July 31, 2001

We didn’t go running yesterday after all. I was in such a horrible mood, I just wanted to lay on the couch. So I did. Then I felt better (until I checked my bank balance online and discovered it was negative. But at least then I had a reason for feeling crappy.)

We decided to go running this morning, so we got up at 6:20 or so and were out the door by 6:35. It was warm, and humid, but not as bad as it has been in the evenings. Or not worse, at least. We walked the first few blocks (still waking up) and then ran, from about 3 blocks from Camp, and then up Camp past Louisiana a few blocks. It was awesome! I feel like I finally got a glimpse of the “runners high” that I’ve been waiting for. For about 5 or 6 blocks, my legs were moving, my arms were moving, I was breathing rhythmically and easily – it was great! I could have gone further, I think. I felt like I could have run miles like that (although, let’s be honest, I probably couldn’t have). But then I made the fatal mistake of telling Kristina how great I felt, which messed up my breathing enough to bring me down to Earth a little. And it sounded like she was struggling a little, or at least not breathing as easily as I was, so I suggested we stop, and we did.

We didn’t run too much more, maybe 5 or 6 more blocks after that, but overall it was a really good run. The last two times I ran in the morning, I got really tired near the middle of the day, and had to take a nap. Unfortunately, that won’t be possible today. But I should get used to this morning running, since that’s when I’ll have to do it in the fall and winter. (Not that I’m complaining – I can’t wait for that!)

July 30, 2001

Today I am very tired. Kristina and I didn’t get back from Texas until after 1 a.m., so I didn’t get enough sleep last night. It was a nice weekend, though, and I got to run in The Woodlands.

Saturday, I took Christian (Mike and Debbie’s 4 year old) to Target (woo! Target) and I got a singlet and running shorts of some sort of synthetic wicking material. Nice! Although when I got dressed to go running I felt sort of fraudulent, like I was wearing a uniform I shouldn’t be.

So Mike gave me the directions to go around a 3.4 mile loop, which I set off on. It was on concrete, though, which kind of worried me, but my leg doesn’t hurt today so I guess it was okay after all. I didn’t get lost, though for a while I thought I was. It was a nice trail, but I don’t think I was hydrated well enough (it was pretty hot and humid, not too terrible though) because I didn’t get very far before I was really thirsty. I didn’t even end up running much of it, but I kept going. When I started, I felt really good, and when I had been running for what felt like 10 minutes, I (foolishly) looked at my watch and noticed I had only been running for 4:30. Ugh. I kept running for 8 minutes, though. After that, I could only really run in about 1 minute increments. I think I definitely went out too fast. Too much. Near the end, I thought I was lost, I may have hallucinated, and I’m glad I got back to their house when I did. Plus, the sun was going down and I had told Mike if I wasn’t back in an hour to come looking for me. As it turns out, it took me about 45-50 minutes, which is pretty slow. Hmm.

Then, when I got inside, I jumped in the shower (after drinking some water, of course) and when I got out, I felt very dizzy and nauseous. Mike got me some Dr Pepper before I passed out (I really felt like I was going to!) but then I was okay after that. Debbie and I had eaten a late lunch at 3:30 or so, so I’m not sure why I felt like that (dehydrated, most likely). Scary. Must remember to hydrate better in the future!

All in all, it made me even more eager for the fall to get here. I’m hoping I will do much better once it gets cooler.

July 27, 2001

Too bad we didn’t go running last night. It really was nice weather, only a teeny bit humid, and according to my (no doubt incorrect) car thermometer, it was 78 degrees! But, I wanted to make sure I didn’t get sick (and I feel much better today) so we didn’t go. Hopefully I’ll get to Houston early enough to go for a run. Just a few times around their circle. We’ll see. (Do I always end my entries like that? I wonder what that says about me…hmmm…don’t want to know)

July 26, 2001

Yesterday was good! Of course, it stopped raining, and by the time we got to the park, around 7:30 pm, it was getting muggy. All of that rain just sitting in the air. Why it can’t just stay in the puddles is beyond me.

