Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I'm Doing What Now?!?!?!?


There, I said it out loud. I've started running. Not only am I in my third week, but I'm starting to crave it and I'm noticing improvements.

Some backstory: I stopped running in undergrad. Bad knee (which oddly isn't bothering me now), overweight, out of shape. Seriously, really no running for many, many years (which I understand is not really the appropriate response to being out of shape).

Why, suddenly, have I started? I'm still overweight (way more than I was in undergrad; I'm in the vicinity of 17 stone now and I'll let you do the math), still out of shape... But the last two years I took part in a team sport that involved heavy-duty exertion, especially on race days. Practices were twice a week. And I felt AMAZING. Then, winter, personal upheaval, grad school. I'm hoping to get back into team sport this summer, but the truth is I won't be able to participate fully because of research. I needed something to get me into shape, out of the house, and, well, moving. And something that doesn't require me being in a particular place at a particular time.

Meat world friends and bloggy friends run. Colleagues who are not little slips of things are running half marathons. I was inspired.

I'm using the "Couch to 5K" approach, which starts very, very slowly and over the course of several weeks, you work up to a full 5K (3 mile) run. Though I'm in my week three, I'm still on week 2 of the program because I lost several days in a shoe-exchange (the right shoes are CRITICAL. I had the wrong shoes, and I thought my ankles were going to detach from my body in a horrible, crippling way. New shoes: whoa, no pain!).

I also need lots of reassurance, so I splurged on a Garmin Forerunner 410 (purchased in Amazon's Warehouse where they keep the returns and dinged packages, for a significant discount). It has a GPS in it, so tracks time, distance, location, pace, and calories burned. I got the one with the heart monitor, but the damn thing doesn't work well, so I quit using it (really, save your money). You can upload your data to a free account at Garmin's website, and keep track. Being able to see my improvements in numbers over time is really helpful, and helps me set small goals (a little further, a little faster...).

Why am I telling now? Because I just got back from today's run, and absolutely smashed my previous personal best pace by a minute and a half. And I feel pretty damn great. And last night, I ran -uphill- to catch my bus, and both made the bus and didn't die. I'm a runner. Who knew???