Week 3

Week 3 ups the ante very slightly from week 2. After a warm up it’s:

– Run for 2 mins
– Walk for 2 mins
– Run for 3 mins
– Walk for 2 mins

Repeat

Again it looks pretty steady, and indeed is, but the idea is that when in the running phases, you run at the speed you’d want to maintain over an entire 5k. Given I’ve set my sights on a sub-25 minute run the first time I do a race at the end of summer, I feel like I am way off my pace. Perhaps it was a glass of wine too many the previous night, or too much coffee and orange juice bouncing around in my belly, but I started with a disastrous 12:15 mile. This includes the walking time, so it’s hard to know what the running pace is at this point, but I am guessing around 9/min mile which would be about a 28 minute 5k. I did have some trouble with the workout seeming to skip at the start and standing still for about 30 seconds, but even so this was a crawl.

In the end I did 2.26 miles in 27 and a half minutes, but on Tuesday I will want to up the pace somewhat. But I need to make sure there is no alcohol the night before runs, and I am drinking plenty of water instead.

Distance: 2.26 miles
Time: 27:34
Temperature: 76/24

End of week 2, aches and pains and weight loss

Today I finished week 2, which is pleasing, especially after postponing my run yesterday due to a horrific thunderstorm. New York City has been having some interesting weather, and yesterday was a little too interesting for running in. So today, after dragging my arse home from a 10 hour office slog, walking the dog and then going out again into 88/31 degree soup, I managed to clock just over 2 miles and run my cool down minute at the end. Oh yeah.

I was rewarded with an another average sub-12 minute mile for the second time.

However, I am feeling a slight twinge in my right hamstring just above my knee. I suspect its from lack of stretching, or perhaps just general forty and unfitness is wailing against the effort. It gradually subsided as I ran, but I felt my stride slightly hobbled by it. I’ll keep an eye on that.

One thing I haven’t spoken about on this blog is weight. As a guy, I am not so much worried about how much I weigh, as how my body looks. Well defined is far more important than what I weigh, but I did notice I dropped from 186 lbs to 183.5lbs after the first week, and further to 179.2lbs this week. That’s 13 st 4 down to 12 st 11 in 2 weeks.

I really didn’t think I’d get this far

Distance: 2.05 miles
Time: 23:12
Temperature 88/31

The ‘Wall’

When running a marathon, runners will sometimes describe meeting ‘the wall’, which is mystical marathon runner speak for “I got tired”. The wall is a moment in a marathon, or any other long distance race, where your body simply refuses to obey your brain. Your legs become logs of wood, and your lungs take a nap. When you’re unfit, the wall is what you mee after running for around 45 seconds. On my Monday run, it felt tough. Like I’d been running for an hour before I even started. I don’t know if I was hungry, tired, it was the heat or something else, but it was the toughest run so far of the 5 lessons. Distance: 1.92 miles Time: 23:27 Temperature 88/29

Cranking up, and goals

Today I ran 2 miles in 22 minutes(ish) as Couch to 5K upped the pace slightly. According to Mapmyrun, I managed just over 11 min/mile for 2 miles. This got me thinking about my goals.

Back in 2006, I ran my first 5k. I had about 2 warmup runs and jogged around the course at a leisurely 34 mins. That’s pretty much the pace I ran today, except I didn’t go for 3.1 miles, only 2.

2 years ago, I ran on Randal Island and managed to do 5K in 28 mins 53 seconds, again with probably only 4 warmup runs (about as much as I have done in the last week). So, my goal is to run a 5K before the middle of Fall and beat 25 minutes and by next spring, beat 20 mins. I am not sure if at the point setting goals is getting ahead of myself, I think I just want to maintain running for more than 6 weeks without giving up…

But, one step at a time. I completed lesson 2.1

And as you can see, this cranked up the pace considerably, even though the exercise time was the same.

Not quite Olympic pace yet..! Speaking of which, go Team GB!
Distance: 2 miles
Time: 22.04
Temperature 73.23

Day 3 and a change of pace

Day 3 came and went without much fanfare. I ran 2 miles again in a little over 25 minutes following the last 1.x lesson of Couch to 5K. Unfortunately my internet is down so the blogging came to a grinding halt. Thanks to Baked just around the corner, I can at least make a quick post.

Today, a week after I started, I am going mountain biking and will get a run in this evening. Lesson 2.1, which is a change of pace.

In 2.x you run for 90 seconds, walk 90 seconds, then jog for 90 seconds again and then walk 2 minutes. This one is about getting your stamina up a little higher but with a slightly longer recovery time. You do this 3 times. In theory, I should get a slightly higher pace than the 13 – 14 mins per mile the prior lesson tracked to.

For now, it’s off to New Jersey and Harteshorn Park for some biking…

Day 2 and 3

So day 2, yesterday, was rest day. Can’t say I got much rest, an Ikea trip and a couple of hours of turning flat-packs into furniture was the highlight of my Sunday. I didn’t get much in the way of aches and pains, so there’s a positive.

Today though, after 6 or 7 hours at work, I felt my legs tightening and the effects of my herculean 13.5 minute miles taking effect on my ravaged body. That and the 90/32 degree heat much much of today, and I was ready to wimp out. But, after getting home and telling my wife I was going running, I was committed, so it was session 1.2 of Couch to 5k.

