couch to 5k. when the runs get long.


(Read my original post on running here.)

Welp. I hit a rough spot with the Couch to 5k program that's actually got me fearing the workouts a little now. The part where you're suddenly running for 20+ minutes without stopping to walk. That happened. I attempted it a couple times and almost puked.

So instead of taking on week 7 (nothing but running), I cowered back and repeated week 6. And I'm even considering doing week 6 again. And then maybe again.

I still hit my C25K days with the same dedication, but the I rock at this attitude is starting to dwindle. Because I'm not really sure if I still do. 

Rock at this, I mean.

Besides the tiny bit of endurance I'm needing more time to build, here's my problem. When my walking breaks got eliminated, I didn't have anything to look forward to, and the entire entertainment factor kind of vanished. Stop, go, stop, go - it's got some amusement to it. 

Nonstop running feels a little hopeless because the time lapse doesn't feel like it will end, no matter how much I mix up the music. Without the walking as an entertainment value, I can't help but focus on the difficulty that's building minute by aching minute.

I was so big on following the running and walking time slots down to the exact second - but on my last run, I was supposed to run for 22 straight minutes. I stopped for a 30 second breather 12 minutes in, and then I ran straight to my front door before I'd even hit 21 minutes. The little guilt-ridden cheats are making me feel like I didn't even exercise at all. I want to be doing this right.

On weeks 1-5, I stopped myself from running beyond the allotted time even though I'd felt like I could do more. Week 6 and beyond, I have yet to hit a run beyond 20 minutes.

I really trusted the plan until the long runs started, because I was sure that with each step up, your body is ready for it. C25K wouldn't make me do anything I'm not prepared for. 
Right. Let's still pretend and trust that's true.

I made up a few modifications. Call them cheats if you want. Or brilliance, that works, too.
♥ The day my period comes is a holiday. Always. Periods have to be good for something. 
♥ If I want to run more than 3 days a week, I get to pick any day off the C25K plan that I want to repeat.
♥ I try not to go more than two days without running - I kinda live in fear that the strength I worked for will suddenly vanish after 48 hours of idleness.

My long run tips:

Looking at the horizon instead of the ground helps time move faster. It makes me feel more like I'm getting somewhere. I have to remind myself to look up, though, because I habitually look down.

Get enough sleep and eat enough (healthy) food during the days that surround your runs. Your body doesn't joke around when you ask it for its stored energy. It either has it or it doesn't. If it doesn't, you'll feel a lot more difficulty in the run. Ahem. The same goes for parenting a small child.

Learn what parts of your route are uphill, and avoid them. Hills immediately suck out all my stamina. 

The jump from running 8 minute time periods to 20 minutes during week five is a little offensive. Just looking at the number 20 made me feel defeated. Pretend it's asking for 19:55, close your eyes, and do it.

Don't repeat the same route over and over. Boring.

I start slow and stay slow. If I have a decent amount of energy left in the last minute or so, I run faster.

Figure out a way to reward yourself after you're done. I need something to look forward to, even if it's just bragging about what I did. But it's usually a combination of telling Matt how I did and a strawberry Chobani yogurt.

Stop wasting time (and phone space) downloading music. I found some free workout music stations when I dug a little on the Pandora app. Tap: Genre, Workout, then pick a station.

Daydreaming up tips to give fellow beginning runners works as a decent entertainment piece to nix boredom. It also helps you pay closer attention to what your current obstacles are and figure out ways to push through them.

I decided there's no shame in my repetition of workouts. It's still a workout, and it's not causing regression in any way.
There's no rule written that says you can't cheat. You're doing this for you, so push yourself to your limit, then try it again for as many days as it takes to get it done the way it was written.

stage & age


I think last month I was desperately googling and pleading from my keyboard things like When does the crying end? and mentally noting that there hasn't been a day he's lived that he hasn't cried over something. Crying is expected from a baby, yes. But there's gotta be a mental limit. 

Now? I kind of just have an overly sensitive, dramatic, foreign exchange roommate-friend that I'm teaching English (and life) to. 

The part where it's noticeably easier.


He lets me brush his teeth without a fight.
He'll try almost any food once.
He understands what it means to wait while I'm getting ready. He can entertain himself.
He'll take No for an answer. As long as I give him an explanation.
We can carry him to bed while he's limp with sleep, and he won't wake up.
He won't go out the door without shoes. And! He can put them on himself.
He'll go get me a diaper.
He'll attempt to give an actual answer when I ask Why?
He smiles for pictures. Until I'm taking too many.
Conversations are made of broken sentences instead of tantrums. 
I get to laugh all day yet. He adds the word yet to the end of all his sentences.
We can't [blank] until we [blank]. Works for everything.
We can go (unnoticeably to the public eye) to restaurants and grocery stores again.
He gives compliments on shirts, nails and makeup. They are, most commonly, Ree-wee nice.
Personal time. It's happening.

