Having finished Gateway to 8K, I started Freeway to 10K this morning.
What this mainly means is that I can now run fifty entire minutes at a time. Actually on that last G28K run I think I looked at my watch to see if I was almost done yet a grand total of three times, and not once did I go oh God you’ve got to be shitting me, so I think I could go an hour or even longer.
I’ve done two 5K races. I’m doing a third in a few weeks. I’m doing a fourth in April and if I have a bike more raceworthy than my current SUV of a bike, I might start looking for a duathlon to enter. I think maybe–just maybe, under the right weather conditions and on a nice flat or slightly downhill course–I could do a 10K and run at least most of it right now.
Six months ago, I looked at the Couch to 5K plan, specifically Week 5 Day 3 and that first 20-minute run, and thought it looked fucking impossible. And now twenty minutes is an easy run. WTF.
And for some reason, I’ve started not being bored to tears by running on the track at the park. I’m starting to suspect it was less “boredom” and more “omg other people are here and will see me” that was making me not like to run on the track, though. Funny how running a race with four thousand other people also running, not to mention the spectators, will make you not quite care so much that a sauna suit grandma with one-pound hand weights is approaching you from the opposite direction. Anyway, the track doesn’t bother me now. It has become my friend. I mainly started running on it again because it was horrible and cold one morning and it had rained the day before and the thought of running on mud and soggy grass and puddles to a point several miles away from my apartment and back was not at all palatable when there was a perfectly good mostly dry one-mile track right across the street. I think this Sunday I’m still going to truck over to the other park, the one with the not-quite-so-flat track that goes around a lake, just for a change of scenery.
So let’s talk about Freeway to 10K for a moment. On paper, it actually looks easier than Gateway to 8K–the run intervals are much, much shorter for the first few weeks.
What it is easy to not take into account is that they’re, uh, also faster.
Today: five sets of “run 4 minutes at 153 bpm, walk 2 minutes.” G28K ended with a 50-minute run at 149 bpm. This does not sound like a huge difference and indeed, once I got used to it (the second or third run), it was just enough of a difference to give me that WOOO I AM RUNNIN’ NOW LOOK AT ME GO sensation. It did not kill me, but it wasn’t totally easy-peasy either.
And finally, I might have mentioned some aches and pains that made me nervous–right calf/shin, left knee. I’d cut down to one run a week for about the last month, because I didn’t want to cripple myself with a race day this close but I also am now at the point where I have to run once in a while in the same way that most people have to breathe once in a while and also didn’t want to become a complete couch potato with a race day this close.
Well, I think I might have found the magic bullet for all of my owies: Dr. Scholl’s knee pain relief orthotics (which I now have both in my running shoes and in my standard everyday-wear crosstrainers) + one of those little thin knee straps. Knee and calf/shin: still a bit unhappy after Sunday’s run but my God, not nearly as bad as they’d been. The big test is, can I carry my bike up and down the stairs without wanting to cry or feeling like my knee is about to say you know what, eff this and eff you, I’m clocking out? Yes. Again, still not completely without discomfort, but still much, much better than it’s been.
Also I stopped icing the damn things! Apparently that was PART OF THE PROBLEM! Heat seems to work much, much better. As does walking on at least some of the days I don’t run.