Thursday, July 31, 2008

At least I ran

It's been one week and five days since my last run and consequently my latest blog.

I'm still erratic, but I'm trying (in my mind at least). I started off with a half mile very slow jog. Waited around for about 3 or 4 minutes and then proceeded to run 3 miles. It went like this...

first half mile around 12 minute pace.
second half mile around 10 minute pace.
third half mile around 11 minute pace.
fourth half mile around 9 minute pace.
fifth half mile around 10 minute pace.
sixth and last half mile around 8 minute pace.

During the last half mile of my run, I really had to concentrate on pumping my arms. They started feeling tingly on the top parts of my forearms and they felt really heavy. I kept them going though, which kept my legs moving and I finished my 3 mile run strong.

I completed my run by doing a very slow half mile home for a cool down.

I feel great now. I need to get another run in before 12 days comes around again. This needs to become a habit again.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Time to Start Over

It has been about 2 months since I last ran. I kept smoking and drinking heartily until about 2 weeks ago. I stopped cold turkey on the cigarettes and it gave me unbelievable stomach and intestinal pains. There were a couple of times that I doubled over due to the pain. It kept me up at night, too. Gotta love withdrawal.

Well, my calf doesn't hurt anymore and after reading my prior blogposts, I see that I was running through a nagging injury instead of rehabbing. I made the injury worse until I had too much pain to even walk fluidly. Not real smart on my part, huh?

Balance, Strength, Flexibility.

Last Sunday, I went to a yoga class for the first time ever. That was exhilarating to say the least. The teacher gave us the opportunity to sit out each stretch if it seemed too difficult and also gave three levels of each stretch. One for beginners (ME), one for mid-level, and one for the limber people.

At first, I thought it was going to be boring because she kept showing a basic movement. In retrospect, she was trying to show us that move, because we would be doing that between each pose. There was no rest. Fifteen minutes in... and I'm sweating my ass off.

The whole class was around an hour. After 40 minutes, I started to drift off, because I couldn't do all the movements either due to balance (standing on one foot) or flexibility (touching my nose to the floor with my legs split isn't happening.). I started to feel like I was falling behind.

At this point, I am trying a pose that has me sitting on one my bent legs (kinda like a cushion) and the other leg is bent upwards and pushed into my chest. Now, you reach around with one arm and try get around to your hip area. With the other arm, you try to reach around your back and grab that hand and hold on. You are now a pretzel. She called it something.

Anyway, I couldn't do it and she saw that I was really trying and I was very close. She comes around my back unbeknownst to me and gives me a little nudge. Voila! My fingers touch. A feel a part of the class again. I CAN DO THIS! I fingerlock with two fingers from each hand. My energy level immediately is back to when we started. I could feel a smile on my face.

We do a few more poses and end up with a laying post and doing breathing exercises by itself. I have to say that she pushed a breathing technique the enter class while we were doing poses and movements.

You know the high feeling you get after running? The endorphines that are masking the pain kick in and you feel a little numb and light headed. Yeah. This yoga gave me that same feeling except I didn't feel the pounding in my chest from running for an hour and my blood pressure was completely normal.

I am going to incorporate this class into my normal workout routine and I hope it helps maintain my body so I don't have as many injuries.

Back to my run...

I kept it slow for most of the run. Let's call it a jog, because I never got my heart really pumping that hard.

I ran a mile and a half nice and easy and it felt great. I took a small break (bathroom break) and then finished up another half mile. So I did two miles total and my legs felt good. My arms felt good. I tried to incorporate tucking my stomach muscles in tight like with yoga, but running really utilizes the diaphragm and stomach breathing. I don't think that method will work well until the end of a race and I'm sprinting.

The one thing that was uncomfortable was my feet. My toes felt like they were being squeezed together. I'm not sure why at this time. I was wearing the same running shoes that I had been using before I stopped two months ago. Nothing new or peculiar in my running form. Hopefully, it's not a new issue. I hope it is something that goes away. Perhaps a new pair of shoes are in order. We'll see.