Anyway, we decided that we’d go twice around the park (a total of 3.54 miles) to try to figure out how long it’d take us to do the 5K (which is in 3.5 weeks now). So I started my watch after we had walked a bit, so I figure I timed about 3.25 miles. Which took us 45 minutes. So I guess it’ll take us around, oh, 43 minutes to do the actual 5K. Which is okay, because I looked at the results of last year’s race, and the last people finished in 59 minutes. We’d actually be near the back of the middle of the pack. If that makes sense. But then again, we still have a few weeks to get better, and I think the excitement of the race will help. Anyway, I don’t care. If we go too fast, we’ll have a hard time improving the next time around!

I think I may be coming down with a cold. Still. This morning I woke up and felt like my left tonsil (?) was swollen. Now it just feels like a bad post-nasal drip. Eww. So I may not go this afternoon. Or may just walk. On the other hand, it’s raining in a less-pleasant way today, so maybe I should just forget it. We’ll see.

July 25, 2001

I haven’t been running much, so I haven’t been writing much. Monday evening, Kristina and I went running, but that’s all we’ve done since last Tuesday. It was really hot and humid as well, so we only made it once around, although we ran at a faster pace than usual. I felt good about what we did, even though we didn’t do much.

I spent most of last week icing my shin and wearing a compression thingy. I think it worked, though I still have minor aches and pains in my shin. What can I do? I think it’s ok. It certainly doesn’t hurt while I run, so I’m not going to stress about it. I think maybe I’m being slightly hypochondriatic. If that’s a word. Anyway, with my non-smoking (oops. slip on Saturday) I’m feeling generally crappy altogether, with nausea and post-nasal drip and sleeplessness, so what’s a little leg pain?

We’re going to Texas this weekend, Kristina to visit Allen and me to visit Mike and Debbie, so that will be a nice change of pace. I need a vacation bad. There’s a 5K every other Saturday in Mike and Debbie’s neighborhood, I’m thinking of running it, just for practice. The only problem is, it’s really small and I’ll probably be the last person to finish. Maybe I should just run 5K, but not in the 5K. If I run 10 times around their cul-de-sac, it’s a 5K. Anyway, I want my first 5K to be with Kristina. It’ll be more memorable that way.

It’s raining today a bit, so hopefully that will cool things off some for tonight. Even better, maybe it’ll still be raining. I can dream…

July 19, 2001

Ugh. Today I’ve been in a bad mood. Probably because I woke up today and my leg still hurts. What I don’t understand is why it started hurting yesterday morning, but it didn’t hurt during or after our run on Tuesday night. I really really hope it’s not a stress fracture. This morning, I iced it at work. It doesn’t hurt as bad right now, but that might be because of the ibuprofin I took earlier. Anyway, I’m not running again until Sunday, maybe that will help.

The bike ride yesterday was a complete loss, too. I got to Sarah’s house and took out her bike, but the front tire was kind of squishy, so I attempted to put more air in it with her teeny pump, but I didn’t have much luck with it. Kristina convinced me that it was okay to ride as it was (well, she didn’t leave me much choice, more like bullied me into it) but as we got about 1/2 way around the park, I realized that the seat was too low. So we raised it and it was much better, until it s l o w l y sunk back down, about 3/4 of the way around again. So I raised it again, and this time it didn’t sink so slowly. So Kristina left me to pedal slowly and painfully back to Sarah’s house while she went around the fly. Not too much fun. However, Sarah does have the most amazing seat on her bike. Very springy. Nice. But I’ve sworn off bikes again, so it doesn’t really matter.

Tonight I’m going to the mall to get new clothes. That should make me happy. I hope.

