Running Streak Week 1: Shin splints, sickness and a pinched butt nerve

Today is Day 9 of my Runner’s World running streak, and I have NOT run nine miles.

Let me ‘splain…

I started my running streak on Saturday, December 1, when I ran an 11:59-mile for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. I was super proud of myself. I felt good. I wasn’t too sore so I figured I’d be fine for setting a 12-minute pace for the rest of the week.

On Sunday, December 2, I ran a 9:48-mile in my neighborhood on the track I had mapped out earlier in the week.

Yeah.

A 9:48.

I mapped my mile wrong. There is NO WAY I maintained that pace. I knew something was wrong when I had only run to two and a half songs and saw my house.

On Monday, Husband and I spent the majority of the evening at Carmax signing paperwork for a replacement vehicle after we killed ours. (Not my new car, my husband’s older car.) And then we went to his parents’ house to return his mother’s car, which we were borrowing, and they made us yummy sandwiches, and we didn’t get home until 8:30.

So I didn’t run on Monday.

On Tuesday, I had to work late, and I didn’t get home until 6:30, and, by that time, I was so exhausted from running around and driving everywhere for work all day that I passed out when I got home. I think I was in bed and asleep at 8.

So I didn’t run on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, I was so determined to run that I went straight to the gym after work and attempted to put in three 12-minute miles on the treadmill, and then go to yoga.

Let’s just say I ran one mile at 12:40, and the rest of the miles were a weird limping jog that I can’t even describe as actual movement so I didn’t time them.

And I didn’t make it to yoga.

In addition to being overly busy at work and with life things, I was also beginning to feel a bit under the weather. Everyone I knew was sick with something or had a cold so I was bound to get it.

On Thursday, I actually got sick and battled a headache and stomach ache all day. It was awful. I didn’t run on Thursday.

On Friday, I went back to the gym, feeling a tad better and able to breathe through my nose again, but the treadmill… it hurt me. I ran 0.62 of a mile and had to stop to walk because the shin splints were back in FULL FORCE. I walked to recover and finished out the mile at 13:32.

On Saturday, I slept through my alarm (which I later learned I had set so it wouldn’t make noise… I don’t know why) so I missed Power Yoga and decided to clean the house before I went for my mile. It was a LOVELY day and I felt great so I was pretty excited about running to the park. I thought about taking my dog…

Then… the pinched butt nerve… it struck like lightning and sent me sprawling across the floor while I was dusting. I laid on my living room floor and whined for a good five minutes with my dog sitting next to me whining because he knew we weren’t going to the park.

POOR HIM. (Right now he’s face planting in the floor in what is possibly the most adorable way a puppy can sleep so I’m less mad at him for getting miffed with me.)

I’m officially on rest now, and NOT at all happy about it.

I hope by resting my shins and my butt (yes I’m resting my butt) that I will be OK to run on Monday and for the rest of the week. I am also buying a bunch of athletic tape so I can tape up my arches and stirrup my shins so my shin splints will hurt less.

I have no idea how to un-pinch the nerve in my rear end. It got me again this morning while I was getting dressed, and I almost face planted in my closet.

I swear…

I’m not ready to give up.

But I hate that I missed miles (six total but really I’m not going to count two of them), and I hate that I didn’t improve my time, and I hate hate hate hate that I’m sitting on my couch in pain.

I can’t give up. I love running. I know I’m not a runner, but I so want to be one that I desperately want this 31-day-of-running idea to work.

What running goals are you struggling with? How do you get past all the things in your way?

I’m going on a running streak… starting December 1

I am going on a running streak with Runner’s World.

Last year, Runner’s World hosted the first Holiday Running Streak, which has runners pledge to run one mile every day from Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day.

As you know, I have high hopes of turning from “unprofessional runner” into “hard-core athlete.”

As you also know, I have commitment issue with fitness, and I walk out on our relationship almost every other day. Exercise is real irritating. Diet? Don’t even get me started.

I truly want to be fit, but I desperately need someone to tell me what to do, which is why I’m joining Runner’s World readers and runners across the country to pledge to run one mile every day.

But I’m starting December 1.

Why? I’ll tell you.

