lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
Went for a jog today, for the first time in weeks. Still not winning any races, but I rather love that I can jog 21 minutes without stopping, even in this heat, even though I haven't been keeping up on it, and still have some capacity left at the end if I needed it.
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
Went for my first run of the season today. Well, jog. Well, kind of a bouncy shuffle. But I managed to kick off at the equivalent of Week 5 of Couch-to-5K, which ain't bad for having been off half a year. Bright sun, fresh air, and a body that if it's mostly still knots managed to get out and move fairly well -- I'll take it.
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
Today was the end of Week 5 of the Couch-to-5K program, when they stop with the slow and gentle progression and start throwing you into the deep end to see if you can swim yet.

And I swam. Not at all fast, not gracefully, but I did it. Despite feeling a bit under the weather yesterday, and despite not being sure I was up to it yet. A full 20 minutes of jogging without a break.


Blinded by the Light

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015 09:34 am
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
One of the problems with getting up early to run is that much of my route is east/west, and so I'm running straight into the sun. I may have to find a pair of sunglasses I can run in.
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
I finally started running again this morning. I've been wanting to for a while; the ankle I sprained is mostly back to normal, and, well, the summer's not getting any longer. So, pick a day and start, which I did.

Still not in danger of breaking any speed records, and I'm more or less back to the beginning of the Couch-to-5K schedule. But I can already feel the body responding to the new demands, and I definitely felt the beautiful feeling of doing one thing and one thing only, and not being able to drop it in the middle for anything else that thought it ought to be getting done. Ahhhhh.

As always, the hardest part is making myself do all the stretching. Stretching is boring, it takes time I don't feel like I have, and it can't be rushed. It's also the difference between a satisfying, invigorating run, and an agonizing, shin-splinty mess that I can't sustain. So I do it.



Thursday, July 31st, 2014 12:55 pm
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
I finished the last day of the Couch-to-5K program today! I'm not actually doing 5K yet; I went with the time-based metric rather than distance-based, and apparently I run about as slowly as I write. So, I'll need to work on my speed, to get time and distance more in alignment. But it's a given now that I can jog 30 minutes without stopping. And that's pretty cool.
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
After I fed the cats at 6:00 this morning (a time established by my housemate, not by me, I assure you), I stayed up so I could get in a run before it got too ridiculously hot. And then I had to choose between getting out and running as early as possible, or booting up the laptop to do something with the words in my brain. Finally settled for a quick half hour to tap in another hundred words or so on the bakery story, then went running. And promptly came up with an excellent near-end line, which I had to keep repeating to myself through most of my 22-minute run so it would still be there when I got back.

Good problems to have.
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
I went for a run today in what turned out to be a very thundery sprinkle -- until the hail started. That may have crossed the line between determined and crazy, but by then I'd already passed the half-way point and turned for home. Let's just say that a shower was almost redundant, and it's a good thing there's two days before my next scheduled run; my shoes may actually dry out by then.

I started running again at the beginning of this month. Trying to find a balance between taking up where I left off and starting over from scratch, I basically sampled one week of the Couch-to-5K schedule per day until I found what felt right, and seemed to have settled out around Week 3/Week 4. (After the first 30 seconds of the first day, I thought "yep, I'm starting from scratch again"; by the second run/walk set, I'd moved up a week because I kept accidentally overshooting the run times. So, yeah.) Not bad for six months off.

I've missed running, both the physical exercise and the almost meditative time where I don't have to worry about anything but putting one foot in front of the other. I'm glad to have it back, even if it was decidedly squelchy today. ;-)

I can see!

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 02:00 pm
lizvogel: cute cat in 'yoga' position (Cat Yoga)
Useful post on maintaining the writer here. Scroll down for his stretching regimen.

If you're prone to tight neck muscles, try the first two neck stretches (upper trapezius and levelator scapula; the full-size diagram is here), and the third one's not bad, either. The lying knee rollovers are a nice quick hit for a stiff lower back, as well.

I may add these to my should-be-daily stretching regimen; wouldn't hurt to just throw them in periodically during the day, either. (My neck muscles tend to knot up so badly it affects my vision, hence the post title.)
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
Starting Week 8 of the Couch-to-5K program today, which means jogging 28 minutes without walking.

Lovely bright sunny farking cold, wind like knives day for running today.

I've been very careful to stick to the prescribed regimen; doing too much too soon is a good way to really screw yourself up with this kind of challenge. But today I ran a little farther on the first half because I wanted a good marker for my turning-around point, and I usually go a bit faster on the way back anyway. And then I wanted to get back to the corner for my stopping point. Besides, this may well be my last run of the season. And it was right there.

So now I know I can jog for 30 minutes, because I've done it.

This doesn't mean I don't have to finish the program, although the weather may exercise its veto any day now. I'm still not doing anything like 5K, for all that I'm hitting the full time-counts; there's some mighty slow jogging in there. But if I have to shelve it for the winter, at least I can do so having hit my primary target.
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
Couch-to-5K Week 7 Day 1, and what a fine day it is: Jog 25 minutes with no walking

The annoying thing is that the first few minutes are still hard. I still want to stop, and I still end up doing that shuffling barely-counts-as-a-jog thing. (This is different from the one-third sagging point, which yep, hit right on schedule at about 8 minutes. But that's becoming familiar as an old friend, and I'm already set to push through it.)

The great thing is that the last few minutes are -- well, not easy, but strong and sure and when the timer goes off, I don't want to stop at all.

Fun with running

Monday, October 21st, 2013 11:08 am
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
Lunatic. Rain. Cold.

20 minutes without walking.


Yep, about 7 minutes in, stopping sounded like a really good idea. It gets easier less hard again if you push through it. And, again like writing a novel, a lot of what makes the final portion possible is the conviction that it'd be a shame to stop now.
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
Week 5 Day 2: Dear god, I've turned into one of those lunatic people who go running in the rain.

