First 5k Since Active Duty

This past Sunday, Sherry and I were in San Antonio for a weekend getaway. We decided to run in the morning to get in our weekend exercise, and we decided to go ahead and try to make it a 5k. Well, I’m happy to report that I completed my first 5k since leaving active duty. This was also my longest run in both distance and time since I started running again two weeks ago.

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I’m pretty proud of this accomplishment. First, it’s only two weeks after starting to run again, and second, I was able to get there without getting hurt or really feeling bad afterward. I was a little tired after this run, but ultimately, I feel good and I have no bad pains.

I’m proud of the fact that since day one of running, I haven’t stopped to walk or jog. I’ve run every run the entire distance every time. I was able to do this out of sheer determination. I wanted it.

You can do anything you set your mind to. You just have to want it bad enough.

Daily Running

I’ve been wondering if running five days a week is okay for me to do, and I’ve been doing a lot of reading to find out what the right answer is. I’ve heard over and over that running is worse than walking for exercise, and that too much running, or even daily running, will wear down the joints in the legs. The conventional wisdom has been to ride bikes, swim, or do something every other day to allow the joints in the legs to rest. However, I’ve found more recent and respected authorities who advocate running daily as being a great way to stay healthy, get fit, and for those without joint problems, to keep joints healthy. I’ve been worried about injuring myself, so I’ve been taking it slow, but lately, I’ve felt the desire to run on my off days. It’s a strange, nervous, uneasy feeling in my leg muscles when I don’t run. I feel like the only way to make that feeling go away is to run.

So, starting soon, I’ll begin running daily. I will still be taking it easy, to be sure, but I will be doing it daily. I need to continue to get into better shape, and to lose more weight. My final goal is just 14 lbs away, and I want to get there by the end of the year, if at all possible.

If you were like me and never liked running or wanted to run as exercise, I recommend you rethink it and give it a try. I will admit that it sucks in the beginning, but as time goes by, and if you take it slow and easy with day(s) of rest in between runs, it gets easier and actually even enjoyable. I’m to the point now where I look forward to it. Not so much because running is so fun (I’m not that crazy yet), but because my legs feel so much better afterward. It’s almost like a relief to get done with a run.

If you don’t want to run or even try running, do something. I actually started with push ups. Getting stronger led me to start running. Baby steps are better than no steps.

Got my run in, even if it was later

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I was finally able to get my run in today, albeit not without some issues. Thankfully, the issues had nothing to do with my health.

Since I missed my run in the morning, I had resolved to run after work. I hadn’t done this since I was on Active Duty, so I was wondering how it would go. I dressed up in my PT gear, got my Bluetooth headphones on, turned on my awesome PT playlist, and got my Fitbit ready by finding a GPS signal. Then, I (thought) I pushed the start button for the run and took off at a good clip. At the .5 mile mark, I wondered why the Fitbit hadn’t given me my half-mile split time, so I looked down at my watch. What I saw made me angry.

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I didn’t press the button properly, I guess. So, I went ahead and pressed it and continued on. I know from the distance and the pace that it was roughly 5 minutes for the half mile, so I resolved to add an entry into my PT log and went on. My goals for this run were to increase my time to 30+ minutes and to go past 2.5 miles. I did it on both counts!

I felt good on the run. I didn’t have any aches and pains, and I was able to run all the way through again. At the end, I was a little more tired than the last few runs, but I’ve pushed without pushing too hard. 30 minutes is the longest I’ll be running for the time being, so I’ll be working on increasing the distance within that time. That’s a goal for the next few weeks; the next few runs will be the same course I took today. If I finish sooner, so be it. If later, that’s okay too. I just want to get used to this distance and work harder later.

So, the image above shows the total distance and steps of the GPS data along with the manual log entry I made. I’m happy with the results, and I’m happy that I can run without lots of muscle pain or without feeling dead afterward. My legs are definitely in need of the day off, though. I look forward to being able to do daily runs at least 5 times a week in the future.

Annoyed with my alarm clock

This morning, I planned on waking up at 5:15 a.m. to run, but due to a power glitch last night around 6 pm (that only lasted about a second!), the speakers connected to my Amazon Echo Dot that we use as our alarm clock in our bedroom powered down. I woke up at 5:45 a.m. to find that the alarm didn’t go off as planned and I didn’t have time for my morning run today.