July 18, 2001

Oooh, yesterday we had a good run. We didn’t go until 7:00, so it was much cooler than we’ve been used to. And, we did the 7/3 again! Three times! And this time, it seemed even easier than the first time (and that’s quite an accomplishment, I think, since it was raining the first time, so really it should have been easier then) except at the very end, when I just wanted the 7 minutes to be over. Even though the 5K isn’t for another month, I’m afraid I won’t be able to run 3.1 miles by then. I’m hoping the race atmosphere (and the excitement of it being my first) will carry me through. Or I hope I improve enough. Well, whatever, as long as I finish.

Unfortunately, though my shins weren’t hurting during or after our run yesterday evening, they hurt this morning when I woke up. I thought that was sort of strange. I’m praying that it’s not a stress fracture. I’m sure it’s not (the power of positive thinking).

Tonight at around 1 a.m., it’ll be 2 whole weeks without smoking!

Also, Sportbrain is going down for good tonight. Unless they find a buyer. That sucks! I’ve only had it 5 weeks. Let’s see, that’s $20 a week. Useless!

Tonight we’re going to cross-train because of my leg. Hopefully Gary will let me use his bike. Hopefully he still feels guilty about my arms (which, by the way, feel much better today).

July 17, 2001

I did go running on Thursday, before we went to the airport. I ran around the park once (1.77 miles) and then kept going. I didn’t want to keep going in the same direction, because the first third of the park is sunny (hot) and the last third is shady (cool). However, if I had turned around and re-done the shady part of the track, I would have been facing all of the people coming around. And I’m not quite confident enough to run towards people, alone. I’ll do it with Kristina, but not by myself. So I ran towards the sunny part, then turned around. I ran quite a bit, but I didn’t have my stopwatch, so I couldn’t time the running parts. It was so hot I don’t think I could have done the 7/3 again, but I stayed out for 40 minutes, which was my real goal for the day.

Friday, I was staying at Kelly’s house, and it was raining and I was feeling sorry for myself, so I didn’t go running. I knew I was going to go to the Reily Center (Tulane’s gym) with Ren and Gary on Saturday, so it was okay.

So Saturday I get up too early for a weekend (before 9, but then I had gone to bed early since I had gotten very little sleep on Thursday night) and got dressed, got some coffee and a scone for breakfast, and went over to Ren and Gary’s. Ren and I went to Southern Runner so I could get my eagerly-anticipated first pair of running shoes fitted by a running store. So I got a pair of Nike Air Structure Triax, whatever that means. Spent a bit more than I had budgeted, but they’re great shoes. Hardly any shin pain to speak of after running in them!

Then the real hell started. After fixing Kristina’s bike, we rode to the Reily Center, about 1.5-2 miles away. I should say that this may be the most significant portion of the day. I haven’t ridden a bike since the summer of 1996, when, while riding to Subway with Anne one night, I fell off my bike and landed on the road face first. Nothing major happened, but it certainly didn’t entice me to ride a bike again.

Once we got to the gym, we went around the track for 30 minutes. Nice to run on an air-conditioned, flat, indoor track, except that it was so small, I kept losing track of what number I was on. I probably did around 20 loops, a little over 2 miles. I ran probably half of that, maybe a bit more. Then we moved on to the weight room. Now, Ren and Gary have a routine: arms one day, legs the next. Today was an arm day. So I gamely went along with Gary’s torture. Suffice it to say, I overdid it and today, 3 days later, I’m still paying the price with sore, stiff arms and shoulders. Ah well. After the weight room, I rode a stationary bike for 25 minutes while Ren and Gary swam, and then we went home.

Sunday was a rest day, without a doubt. I couldn’t straighten my arms, much less lift them over my head to put on a sports bra, so running was definitely out. Anyway, I had spent 3 hours in a gym the day before. I deserved Sunday off.

Monday, thought, Kristina and I went to the park and did pretty much the same thing I had done on Thursday afternoon. We went to a movie last night, so we had to go to the park early, which meant it was still pretty hot, so we were still unable to do the 7/3 pattern. Perhaps today, because we’re not going until 6:30 or so. Might not be so bad.