Heat

I don’t know about you, but I don’t really love the heat, especially when it’s humid. It was about 88 degrees when I ran, with some headwind in one direction and none in the other. However, music plus reinforcement from my app telling me when to run, when to walk and giving me cues on the half way point, broke things up nicely and the run, if anything, was slightly easier than on Saturday. Only a slight pinging in my upper hamstring reminded me this was my second outing. I feel surprisingly good.
Bring on the last week 1 lesson. Weds… 95 degrees and thunderstorms!
Distance 2.14mi
Time 29:37
Temperature 88/31

Couch to 5K (1.1)

So today was the day, and push me over with a 5 star app rating if I didn’t actually do it. I decided to use Couch to 5k to get started, and managed 2.07 miles on my first run in probably about 2 years.

Obviously there was some procrastinating. Surely I wouldn’t be able to find my running shoes… unfortunately my far-too-organized wife had plopped them in our new ‘activity’ closet and they were easy to find. So slipping on my unfeasibly short shorts for probably only the second time ever, and a old Nike synthetic running top, I was off!

Couch to 5k starts you off with a 30 minute workout that involves 5 mins warm up (that’s a stroll to the nearest quiet street), then a mix of jogging for 45 seconds, walking for 90 seconds, jogging for 45 seconds again and then walking for 60 seconds. This is repeated 5 times, and I’ll be doing this three times this week. After that, there are 7 more weeks of slowly more intensive runs, getting you in gear to run 5k non-stop at a pace you’ll be happy with.

Yay – 1.1 completed

Lesson 1.1 at first felt easy, so the second jog or so I got cocky and ran pretty fast. After the 3rd repeat I was no longer getting my wind back during the walks and so eased off the pace during the run. When the announcement told me 1 minute left, I was quite glad but felt pretty good. Astonishingly, apps do actually make even running almost fun. Next run is Monday July 16th.

Distance: 2.07 miles
Time 26:59
Temperature 79f/26c, dry

Unless you tracked it on an app, it never happened!

Life Begins at 40

Three weeks ago today, I turned 40. Nothing special in that, literally billions before me have crossed this magical threshold, kept calm and carried on. For me there was no fanfare, no balloons, and little fuss. There was the obligatory birthday cake in the office, a few of my team even muttered ‘happy birthday’ before wandering off with my chocolate cake, I even got a solitary ‘you don’t look 40’ compliment from a 41 year old clearly in much worse shape than me. I also got a solitary birthday card (thanks dad) and birthday present (thanks lovely wife).

So while I am not exactly balding, over-weight or suffering from senior-skin syndrome, I do in fact feel very 40. For most of this year I have been struggling with chronic back pain caused by a herniated L5 disc, and a growing feeling of losing the moment to ever get into shape is intimately paralyzing. If I’m honest, I’ve never really loved exercise in the crazy way you’re supposed to. Never really loved the agony of pushing myself to the limit, the feeling of about to puke because I ran just one more mile, or the feeling of being sweat saturated and sun-lashed. But, I am told, that’s because I am out of shape and don’t exercise. Apparently, if I just push through for long enough, I’ll start to love it. So, I’m going to become a runner. Yes. That’ll be me jogging in the bike line, startling your dog and flicking sweat in your face feeling all smug and superior. I’ll be loving the pain and begging for more. Apparently.

Before I do anything though, I need some things.

Stuff

You can’t start a hobby without buying stuff. In fact, that’s pretty much the only reason to get into something new… it’s all the new stuff you get to buy. Unfortunately, running doesn’t actually need that much stuff, and I have most of it anyway. I’ve got the insanely short-shorts, which will nicely show of my whiter than white legs. I’ve got the Saucony running shoes (actually they’re about 7 years old, and have probably 10 miles on the clock) and I have the arm band for my iPhone, which my wife bought for me last christmas. Er… never worn it! It also came with a free Runners World subscription on my iPad, which I’ve downloaded. I might read it too.
Never been used!
Speaking of iPhone, I need apps. How can you get fit without an app to hold your hand. I chose Couch to 5k and MapMyRun, both free on the app store. Finally, I need to start a blog, so I can bore or enthrall my army of fans (maybe just my wife and my dad). That’s this, the thing you’re reading. So I’ll use the said apps to track my progress here on the blogosphere.

When to Run

So here is the million dollar question. Probably the best time to run, is when I am least likely to do it. That is, first thing in the morning. I am not a morning person. I wake up feeling like I just fell off a cliff, and landed on a jagged rock wrapped in barbed wire in a boiling pot of sludge. That’s on a good day. The first thing I think of when I wake up is, how much longer can I sleep for. When I finally drag myself out of my pit, it’s straight for the coffee and the nearest chair. My stretch ambition is to want to run in the morning, but I need to be realistic.
Given I work 5 days a week, roughly from 8 – 6 or later, evening runs are my best bet. I’ve recently moved to a quiet part of Brooklyn plenty of quiet streets, so getting some miles under my belt shouldn’t be a problem. I just need to do it.

Other Exercise

Given my back issues, I also need to work on my core. We have an exercise ball at home, which is deflated (no really, it is)… I’ll find the pump I think! Additionally I go mountain biking weekly, and really want a Kayak. Strange things happen to men’s chests as they go into their late 30’s, and if you’re pretty slender like me in the first place, the effect is pretty gross. So upper body exercise is a must. But first things first, let’s get running.

Start Date

Well obviously, it has to be tomorrow…