Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Let's look at some Data

Just wanted to share with you my running progress so far - as you can see, I started on 9/20, and it's been going on semi-regularly (I've had a few weeks when I couldn't run, either because I was focusing on strength and recovery work or because I had too much work)... but as you can see, I'm adding minutes to my run and my speed is steadily improving.  There are ups and downs within weeks, but if you look at the overall average minute/mile, I'm moving in the right direction.  Also, as my run intervals got longer, I had to slow down on the run, but the fastest run intervals have been finding its steady pace.  I'm very happy with this!

Also to note, my distances are still at sub-3 mile levels.  With my ankles and feet still feeling challenged from time to time, I know that it is not time for me yet to add mileage.  I'm being faithful to the little I can do now, and will add gradually as my running intervals and interval frequencies get higher.  If I can get my running pace at 10:30-11:00 min/mile without huge effort, I'd be stoked.  I can feel the improvements, though, because today, for instance, although the fastest run interval was at 11:16 min/mile (slower than previous weeks), I felt like I was going super easy, especially coming back from a near 2 week break.  I was surprised to see that it was sub 12 min/mile, to be honest.  I'm curious to see where my pace would end up in the next couple of weeks, provided that I do not skip any of my runs.

Slow and steady is the name of the game.  I'm not flinching even a bit to rush into something - if I take a week or two break, I don't jump ahead or rush to get caught up, I just keep continuing from where I left off.  When I can't run, I do strength exercises and I make sure I stretch my ankles and feet.  I have a long-term view on this, so it just doesn't make sense to rush to really go nowhere.  But as I look at this simple table, it shows that I made progress and I'm healing!  Very very happy and grateful.

I started from 1 minute run, and now I can run 7 minutes non-stop at a time!  Hurray!

My run, my program, my pace.  I hope you build your own too and be faithful to the daily progress you can make for yourselves, no matter how big or small.  And smile :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lots have Happened over the past 4 months!

It has been a very long time since my last entry - over past 4 months, my life drastically changed, and of course, for the BETTER.  I'm so grateful and excited to have completed my move to San Francisco in August, after living in Los Angeles for over 10 years. 

Life was insane July and August, as I was moving out of my place in LA and moving into a new place in SF, while starting a new job.  As exciting as it all was, as you can all imagine, moving was seriously physically and mentally challenging - which is something I completely underestimated, having moved very often across continents (no joke!) when I was in my 20's.  I didn't think it was a big deal, but I suppose after having accumulated a lot more things over the years, moving definitely became a bigger deal, quite literally.  

Looking back, all went well.  Without establishing a healthy base I wouldn't have been able to do it all alone.  I'm so grateful that I was able to move everything, including myself, in one piece.  :)

On the other hand, training had to be temporarily put on the sidelines.  I lost about 8 pounds just from moving - which was not the favorable way to lose weight (poor eating, not sleeping, running around non-stop).  It was good, however, because I forced myself to take a break from running and cycling, from which I've suffered more than enough foot and ankle injuries during the Spring and Summer seasons.

Starting in September, I started back from ground zero.  Literally, from the absolute basics.  

I read the book "Run Your Butt Off," which is actually a step by step running guide for beginner runners.  I wouldn't call myself a beginner runner, but because of my recurring injuries I felt compelled to act like one and use the methodology the book was suggesting.  

Basically, it starts with 4 min walk/1 min run intervals of 5 times.  Actually, the very start is to do 30 min walks for a week, but I skipped that step, thanks to my daily walks between work and home (1.5 mile one way - it's a nice little walk, which I LOVE).  I think the daily walks actually made my ankles and feet stronger and help me establish a stronger base for my running program.  Anyway, after my first week of the rather boring 4/1 walk/run intervals, every week or two I progressed onto longer runs...for example, 4 walk/2 run x 4-5 times, then 3 walk/3 run x 4-5 times..and now I'm at 2.5 walk/5 run x 4 times~!   

Believe it or not, the 3 walk/3 run week was tough on my ankles -  i had to take a week break because my feet and ankles were killing me again.  I did ankle strengthening exercises and got on the foam roller instead.  I continued my walks to and from work, though, and they definitely kept my lower body movements consistent.  I so love walking to work now, something I was not able to do at all living in LA.  

Anyway, I have another week of the 2.5 walk/5 run x 4, then moving on to 2 walk/7 run x 3 after that!  I'm excited - because although i had to start from scratch, I'm very happy with the progress - I am actually becoming a more efficient runner, as my time has improved over the weeks as well.  I think this was the way I should have always started, really gradually, step by step, day by day, minute by minute.  I'm going to keep going at this rate, and by mid-January, I will be able to do my first 30-minute full-on run.  Sounds like a long time til then, but really, by then I would have really built up my fundamentals so the run-only session will seem like just a natural progression, not a burdensome challenge.  My body will appreciate the super-slow gradual buildup.
My first 5k since the new training regime is set for 12/2, which I will just run as if I'm training, with a few walks mixed in.  I think in mid-February, I will do a full-run 5k, with some speed added to it.  That i'm really excited about.  

I haven't let go of my goal to do a will just be in 2012.  I deferred my NYC Marathon entry to 2012, so I have that to work towards.  Effectively, I'm training for over a year for my marathon - this may be the wisest decision I've ever made to date.  

As you can see, I have lots of starting over's.... some attempts of mine did not work, some did.  Those that didn't, I learn my lesson from them and just start again.  I know I have these desires to do long distance races for a reason, but they are not going to come easily.  I'm learning to be patient, to be persistent and to NEVER GIVE UP!  This time it will work, I'm really taking my time, advancing little by little.  Hey, a small advance is still an advance!  :)

However, I still have to wonder, what is up with this ankle pain?  In my earlier days, ankle and feet were the last things I needed to worry about during my training... oh well, it is what it is, and I'm learning to deal...  I'm just praying it's just a part of getting old ;)