I signed up to run the one-mile race for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis on December 1.

(If you’re feeling giving, donate to the cause here. My goal is to raise $100.)

I am not much of a go-getter when it comes to races, and I do not feel the need to pay nor do I have the means to fund myself to run in a real race, so I just race for charity now. Yay!

Wait. Why am I starting on December 1? Right. I was telling you.

First, it is currently already after Thanksgiving.

Second, I like starting things on a 1st. You know… like the first of the month, first of the year, first of the week…

Third, I believe running one mile every day for 31 days is a good goal for me. It sounds less hard when I say it that way.

Finally, I don’t have a time to beat! I don’t have a PR! I plan to use the December 1 run/walk to set my PR. I think someone will be there with a timer-thingy.

I’m shooting for a 12-minute mile. (I know, I know. But I’m out of shape, and haven’t run a 9-minute mile since high school. I know my limit.)

Will running one mile every day for 31 days turn me into a hard-core athlete? Totally.

OK. Maybe not. But it’s a step in the right direction.

Are you going to join the Holiday Running Streak? Check out their message board!

Running to lose weight

Running for weight loss is an important first step in improving your running fitness.

Cassie Dimmick, sports dietitian and running coach, wrote for Runner’s World “…the leaner you are, within reason, the faster you go.”

Losing weight and running, in general, takes one thing: discipline. You have to be committed to your fitness, health and diet. Luckily, it’s not all too hard to stay on track when you have the right tools.

Women’s Health Magazine may let me down occasionally by promoting weird weight loss and diet plans, but I love the workout plans the magazine provides for free for readers.

For example, in Your Running Weight Loss Plan: Lose 10 Pounds in 6 Weeksthe magazine provides resources for running and meal plans for runners as well as what gear to wear and what music to listen to for best performance.

LOVE.

What’s great is that the magazine provides a run/walk program and a running program for people like me who are new to or just getting back in to running after a fitness hiatus.

While I am sure I can handle the running program, I do not want to set myself up for failure. If it’s too hard too soon, I might quit. Why not start easy, and then increase my challenge as I get bored? Oh, yes. I do think that is a plan!

I will start training for several summer and fall 5K’s as soon as I graduate in May. (I don’t want to start training too soon, in case something comes up, especially since I haven’t done anything for almost six weeks.)

My first 5K will be a primer, and, when I run in the Prairie Fire 5K, I hope to beat any PR I set earlier in the year. In runner speak, PR is “personal record.”

Ha! I’ve never had one of those before!

Post-run beers from Runner’s World

When I am wrong, I admit I am wrong (unless I’m wrong about something Husband was right about, then I’m still right).

Well, folks, I was wrong about drinking alcohol after a workout.

I said that I preferred a cold glass of water and a shower, not grabbing a light beer or meeting the girls for cosmos. But I might have to have a beer after my next long run.

Why?

Runner’s World posted a slide show featuring 7 Tasty Post-Run Beers that can boost your energy and rehydrate your body.

And I trust Runner’s World as a source of information for runners… and drinkers, apparently.

Now, I plan on hunting down the Smuttynose Old Brown Dog and drinking it when I’m dog-tired after a good long run this summer.

Wish me luck.

Treadmill Urban Athlete Workout

Remember how I said I wanted to do this workout?

Well, it took me a while to get around to it, but I finally did Workout #1!

Well, half of Workout #1.

I went to the gym with the intention to run two miles on the treadmill, complete the hill-sprints, and then run two more miles.

Less than half a mile in – not even kidding – my knee started locking up and my hip started whining.

Seriously?!

I was jogging at what I consider 40 percent with the intention to sprint uphill at my 80 percent. So I wasn’t even moving that fast.

I did not want to quit. I wanted to keep going because the rest of me felt great! I decided to do half the workout: one mile, five hill-sprints, and then one more mile for a total of 2.63 miles and 35 minutes.

My knee is so mad at me.

However, good note, my cardio outlasted my knee! I’m not hopeless yet! I really only felt winded and out-of-breath while I was sprinting and through the last half mile.

My heart rate was pretty steady at 178 while sprinting, 163 while running and 137 while jogging. I slowed it down to a cool 78 before stretching.

