A Glimpse

I haven’t been blogging, but I’ve been running.

My work schedule is busy and will only get busier for the next 5-6 weeks. You know, right along when my mileage continues to increase and the actual half-marathon happens.

Our long runs are up to 8 miles.  8. Wow.

It’s still hard, but last week I had a few moments of running that I actually enjoyed.

a glimpse

Those few moments took me completely by surprised.  In those few minutes, running was, I’m afraid to say it in case I jinx myself, but they were, e a s y. The moment came and went and then came and went again. My body and breath were in sync, I looked around at the budding trees and noticed the early blooming forthyias and magnolias. I might have even smiled.

It was a glimpse of what I imagine my running life could be – smooth, almost efffortless, not always, but most of the time.

The rest of the run was hard, as usual.

Night Run

Night run in Prospect Park

Last Wednesday, Michelle and I met for an afterwork weekday run.  It was such a treat. We usually do the weekday runs solo and report in via text. There were several running groups in the park doing interval training. We were inspired by their sprinting runs and we decided rather than do 4 miles, we would try interval runs.  This is not our first fooray into speedwork. Usually, once a week we push it, higher speed for long periods, but mostly on the treadmill.

We decided that we would run faster – not our fastest, but faster for 1 minute and then recover for 1 minute for about 30 minutes.  We were extremely pleased.  Our faster runs felt good.  It proved to us once again that we can pick up the pace, which we promised to do in our next weekday runs!

Those two things happening in one week, made me feel like something is happening, that my body is learning that quite possibly I could do this for the rest of my life.

8 miles here I come!

 

 

 

 

Beastmode vs. Tortoise

My endurance level is increasing. Woohoo! On the treadmill I feel superhuman, like Marshawn Lynch!

lynch beast mode

What!? On those days you can’t tell me nothing! Unlike Marshawn, I’m willing to talk about how good I feel and how fast I’m moving.

On the streets, however, I feel more like

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It turns out I’m running just a bit faster on the streets than I am on the treadmill.  Who knew?!

In the park, I feel heavy, bulky, slow and I’m still taking walking breaks.

How do I adjust my perception?  How do I start feeling on the streets like I do on the treadmill?

I’m still pretty terrified and the training continues. Week 4 is done and I’m half way through week 5!

Week 4 Training

Total miles for the week: 12.5

Best moment: Feeling super human after running 3.5 miles in under 55 minutes

Best song: Kanye West’s – All of the Lights

Longest run: 5

Running While Fat

Running is hard.

Running while fat is an adventure in difficult.

Weeks 2 and 3 of my training were tough.  I was plagued with doubts.

I was reminded by both my partner and best friend that I ran several half marathons and a marathon weighing more than I weigh now.

mental

It was good to be reminded of those accomplishments.

But really, I just want running to get easier, if only just a little.  Who am  I  kidding, I want it to get a lot easier.  I want it to be easy! I’ve been  putting  in the miles, yet each step felt like I was dragging a boulder  behind  me.

At the tail end of Week 3 I met my running buddy Michelle and together  we did our long run, 5 miles, together.  What a relief.  Some parts were  easier and some parts, like going up hills, were still hard.

For all of my previous races I’ve trained part of the time with friends, with  a community  of runners.  I’m coordinating my schedule to meet with  friends for at least one run a week.

Michelle and I managed to laugh  about the craziness of choosing such a long distance to train for to get back into running!

I’m working on my mental game as well.  There have been a few times where I’ve talked myself into walking when I should been, could have been running.

Week 4 is turning out okay.  I’ve logged in two runs and felt good about both.  I’ve still got a ways to go, but step by step I’ll get were I’m going.

Half Marathon Training

Since I signed up last month for the AirBnB Brooklyn Half-Marathon, I’ve done my best not to panic.

Brooklyn Half I recommitted to running at the tail end of last year, but I also knew that without a big fat looming commitment my running would sputter, stall, and stop. Making it that much harder the next time I attempted to start over again.

When I saw the announcement for the Brooklyn Half I didn’t think, I just signed up for it.  Yikes.

I’ve slowly built up my running base. I can do 3 miles, without feeling like I’m going to die.  Last week I ran 3 miles and felt good, actually great for most of the run.

Most of the my running has been in the gym.  It’s a struggle to run in lower than 20 degrees for me.

The treadmill and I have been getting cozy with each passing subzero-winter week.  I’m on week 2 of my half-marathon training and it’s finally warming up.  I’m ignoring the fact that it’s snowing as I type this.  I’m really hoping that’s the last of winter.

Total miles this week: 9.4

Longest run: 3

Best moment: Walking home like BAWSE after a glorious run!

Best song: Dog Days Are Over by Florence + The Machine

Up Next: 4 mile run outside (no matter the weather)!

Keep An Eye Out

I have a calendar at home that reminds me of the miles I’ve run and the ones still to come. How many miles today, tomorrow, the day after and so on. The plan is clearly written out. The plan isn’t set in stone, there is flexibility, but the road map is clear.

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I look at the miles ahead and take a deep breath and think, “Shit. Oh yeah, I got this!”

I’m hoping that at some point the initial doubt fades away and all I’m left with is, “I got this!”

