Running slow

Humph.  I am not a very happy girl with my running at the moment.  I was doing so well and 5km was starting to be a  really comfy distance with an ever improving time and then something (I still do not know what) happened – my whole body felt like lead and tired, my legs didn’t want to move, my lungs felt like they were working at a quarter of what they should be.  So frustrating!

My times were getting slower and slower and my sub 36 minutes soon became 40 minutes again!  Shock and horror!

Zanzibar tortoise

I feel like this fellow – slow and tired

Not sure there is an exact science with this whole running thing but I have been told there are a number of contributing factors, which I understand but surely they can’t carry on for weeks at a time!

Moving swiftly along from feeling sorry for myself, I have incorporated more biking into my weekly routine until I can get over myself and back on track.

Do you also go through slumps?  What do you do when it happens?

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One foot in front of the other

Some days I feel I could conquer running 10km no problem, other days, well I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other to finish my 5km circuit; funny how we have “on” and “off” days.

Running stuff

All my running paraphernalia minus my ipod – oops, forgot it charging

I have been doing this running thing now for 8 months – can’t believe it’s been that long.  Thought I would have been doing much better by now, then again, I’m not sure what or who I am supposed to be comparing myself to seeing as I had never run before.

My first goal was to run an entire kilometre without having to walk and then work my way to doing a 5km route under an hour.  I have successfully achieved both targets and now run my full 5km route in just over 35 and a half minutes.  Trying really hard to crack the 35 minute mark.

I mentioned previously I started running with heavier arm weights as the arms need as much help as they can get!  Seems though I may have bitten off a little more than I can chew as I start getting aches and pains in my lower back – almost stitch like plus the heavier weights have slowed my time down – updated plan is alternating between the heavier and lighter weights.

I am also changing my routine for a while to see if it will improve my times from a 6 day running week to a one day on one day off – I feel like I want to start climbing the walls when I don’t run so will see how I go with the new schedule.

The latest bit of unsolicited advice I received was, “You know you are killing yourself and you are ageing yourself with all this running.”  Well, aint that grand!  I am running 5km, not 100km!  Shame, poor old man is only trying to be helpful I guess.  He also wants to stop me running and chat for half an hour while he is out for his walk and insists on flagging me down for a chat.  I just smile and wave as I pass him now.

The strangest of things come to mind while I run and I keep telling myself to put it on the list when I get home or make the call or whatever it is and as you can guess, I don’t remember any of it when I get home, except for when I am out running again.  Might have to keep pen and paper with me – haa.

I still haven’t done a morning run – I know, can you believe it.  It will have to wait until the weather starts warming in the mornings before I venture out – great excuse to keep putting a friend off who reminds me most weeks to join in with a Parkrun – not entirely sure why I keep putting it off – don’t feel I am a proper runner yet I guess.  Geoff, I promise I will do a parkrun with you soon-ish. 🙂

How is your exercise routine going?

Running and Riding

Pete has been the most wonderful PT Master / Coach with my running and motivates me to keep improving on what I have already achieved.  Just before I decided to get some viral bug of sorts, we did a couple of runs and rides – they were awesome!

First up was a 20km ride which was mostly road riding – it was wonderful to see how my stamina has improved since I started running although not having ridden for quite a while, my derrière was not very happy.

7.54km run

It doesn’t look like much from the picture but these 7.5km were beautiful!

Then we did a 7.5km trail run which took us onto old closed roads, running alongside sand dunes, had us scaling fences and climbing up and over a few inclines.  Best of all was having a family (herd) of no less than 12 kudu ran across the trail a few meters in front of us.  They are quite majestic when they run considering they are such big antelope.  It was incredible to see them.  They were quite interested in watching us run passed with their big ears listening to our every step.  Pete keeps saying he wants to get a GoPro camera – that way I could share with you exactly what we see.

Long beach ride 1

Next up was another 20km ride which started on beautiful old overgrown dirt roads full of spoor and droppings, we assume kudu, smaller buck, no doubt bushbuck and small wild cats.  The winding gravel track led us to what we thought would be a deserted (or possibly private) piece of land with kilometres of private beach.  Lo and behold there were 3 parked 4×4 SUV vehicles with the occupants spread out on the beach fishing and picnicking.

Long beach ride 28

First prize to the person who can spot what should not be in the picture.

The only way onto the beach was down a very steep set of wooden steps which were easier to descend than I thought with a bike under one arm and camera under the other.  The ride on the beach was magnificent – we were confident we would find more whale bones but alas we did not.

Long beach ride 55

We rode on the low water mark where the sand is it’s hardest and then over rocks and pebbles until we had to walk our bikes over a few dunes back to another dirt road where we have ridden before – I remember the steep hills very well, only difference now is I am stronger and can traverse them a lot easier. Yay.

Last up was a 8.2km run which was just before I realised I had a bug.  It would have been the most brilliant run had I not been so tired.  I didn’t know I was as tired as I was until I tried to keep my pace as with previous runs.