I. Am. Awesome.

(Of course, I was using the treadmill heart rate monitor, and we all know how great those things work.)

Why did I do such a stellar workout on a treadmill when it would have been easier to map out a trail in my neighborhood?

It is rainy and wet and cold and December. I thought it better to stay warm and dry and clean inside.

Do not get me wrong! I love winter. I love snow. I love the cold. I love, love, love this season! I love it even more when I am inside, and it is outside.

So I plan to be in the YMCA for the remainder of the winter because – like this weather or not – I am a giant baby. I thought I should get a better treadmill workout because I can get burnt out real quick on that machine.

Lucky for me, Women’s Health Magazine has some neat-oh! treadmill workouts for me to try :)

Treadmill Workouts
Plan by Numbers

First, calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. Why 220? Not sure. Just do it. Hit 70 percent of your max heart rate. When you get tired, rest for a few minutes at a jogging pace. Then, hit 85 percent, and see how long you can last.

Random Pickup
Watch a 30-minute TV program. Increase your speed so that you’re running at 80 percent of your max heart rate during the commercials. When the show comes back on, slow does for an easy jog. If you’re hardcore, jog during the commercials ;)

At the YMCA, you are watching 24-hour cable news unless you get a machine with its own TV. I watch the news, but then I get off track by having opinions and things to say. Oh, 24-hour news…

Take a Hike
Walk or run on an incline to mimic hiking. Walk at 3.5 mph on a flat surface. Increase the incline every minute until it reaches 5 percent. Stay for 3 minutes. Next, lower and raise the incline every 2 minutes until you’ve been exercising for 25 minutes. Lower the belt gradually and decrease your speed for a 5-minute cool down.

Weight it Out
Short on time? Grab a pair of 2- to 5-pound dumbbells. Do bicep curls and military shoulder presses as you walk. Do 10 reps each.

Find a WHOLE LOT MORE treadmill workouts here.

Even though running in the cold is entirely un-fun, breathing fresh air benefits your body, according to Women’s Health Magazine. Normal outdoor fitness activities decrease tension, frustration and depression. The benefits increase in the cold because cold weather is invigorating.

That makes sense to me! I take cold showers in the morning when I cannot wake up with just a cup of coffee. I have coffee, too, but the shower helps. I also take cold showers after workouts in the heat of the summer. Heat is probably less fun than cold.

I suppose, as a runner, I wish it could be spring year-round.

The article also said that the body works harder in the cold so you produce more endorphins for that runner’s high!

A final benefit of cold-weather running: You burn more calories!

Check out the cold weather workout guide here.

Invigorating or not – see above – I am going to the gym.

Right now I am going to DECORATE MY CHRISTMAS TREE.

Finally.

What do you do at the gym? I have always wanted to get on the elliptical, but they’re all always taken!

Not that I need anymore, but got any treadmill workouts?

Prevent injuries on your off days

I hurt myself… again.

While I am unsure as to how or why my leg hurts, I know my leg hurts. Fantastic.

Since I started working out hardcore (and by “hardcore,” I mean “actually trying”), I have injured myself TWICE.

Sigh.

Now, I am likely the clumsiest person you will ever know. I fall UP the stairs on a regular basis, get my flip-flop or toe snagged on something and eat floor, slip on nothing and crash into the wall…

The list goes on people.

Just last night, while painting my friend’s face up like a zombie, I fell up the stairs. She said it was the most graceful fall she’d ever seen.

I’m just practiced.

Husband said he would never take me ice skating because I would fall (and I would) and slice my wrist with my skate.

How?

Don’t ask me, but it would probably happen.

So the fact that I am again in pain from running does not surprise me, but it does annoy me. I need to take better care of my body, especially since I am working it so hard.

The poor thing just can’t keep up.

Runner’s World, my new favorite newsletter, seemed to answer my prayers when I opened my inbox.

Injury Prevention moves to prevent muscle from turning into hard blocks of not-gonna-do-it dysfunction.

Ankle Pumps (for your shins): Loop a band around the middle of your food. Start with the band taut when the foot is pointed. Slowly flex and point your foot.

