Posts Tagged ‘C25K’

I went on my last run on Monday with my old shoes. My legs were screaming, and not in a good, working hard way. I found there was some pain in the area you would expect for shin splints. Then the pain migrated inward, and I started experiencing a burning pain while running on the inside of my calf. I’ve done a little googling and I think I’ve pinpointed what the issue probably is. I took three days off while my family was in town to give my legs some extra time to recover. I also went to the Nike store with my Mom, who used to run a lot when she was younger (I’m trying to get her to consider starting up again, but she’s concerned about wear and tear on joints, which is fair). I got a new pair of shoes that put emphasis on as much cushion between you and the road as possible. They are very squishy and comfortable, though the padding creates a slightly odd sensation when walking.

Today I got to try out my new shoes on an actual run. Week 4 began today and the schedule goes like this –

5 minute warm up walk

3 minute run, then 90 second walk.

5 minute run, then 2 minute and 30 second walk

3 minute run, then 90 second walk

5 minute run.

I followed up the last run with some walking, partly because I misjudged the distance slightly and had to get home. The shoes felt great, and the pain was still there but I didn’t feel like I was making it worse.

The one really uplifting part of the run was feeling like I am finally capable of really running. Up until this week, getting through the running portions was often a struggle, with every moment spend counting the seconds and trying to catch my breath. I expected this first run, with the 5 minute intervals, to be a complete nightmare. But unexpectedly, my body finally fell into a groove. I spent the 5 minute interval breathing hard, but suddenly a switch flipped and I really felt like I could have kept going a little further. I don’t really know how to describe the sensation exactly. The next two runs, a 3 minute and a 5 minute, were harder to get through. But I remember the feeling, and I know each run is just going to bring me closer to a time where I can run 3 miles and end it feeling like I can go even further.

I’ve also noticed I’m generally stronger and have more stamina. When Pat and I walk together, I’m not tired out by his longer strides anymore. I can climb more stairs, spend more time cleaning, so on and so on.

For the next couple weeks of the program I’m going to slow down the running schedule a little bit. It is designed for three runs a week, with at least a day between each run. I am going to do two days rest between each run. That will put me a little behind the 9 weeks this is supposed to take, but I’ve already been impatient and opened myself up to nagging little problems that could turn into big problems. I don’t want to stop entirely to deal with the leg pain, I really think that if I take it a little more easy the new shoes and longer rest periods will take care of it. If not, I might have to switch to the elliptical and put C25K on hold for awhile, but I’m hoping I don’t have to do that. The general plan is to run, then a day off, then a day at the gym doing strength and very low impact cardio, then start the cycle over again. I’ve been really bad about going to the gym now that I’m running. It is easy to feel like I am getting plenty of exercise this way, but I know I shouldn’t be neglecting weights and core exercises. I’m going to have taken a few steps back in some areas I think.

I’m only in week 4, but I really recommend this program so far. I just can’t believe that less than a month ago I was struggling through intervals of 60 second of running and 90 seconds of walking.


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Week 3

Wednesday I started week 3 of C25K. Ow. While my thighs were crazy sore the first week, all the pain has moved south to my lower legs. I mentioned before that I suspected I was flirting with shin splints, but that seems to have gotten better instead of worse. It does feel like every muscle in my lower leg, however, is seriously unhappy. I’m not sure why the pain migrated downward. Maybe when my upper legs were sore I compensated somehow by putting more pressure on different muscles. Or maybe my thighs are just attention grabby and I didn’t notice over their complaining.

Regardless of all that, I recalled something as I was running that might solve the mystery. As a child I was pigeon toed. It is cute on little kids but the bigger you get, the more people just think you walk like an idiot. I have no idea how old I was, but eventually my mother took me to the doctor to get my legs checked out.

He discovered that I had what I seemed to recall him calling twisted tibias. Basically the bones in my lower legs were twisted about 90 degrees inward, leading to my feet turning inward as well. I must have been quite young, because when he told us that I might need leg braces I was excited, probably due to the prospect of being part robot. I was saddened, however, when he went on to say that it was highly likely the issue would correct on its own. He didn’t even recommend I do something awesome like ballet (I got to do ballet when I was a little older. I was terrible. And good thing, it would have broken my heart when I went all hourglass).