I’m hoping that first half mile gets easier, let alone the rest. I have to push through that initial — wait, what da hell moment and get my labored breathing into a nice rhythm that syncs with my legs…and then, then I can just run.  If I’m lucky I focus on the music, road, people, park, anything. If I feel the least bit of stress, I worry about my pace and the time, my pace and the time, it becomes a terrible feedback loop.

Why do I insist on doing this? Running is hard. I’m overweight and slow and still I want to run. It’s a deep desire that I don’t understand, all I know is that I have to honor it.

I insist at my age (never you mind what the number is) at becoming athletic. I insist that I run, not like the young women out there who look like gazelles, but like a woman, sure of her steps, regardless of the road ahead.

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I run to chase that woman, that image of me – confident that even if I came in dead last, I did not quit, and each hard won step brought me closer to grace.

I keep my eye out for her – for that me, just brimming, bursting with life, joy, pain, laughter and love. Sometimes she’s just a breath away, I can feel her right next me, sometimes I can barely make her out in the distance, but I’ve yet to lose sight of her.

I keep my eye on her – me.

Total miles this week: 10

Longest run: 3.1

Best moment: Feeling sweaty as the treadmill came to a stop.

Best song: Micheal Jackson’s Love Never Felt So Good on repeat for the last half mile of my speed workout. It saved me!

Up Next: Half-Marathon officially starts next week! Whoa!

Back to It

Running is  frustratingly hard these days.  I managed to gain some weight over the winter and I’m paying for it now.

When I started back up, several weeks ago,  I was so slow that my running app didn’t even recognize my running as running.

That was discouraging.

My good friend Piper reminded me that it’s not how slowly I run, it’s that I run.

Slow Running

I found the above picture, smiled and then laughed at myself.  This is me.  This is where I am.  I could be angry or even disappointed in myself, but that’s wasted energy.

I run.  I run slow, but I run.

To be sure, I want to run faster and longer.  I want to do 5K’s, 10k’s and half-marathons again.  That’s the far off goal.

The immediate goal is to run 30 minutes without stopping to walk.  That goal is about 8 weeks away.

Yesterday I noticed that I didn’t want to pass out after each interval of  running and that was reassuring.

Onward indeed.

 

 

 

Hi (She says sheepishly)!

I’m a little embarrassed that I haven’t made a blog post for a while.  I’m actually embarrassed to say how long it’s been.

Truth is I just stopped running.  I mean a full tilt stop.

Why?  It’s easier not to run.  It’s cold and dark outside.  I’ll spare you the excuse making.

At the end of the year I set a goal to get back to running.  If you’ve been watching the news you’ve heard of this thing called the Polar Vortex.  It is cold, impossibly, unmercifully cold, so cold Niagara Falls froze over!

Frozen Niagara Falls (2)

There were few breaks in the weather and I took advantage of them. I bundled up and ran or attempted to.  I couldn’t run.

I felt bad and stupid.

Homer Oops (2)

I pulled my running book down from the shelf and looked up the beginner series of running.  I’m back to a run/walk routine.  At the end of January I was supposed to be at 8 minutes running and 2 minutes walking intervals.  I’m at 5 minutes running and 2 minutes walking.  So running will progress slowly until winter starts behaving like winter in the North East and not like winter in the Artic!

To add a little more movement I’ve decided to do Shaun T’s two month Insanity workout.

I finished week one.  The fit test almost killed me.  It’s hard, y’all, but despite that I’m glad to be moving just a bit more than usual.

I’m back on the start line, this time I mean to keep going.

back to running 2 (2)

Re-start (again)!

It’s been a while, I know.

This past winter was filled with bitterly cold days and I did very little running outside. However, I did use the treadmill, elliptical machine and arc trainer at the gym, though admittedly not very consistently.

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In the spring I thought about running and I thought about it some more, but did nothing about it.

When I finally decided to get back on the running band wagon the heat wave began!

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I’m running in the gym most of the time. But at least once a week, very early in the morning, I meet a friend and off we go to run in the park.

Running is hard. I’m heavy and slow. I do it so that I can get lighter and faster. But I also do it because something about my loud rhythmic breathing, the shuffle of my steps, makes me feel peaceful.

While running I’m focusing on my pace, breath and legs. I’m thinking just make it to the next lamppost, the next tree, the next light. “Do it, Esther.” “You can do it Esther.” “Come on now, just one more step.”

Sometimes I can take that extra step and make it and sometimes I can’t.

Regardless how great or awful the run was, at the end of it my thoughts seem clearer and sharper. I feel I can tackle the day with some grace.

Running remains one of the hardest things I do physically. I can’t imagine giving it up. I fail at it more than I succeed, but I learn something every time.

I remain committed and have got my eyes on a few 5K’s in the fall.

Humbled by Running

Running is the most humbling thing I do.  It reminds me how far I’ve come and how far the road ahead is.

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My goal this year is to move further along that road.

Two weeks into my return to running and already I’m seeing improvements.  My fitness level has increased. That counts for a lot here in New York.  I’m constantly walking up and down subway stairs and it’s nice to get to the top and not want to collapse or gasp for each breath.

subway stairs

And as an added bonus I’ve lost almost 2 lbs.

My goals for January are simple:

  • Run three to four times a week.
  • Run 2 miles with no walking breaks.

May the new year bring you consistency in all you do.