Friday, July 31, 2009

Running update week 3 (the one where I slow down, run in the rain and get some company)

Last night, I completed week three, day three of the Couch to 5K program. This week's training plan looked like this:


Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following: Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds) Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds) Jog 400 yards (or 3
minutes) Walk 400 yards (or three minutes). End with five-minute cool down walk.
I gotta say I was daunted at the prospect of running for three minutes straight. And the first of my three runs this week was pretty tough at first, until I caught on to the key to going the distance--SLOW DOWN. My speed has gradually increased over the weeks. I'm no one's Flo Jo. What I do is most accurately described as jogging...slow jogging...by any real deal runner. But for me and my abilities, I'm running, and doing it faster each time. But I realized this week that I'm not ready to focus on speed just yet. In order for me to run three minutes straight, I need to pace myself. Slow it down. On my long intervals I shamble forward like a tortoise (But, hey, that tortoise won the race!) I've had to ditch the high-energy, speed-inducing Beth Ditto/Gossip for a playlist of slow, groovy funk and classic R&B (see playlist below). This week, instead of "run, run..." running with Ditto, I'm "Cruisin'" with Smokey.

I love how running is physical endeavour that relies heavily on mental fortitude. I found this quote on a runners forum: "It's all mental until you pass out; then it's physical." Too funny and too true. For instance, making my way through my first three-minute run took some serious mental effort. It wasn't that I was out of breath or that my body was in any real distress during that first extended run. It's simply that my thighs were burning with effort and angrily protesting to return to a nice, comfy spot on the couch. Finishing meant convincing myself to "woman up" and push through the minor discomfort. I'm proud to say I did it...this time. I'm sure there will come a time in the next few weeks when I lose the battle, which will present another lesson to be learned.

I'm intrigued to discover that running is fast becoming something I need to do. I actually look forward to my three-day-a-week training, so much so that on Tuesday, when angry, gray clouds threatened rain, I donned my workout wear and shoes and hit my neighborhood path. I made it about 3/4 of the way before sprinkles became a deluge. But I finished (a little soggy)!

I'm also happy to feel the changes in my body. There is a long, grand stairway that leads to my office at work and I was in the habit of taking the elevator and bypassing the quicker route up said stairs. But after several months of consistent exercise and three weeks of running, I can tackle the stairs without collapsing at the top.

Another bright spot in my week of training was finding out that M. of Under the Acacia Tree has decided to do the Run for Congo Women in Chicago, too. It's neat to know that little ole (never athletic) me inspired somebody to start training. And it's neat to know that I have a partner on the trail (even if that partner is a couple hundred miles away). Please join me in sending good wishes to M. and consider joining us for the run on Oct. 3. You can support my run by clicking the button below or visit here to learn more about the challenges faced by Congo women.



Speaking of good vibes, please be sure to send me some on Sunday, when I begin week four of training. Next week, the amount of running in the plan DOUBLES! Hope you've enjoyed this sunny post. Something tells me next week's update may go a little differently.

Week 3 playlist: "Mary Jane"

"Mary Jane" by Rick James
"Flashlight" by Parliament
"Summer Madness" by Kool & the Gang
"I Wanna Get Next to You" by Rose Royce



"Brown Sugar" by D'Angelo
"Do Me, Baby" by Prince
"Computer Love" by Zapp
"Cruisin'" by Smokey Robinson

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