Mar 20, 2010

20-Minute Run & Running Outside

Last you heard from me, I was gearing up for my 20-minute run, and I had just accomplished my first 8-minute run. Well, the next day I prepared for that 20-minute run all day. I meticulously prepared 31 minutes of a running play list, I ate the food that I felt would be best, and most importantly I tweeted my butt off, letting everybody know what I was about to do, and asking them to hold me accountable to doing it. My dear sweet husband tweeted back words of encouragement, and when I saw that I knew I had to do it.

The time came, and I was pumped. You have to understand that running for 8 minutes two days before had been truly hard for me, and I couldn't conceive of how my body would physically do 20 minutes nonstop. Still, I set out to do it. I ran. I listened to my music, watched bits of Robin Hood Prince of Thieves with the sound down, and I just ran. When I needed to get a drink or wipe sweat, I told myself that somehow this was a *break,* like I could pretend while I was doing those things that I wasn't running, and somehow that made sense.

There were some times during that run when I had to tell my heart to relax. I was asking more of it than perhaps I ever had before, and it had been taken by surprise. It was pumping hard to get oxygen to everywhere it was needed, and I was having this little inner monologue with it, saying "Thanks for the hard work, keep it up, but don't freak out. This will be over soon, and we can rest." I also had to purposefully breathe. I remember learning that the physiological cue that makes us breathe is not so much the oxygen that is needed as it is the carbon dioxide that needs to get OUT of our body lest we die. Knowing this, I would purposely breathe out deeply, before then breathing in. I wanted to replace all the residual CO2-ey air in my lungs with more O2-ey air.

Somehow it worked. Twenty minutes passed, than thankfully I had run the whole time. It was a miracle.


Skip ahead to this past Saturday night. While watching the Big East Championship game (which WE WON! Woohoo!) at the timeshare condo at Canaan, I started thinking that tomorrow morning would be a good time to start trying to run outside. I commenced to making a playlist on my phone during commercial breaks. 

When the shortest day of the year dawned (stupid Daylight Savings Time), I set the big kid in front of cartoons with a bowl of cheese goldfish and a cup of water, and I went outside. It was cold, like 40. I wasn't sure how much I was going to be able to run outside on the real ground--"through space running"--as the Gomers say, so I just did a 5-minute warm up walk, and then gave it a go. 

Turns out, running outside is DAMN hard. Shew! I later drove the lap around the condo complex to find that one lap was 0.5 miles. I did 3 laps (1.5 miles), and a total of 1 of those was running (split into 3 chunks). That's all I was able to do that day. I felt good about it, but also daunted. I was thinking, "Wow, this 5k is really going to be hard." 

However, I had known this. The treadmill was only a starting point, and a necessary one for me, but eventually I was going to have to learn how to run 3+ miles continuously actually outside

So today, a week later, I decided to change the course of action on my Running Plan, and just back up a few weeks on the Couch to 5k plan, to where I thought I would be able to accomplish the requisite runs outside. Looking at my app, I saw that Week 4 Day 2 was "3 minutes, 5 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes" (with short walks in between), and I figured I could handle that. I set up a fun running mix and set to it. Here are pictures of my views on this beautiful woody trail behind my work that I am blessed to have available: 

While I was out doing this run, my phone rang. It was a lady calling to urge me to call Congressman Rahall about the Health Care bill. She said that I sounded "very busy," and I said "I'm out exercising on this beautiful morning!" She said that indeed, it is a "gorgeous day." I told her I'd already called the congressman, and that I hoped she got to get out there to enjoy this beautiful day, too. It felt really good saying that to a stranger. She doesn't even know that a year ago, my biggest activity on a day like this might be to drink a beer in the sunshine ...and hey, I might do that before the day is out too!


Jaye said...

congradulations on your run! I always feel that my mind stops me from running the distances I am sure my body can do. I try not to think about running when I am running. It is weird.

Just take it slow to avoid injury, and know that every mile that you run or walk is still a mile that you moved. And really that is what counts - moving your body.

In May there is a 5k in Charleston, the course is flat along the river. From the Capitol to the southside bridge and back. It is a Race for the Cure. If you are not busy you should look in to it.

Laura said...

Thanks, Jaye! I will seriously look into that. I had been planning my first one for June in Fairmont (Run to Read 5k), but maybe this Charleston one could be my first. I've always thought that trail looked lovely, and it would be nice to run along the river.

Sara said...

Love you Laura K... you continue to be an inspiration...

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