The cold, I might add, rain.

Still, two 8-minute jogs today, which is !!! for me.

I am noticing that in any run of significant duration (like, more than a minute), there's a point about one-third of the way in where stopping sounds like a really good idea. It doesn't seem to matter how long the total is, and therefore how long one-third is; just that it's one-third of the way. Curiously, this is also the point in the writing of a novel where most people think stopping sounds like a good idea -- variously known as the 30K blues, the one-third slump, or in my case, the "I don't even care about this any more, why am I even bothering, oh wait I'm about a third of the way through aren't I?" whinge. Is there some universal human flagging point at a third of the way through any endeavor?

Couch to 5K update

Thursday, October 17th, 2013 11:16 am
lizvogel: cute cat in 'yoga' position (Cat Yoga)
Week 5, Day 1. I must be making progress: I didn't start gasping for breath until 15 seconds in! ;-P
lizvogel: A jar of almonds that warns that it contains almonds. (Stupid Planet)
The last day of Week 4 of the Couch-to-5K program was harder than the first, on both the muscular and respiratory levels -- and they're the same exercises. Thursday's effort actually felt good; the best that can be said about today's is that I finished it. Still plodding on, but this exercise thing had better have some serious pay-off down the road. ;-P

A note that amuses me: I always stop to stretch again after my warm-up walk and before the first jogging set (which seems to be helping a great deal, incidentally). Lately, the grass has been too wet, so I'm sitting and stretching on the shoulder of the road. This apparently freaks some people out, and they keep stopping to ask if I'm okay. Today I sprang a nosebleed partway through the sets, and did the last 15 minutes or so with my face and hand smeared with blood. Nobody stopped to ask if I was okay over that! (I was fine, though if somebody had had a spare kleenex to offer, I would have welcomed that.) When I got home and looked in a mirror, it turned out to be significantly less gory than it felt at the time, but still. Apparently nobody's ever seen a hurdler's stretch before, but people walk around with bloody faces all the time?
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
Week 3 of the Couch-to-5K program was looming like a brick wall. And it kind of was, the first day at least, but apparently it was a brick wall that I could scramble over if I wanted it bad enough. Woot!
lizvogel: Run and find out, with cute kitten. (Run and Find Out)
People limit themselves. Every individual has their own limits, of course, and it's up to that individual to determine what they are. But I know a lot of people who limit themselves to where they do almost nothing, far more than external factors would justify. Working on the Couch-to-5K program (week 2 in progress, going well so far) has got me to thinking about limits, and I think part of the problem is that many people think of their limit as a single point, when really it's more of a tiered system.

The first limit is the limit of what's easy. If you're really out of shape, that may be as simple as getting off the couch. Anything more wouldn't be easy, and when it stops being easy, you stop too.

The second limit is what's comfortable. Depending on how fit you are and what activity you're approaching, these two may be pretty close together. For me, they're fairly far apart if I'm doing weights, for example; it would be easy to not do anything at all, but I can push 50-80 pounds around pretty comfortably. For running, however, the distance between easy and comfortable is literally one step -- my warm-up walk is easy, but that first step of running is immediately uncomfortable. I have to be willing to push past the limit of comfortable even to take that second step, really to run at all.

Number three is the limit of wanting it enough. Wanting the goal more than you don't want the process, wanting it enough to do it even when it isn't easy or comfortable. I want to be able to run, so I'm plodding along through Couch-to-5K because I want the result more than I don't want the effort to get there. (This is where exercise may start to sound reminiscent of other human endeavors. I wanted to have finished a novel badly enough to keep writing all the way to the end, even when it wasn't fun. I want to have a cheerful, mildew-free laundry room enough to keep painting for what seems like forever. You're seeing the pattern here, yes?)

Fourth is the limit of what you think you can do. If you're not in the habit of pushing yourself, you probably think this one is a lot closer than it really is. I was concerned that I was going to hit this one before I hit number three, for running, but surprisingly it's still well out in front of me. I'm pacing myself, yeah, but I'm still pushing well past what I thought I'd be able to do. And you know, it usually is surprising how much you really can do, when you stop thinking of "easy" and "comfortable" as the same thing as "can".

The fifth and final limit is what you can do without injuring yourself. And that, unless you're actually being chased by a bear, is the one you should let stop you. But the other four? Pfft. Accept that it's not going to be easy, or at least not as easy as sitting on the couch watching NCIS reruns. Recognize that it's going to be uncomfortable at times. Decide how much you want it. And then push past what you think is the limit of what you can do, and find out how much you really can.

Whatever your particular "it" is.

Run, rabbit, run

Thursday, September 19th, 2013 01:18 pm
lizvogel: cute cat in 'yoga' position (Cat Yoga)
I've been looking at the Couch-to-5K program for a while. I've had good luck with incremental training programs before (I heartily recommend the hundred push-ups program), but this one's first step is a doozy. And looking ahead, there's some big jumps in difficulty coming up. Can anyone recommend a beginning-running program that's a little more gradual? I do a fair bit of weights & calisthenics, so I'm not a complete slug, but I've got no cardio at all.

And their idea of "couch" is verrrrry different from mine. There's a lot of talk on the site about how you have to give beginning runners a workout they can handle without too much misery, because otherwise they won't keep at it, but the first day was an exercise in non-stop gasping, and we're not even going to discuss what my knees had to say about it. I'll admit that the later jog-sets seemed to go by quicker than the first ones, but I can't say it's something I'm entirely looking forward to doing again in a couple days.

On the other hand... maybe I am. Because I did manage to do it, whatever the difficulties. We'll see what my knees have to say about it tomorrow.

Either way, recommendations welcome.




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