Running

Kezar Stadium

I’ve never really been a runner. In elementary school, during the President’s Physical Fitness Challenge, I would always come in dead last walking the mile run test. On running days of my high school gym class I would walk to the other side of the track, furthest from the teacher, and sit down. When running was mandatory, I’d tell my male Phys Ed teacher I had my period and he’d immediately leave me alone. Now that I’m rounding the corner to 25, I’ve decided it’s time to nut up or shut up.

My good friend Randy started running last year and I constantly would see him tweeting about it. In December I emailed him asking for some tips on getting started and he replied with a super informative letter. With this newly found knowledge, I started my New Year’s Resolution to run!

Time to wake up.

On running days I wake up at 6:40am (I set the alarm for 6:30 and hit the snooze one time). Getting out of bed and getting my gear on that early is the hardest part for me, but I have to run in the morning because my nights are so unpredictable. I decided running 4 days a week would be a good way to get into the habit of waking up and running, so I ran on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. As Randy pointed out, it’s important to have days off.

Kezar Stadium Entrance

After eating half a banana and a cup of water, Chris and I head over to Kezar Stadium. We start by doing some warm up stretches and jumping jacks. They have a standard track (1 lap = 1/4 mile), so I decided the best way to begin running was to start small and increase gradually. My first big goal is to be able to run a mile, so I started by running and then walking halfway through a lap (x4). When Vickie and I had tried running our sophomore summer of college, we started this way as well.

January's Running Graph

During the month of January, I increased my amount of running from 1/2 mile to 3/4 a mile. I had planned to increase the amount every week in January up to a mile, but because I didn’t want to increase the amount without feeling comfortable first – I stayed at 3/4 mile for a few weeks. During the third week I got sick and was working late nights (as you can see by the gap in the graph), so that contributed to getting stuck at the 3/4 mile mark. To make up for my slowly growing ability to run, I still walk more often than not.

January's Running and Walking Graph

I still love walking, but I’m genuinely beginning to like running. Sometimes I’ll be listening to a song on my way home and just get this overwhelming urge to run. Even if it’s a small distance, it’s still rewarding by the time I get to the front door.

By the last lap, the sun is up and the field is really pretty.

Running hasn’t been the easiest thing to master. Chris and I have both had our separate difficulties. Poor Chris is having the hardest time with shin splints. Apparently if you bike consistently, the back of your legs are un-proportionately muscly compared to the front. If you run it causes super painful shin splints that linger and make it hard to walk, let alone run. His doctor has told him to stay off his feet for awhile to let his legs heal. If anybody has any tips for him, it would be greatly appreciated.

My biggest issue is breathing correctly. I don’t know why, but I have a tendency to hold my breath. I may be because I get distracted… looking at birds or something. Anyway, the result is a cramp on the left or right side of my stomach. If I slow down, stretch, and start taking deep, full breathes it goes away.

Stretching is important.

It’s still incredibly hard to get up in the morning, but when I do drag my ass out of bed the result is very rewarding. I’ve set some incentives to keep myself motivated. When I can run a full mile I’m going to buy myself an iPod shuffle and real running shoes. I’m feeling comfortable with the 3/4 mile now, so I plan to move it up to 7/8 mile my next run. Hopefully a comfortable full mile will be soon!

Linzi

UPDATE: I ran a mile today!!! :D

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