The doctor was right, and I ended up walking like a normal person relatively soon after that. It never came up again… until today! So as I was remembering all this I thought, “hey, if my bones are twisted, maybe this explains why I’m a terrible runner!” So when I got home I attempted to google “twisted tibia.” It turns out that I remembered correctly, that was the coloquial term for it. The medical term is “internal tibial torsion.” Then I made two disappointing discoveries –

1) This is a fairly common condition. In fact, if you see a pigeon-toed kid, this is probably the cause. My poor tibia are no more special than my crazy childhood teeth.

2) Research into this condition seems to show that it actually makes people faster and more athletic. So my running difficulties were sadly not due to a tragic case of internal tibial torsion.

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Work and Week 2 of C25K

I recently didn’t get a job I’d interviewed for. It stung a bit, but it would have involved moving to a totally different city so I got over it fairly quickly. I was a bit annoyed to find out recently that they hired a teacher who literally worked at a different school down the street from this one. I had to take a three hour flight to get there and they hired someone from 5 minutes away?

The hardest part about not getting the job was facing the fact that the jobs I have will still be my jobs in September. One of them, the one I’ve had longer, is a decent job and I like my coworkers/boss a lot. But it is kind of a no brainer at this point, I could teach those classes in my sleep. Since I am constantly getting new students, stuff that seems new and fun to them is stuff I did last month, and the month before. These are good lessons and they work, so I stick with them, but it can get a little boring. My other job I don’t like as much. I’m teaching writing to a bunch of college freshman who are majoring in business. They basically treat the class like a giant waste of time (good luck with that I say, to the ones who refuse to learn the basics of good writing, not like that will come up in the business world). I’ll have some of the same kids in the Fall, and that is just a little hard to face right now.

On the other hand, the end of the semester is near and I always get a little burned out at this point. I’m trying hard to remember that 90% of the time I enjoy going to work and battling my students over homework assignments isn’t so bad.

Today we got some bad news work-wise. Sleepy Owl Husband was supposed to substitute for my boss during her vacation. Unfortunately, my boss’s boss decided to take the shifts herself to help save the program some money (we are low on students at the moment). All this would be fair, if disappointing, except for these things –

1. They asked him to do this over a month ago.

2. He cut down on shifts at his other job to do this.

3. They didn’t tell us until today and he was supposed to start on Wednesday, so he can’t get those shifts back.

4. We will be in a tight place financially for weeks, if not months, because of this due to car trouble and a trip we bought tickets for back when we thought we’d have extra money.

My boss is a really cool person, I think I’ve mentioned her before how much I like her. She’s a great teacher and she’s always gone out of her way to help me. This includes trusting my judgement about my husband and hiring him as a teacher whenever they needed someone extra last summer. If I were to guess, I’d say she probably was really unhappy about doing it this way. I’m not mad at her for having to do something the higher ups ask her to, but if they are going to nitpick the budget to this extent this is something that could have been decided weeks ago before Sleepy Owl Husband gave up a bunch of shifts.

The whole thing just annoys me. I’m a little worried about my capacity to tell said higher up exactly what I think when I see her next.

Today I did the last run of week 2 of the C25K program. This week was alternating between 90 seconds of running and 120 second of walking. It was a bit harder, and I’m starting to notice that I get winded a bit quickly. Not sure how to work on that other than to keep exercising. It is frustrating, however, when I know I am physically capable of running for long periods of time, aside from being able to catch my breath.

I am a little surprised by how fast my body gets stronger. Not just my body, presumably, but many peoples. When I first started out I was skeptical of the idea that I could do all this in 9 weeks (I still am, incidentally). But when I asked several friends of mine who’d done it, they said that they were surprised at how quickly they improved. After my first run my thigh muscles were screaming, but after my third they felt completely fine the next day. I’m a little more sore at the end of this weeks runs than I was after the first weeks, but I still managed today’s run more easily than Thursday’s run.

