9/14/2012

Fitness Friday: I'm a Runner

Happy Friday, love bugs!!!

On this fantastic Friday I'm helping to support one of my bestest buddies, Jen, in her latest blogging endeavor. So, ladies and gentlemen, lets give a nice warm welcome to Fitness Fridays. A link up designed to help encourage and motivate each other to get healthy by sharing fitness goals, healthy recipes, exercise routines.
For my first attempt at Fitness Friday's, I'm going to be rambling a bit about running. My latest love. You'll remember from this post that Jen is the person who truly inspired me to get off my ass and attempt to make my running dreams a reality. It was her new found and unexpected love of running, her determination, her drive, her commitment and the sweet success of her first half marathon this past July that really motivated me to believe that I too - the big-boobed-pudgy-girl who loathed pounding pavement - could become a runner someday. She made me believe that against the odds it is possible to fall in love with running, regardless of any agonizing, breathless and boring childhood experiences you may have encountered during elementary, middle and high school. 

I'm sure you'll recall my long winded rants about plans to begin the Couch-to-5k upon my arrival back in Vermont. My baby sheester, Sonya, had agreed to embark on the adventure with me and we'd made a sisterly pact to sign up for our first 5k together once we'd completed the C25K program. Nevertheless, truly remarkable impatience is an irritating trait of mine and I got fidgety waiting for the weeks to creep by. So, to nobody's surprise, I decided to begin the program - mostly as a way to get in shape for when I properly start it back home with Sonya - towards the end of August. In the beginning I had fully intended to rotate doing weeks 1 & 2 until I stepped foot upon lush Vermont soil, but you'll remember from my London Post last week that things have - yet again - changed. I'll now be in England for at least another couple of weeks - and potentially another couple of months. And so, rather than slowly morphing into Bill Murray in Groundhogs Day (one of my favorites, by the way) I decided to ditch the repetition of the first 2 weeks and carry on with my C25K journey. I knew Sonya wouldn't mind, and I looked forward to being able to support her better during her C25K adventure. 

Yesterday I completed Week 3, Day 2 and tomorrow (blisters allowing) I'll finish my 3rd week, and eagerly look forward to beginning Week 4 on Monday. I've found the program SO easy to follow, totally manageable and a great tool in terms of easing me into running. Carl's also been following the program and he's love-love-loving it too. Every week we have our runs together and our childlike rivalry means we're continuously racing and attempting to out-run the other. It's healthy competition and it's also alarmingly fun to bat my eyelashes at my sweaty hubby on the treadmill to my right (totally a ploy to distract him. Muaha!)

I can honestly say that for the first time in my entire life, I - like Jen and so many other C25K enthusiasts - have fallen in love with running. I adore it. Every day I wake up and look forward to my runs and get giddy and giggly as I plan future routes or set new goals in hopes of improving my pace. Running has become enjoyable, liberating and the very best avenue I've found for stress relief. If ever I'm feeling frustrated, homesick, sad, worried or angry I tie the laces on my Asics, crank the tunes on my iPod and hit the road. It's refreshing and so rewarding to find something new to fall in love with, especially when I know it's benefiting my life and allowing me to come closer to crossing something off of my bucket list. That half marathon someday doesn't seem quite so far fetched now.

Paranoia that everyone would think I looked like an absolute numpty meant that I refrained from running down the streets of our local town, and for the first 2 weeks of the program I stuck primarily to treadmills at my gym. But the more I ran, the more I loved it. My confidence slowly grew and before I knew it I began to feel like I fit in. For the first time in my life I actually felt like a 'runner' who deserved to be out on the side walk with all of the other 'runners'. I no longer viewed myself as the black sheep or ugly duckling. I no longer cared about my tata's, or my tomato-like-face, or sweaty armpits, or whether people thought I ran 'like a girl.' Instead, I felt accomplished, healthy and proud. 