New challenges.


Stores that have toys. Yeah, they suck.
He knows how to use the potty. Except he doesn't want to, and the poops aren't getting any smaller.
He's having dreams about mean monsters and running to our bed every night.
Booger eating.
Fingernail chewing.
With what little vocab he can pronounce, he mocks things Matt & I say.
Sharing means we're proposing war.
He still follows me all day, around the entire house.
He wants toys that match whatever new show he's into.



He carries around toenail clippers, calls them his gray phone and has conversations on them.
He hates to be dirty.
He asks to see his poop to analyze how yucky it was after his diaper gets changed.
His favorite things are swimming pools, sweets, Daddy and anything with wheels.
He doesn't really play with his toys as much as he just carries them around.
He put himself down for a nap once without telling me where he was going. In his bed. Covers and all.

fashion friday

I hate shorts.

Unless they look like a skirt!

Photo on 2012-05-10 at 13.49 #2.jpg

I can't even remember the last time I posted an outfit. My friend Bobbi's week full of outfit posts got me inspired.

This skort thing does two things - 1. It gives me a butt (because I'm in the market for one!) 2. It gives the illusion of skinnier legs. 

I'm still searching for a good top to go with them, but in the meantime, my favorite color has been teal. So that's what happened.

everything and nothing


I'm mentally stuck in that stage where I just mindlessly chase Carter around so he and everyone surrounding him survives his destruction. The babysitting stage seemed like it wasn't ever budging. Now? He's mostly trustworthy with bombs and such. I can let him run the house, confident he's lost all interest in carrying around the toilet brush or licking a random dirty wash cloth laying in the laundry room.

Enter the talking/understanding stage.
I'm naturally untalkative, so I'm challenged with the explosion of vocabulary and dozens of little (hilarious!) broken sentences that have straight out of nowhere graced Carter's current age. I'm supposed to be encouraging nonstop conversations and coming up with ways to introduce words. 

But seriously. I was getting so good at the chaotic chasing.

I easily forget that everything has a name, and - whoops - he doesn't really know any of them yet.
We're sitting cross-legged on the floor, eating sweet cajun trail mix. Except for chomping, it's all but silent. This is nice.
No, wait. 
This is trail mix. Can you say 'trail mix?'
He says it and probably forgets it as soon as his lips finish the attempt.

Uh oh! You dropped one on the floor.
I decide to just go all space cadet on him.
These floors are made of wood.
Wood is from trees.
You know, the trees that are outside?
Blank, unsponge-like stare. 

Everything I'm physically doing deserves an explanation. I remind myself that he doesn't know why I'm boiling water (I figure out some words that somehow support the meaning of cooking). Why I'm washing the plate (Bacteria is probably completely over his head). Why he shouldn't touch the knives (a long annotation about how the word dangerous correlates to booboos).

In the back of my mind, I'm fighting myself, thinking There's no way he understands what I'm saying, why do I bother? I soo enjoy any rare silence that might creep into my house. I'm training my mind to keep moving; always search for words to talk to him about. The I'm so happy to know you's and songs that make no sensethe purposes of folded clothes and combed hair, the consequences of unbrushed teeth and stinky breath, the cats with their tails and the little boys with no tails, just a hiney. It feels so trivial and tedious sometimes. I wonder if he's holding onto any of this.

But I say it all, anyway. Because by not listening to my unorganized babble, he's learning even less.


I've wanted to hash over Carter's potty training drama for a few weeks now. But I can't write about it while he's in an outrightdisregardtoiletexistence phase. The potty's simmering on the back burner with all our green vegetables. Except broccoli.

::soaking in a proud, little accomplishment rush::


I didn't want to write about exercise. Because in general, exercise sucks.

But I think - after 30-whatever years of cognitive life holding this fact to be solid and true - I'm obsessed with running now. 

Plus, I've been blowing up everyone's Twitter page with obnoxious exercise tweets. So, I'll unofficially call this post Twitter Workout Bombardment - Behind the Scenes. 

When I was in school, we had two days a year that we had to run a mile. It was timed and recorded on whatever meaningless Phys. Ed. records there were. Yeah, we were allowed to walk it - but nobody dared, for fear of being ruthlessly made fun of by the pompous boys that ruled our class. Trust me, you'd rather heave for dear life than endure whatever those boys had to say about your nerdy blunders. For a week before that run date, I'd feel physically sick to my stomach with anxiety. Anticipating tremendous pain psyches me out like that.

Like a weak, pitiful twig, I ran. And in between thoughts that my skull had developed the pliability of a squashed grape, I swore there was no point to this madness; I'd never again in my life run without reason. 

Oh, to just become a friggin' adult already.