So… that means I get to run in the heat after work.

This is going to be an interesting experiment. It should be a bit cooler than the day’s high temperature since I’ll be running at around 6 pm, but also at a time of peak traffic, so I’ll have to run on sidewalks and try to stay away from the roads as much as possible. Fortunately, I have some new running clothes that are quite amazing at wicking and keeping me cool, so I’ll be putting them to the test today. I’m also looking forward to seeing how much energy I have, and how hard I can push myself to keep a good pace through the planned 30 minutes. Maybe running at the end of the day will be easier for me? Who knows. Hopefully I survive this one.

Mindset: Changed (changing?)

I have to admit something. I’m getting into the exercise thing.

I know. Where have I failed you?

I’m still not a huge fan of it, but I’m beginning to like how I feel afterward. During the run: still kind of sucky, but it feels good to be out there, moving, doing something. When I’m done, I feel like I’ve accomplished something besides making the bed and shaving.

I want to be able to enjoy running. I really do. I have read enough to know that people who have a positive mindset when exercising realize greater benefits from that exercise, and I don’t want to limit what I can get out of the time I spend working on my health. So, I’ve changed my mindset.

Much like I had to change my mindset when it came to my new lifestyle, I’m doing the same thing for exercise. I don’t want to go all gym rat or Crossfit because my goals have nothing to do with pushing myself pysically, but I do want to be able to run every morning and feel good afterward. I want to run to get thin; I don’t want to bulk up. I don’t want to be able to lift 450 lbs. I just don’t. But I do want to be fit.

So, I’m applying what I learned through my weight loss to getting fit. If my success in that area is any indication, I should have this running thing licked in another week or two and then it’ll be old hat. Or so I hope. Stay tuned.

Day 4 of Running

file_000-17Yesterday’s post was about Day 3 of Running. Today’s is about Day 4, although I didn’t run them on consecutive days. The magic of pre-posting has reared it’s head. Anyway, here’s my report for Day 4.

It went extremely well. I got up, put on the PT gear and my Bluetooth headphones and hit the pavement. I had a good pace to start with (9:30/mile) and kept my pace at faster than 10:30 for the rest of the run. I also added some more distance and two more minutes. Also, my average heart rate was up by 6 bpm over the past three runs which tells me I pushed it a little harder. Still not super-hard “OMG, I’m out of breath!” kind of pushing, but enough to get a little more out of it. I’m taking today off from running, but I’ll be back at it tomorrow for my fifth run. After that, I think I will lay off the daily run reports. I’m just posting these so people can see how it’s going for me, and how quickly I’m able to progress after not exercising since leaving active duty. All I did was lose weight and then hit the pavement.

Day 3 of Running

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No, this isn’t turning into an exercise blog, I promise! However, exercise is now a part of my lifestyle, and not posting about it would be leaving out an important aspect of my journey. Besides, if I stick with the Paleo theme, I can just imagine myself being chased by a Sabretooth Tiger or a Wooly Mammoth or something. I’m sure our Paleo forebears did plenty of running!

My latest run was pretty decent. I started off with a good pace and settled into a little bit slower but still good pace. I also increased the distance a bit while the time increased by under a minute over the previous run. In any rate, I’m happy with the result, and happy to have broken the 2 mile mark in my morning run.

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I was experiencing a little bit of pain in my knee before I ran, but by being mindful of my steps and being careful, I found that the pain was some sort of phantom that disappeared, likely just an ache from sleeping. Once I was running, there was no pain at all. Breathing was pretty good today, too.

On the tech side of things, I had two new items with me today that helped my run. First, I got a belt that allows me to put my phone into it. This is huge because I hate having to carry or hold anything in my hands when I’m running. The second was a new pair of bluetooth headphones. These worked far better than I expected, and I’m really happy with them. I ended up buying another pair to give to Sherry for her runs.

I’m also using new shirts and shorts for running, and I have to admit that they are superior to regular t-shirts and cotton shorts. I don’t feel weighed down, and the sweat evaporates quickly which allows me to keep cool while running. Where were these shirts when I was on active duty?

All in all, I felt good again today. This “easing into things” is working out quite well. I might be able to keep this up for at least the next two decades.