Saddest part is the viral whatever it was (yes, I went to the doctor) kept me from running for a whole week!  It was pure hell I tell you.  I was climbing the walls not being able to hit the road for my run.  I am all better now and back into the swing of things.

How’s your exercise routing going?

Running, running, running

A few more running bits and bobs.

5km route

This is my normal 5km route.                                                                                                                            The thicker lines are where I run the same section of road twice.

  • I have included wrist weights to my daily running in the hopes it will help the old arms a bit. *
  • I am very slowly in minuscule increments improving my times.  I was hoping I would have improved a little more by now but as Pete reminds me, at least I am being consistent.  I have managed to run 5.2km in just under 40 minutes (39min30sec)
  • Running is a really good stress reliever.  I cannot tell you how often I have been thankful I can go for a run after somebody has subjected me to their drama.
  • It never ceases to amaze me when people drive passed me or if somebody is in their driveway when I am running by, how they all seem to get a kick out of yelling “come on, faster, lift those feet”.  Why do they find it so amusing?
  • I have come to the realisation I am not a graceful runner nor do I look like a runner.  No matter as I am the one running as opposed to all those with opinions who sit on the couch, alongside those who tell me to run faster.  That sounded a little nasty, sorry.
  • I am able to munch on a few naughties without too much guilt as I seem to be running it all off, phew! 🙂  I can’t quite satisfy my appetite like I used to and eat loads more and for the first time in over 40 years, I am craving carbs!  John would be so proud with the amount of pasta I gobble up.
  • For the most part I am running 5km with each run which is great and I have settled into a routine of after taking a day off, my first run is about a minute slower than my best time then my second, third, fourth and fifth (sometimes sixth) runs, I get a little faster with each run.  That’s my method, not sure if it is right or not but it works for me.

How’s your exercise programme going?

* I have subsequently bought heavier wrist weights and running with an additional 2.3kg has slowed me down a bit.  I am now running 5km in about 41 minutes, all after just cracking the 40 minute mark.  Hope to get back there soon.

PS. I will tell you soon about a 7.5km trail run Pete and I did – it was awesome!

More Running updates

I’m sure you are quite bored hearing about my running by now, but I am still on the up and up and far to excited to keep it all to myself.

Kay's T-shirt

A very poor mobile phone selfie cooling down after a run wearing Kay’s T-shirt.  Can’t thank you enough Kim for sending it to me.  PS.  I am getting around to doing the icing tutorial for you. 🙂

No sooner after my last post and remembering my own words about being able to run further than I think I can, I put myself to the test and ran 5km just 5 days later. 😀  So, I now run (for the most part) between 4km and 5km with each run.  Now to really start working on increasing my stride and speed.

Pete keeps mentioning we should do a parkrun which we have registered for and even have personalised bar codes plus we get extra brownie points with our medical aid but I am still too nervous.

I thought I might lean towards being a fair weather runner but as it turns out I am happy to run in the rain, gale force winds which really make you push yourself harder and with the few cool days we have had, I run so much easier, so here’s hoping I say the same when winter gets here.

I do much better when I take one days rest after every 4 or 5 runs and not 2 days in a row after 6 runs.  After a 2 day rest, my first run is really hard and not fun so sticking with a one day break works much better.

It seems my body has settled on 59 kilograms.  I hope I can maintain this weight through winter.  Sadly though, with the weight loss, not that it’s been much, it seems my body is looking worse for wear.  I am trying not to get too bent out of shape about it but I really was hoping to have a firmer less urgh looking body by now.  I have to keep my arms covered to my elbows and nothing shorter than knee length for now. 😦  I have increased my arm exercises to no avail.  Any suggestions?

Hope you are all still on track with your exercise routines.

My Running Milestones

You will be very proud to hear I now run the whole course of 3.5km to 4km.  Yippee.  Yay! Woohoo.  So exciting! It literally just happened over night.  Not long after I did my last post about how things were going I set out to reaching 1.5km non stop and did it, battled a wee bit to do it again the next day and then a few days following that I was running almost the whole circuit with short bursts of walking in between and then voilà I was running the whole lot.

Running

Even though I am slow at achieving my goals, I am now back on track to attaining my 5km goal. 🙂

I have learnt a few things along the way:

  • I can run further than I think I can;
  • The first part of a run is the hardest;
  • I think up hills are easier than down, I haven’t quite decided yet although I would rather run on a flat road any day of the week;
  • It is much easier running on the road than off-road, on the gravel, grass and the like but I will stick to my trail running;
  • Running with an ipod has helped tremendously as I don’t get distracted with listening to my “heavy breathing” I rather focus on the music which helps distract me when I am feeling tired.  I still need to figure out how many beats per minute I run so I can run in time with the beat of the music with the same beats per minute.  For now I am very happy listening to Adele for the most part, KT Tunstall, John Mayer, Nora Jones and Bill Withers and running faster and slower as I go.
  • Taking shorter strides allows me to run further as I don’t tire as easily as with a long stride.  When I am fitter, I will increase my gait;
  • I prefer shorter roads, long ones just don’t seem to end;
  • Running the whole route has slowed my running down but I will pick it up again;
  • I don’t see too many people on the road but when I do, it motivates me to keep running and not maybe cheat and walk, especially when I am tired;
  • Rest days are important but I don’t like taking days off.

