Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Couch-to-5K Running Plan: Week 1

On May 31st I turned 28. I am in my late 20's. 30 is almost here. The big 3-0. I've been worried about 30 since I was 18. I'm not sure why, but I feel like once 30 hits, I won't be pretty anymore. I won't be young anymore. I won't be desirable anymore. Yes, I said it. I still want my husband to want me in *gasp, that way. Now, I am not trying to insult the 30 plusses out there. These are my thoughts and they only apply to me. Just because I feel like I won't be pretty anymore, that doesn't mean someone else isn't absolutely gorgeous. Just because I feel like I won't be young anymore, that doesn't mean someone else isn't still young. Just because I worry I won't be desirable anymore, doesn't mean someone else doesn't drive their husbands absolutely wild with their hotness. These thoughts only apply to me.

So 30 is two years away. I need to get my body in shape! Before I had Lily I exercised for about a year before we even tried to conceive. (TTC) I would do the elliptical and lift weights. I didn't pay too much attention to my diet. In one year, I didn't lose a single pound. Didn't gain either. Just stayed right where I was. I suppose if I really face facts, I wasn't exerting myself all that much. It was just enough to feel pretty good and somewhat energized. My clothes fit a little better, but mostly I just felt pretty good and accomplished. At the very end of that year, after not losing a pound, I decided that I should start running. It was terrible, and I lasted only one week. I could not understand why, after exercising for a year, running for five whole minutes just wiped me out. Well, I was pregnant! I had not yet found out, but my body was telling me, "Hey! You're growing a human in here! Don't start something new!" One week after I started running, I found out. And, WOOHOO, I had the perfect excuse to stop running. And stop exercising period. Once the second trimester hit and I started feeling halfway human again (ha ha, though I was a two humans in one body) I got back on the treadmill to walk. And walk I did for the rest of my pregnancy. I walked as fast as my legs would go and by the end, walking became quite the chore. I walked and walked and walked.

Another great side effect of being pregnant, besides trying to exercise my body, was that I was extremely vigilant about what I put in my body. My diet changed drastically. No fast food, no cookies, no sweets. No sodas. Although at the very end, on my "Boo hoo my baby is not here and my due date was yesterday" days, I indulged in Sonic a few times. Many of those habits developed during pregnancy have stayed with me fairly well. I eat fast food sometimes. I drink sodas more than I should again, but we eat sooooooo much better than we used to.

After Lily was born, I didn't do much of anything except nurse her and try to recover. One year later, my body begging for me to exercise again, I decided I needed to get back in shape. Especially since we eventually want to TTC baby #2. I want to be below my pre-pregnancy weight before we TTC baby #2. Yes, I admit it. We're planning on having more babies.

I started running last week. I started with a 4.5 minute run, then did 5 minute runs the rest of the week. I know myself. I can't just start out running for 20 minutes or I'll hate it and never do it again. I am slow at getting into exercise, but I am more likely to continue it that way.

When I posted that I admired runners, I had several ask me if I was doing the Couch-to-5K Running Plan. Well, no, I wasn't. I had to check it out. So I did. Cool! A program! I like structure! And it's a really cool way to measure my progress. So, here goes nothing. I am going to do this 9 week program.

Week 1:

Current Weight: 155
Pre-pregnancy: 150
Goal: 140 (to be reached by Labor Day weekend)

Day 1:

I am supposed to start with a brisk five minute walk followed by alternating 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking. That didn't seem so bad. I did have thoughts such as, "This sucks. I hate this. This is boring. Why is time moving so slowly?" It was pretty boring, but it also kicked my behind. However, it didn't kick my behind terribly. Exercise always kicks my behind no matter how long I've been doing it. It never seems to be easy for me. I suppose that's the point.

