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.

FullSizeRender

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.

images

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.

20130722-203749.jpg

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!

20130722-204122.jpg

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.

images

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.

Happy New Year!

2013 (2)

It’s been a good running year.

I thought about doing a running review for the year – calculate the miles I ran, the pace I kept, heck the race I finished (trust me I’ve got the spreadsheets), but the truth is none of that matters.

I wanted to run and I did.

And that makes me happy. I wish you could see the big grin on my face.

I haven’t posted in month and I didn’t run for a month. Work was kick-ass. I have no excuse. I simply didn’t manage my schedule. And I can already see that March will prove to be just as busy. Right now, I’m planning my work and working my plan. I’ve got new goals, which I’ll share soon.

But for now, know that I’m running. It’s been unbearably cold, but I’ve been out there with my girlfriends catching up, laughing and most importantly running.

Oh the joys!

Just the Stats

This post should have gone out yesterday,  but it was crazy at work and I just

couldn’t fit it in to my schedule!

Here is a quick update, my pace has been a little slow and a little fast. I had my fastest pace and slowest pace to date all in the same week.

Before Thanksgiving I ran at a 14:32 pace, which is the pace I ran my 10K back in October!  That was very exciting.

After Thanksgiving my pace was at 16:02.  I wasn’t surprised at all! I felt heavy!

Here is the even better news  I ran and lost weight during Thanksgiving week!

Total miles last week: 6.9

Weight loss: 1.2lbs

Run Easy

I ran four times last week. They were easy runs at a steady pace and only 2 miles each, but it felt good to be out there.

This week I go back to interval running. I’m committed to improving my pace, which means speed workouts – fartlek’s, and interval runs. There are a few other speed workouts out there, but for now I’m concentrating on these two.

I have to run hard to gain speed.

I’m finally ready for that.

I’m on the hunt for a half-marathon to do in the local area. I’m still hoping to go to New Orleans in Feb 2013, but in case I can’t, I’m searching for a half in NYC.

Total Mileage last week: 8 miles.

Restart

I’ve stopped, started, stopped and then restarted running ever since finishing my 10K in October.

And in between all that back and forth I weathered hurricane Sandy, jumped up for joy at the election results and a trudge through the snow of a 1-day nor’ester.

I’ve actually logged two easy runs since all that and it’s helped ground me, got me refocused on my running and fitness goals. The runs were short and sweet and just what I needed.

The next three weeks are about just rebuilding my running base. I’ve got my eye on a half marathon in New Orleans in February 2013.

New Orleans is my favorite city and home to my favorite football team. The city is filled with amazing people and phenomenal food.

I’ll know by the end of the month if my schedule will allow for a long weekend in New Orleans in February, but in the meantime I’m just running.

Might even do the Turkey Trot next week to keep those Thanksgiving calories in check.