My Running Journey
Day 1 – a few weeks ago, I made a promise to myself to start running to get fit as soon as my kids started school. It will serve a dual purpose by distracting me from my empty house as well as increasing my fitness. I could easily have broken that promise to myself, but I made that commitment to my sister who is getting ready to run her first half marathon and other friends and family members. I didn’t want to feel like a loser by not following through, so as soon as I got home from that first drop off, I put on my sneakers, stretched for 15 minutes and headed out the door.
I ran the first block, walked the next, then stopped to catch up with a neighbor for a few minutes. After that, I ran a block and walked a block for about a mile. I ended up walking most of the rest of the time with occasional running. I did a total of 2 1/4 miles at a pace of 14 minutes per mile. It may not be the greatest, but it is a start and I am proud of my effort. I have never been a runner ever so It feels monumental to take it up at age 45. I would like to see that pace drop to ten minute miles in the future but my near future goal is to run the entire time.
After my run, I met a friend at Starbucks and then came home to stretch. I then took the dog for a three mile hike/walk at a pace of 17 minutes per mile. The hike is on a somewhat rocky path down to a creek and then back again. It is peaceful for both of us. I don’t know if I was tired from the run, but after tripping the second time, we headed home.
Before bed on day one, I stretched again to ease some of the aches I felt. I also ate some fresh pineapple for its’ natural anti-inflammatory properties. Today was a good first day.
Day 2 – today I took the dog on a four mile walk through my neighborhood. He was on leash and has to sniff every tree he passes and I spoke to my sister through much of it, but we still managed a pace of 17 minutes a mile. Before the walk, I stretched for almost 30 minutes. I follow the stretches of Bob Anderson in a book called Stretching that I have had for years. My shins and thighs are a little sore today but I feel pretty good.
On the advice of my sister, I also used a foam roller on my legs and thighs. It is like a shorter, fatter, denser pool noodle and massages and stretches muscles. I laid on it and used my body weight to move the roller up and down my thighs and calves. In some spots it felt like pure torture, but the effect was positive afterward and some of those tight muscles felt looser.
Day 3 – I almost talked myself out of my run today because it was drizzly and my legs felt leaden even walking. Instead I somehow mustered up the enthusiasm and did my pre-run stretching and spent a few minutes using the foam roller on my thighs and headed out the door. I followed the same path as Monday, but noticed the running was easier even though I felt slower. I was able to keep up my run a block, walk a block for longer today and continued some running in between walking until I got home. I went 2 1/4 miles again but today my pace was 13.5 minutes per mile so there was measured improvement!
I am using a free app on my android phone called Endomondo which tracks my time, distance, shows my path, allows me to choose my exercise and more. I like being able to monitor my progress. Once I got home I stretched immediately and used the foam roller again. I feel pretty good and once I finally got out the door I actually looked forward to the run.
Day 4 – today was a no run day so I made plans with my friend in Pennsylvania to talk on the phone while we both walked. I also had my dog and my neighbor’s dog so my pace was much slower. I did my hike and went 2 1/2 miles at a pace of only 20 minutes per mile. It has rained a lot the past couple of days so I was a little worried about slipping.
I also stretched and used the foam roller on my legs. I noticed that I have a blister on my big toe so I need to invest in good shoes and socks if I plan to keep this up. I do. I am less sore today than yesterday and all this exercise is helping me sleep really well. I can even fall asleep after the boys wake me up so that has been an immediate benefit.
I had my pace evaluated this afternoon at a running store and bought a pair of stability shoes to support my right ankle and a good pair of compression socks. I learned that running shoes should be a half size bigger than regular shoes to give your feet room.
Day 5 – I stretched and used the foam roller today, but took a break from long walks or runs to let my blister heal.
Day 6 – I stretched and ran/walked my 2.25 mile loop at a pace of 13.25 minutes per mile. I felt good and like the new shoes.
Day 7 – The boys and I hiked through the woods to the grocery store. We went just about four miles at a pace of 24 minutes miles. We took our time and had to climb over big rocks for part of it. The boys took off running for a good bit of the hike. I hope that means my path to fitness is setting an example for them. It has been a good week. The running isn’t easy, but I can do it and I look forward to improving.