Certainly I am still in the easy stages, there are much scarier stages to come. Supposedly three weeks from now I’ll be running 20 minutes without stopping. Some of you are likely thinking “…so?” But as someone who hasn’t counted running among her regular exercises since grade school, this is scary stuff. Dr. Trollop is also sticking with the program so far. We occasionally send each other post run emails along the lines of, “Hills = NO.” and “challenging yourself is overrated.” (the first was Dr. Trollop, the second me).

Keep on truckin’ is increasingly, and worryingly, become the theme of my life.

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I have fallen victim to the C25K trend. When I say “victim” I mean, “this trend made me go running” which makes a good trend I suppose…

For those who are unfamiliar, C25K stands for Couch to 5 Kilometers. It is designed for those of us who don’t do the whole running thing, but would like to. It starts with 20 minutes of alternating 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds of walking and works up each week until week 9 when you theoretically can run for three miles without stopping. Of course, if any particular week gives you trouble, you are encouraged to keep at that particular workout until you can manage the next one. I would guess that for plenty of non-runners attempting to become runners, those extra weeks will happen.

Just a note to explain the next part of this post… I’ve always felt a little uncomfortable using real names in my blog posts, but using initials just gets confusing when I have several friends with the same first initial. So I’m going to try something new, and give nicknames. I’m borrowing this from a few other blogs I read, so thanks for the idea!

For the purpose of this post, I am talking about my best friend from childhood. She’s requested the pseudonym “Dr. Trollop.” There is a backstory there that doesn’t actually involve her being a trollop, but that will be a tale for another day.

So Dr. Trollop and I went out for Japanese recently and on our way out, asked if I would be interested in signing up for a 5 K in July with her. Now Dr. Trollop, like me, doesn’t find a thrill in going to the gym. But we are both trying to be better about fitness and she is trying out C25K. I was skeptical. Partly because I’m not what you would call built for speed. Being short and… let’s go with “top heavy,” running isn’t an activity at which I’ve ever excelled. But nonetheless, I went home and fussed around with iTunes until I found a way to cut songs to certain lengths so they would indicate when I should run and when I should walk.

So began C25K. I started on a Thursday, and following the program meant I ran Saturday and Monday to complete week 1. Today was the first run of week 2, which is 90 seconds of running alternated with 120 second of walking. I didn’t expect it to be significantly harder, but the unseasonably cold April we are having and the fact that the cold hasn’t stopped my allergies from showing up made the run a bit painful.

Oh, and I just realized my sneakers are 6 years old. People all over with even a mild understanding of healthy running habits just felt a disturbance in the force. And a marathoner probably spontaneously combusted.

I hadn’t really thought about my sneakers until my shins started to ache a bit and I recalled a previous bout of shin splints when I was younger. Then I recalled that having good shoes was an important part of not getting hurt. Then I recalled that I had bought these shoes in Ireland, and the last time I was in Ireland was in spring of 2005. Eep. I’d been wearing them with the vague impression that they were a bit old, but since my exercise habits had been distinctly on and off, I figured it wouldn’t matter. I promise that I am getting new shoes very, very soon.

I mean, is there anything more annoying than shin splints? Stupid little injury that is gratingly irritating in that they show up so quickly, hurt in a particularly stabby way, and are kind of a big deal if you ignore them so then you have to find a way to exercise without moving your shins for a freaking month or something.

Anyhoo, this is keeping me from being totally bored with working out. I’ve been neglecting the gym a bit as a result, but tomorrow I’m going to get back into the habit of putting a bit of variety into my workout so I’m not just running, but also using weights and so on. Also, knowing that Dr. Trollop is out there someone slogging through the same runs is incentive, because maybe we actually will manage that 5K in July!

Note: I may have to find an alternate nickname for Dr. Trollop, as it is a tad distracting, though I do enjoy it.

Edit: Dr. Trollop has spoken, she is keeping her nickname. For everyone’s convenience, I should note that she is not a trollop or a doctor. So she can neither give you an STI nor diagnose you with one.

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