And so, with this new-found confidence, I set to planning  my very first run around Formby Village. In an attempt to determine the total distance/route of my run (what can I say? I didn't want it to end up doubled over in a puddle somewhere soullessly mumbling "I cannot go on. I didn't know it was so far") I set to Google in search of a great website that would allow me to plan my running route. And finally, after about 20 minutes and a couple of duds, I stumbled upon this little gem: FavoriteRun.com. This handy dandy website was straight forward and very simple to use (which tickled my fancy as I so could not be assed with something finicky and complicated). Within the space of 10 minutes I had mapped my very own personalized running route before I ever set foot outside the house. I knew the roads I'd turn down, the distance I'd run, and the estimated amount of time it would take. Marvelous. 
But previously mapping my run wasn't enough. Not for this chick (OCD peeps, HOLLA!) Again turning to my best pal, Google, I began researching user ratings in terms of the best running apps. Jen had previously suggested her favorite app Nike+ Running, but that parade was shortly pissed on as I realized that app isn't yet available to Android users. Boo. Thankfully, I stumbled upon a review of the top 8 running apps for Android and was introduced to their number 1, and my top choice, Endomondo. As you can imagine, this nerd was unbelievably excited to give the app a go during my first carefully planned run. The night before I entered all of my personal information (weight, height, age, gender etc) and scoured the different versions of 'workouts' in order to make sure I'd selected the correct one (in the end I chose the 'basic workout' where the GPS saves your run and allows you to 'favorite' the route for future reference). That night I went to bed with my running apps at the ready (I also planned to simultaneously use my C25K app in order to incorporate my Week 3 Day 2 training into a big-ish run), my workout clothes were neatly folded and my iPod was fully charged. The OCD God's smiled down upon me and I slowly drifted to sleep. I was as prepared as humanly possible.

And so as my alarm clock sounded I rose simultaneously with the sun and hurried to brush my teeth and pin my hair back. Sporting my running clothes and a few butterflies, I finished gobbling down my banana and closed the front door. Rounding the corner of the house, I unlocked my phone and, before slipping it into the small slit of my arm band, thought I pressed the play button on my fancy new Endomondo running app. With an extra spring in my step I began my 4 1/2 mile journey across Formby, excitedly anticipating the finish where I could, for the first time, read and log the stats (speed, pace, duration, total calories burned etc) of my first big run. What was to be my benchmark for improvement.
...If only that effin play button had worked.
To say I was irritated would be the understatement of the year. As I ran to the front door of our house and hurried to free my phone from its plastic armband coffin, I was suddenly faced with the ugly truth. An entire page full of nothing but 0's, aside from that condescending 9, which laughed in my face as if to say "Haha dumbass, I'm still here! You never hit play!" The truth of it is that I swore like a sailor, contemplated throwing my phone and sat on my bed on the brink of tears for about 5 minutes. Although I've been doing my running on the treadmill in the gym, I was really looking forward to using this, my first 'big' run outdoors, as a benchmark to help improve my pace, count calories and gauge what type of distance I could handle in the future. Clearly this was a sign from the running Gods that it just wasn't meant to be. 

Thankfully my trusty C25K app had my back, and although the majority of my run wasn't logged, I was at least able to collect some stats which were recorded during the first 20 minute portion of my Week 3, Day 2 run! 
Moral of the story my friends: NEVER TRUST A SHITTY TOUCH SCREEN!

But in all seriousness, shitty pause button aside, I ended my first big outdoor run happy. Although I was rockin the 'hello, I'm a tomato' red face, I wasn't gasping for air, my legs didn't feel like lead and I survived. I ran nearly 5 miles and I really survived. 

And for the first time in my life I can really say: I'm a runner

4 comments:

  1. I'm so proud of you! That is awesome! I know how you feel about not having your whole run recorded. That's happened to me before. Kevin gave me a Garmin Forerunner for Valentine's Day and it made things so much easier!

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  2. Oh honey...this post is so wonderful!! You actually made me tear up a little!! I'm just so proud of you for all your hard work and determination. All I hope is that one day we can run a 5K together :)

    Thanks for linking up sweetie!! Love ya bunches :)

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  3. Awesome Amanda! John and I run and workout together too. It is so good for our relationship. So excited to welcome you to the runners club!

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  4. I'm so proud of you, Petal! You are working so hard and it definitely shows! Congratulations on all of your little milestones along the way- and welcome to the Runners club! :)

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