Saturday, March 5, 2011

Adventures of a Beginner Part 2

(This was my latest blog post for my personal blog and I thought I would share here...please don't judge my speed (or serious lack thereof) or my extreme lack of knowledge. I am honestly just a 38 year mom of 4 who has never done anything like this before in her life.)

"So I have been trying to run. I have also been advised to start recording my adventures. This may be boring for some but mostly it's for me. I have been trying to run this very oversized butt for a few months now. Sadly, the oversized butt is still there and the pounds are clinging to me for dear life. This week I had an epiphany though...something I already knew in my logical head but after reading 3 (yes that is THREE) books this week, I think my logical head and my heart are coming together. My high heart rate is making me hold onto the weight. My body is sucking up all the glycogen in my body and not using my plentiful fat reserves. Thus I fall into a coma for 2 days until the next run. It's all starting to make sense. My only question is why I didn't figure this out before now with only 39 days until my race. The good news is that starting Monday begins a new training routine which includes 5 days a week of running but at a much easier pace. No more trying to kill myself for 6 miles. After my last 2-a-day on Monday I felt super discouraged and just didn't know how I could possibly do this race. How do I run 5.5 miles, then 8 hours later do 3 miles and 8 hours later run 6? How do I do that when I feel like dying after the first 5? The answer will lie in this new training program. Forget the distance and focus solely on the heart rate and keeping in the zone it is supposed to be. Thursday I tried running/walking slower and at an incline because I felt I was getting sick. I kept the HR down to 70% and WOW, I felt incredible when I was done. My legs didn't stiffen up into rigor mortise after I was done. When I woke up the next day, I could WALK!!! Miracles happen. Now that I have finished the heart rate book, it totally makes sense. My body wasn't using my glycogen reserves! Awesome!

I don't like running. But I do have something to prove. I can do this. If the very large contestants on Biggest Loser can run, so can I. Even this season's biggest contestant Arthur has been running on the treadmill. If this 400 pound man can do this with all his extra "baggage" wagging on his body, then so can I and am FAR smaller than he is.

I feel like after this week's reading (yes THREE whole books just on running and heart rates) I have a head full of knowledge. I am excited to run at 70% of my heart rate max (which is going to be like walking really for a while.) I am excited to only have one hard day out of 5. I am excited that my hard day is not going to be on Friday when my schedule is too full and I get too tired. I am now looking forward to Wednesdays and days of rest. Every book I have read has said to love and enjoy those days off. I am looking forward to possibly (very possibly) consider training for a half marathon after this race is over. We'll see if I am dead after Ragnar or not. I don't think a full marathon would ever be in my future. It's not really all that good for the body and I honestly don't care but I am curious to see if I could survive 13 miles all at once. If I can do it in 24 hours for Ragnar, why not in 4 (yes I'm slow) for a half marathon? The other thing I have been learning in all my book reading is that there is no shame in walk/running...that most good marathoners do a mixture of both. Only a very tiny percentage run the whole way. Many even break at every mile to ice their knees (which also begs to wonder WHY they do it?)

I am sure this first week will be frustrating for me as I had finally hit 6 miles at an 11:44 pace- of course I died for 48 hours after that run. I am sure I will be back down to a 14:45-15:30 pace while I condition my heart. I know I am going to feel so much better though and not have to die in between the runs. I'm sure my family will be happy about that. They have seen me more horizontal than vertical since this whole thing started two months ago. So here's to another new twist in my adventure! My goal is to run a lot of miles in 2011. So far I am at 158 I think.

I really want to do the Napa Valley Ragnar in September of 2012. You start in San Francisco and cross the Golden Gate Bridge and head north through some Redwoods and on up into wine country. Sounds almost as blissful as the So Cal! Just something to work towards, train for and stay/get in shape for.

These are the two other books I have read this week. Informative for sure."


  1. Jen, I can't wait to meet you! We sure have a lot in common. I know there is a great debate about heart rate training, but it has changed my life! Learning how to read my body (and then respond to walk for a minute or two to bring my heart rate back down), was soooo essential in being successful at running.

    On another note, I too, don't lose weight when I am training hard for something. I lose weight when I tone down my workouts and eat good. It's an oxymoron I think!

  2. Susan--why the heck are you commenting from Hawaii?? Don't you have a beach to be sitting on??? ;)

    Jen--I agree that sometimes we push ourselves too hard, and that's just as harmful to our bodies as doing nothing at all! So, I am glad to hear you are going to try a new, gentler approach. I bet it will make all the difference in the world. Good luck and keep us posted!

  3. Good luck Jen! Like I said before, running is so individual, and I hope this new strategy will work for you. Once you figure out what works then running can be enjoyable, I promise. Best of luck. I look forward to meeting you this week!

  4. OH that reminds me I need to email directions. I will try and remember to do that tomorrow morning.

  5. Tara: because the weather sucks! And, I was just passing time driving down to Pearl Harbor.