I started to notice something interesting as I was going through the walk-run cycle. My body started to prefer the feeling of running over walking. It was very strange. My mind certainly did not prefer the feeling of either one, but my legs got to this point where walking was really uncomfortable. My heart and lungs were happy that I did not have to run more than one minute at a time, though. I wonder at what point my heart, lungs, legs and mind will all be on the same page.

Day 2:

My shins are sore. I decided not to take a rest day because I have a mom due tomorrow. I know babies rarely come on their due dates, but I know my next few weeks are going to be weird. I am going to do this if I happen to be home at 6am.

While I was in the middle of my workout I tried to not look at the clock during my running intervals. I only lasted about 25 seconds and then I would look. I also noticed that after 25 seconds, that is when my body says, "Hey now. What are you doing to me? I don't think I like this." That's pretty sad. I was able to finish my workout, which is really cool.

I am probably getting caught in a trap that many beginning runners fall into. I don't want to take rest days! How am I going to lose weight if I take a rest day? Do I really need to take a rest day? How beneficial are rest days anyway? I know I plan to take Sunday as my rest day every week, but do I really need to only exercise three days a week? Will I lose 10-15 pounds in the next three months taking rest days? Ugh. I want to lost weight NOW! I know it's a long process, but it is so hard to wait. Will it really work? I mean, really really?

Day 3:

Yesterday I took a rest day and did pilates instead. I was worried about being able to do it today having a rest day in between, but I think it turned out better than I expected.

I hated it while I was doing it. I don't like doing anything on the treadmill, especially running. I didn't mind the walking so much, but it was the running (or really jogging) intervals that got to me. It makes me uncomfortable. I don't like being uncomfortable. It's not really that I get out of breath, but it makes all the muscles in my lower half a little sore. No pain, though.

Once I was done I really enjoyed how I felt. It reminds me of having a baby. During labor it wasn't very fun, but immediately afterward I felt great! Of course the high that I receive after exercising doesn't last months like the high I received after labor. I had a special treat today, though. While I was at the gym, it started raining. I was able to cool off in the rain while I walked back to my apartment. I was the only person around, and I enjoyed the solitude of being in the rain and the darkness that accompanies it. I felt like I was in my own little bubble. It made me smile.

I think I am going to take a rest day tomorrow and add a fourth day this week.

Day 4:

I woke up in the bad mood this morning. I was tired, I didn't have any energy, and I just didn't want to do ANYTHING today, much less run. Or walk/run.

I sucked it up and walked over to the gym while thinking, "I hate this. I hate this. I hate this. I don't wanna. I don't wanna," the entire two minute walk to our apartment complex's gym. From what I've learned, however, if you can just get your behind to the gym, you'll be fine.

Yesterday I decided to take a rest day, and I think I am starting to buy into this whole rest day idea. Not really from a weight loss point of view but from a performance point of view. I always think that it will be more difficult to exercise after a day of rest, but this week that has not been the case. I also decided that I wanted to try 6 mph during my running intervals (I had been doing 5.5 mph) after reading an article yesterday that encouraged doing more than you think you can do in order to increase your speed. Well, I was certain that I would not be able to do 6 mph, but I did it! Woohoo!

I noticed during my 6 mph running intervals that it was easier on my body to do it that the 5.5 mph. Um, hello? Why? I'm not complaining, but I do not understand that. My mind really does not want to stay at 6 mph next week, but my body seemed to like it. Should I go with what my mind is telling me or should I go with what my body is telling me? My mind seems to be the more difficult part of my body to train.

I'll be honest. I am worried about next week. This week was tough. On paper it seemed to be easy. I have been so tired this week, but I feel so wonderful after my exercise sessions! It's great! I'll just enjoy the rest of this weekend and take it one day at a time.

Oh, by the way, I took our scale and hid it in the top of our closet. I mean, I know where it is, but it's not easily accessible. It feels liberating not to have that little hunk of junk taunting me every time I go into the bathroom. I am determined not to weigh myself until after my very last workout 8 weeks from now.

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