January 31, 2011

Couch to 5K

I started out in January 2010 with the Couch-to-5K running plan, a beginners running program (www.coolrunning.com) that is designed to help you get your couch potato butt off the sofa and run a 5K (3.1 miles) in 9 weeks.  I wholeheartedly agree with the premise, even if it didn’t work exactly as planned for me. 

I think I was a month into the program before I discovered I wasn’t exactly following instructions.  The first three weeks have you doing a combination of walking/running for a certain number of minutes.  The fourth week says to “jog ¼ mile (or 3 minutes), walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds), jog ½ mile (or 5 minutes), walk ¼ mile (or 2 ½ minutes)" and so on.  So I thought I had a choice between mileage and minutes.  I chose to go by time – jog 3 minutes, walk 90 seconds, jog 5 minutes, etc.  Are you seeing the problem here?  They don’t tell you how fast to run; I run at 4mph, so jogging ¼ mile takes me 3.75 minutes, not 3 minutes as indicated above. 

Every week that I went on this way, I got further behind.  By the 9th week, I should have been running 3 miles in 30 minutes.  The way I was going, I was charted to run 2 miles in 30 minutes, had I been able to keep up – which I wasn’t.  Being quick on my feet (pun intended), I finally realized my mistake. 

I agree in theory that the Couch to 5K is a great program.   However, they don’t take into account certain determining factors such as age, weight and overall health.  And maybe ALTITUDE!  I moved from sea level to 9000 ft. elevation and then started running.  I could barely even walk up my driveway without gasping for air!  Who knew altitude could do that?

Ten months down the line, I could finally run what they said I should have done in 9 weeks, LMAO.  Here is how I think they should modify their running plan to accommodate everyone time-wise:

1.   Add a day for every pound you’re overweight
2.   Add a week for every year over 30 years of age
3.   Add a month for every 2000 foot incremental increase in elevation above sea level. 

....yeah, that’d be about right. 

Just sayin’…… there are other factors to consider when you begin training – not every program is right for everyone, and it’s okay to modify the program to suit your needs. I’ve had to continually modify my own program because I found that when it was just too hard, it made me reluctant to want to do it again.  And that is not the point!  The point is to get moving and get healthy, not to dread the next step. 

All joking aside, I really do think that the Couch to 5K is a great program.  If you’re looking to start running, check out their website at http://www.coolrunning.com/.

(Always consult a physician before beginning any new fitness program). 

January 1, 2011

New Year's Resolutionology

Welcome, 2011! 

While 2010 was a good year, I’m happy to move on, because I’m very excited about the future and to see what it has in store. 

Although I consider myself an expert in New Year’s Resolutionology, (move over Sarah Palin, you’re not the only one who can invent new words!) having made so many myself, I am not officially making any New Year’s Resolutions this year.  Did you know that studies show that 36% of New Year’s Resolutions are broken by the end of January?  And by the end of six months, over 50% are broken.  Those are not good odds, so I’m not taking them; the bet is off.  Instead, I am making promises to myself:

1.         To get in shape (I've always thought that pear is a very nice shape). 
2.         To listen to my body (especially when it’s screaming at me to put the doughnut down!)
3.         To lose weight (where does it go when you lose it?  You know it’s hiding somewhere, because it always comes back). 
4.         To not get frustrated when my body isn’t cooperating with my plans (I am normal, supermodels are not). 
5.         To not listen to all the so-called diet experts (snack on carrot sticks when you’re hungry?  Seriously?!!)
6.         When life gives you lemons, make lemonade Greyhounds (oh wait….that’s grapefruit juice….Oh well, I’m sure it’ll work anyway) 
7.         When I’m ever-so-slightly lying about, overemphasizing, embellishing my weight loss, I’ll tell myself what a very good liar storyteller I am. 

I didn’t accomplish all of my goals last year, but I got a pretty good start.  I ran 406 miles!  I lost 40 pounds (and gained back 10 L).  To those people who say that you can eat whatever you want as long as you’re exercising, I say LIARS!    It is sooo NOT true!  That’s all I have to say about that! 

Looking back through my calendar I can see where I slacked off, and where my best months were.  I can see where I was motivated, and when I lost it (hiding under the couch cushion – I didn’t look there), I can see where my weight was steadily decreasing (before I started gaining and quit recording it – if you can’t see it, it isn’t there!).  Yes, I am one of those kooky people that record inane details on a daily basis.  Which is a good thing, because my drill sergeant daughter (my own self-appointed personal trainer) gave me a Runner’s World Training Journal for Christmas, “a daily dose of motivation, training tips & running wisdom for every kind of runner – from fitness joggers to competitive racers.”  She filled it with six months of training plans so that I can get ready to run a half marathon in June.  She also gave me moleskins (for blisters), Spa Lavender Foot Soak with Aloe-Infused Lounge Socks (for sore and calloused feet?), and a book of 100 Stretches (I can touch my toes if I bend my knees J). 

She took me to the Air Force Academy to show me their 13 mile trail that she says I’m going to run in a few months.  It is forested with trees and brush, mountainous, and desperately desolate.  So now I’m scared.  Reallly scared (that’s me, scared, over on the right.  Note the terrified eyes and vacant expression).  What in the world does she have planned for me?!  I don’t think she realizes that I’m 50!  That’s 50 years old, people!  And fat!  And all sorts of other things, besides!  (Please refer back to my previous blog on ‘excuses’).  She’s only doing it because it’s payback time she loves me…. right?

On the lighter side, here are some words of wisdom that I have learned over the years:

Happiness is there for the grabbing; use both hands.
Apply life lessons learned; they are proven guides.
Pick good friends for life’s journey; it makes the trip easier.
Perspective takes time; step back and think first – things will look differently tomorrow.
Years fly by quickly; don’t wait for tomorrow to pursue your dreams.

New beginnings come with every new day; take advantage.
Enjoy small things as well as the big; good things can come in small packages.
Wealth is a frame of mind; material things don’t belong there. 

You are unique in all the world; there is nobody else like you; you are special!
Excellence is overrated; it’s more fun to laugh at your mistakes.
Always follow your heart; it won’t ever let you down.
Resolve to be kinder to yourself; you deserve it. 

2010 was my practice year, and now I’m ready for the real thing! 

To my friends and family: I may joke, but I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your love and support, without which I couldn’t take the first step. 

May you have Hope, Health, Humor and Happiness in the New Year. 

God Bless and Godspeed.