How is your exercising routine going?

Running…

You may remember my post about getting fit after 40 last year where I mentioned I am learning how to run with the guidance of my ever loving and patient Pete, well…

You will be proud to know that after 3 months I am still running 6 days a week and I am averaging between 3.5km and 4km with each run.  I am working my way up to the 5km mark but then…

Trail runners

Dusty Trail runners

PT Master Pete changed my shoes.  Oh boy, it’s like learning how to run all over again.  Seems breaking in a new pair of trail running shoes isn’t as easy for me as most.  What a silly excuse but I am sticking to it for now. 😉

Since starting to run a few things have changed:

  • I’m running much further and walking less 🙂
  • My shins don’t burn any more 🙂
  • I am more motivated on the days I wear the T-Shirt my friend Kim in Minnesota sent me.  Kim’s sister Kay was murdered by her husband and Kim and her family started an annual “Kay Marie Sisto Memorial 5km walk/run” to bring awareness to the dangers of domestic violence and I am honoured to have received one of the special T-Shirts made for this event.  Thank you dear Kim. ❤
Kay's T-Shirt

No time for ironing – wash and wear

  • I have lost a few kilos.  Never been easier to loose weight, so if you want to shed a few I can highly recommend going around the block a few times. 😉
  • I am burning less calories for the same distance. 😦
  • I am eating more
  • My breathing is improving 🙂
  • My core body temperature has risen
  • I don’t plod any more, I have managed to find my stride, I think
  • Idiotic villagers walking their dogs without a lead and other idiotic villagers not keeping their dogs in they yards!  This really irks me as I am scared of dogs and  there are laws.  I now have to run with pepper spray!
  • My body is looking worse.  I thought I would be all firm and beautiful by now, but alas, it seems to be the reverse. 😦  I am told it will improve – when though seems to be a long way away.
  • I don’t listen too much to what other people say I should be doing

And a few things have not:

  • I have not lost my drive to run 😀
  • I get red in the face 😐
  • My nose runs which is somewhat irritating
  • I sweat like a pig – I know, not very lady like
  • I don’t enjoy running with the sun in my face
  • I have not been for a morning run
  • I don’t stretch after running, actually I don’t always stretch before either

I am sure to remember a few more things after I post this, oh well, clearly the brain has not improved. 😉

Getting fit after forty is not for sissies

Have you ever woken up, looked in the mirror and realised what used to be an okay body has now turned into a cellulitey flabby mess.  Well I have been doing that for the past 2 years and recently the need to get myself back into shape was important enough for me to get started.  Finally!

So, after being realistic and researching what exercises can be done at home, mostly without equipment (isometrics) I have settled on a weekly routine which includes 3 arm exercises, a tummy exercise, cycling and learning how to run.  That may sound silly but I have never run, not even around the block.

Vibram Merrels

Very tired feet

Pete bought me a really good pair of running shoes – a new age pair of runners based on Vibram technology – none of those padded and cushioned running shoes, these are based on running “barefoot” the way we are naturally supposed to run, just like the bushman – so from the outset I am learning properly.

Pete who has been running his whole life is well versed on how to do it properly and even sent me a supporting article on his theory of a run-walk sequence of getting fit without hurting yourself and staying motivated.  Oh isn’t theory wonderful.

This is where the age factor really hit home.  I have always been active so was fooled into thinking I was semi-fit.  It is a tad hard to get past the brick wall and have the endorphins takeover.  I am now of the opinion I was 100% unfit and with each new day I am getting stronger and fitter.  Woohoo!  Although this would have been a MUCH easier task had I started 15 years ago.  Lesson learnt a little late but better late than never.

Pete is an incredible motivator and PT Master.  I have been able to, albeit with a wee bit of wincing, run a bit further and on occasion slightly faster than the day before, proof that Pete’s theory really does work.

As you know, Pete does a lot of travelling and it was just pure chance he was home long enough to get me started.  Now, its all up to me without the motivational and encouraging words every few metres.  I asked Pete to make a tape for when he is away so I can play it over and over while I am running but alas he did not.

Oh and there will be no cheating or guessing what I achieved as Pete gave me a Garmin heart rate monitor, calorie counting, GPS thingy so just as soon as I have uploaded my daily stats Pete will be able to see exactly where I ran and what my times were no matter where he is in the world.  Isn’t technology amazing.

So, here’s to be sticking with my new found regime – summer won’t be a problem, it’s those winter days which worry me a bit.  Then again by the time winter comes I will be as fit as a fiddle and my tenacity will carry me through those cold days.  Well that’s what I am telling myself.