I'm not sure exactly how my mind got changed, but if you add all these up, they make a pretty sturdy list of suspicions: 

♥My post baby belly pudge has been sitting here for two years. I always look down at it with the comforting thought, If I ever really tried to exercise, I could get rid of that thing, lickety split. That thought made the neglect feel ok. I don't know what my particular pudge is made of (skin? fat? stretched uterus?) or if it can be conquered, but I figure I'll know after I chisel at it for a while. It's there, but it's not that big. I never wanted to find the time to push aside baby Carter for exercise. 
Carter's not so baby-ish anymore, and housekeeping makes a lame hobby.

♥For a few months, I was taking long, fast walks. I'd record miles upon miles, but I always felt unchallenged and like I could somehow do better. Falling into a lazy pace is so easy to accidentally slip into when you walk.

♥Almost every window in our new house directly overlooks a gorgeous greenway pouring with young, sweating, exercised hotties. They're running past my house at all hours of the day. Forget tearing out motivational magazine photos of hot bodies to tape to my refrigerator. Living in this house does it for me every time I walk past a window. So many people can do it. They want to do it. Why not me?

A peek at our greenway.

♥Everyone in my small circle of new friends runs. Sidewalks literally line every street in our town; you can't drive anywhere without seeing a runner. At first I thought they were crazy, in an amazing way. Now I'm thinking it was me.

♥ The pool opens this weekend.

Five weeks ago, I started the Couch to 5k program. The point of the program is to start you slowly so your body has time to adapt to running and get stronger. It takes into account that in fifth grade you probably cried when some PE teacher made you run. It knows you're still pissed; it holds your hand and promises to be gentler this time. The program uses moderation as its purpose; it emphasizes not pushing yourself one second further than you're slated to do to avoid burnout or getting hurt, since your body's getting used to exercise. 

The PE teacher was your mean boyfriend. Couch to 5K is your sweet husband.

It takes me 25 minutes, 3 days a week to train. I like using the word train because it makes me feel kinda badass. You can pick any days you want.

During the first couple weeks, the whole ordeal was outright painful. I'd run for around a minute, walk for an equal amount of time, run again. My major issue was that I couldn't breathe, but I kept trusting that my body would catch up with my determined mindset. The endorphin-saturated high I floated back into my house on when I finished every day was making it completely, 100 percent worth it. And that doesn't even include how proud and clear-headed I felt for the hours after.

I've just started week five; I'm alternating running five entire minutes and walking three. Yesterday was the first time I actually didn't feel like I was running. I could breathe, my knees didn't hurt, and I sailed down my greenway, stunned at how easy it had suddenly gotten. I'd only heard about this in my life. But to experience it? Oh, man.

Am I really putting a picture of my bare stomach on the internet?
Five weeks doing Couch to 5k.  

If there were a way to rank the performance of Couch to 5kers in the history of the world, I figure I'd be at the bottom somehow, that's just how I perform with anything athletic. But hey, do anything, and experience just kinda hits you in the face. I have advice if you want to try it!

I downloaded the free C25K (Couch to 5K) app on my iPhone and hold it in my hand while I run. It tells you - out loud - when to run and walk, so you're not calculating minutes and just focusing on pushing through the workout. I use it in conjunction with the MapMyRun app, because I like to record my exact distance. While the C25K app is running, I live and breathe by what it tells me to do.

I make ice water before I leave and put it on the counter so I can grab it and chug as soon as I get back.

I put a thick lipgloss or chapstick on before I go. The wind dries your lips out within a couple minutes.

I don't run for speed. I'm honestly just proud I'm at some sort of pace that's putting my walking days to shame. I can only handle one goal at time, so I just concentrate on the number of minutes run.

My knees were killing me around week two. I spaced my runs out further, didn't quit, and the pain went away on its own after a week.

I ran in the heat once, and everything about it felt so much harder. Now I wait until about an hour before the sun sets when my husband is home to watch Carter. Even though bugs fly into my face. Ideally, I'd run in the morning. But I'd have to be a morning person for that.

Rain feels good. Don't let bad weather be an excuse.

Breathe down - in through your nose, out through your mouth. My neighbor taught me this; once I figured it out and concentrated, I felt like I could keep going a lot longer.

I wasn't listening to music for four weeks. When I tried music this week, it changed everything. I wasn't concentrating on the rhythm of my feet, the sound of my breath, or the number of minutes left, which I've decided, was all psyching me out. Survivor by Destiny's Child always gets me going.

Ahem. Running away from my tripod. Girl's got a blog to illustrate.

A couple days ago, Matt and I were watching The Office. A commercial came on with a super ripped, hot, tan chick running. Carter sees her and says, Pretty cool! As Matt starts on a smile & nod in approval of his son's good taste, he finishes his sentence ... dat Mommy!

All of a sudden, that's the only reason I run.