Learning to run

My New Year’s Resolution for 2012 was to “get healthy.” But goals should be SMART, which stands for “specific, measurable, attainable, rewarding, and time-limited.” So my goal became “be able to run for at least 30 minutes before the end of this year.” Last year, Bill (husband) asked me to run in the Austin10K (6.2 miles) with him, his niece, Kristin, and her husband, Justin. I couldn’t really run then and Kristin was pregnant, so he assured me there wouldn’t be much running. HA! Kristin ran a lot more than I’d expected, but she’d been running before her pregnancy, so Ava (the baby) was OK. There really wasn’t a lot of running, but enough that I was worn out and sore afterward. I expected the usual “run with me” experience, where I walk by myself while Bill runs ahead to get his “PR” (personal record). Surprisingly, we all stuck together.

In May of this year, Bill nagged me to run in the 5K (3.1 miles) at Horseshoe Bay Resort with him and our youngest son, Jake. “Run with me” this time meant I was by myself, Jake was way ahead of me, and Bill ran the 10K, finishing long before I was done. This time I was able to run a bit for a 15-minute average pace. Yes, barely running, but not bad for out-of-shape, overweight cube farmer. It helped that there was one other woman about my age who was running and walking as much as I was. (And also why I won first place in my age group!) We took turns running ahead. In the last block, I finally “sprinted” past her to the finish. She was only 10 seconds behind me.

Bill, me, and Jacob after the Sunset Wine Tour 5K and 10K. Bill got first place overall Master (40 and over his trophy is a wine stopper), 2nd place overall, and I got first place, female, in my age group.

My next races (unless Bill comes up with another one before then) are the 5K and half marathon at the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend in January 2013, so I have plenty of time to train (I think). Bill, Jake, Alex (our oldest son), and I are all running in the 5K on Friday and the half-marathon on Saturday. Then Bill is also running the full marathon on Sunday. (Yes, he has a little OCD.) Disney requires that you keep a 16-minute pace or faster for the half, so I need to keep my current pace or (preferably) get faster. If you lose sight of the 16-minute pace runner, a van will soon appear, and people will wrestle you into the van and drive you to the finish. They have a schedule, people! (Just kidding about the “wrestling” part, but I do wonder what happens if you refuse to get into the van!)

I’m trying to increase the time I’m running and not walking. I’m up to Stage 10 of the Run Your Butt Off training plan, which is walk for 2 minutes, run for 13 minutes, and repeat for a total of 30 minutes. (I go longer if I have time and feel like it.) Training is not convenient. It means getting up at 5 am-ish, putting on running attire, and forcing myself to “just do it” for 30-60 minutes. I’ve worked out at lunch time, but it’s in the upper 80s-90s, and we have no showers at work. (I change clothes, of course, and use cleansing wipes and alcohol-based toner to wash off the sweat. I need to buy/make some sort of portable shower!) At least it gets me outside during the day so I can make some vitamin D, and the rest of the work day seems to go a bit faster.

Cheapest Form of Exercise?

People say, “Running is the cheapest form of exercise. All you need is a good pair of running shoes!” That’s not exactly true.

NordicTrack Treadmill T7si For when it’s too hot, too cold, too dark, or raining.

$1300

Nike Air Pegasus + 28 running shoes These run a little small. (I wear a 9, but had to get a 9.5). You should buy two pair so you can alternate if you’re running every day. Put some baking soda in an old pair of socks and stuff the socks in the shoes to freshen them up. Or just sprinkle some in your shoes, leave it in until the next time you run, and shake it out into the sink before you put them on. You can wash it down the sink to freshen it, too.

$95

Insoles for your running style and weight You need a quality pair of insoles for the shoes. Do NOT use the ones that come with ANY running shoe. They’re meant to be disposed. Pay attention to the weight designation for the insoles. I had to buy men’s insoles!

$20

Power Sox Good quality socks to provide cushioning, sweat wicking, and blister prevention. (I haven’t had a blister yet with these socks, knock on wood.)

$12

Anita Extreme Control sports bra #5527 If you’re a large-busted woman like I am, you need the industrial-strength running bra, which does not come cheaply, and not usually sold in stores.

$67

Fila Women’s Toning Resistance (compression) shorts If you’re “plus sized” like I am (in workout wear, that means any body part larger than a 12), you also need to search the Internet to find running clothes that fit you (or you can wear men’s running clothes until you lose weight).

$35

Garmin FR70 Women’s black/pink If you’re obsessive like Bill, or if you’re related in any way to a guy like Bill, you need a Garmin sport watch to prove that you actually did run, how far/long you ran, what your heart rate was, what your pace is, etc. This is Garmin’s least expensive model and is also waterproof and comes with a heart monitor. (Garmin uses the ANT+ wireless protocol. I already had a Polar, which uses Bluetooth, and works with my phone. Why can’t we all just get along??)

$130

Garmin Foot Pod Tracks my pace when I walk on the treadmill. (Fits in the space under the left insole in Nike+ shoes.)

$70

MP3 player It’s much easier if you get music with a speedy BPM to keep you moving! And Bluetooth so you don’t have cords dangling all over the place. I’ve been using my son’s old iTouch with a cracked screen, but will replace it soon with a Creative ZEN Style M300 16 GB MP3 with additional 32 GB available through microSD card, and Bluetooth.

$90

Jabra Sport Bluetooth Headset Best Bluetooth headset I’ve tried (out of numerous). This one is “military grade” and water (sweat resistant). I have to have the MP3 player/phone on my right side; otherwise, it cuts in and out when I’m walking/running.

$80

Nathan Intensity Race Vest If you’re running further than a mile, you’ll need some sort of water delivery system. In races, they always have water stations, but when you’re training, you have to carry your own. Bill has a belt with water bottles attached, but I decided to try a “running vest” with a water pack in it. The vest has a zippered pocket in the front for keys, ID, Gu packs, etc, and another open pocket for your music player. There is a bigger pocket in the back where I suppose you could put some after-running things, but I’ve never used it.

$70

That’s a lot of money. And you probably want 2 pair of your running shoes, 2 bras, more than one set of workout clothes, etc., so, “cheap” I think not. And after you’ve added the price of races, transportation and lodging for out-of-town races, buying running stuff at the expo before the race, sight seeing at the place where you’re running (if it’s out of town), etc. that’s not cheap.

Of course, you can just put on your good ol’ sneakers and some comfortable clothes, grab the dog and his leash, and take a hike around your neighborhood. As long as you’re moving, that’s what counts.

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