Ahhh…Sportbrain stats for yesterday’s run (I don’t think it’s entirely accurate, but whatever) Distance: 2.6 miles (not a chance) Running Distance: 1.2. So probably more like distance 2.25, running distance 1 mile. Well, not too bad, considering the heat. I think our real improvements are going to happen when it cools off (well, that’s what I tell myself, anyway.)

July 10, 2001

Although I started running about three months ago, I’ve only just decided to put this all online, so I guess I have some catching up to do…

I started running because I’m overweight. (I wish I could say was overweight, but that wouldn’t be the case just yet) In the past, I’ve started exercise regimes (joining a gym, walking, what have you) but I never stuck to it. I always found some excuse to quit (usually something to do with a broken toe, don’t know why). This time, though, I was determined to stick to it. Fortunately, I have some friends that run, so I had someone to go with in the beginning.

After walking/teeny-bit-of-jogging around Audubon Park (a shady, 1.77 mile roughly circular path that encircles a golf course in Uptown New Orleans) for a couple of weeks, a friend came from England to visit for two weeks. I thought for sure that this time, that would be my excuse for quitting forever. To my surprise, as soon as she flew back, I started again. This time, I had a plan.

I had purchased the book “A Woman’s Guide to Running” and in it, found a training guide to building up to running for 30 minutes. So I started on that. I had gotten a few weeks into it when I had to move. Surely this would be when I would quit, right? Shockingly, the stress of moving didn’t put me off, either. I took a week off from that, and started running again (at this point, I started calling what I was doing running, because it made me feel better. So sue me.)

In the beginning of June, settled into my new apartment with my best friend (yay!) who always said she would never run, I got back into the swing of things. And then the most surprising thing of all happened. Kristina said she wanted to run with me! She wanted to give it a try! Since all of my other running partners had long ago stopped running with me (Well, one of them is a newlywed who runs with her husband. I can’t compete with that!) I was glad to get a new training partner. Kristina even said she’d run a 5K in August with me! So that’s what we’re working towards now.

I found some great websites and books that have helped keep me motivated. The Runner’s World Forum for Beginners is wonderful – a big community of very supportive people. And as I am an avid reader, I have already collected 3-4 books on running, as well as a subscription to Runner’s World.

Now, just getting out of the house for a while every evening to exercise was a huge lifestyle change for me, but in mid-June, I decided to make an even bigger one. I decided to quit smoking. I’ve smoked since I was 17, nine years. I quit on Thursday, July 5. I’m using the nicotine patch to make things a bit easier, and it’s going well so far.

One of the reasons I’ve stuck with running is my friend Chris. He started running at the beginning of the year, and he helps motivate me (via e-mail, since he lives in Baton Rouge.) When he told me a few months ago that he wanted to run the Disney Marathon in January, I thought he was nuts. Insane! I even told Kristina that if I even considered it, to shoot me. But then, I started thinking about it. And about London, my favorite favorite favorite city. And about the London Marathon. I’d read a little about it, and then one day, driving back from the beach, I told Kristina I might want to try to run the London Marathon. The next day, I decided to do it. Why not? I can do it! I got a book called “The Non-runner’s Guide to Running a Marathon” or something like that, and it was really inspiring. So now I’m going to do it. And Chris (hopefully) is going to run it with me! His experience will come in handy, and I’ll get to show him and his wife my favorite place in the world, which, I’m sure they’re sick of hearing me talk about.

So here I am today. Lately, we’ve been getting off our training schedule, so we decided to get back on track so we can run the 5K on August 19. We should be running for 7 minutes, walking for 3, three times, but yesterday was reeeally hot and humid (it’s been an unseasonably cool summer for New Orleans – we haven’t even hit 100 degrees yet!) so we only did it twice, and walked the rest of the way. Hopefully, today will be better. I can already tell the difference (a bit) with my breathing since quitting smoking. Yeah!