Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Keep moving.

So I'm doing it!

Last Thursday, I started the C25K program. Since I'm new to running, I'm taking it a little slower. So instead of running for three sessions then moving to the next week, I am going to do Week 1 through the end of this week. That way, I can build up my endurance and muscles so when the intensity increases, I'll be ready!

I'm following a mix of podcasts/apps. On Thursday, I used the C25K app and that version of the program. It had me alternating 30 seconds of running with 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes, with 5 minute warm-up and cool-down walks. On Saturday and Monday, I followed the 5K101 podcast, which had me alternating running for 2 minutes with walking for 3 minutes, for 20 minutes with 5 minute warm-ups and cool-downs. Tomorrow, I'll go back to the C25K version, and I haven't decided what I'll do on Friday yet. I like this approach because it varies things up a bit to keep things interesting.

I've read a good deal of information about proper running form and how to take care of myself before, during and after a run, so I'm not going in blind. One of the biggest things I keep in mind is that this isn't a race - speed and distance at this point isn't important. The most important thing at this point in my development is building endurance. So while I may run for 2 minutes, I might not get that far. But I run for the entire 2 minutes. If I start to feel sore or breathless, I slow down, but I keep running. And so far, this has worked really well for me.

Of course, I've run about 24 minutes total so what do I know?

By the way - since I started walking (and now running) with my Fitbit and tracking my food with the program (about 2 1/2 weeks), I've lost 4.5 lbs. That's pretty motivating, too.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

On the run.

I've been in a weight-loss slump for the last year. I haven't gained any back (thank goodness), but I haven't lost any, either. I needed something to get me going again - a jump-start. A kick in the (still larger than I'd like them to be) pants.

Enter the Fitbit.

The Fitbit is a high-tech pedometer that tracks steps, distance, stairs, calories burned and activity levels, then syncs the information via a base station to a website. The website then shows graphs and charts of activity through the day, and can also be used to track food, weight and health stats. There's a social aspect in that you can Friend others with Fitbits, and keep track of their information via a leaderboard - who walked the most steps, was most active, etc. It will even track sleep patterns, though I haven't used it for that (yet).

Mr. Awesome and I got Fitbits about two weeks ago and have since turned into walking machines. Our goal is to walk at least 10,000 steps a day, but we've exceeded that by thousands every day so far. We see it as a competition of sorts - who can walk the most during the day at work, can we be at the top of the leaderboard - and that keeps me motivated to want to walk further.

It's also what is making me want to take up running.

I've never been a runner. In high school, I avoided physical activity of that sort like the plague, and have never run more than a couple hundred yards in my life that I can remember. That is, until the last few days.

Gradually, as we walk on the trail near our house, we're inserting short bursts of running. "To the end of the fence!" "To the scoreboard!" "Make it to the big tree - not this big tree - that big tree up there!" Over the last few days, as I've been able to run in these short segments and realize that I'm not gasping for air or tripping or keeling over in pain, my self-confidence has grown and I am coming to believe that yes, I can be a runner.

Last night, I ran almost a quarter of a mile in one stretch. I wasn't fast, but I made it, and when I reached my goal point (a light pole somewhere on the trail) I almost cried.

I can't wait to do it again tonight.

If you have a Fitbit, befriend me at http://www.fitbit.com/user/234NVL. If you don't have a Fitbit, consider getting one. It's changed my life - I really don't think it's too soon to say that.

All this new activity requires proper fueling for the body. Lately, we've been eating a lot of salads for dinner.

I'm planning on starting the Couch to 5K program in a few days. I'm optimistic - for the first time in my life I can actually picture me not just slimmer, but active and physically fit. This is really exciting - I'm going to be a runner!