Week 3, or How To Turn Your Toenails Black

Despite the fact I’ve been running 5Ks for a year, I’m still not very good at it. It’s not going to stop me, because while discouraging there are personal records I’d like to set and beat. There are lots of things I enjoy I’m not very good at, but I lack the sense to stop doing them. Only a defeatist would call it a personal failing.

When I started running I used a few Couch to 5K programs (restarted a few times), but I was still never quite able to just run three miles without stopping.

I really want to do that. Not being able to do that didn’t stop me from running my first 5K nor did it stop me from running the four that followed. I still got out there and walk-jogged and did my best and got better at running longer and walking less.

Now a year in, I’m still looking to run three point one miles from gun to shoot.

On my quest of Personal Discovery to Slay the Lactic Acid Beast, I’ve got my trusty Nike+ Running App. With the last update came a nice addition called Coach, which was like the Challenges except with just yourself  instead of other people who may or may not exist. I was able to set my goal (Cruise in Shoes in August) and Coach created a training plan.

Like the systems I surround myself with, I need structure. Some creatives balk about having schedules and systems, believing their muses need to be unfettered and free to create. My muse needs a set schedule and a deadline or it sits on the couch and gets fat and when I point at the computer to encourage it to make words, it just lays there, struggling to breathe.

Pray for Mojo
Pray for Mojo

I’m the same with running and working out. I don’t like people or classes, so signing up for Zumba or spinning is pointless. I do like gyms and equipment and being left alone, so joining a gym and using the treadmill or the weights is great – when I go. Doug nagging me is fine, and I’ll even get dressed, but I won’t actually go, or the gym will be closed or whatever excuse I find to not go.

Oh crummy darn...
Oh crummy darn…

Nike+ Coach tells me when to run and how far and when to rest and when to cross-train, and while it seems silly that a grown woman needs to be told by a piece of software on her phone when to get off her ass and run, yet here we are.

The kicker is I don’t mind. It’s not like I get a cookie or a gold star or a pat on the head when I complete a week, but my app tells me when I hit my daily running distance with a cold, detached excitement, and it makes me happy. I get a graph that tells me what the weekly goal was and how close I came to making it or how much I over it. I’ve only fallen short once in Week 3 (last week) by 1.4 miles, and that’s because I was hurt.

But still – graphs.

image
It smell like accomplishment!

Regardless, I’m in Week 4 and while I’m not exactly seeing perfect progress towards all running 5K, I cannot knock the strides I’ve made. I did four miles today at a pace that rivals my 5K personal best last year.

I had a crummy race on Sunday (Mt Olivet Sunrise Run), but lots of factors played into that include not knowing when to go to bed the night before and inclement weather. I’m one of those “perfect conditions” runners, meaning that unless the stars are aligned and my headset is positioned exactly on my ears and the music is precisely the right tempo, I have a crummy run. Plus it was raining. I was doomed from the word go.

It’s a personal problem and I won’t lie and tell you I’m working on it because I’m not, but not having things go in my favor isn’t keeping me from getting out there to  run, and it certainly won’t keep me from reaching my goal this summer of a 5K under 35 minutes.

When that happens, I start training for a 10K. My app will help me with that too.