Prone Leg Lifts (to keep the body from slouching): Bend over a table and prop yourself up on your forearms. Point one foot and lift the leg about 45 degrees, squeezing the glute. Slowly lower leg to start.

Ball Squeezes (to avoid “runner’s knee”): Sit with a six-inch kickball between your knees. Squeeze the ball and slowly straighten one leg. Hold and lower slowly.

Hip Rotations (for the hips and legs): Loop a band around the middle of your foot. Slowly rotate the foot 45 degrees out and in. I think you have to turn the whole leg.

Core Twist (to support the spine): Stand with feet apart, arms in front. Keeping hips still, quickly rotate your upper body right and left.

I will also get my workout ball (at some point when I remember) from my mother’s house and bring it to work to use as a chair. Swivel chairs are for kids anyhow.

Leg, please get better soon!

Fitness Blogger (for reals)

My blog is shy one month off its first birthday, but good tidings can come before my anniversary.

On Friday, October 7, my blog and my blogging went in to the real world of fitness. Yesterday, I hinted at this (rather obviously).

Well, as real as a graduate student can get, you know? School and teaching always come first, but…

Well, I’m going to blog anyway!

What do I mean here? What is this “real world?

Well, the Shocker Fitness program I have attended since… right about here… needs a blogger, and it just so happens I do that.

Yay!

While I have been blogging about Shocker Fitness steadily since beginning the program, no one cared. Well, you might have cared, I’m sure… uh, sorry.

The point is that NOW someone wants me to blog about Shocker Fitness! Other people in Shocker Fitness!

Yay!
(for the second time)

So here we go! First professional blog post! Chances are it’ll be the same as the unprofessional ones…

Cue logo…

Community workout program with Coach Rainbolt

I lost 10 pounds between May and October. Go me!

How did I lose 10 pounds in five months? Well, read my last million or so blog posts…

Or I can recap. It’s whatev.

I started with a healthy diet, which means less junk food and a lot of home-cooked meals. Recipes anyone? I didn’t actually go on a diet; I just ate more healthfully! (And a lot of yogurt…)

I attempted to count calories, but found that I stressed about eating anything knowing my app would yell at me for going over my limit, or eating too much calcium.

Healthy diets are not enough to lose weight; I had to burn something. Last semester, Ashley and I worked out together occasionally, until school and work swallowed us whole. When she left for the summer, I thought I was DOOMED. I have no self-control.

But I made attempts to keep on track with Insanity, various workouts and a neat-oh! running program.

Keeping a close eye on my diet and keeping up with at least four workouts a week, I slowly lost six pounds. Looking at the scale and seeing myself back at the weight I was when I got married? Priceless.

(Yes. I weighed more than I should have when I got married, and that was more than a year ago. I celebrated.)

Problem: Even though I was doing well, I still felt all anxious and weird! I needed moral support. When Ashley came back for the fall semester, we found all the support we needed.

Shocker Fitness, a community exercise program created by WSU track coach Steve Rainbolt, became our support. Remember I wanted to bottle Ashley’s motivation and sell it? Times that by a group.

Luckily, I had already fallen head over heals for running because of the running program I was working on enjoying. Transitioning to intense track workouts and circuit training was a breeze!

OK – “breeze” isn’t the right word…

I went early every morning with Ashley, and we worked our butts off!

I threw myself in to the workouts. I pushed my body and ignored my mind. I learned how to get rid of my anxiety. I connected with the track and with the group.

We might not all be college students. We might not all be women. But we all connect on at least one level: fitness.

I lost four more pounds… in one month. (Previously, I lost six pounds in four months.) At 130, I am almost back to my pre-college weight. Ten more pounds…

So how do you lose 10 pounds in five months?

Healthy diet and exercise… and lots of self-esteem boosting community fitness! Shocker Fitness :)

You do not have to be a Shocker to join! You just have to want to be fit, and, really, who doesn’t want to be fit?

If you need encouragement to get out and try a track workout or join us for Shocker Fitness…

…read about my awesome calf muscles, or…

…how I’m a machine, or…

…how I conquered my workout anxiety.

You’ll see :)