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Progress report

Posted on March 30th, 2011 by annakjarzab

So I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’m trying to be more active and go to the gym more, since, you know, I pay for it and all that, and that I’m doing Couch to 5K. I decided to repeat the first week of the program (so I did “week 1” for two weeks, well more like two and a half weeks) because I’ve never been able to run anything close to 5K (I think that’s around two and a half miles) and I thought I should take it slow to let my body adjust. But by the third day of my second week of “week 1” (does that make sense? are you still with me?), I was starting to feel like I could do more. I was crowding the front of the treadmill, which I assumed meant that I was running faster than the 5.5 pace I’d set the treadmill at, so I bumped it up to the 6 pace. That was Monday; I was proud that I pushed myself, and after the workout I felt really strong and capable. Hey, it was an accomplishment for me! I’m terrible at this running thing.

So yesterday (even though you’re supposed to take a day off between Couch to 5K workouts) I went back to the gym to start on Week 2. Week 1 sets are 5 minutes warm up, then 8 sets of 60 seconds running, 90 seconds walking, followed by a 5 minute cool down. My pacing for those workouts has been warm up: 3, running: 5.5, walking: 3, cool down: 2.5 (except Monday when it was warm up: 3, running: 6, walking: 3, cool down: 2.5). I was so sure that the Week 2 workouts would be a breeze because Monday felt so good. Boy, was I in for a surprise! First of all, they tell you to take a day of rest between workouts for reason. I’ve had bad knees for a long time, and when I started my warm up yesterday I realized, hey, my knees really hurt. But I was already dressed, I’d already stolen a treadmill from somebody (there are two kinds of treadmills at my gym and I don’t know how to use one of the brands, but the brand I have managed to figure out is also the more popular one, so sometimes you have to knock little old ladies out of the way to get one and I’m not above that), and I was already warming up, so I was like, whatever, I’m doing this. Apart from the knee pain, everything else felt fine.

It wasn’t the worst workout ever. It was hard, harder than I thought it’d be, and by the end I was sort of dying and wanting it to be over, but I was also feeling really proud for making it through. Week 2 workouts are 5 minutes warm up, then 6 sets of alternating 90 seconds running with 2 minutes walking, then a 5 minute cool down. I started doing the running on 5.5, but had to bump it up to 5.7 because, again, I was crowding the front of the treadmill so I knew I could go faster (but didn’t want to set it at 6, lest my legs break and I pass out). But I was really feeling it afterward. My knees were screaming with pain, and so were my ankles. I know part of it is just the way my body is–I have knee problems, this isn’t new–and part of it is the way I run. My balance is not great and I favor the sides of my feet even when I walk, so I probably have terrible, terrible running form and that is causing pain where it needn’t be. However, I seem to be bouncing back quicker from the muscle fatigue and pain caused by the running–the first few times I did it, I would ache for days, but even though my knees really hurt yesterday, they feel fine today. I even contemplated going back to the gym tonight, but then I was like, don’t do it. Tomorrow will be fine.

In other news (this is such an exciting post you guys!) I bought new running shoes. Mine were ten years old (I know! Ten! That shows you how much I’ve used them) and UGLY. I remember that I lost my taste for them when I saw a particularly unfashionable and unliked RA of mine wearing the same ones in college, but for a decade they’re all I’ve had. So I went to the Footlocker Run store in Union Square and bought new ones. I thought I deserved it for really dedicating myself to this running thing. I bought these Nike Free Run + shoes, because they’re really lightweight (which is invaluable in a city where you have to carry everything with you) and they simulate barefoot running, which I hear is the best but would never do EVER. So okay, a few things about these shoes: mine aren’t those colors (they’re just white with a royal blue swoosh) and, um, I had to get a pair of men’s instead of women’s.

Okay, but here’s why! It makes me feel like a colossus admitting this, but I wear a size 10 and these shoes run small since they’re almost like slippers–they have no tongue, they’re a little tough to get on, but they fit like a glove so you have to get a size up if you have any hope of fitting into them at all. But a size up from 10 is 11 and the store didn’t carry women’s 11s. So mine are a men’s 9. And actually, the guy who sold them to me told me that lots of women with small feet get upset when they can’t try on the men’s sizes because they think they come in better colors (they do–the lady colors are blinding neon and total ugsville). I’m sure he was exaggerating because he wanted to sell me some shoes and the way to do that is not to make the patron feel like a giantess, but whatever. I love them anyway. They feel amazing on and they don’t weigh down my bag like my old ones did, plus they’re much nicer looking.

So that’s where I am with the running. I’m sticking to it, and I’m enjoying it for the most part, so I feel like that’s all good news.

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