January 2, 2005

In the beginning...

So here we go... I am a new runner, and have been running now since the middle of last November. I can't believe its been two months! My health has noticeably improved and the recent runs have been easier than the first ones.

The rest of this blog (which is a stupid term, I hate it, but I'll go with the popular vote) will be all about my experiences training for the Cincinatti Marathon. During my first few postings, I will publish my previous diary entries so readers can catch up with where I've been on this journey.

I was inspired by several things:
1) health could use improvement
2) challenge from my sister, by way of example
3) the ING Marathon goes RIGHT BY MY HOUSE and I've cheered them on for two years. If they can do it, I can do it.
4) I have promises to friends, past and present, to live up to.

HERE is my posting of pictures from the last ING Marathon, and I often visit it for inspiration, especially on rainy days.

So today's official entry:

After two months of pre-training, I am easily able to keep running for 30 minutes at a time. In fact, I can do more. In preparation for the May 1st Cincinnati Marathon, it is time to begin the training program outlined in the book.

Admittedly, I have skipped ahead a teensy bit, since the first week's program of 3 and 4 mile runs is something I am already past. I've been doing the Prospect Park loop on each run for three weeks now. Did an honest four miles at Becca's a few days ago.

Today, I did the first week's long run - 5 miles. I ran up to the park, did the loop, then back home, all without stopping. I need to look up distances and do some doublechecking, but I feel that was an honest five miles. It was also fairly easy. In order to maintain the perceived stress level the book recommends, I may have to up my pace. I'm still getting overtaken in the park by other runners who really aren't going that fast. It may just be a matter of lengthening my stride.

Breathing has settled in and gotten easier. I no longer have to stop and walk to get my breath under control -- if anything, I just slow down a little bit.

My concerns now are twofold: one is motivation. I've been motivated so far and surprisingly find it within myself to force myself outside and start running on the every-other-day schedule I've used so far. But the winter is getting worse and I don't know how I'll feel about running in snow and ice.

The second problem is one of overuse. First it was my ankles and I had to take two weeks off because of that. Then it was the tendon behind my knee -- and by taking it easy over the recent holiday break, that pain has gone away, too. I'm afraid that by upping my running to four days a week, I may be in danger of another overuse injury. So I'm thinking that I will follow the books running schedule except for one day every other week -- effectively making an eight-run/two-week schedule into a rhythmic seven-run/two-week schedule. This will also allow some breathing room if and when weather seriously gets in the way.

Also, in addition to my other visualizations, I added a new one today: hurdles. At one point in the run, at about 3.5 miles, my energy level dropped a bit and I thought well, this can't be the Wall...its sort of a mini-wall. Oh! Its a HURDLE, like track athletes jump over. Then I realized that my runs can be thought of in terms of a series of hurdles that I'm surmounting at regular intervals. Either its a mile per hurdle... or its the same kinds of hurdles every run and they're to be expected and jumped over: the initial pains, the extra time to build in for running, the traffic, the coughing, drooping energy levels, etc.

anyway, I didn't time the whole run, but I did time the park loop from entrance to exit. 38 minutes exactly.

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