. I get tired, physically exhausted, cranky, and the voice in my head starts preparing for failure–even encouraging it! I keep telling myself I’m just not a runner. I’m just not cut out for this.

It’s not unlike a Nic Cage movie.

Most of the time, things are okay. But some of the time, things are so awful, you can’t freakin’ believe it.

I think I’ve gone from the “everything’s fine” stage to the “when things really, really bad” stage. The second half of the program, weeks 5-9, are a threat level so severe that you should hope and pray you never in your lifetime have to experience it.

I’m talking, of course, of the Nic Cage terror alert system!

In all honesty, the one good thing is that I am committed to finishing this program just because that’s the kind of person I am. As much as I may want to quit, I won’t. I never quit anything I set my mind to, which is one of the pieces of my personality that I actually like about myself. So here’s to you, couch to 5k, you wretched, soul-sucking wench. I will conquer you. But I may never run again after I do.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Week 4

Today I started week 4 of the couch to 5k.

Maybe this looks like a piece of cake to you, but coming from last week when the most I had to run was 3 minutes at a time and I got a 3 minute reprieve afterwards, this was a lot. I keep looking to this week as the “make or break” week. C25k is weeding out the weak-willed. I have read several horror stories of runners repeating week 4 three times, four times, some quitting altogether–but it won’t be me! I will not allow myself to give up. I’m almost halfway through the program. I firmly believe that if I can get through this week and Week 5, I’m in the home stretch. It’s cake from there.

Now for the good news and the bad news. Bad first, as always: the 5k we were going to run in San Francisco appears to have been cancelled. So, no vacay 5k for us. But! The good news is, if I do have to repeat this week or the next, I have plenty of time to do so because I bought myself some time to find another race to run. I’m not going to just give up because the race I wanted to run isn’t happening–but I am a wee bit relieved that I don’t have to be ready to do this April 22. I have time if I need it.

In the last five minutes of running today, I took a break midway to walk for 30 seconds so I could check my heart rate. I also slowed my pace for the second half of today’s runs from the already slow 12-minute mile pace. I’m not doing this for speed or time. I am doing this solely for completion. This is pass/fail in my eyes. Next time I do a 5k, maybe I’ll focus more on form and speed. For now, I’m just trying to get through it. Getting through it is my everest.

(Did I just say “next time”? Man, I’m sounding awfully ambitious these days.)

My new running shoes worked wonderfully, by the way. I was running on a cloud. Far less shin splints and ankle soreness today than in runs past.

I also created an account at MyFitnessPal (so convenient! you can log calories and exercise on your phone and on the computer, it’s awesome). I didn’t want to get sucked in to Weight Watchers points or calorie counting, but the truth of the matter is I am not losing weight yet and I think I should be. Thanks to my sedentary deskjob lifestyle, I’m only allotted 1250 calories a day on the days I don’t exercise if I want to be on track to lose 1.5 lbs a week.

I think this is ridiculous because I always heard that anything under 1,200 is considered starving. We Americans are taught that there is a standard 2,000 calorie diet, so I thought if I was cutting calories to 1,500 and working out, I’d lose weight. Turns out that’s probably not the case for me or for many of you out there if you live a life like I do that requires you to sit still and do nothing all day. I wish I lived somewhere more pedestrian-friendly. In fact, I’m going to start walking for 30 minutes outside on my lunch break as soon as it starts getting warmer (in addition to my organized workout schedule 3-4 times a week and hopefully, yoga once a week). My new diet and exercise regimen is causing me to really introspectively consider the issues the standard adult lifestyle in this country causes in and of itself…beyond the epidemic of obesity and all the fried, fast foods and sweets that come along with it.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sort of dreading my remaining two running days this week. It’s freaking hard, man.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,