Welcome Back to my Journey to 5k! I was out of town again last week, so this post will include my progress from the past two weeks. Things are definitely the hardest they’ve been, but I’m excited to share! If this is your first time here, welcome to Somewhere Struggling! Feel free to check out my previous Journey to 5k posts:
Here are the stats :
During week 10, I continued running for 8 minutes, walking 2, 3 times through. Running for 8 minutes was still rather difficult, but with an extended walking rest, I was able to finish most of my runs. I did struggle quite a bit to complete these, but I kept pushing myself. I experienced some pretty severe cramps at the end of my running intervals, but with some deep breathing, I was able to calm them and be ready to go for my next interval.
This past week (week 11), I decided to shoot for 9 minute intervals, 3 times through. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to achieve this goal. On 6/11/18, I successfully ran the first 9 minutes, but on my second interval, I was only able to make it 6 minutes, and on my last interval, only 7 minutes. On 6/14/18, I successfully ran the first 9 minutes, but only made it about 5 minutes on the second interval and around 7 minutes on the final interval. Cramps got the best of me both times. On 6/14, my stomach started cramping during the first 9 minutes, but not too bad. I decided to take a swig of water during my walking rest to see if it’d help at all, but it actually made it worse. I had an awful side stitch while I was running the second interval and had to walk it off.
Those two runs during week 11 were rather discouraging. I always feel so accomplished to finish my scheduled runs, and not being able to finish did not feel good. I think I was starting to give up mentally as well. On 6/15/18, I decided to try a treadmill run instead. My goal was to run a mile, which is something I hadn’t done yet. I was successful!!! I ran my first mile in 13:34s. This is longer than I was hoping for, but to be able to run a mile and still have life left in me was a HUGE accomplishment. I was also able to get in some strength training after this. That night at the gym gave me the ego boost I needed.
On 6/17/18, I decided to ditch my couch to 5k plan, and just run as long as I could. I ran my first outdoor mile in 10:46s!!!!! It was harder for me to run the outdoor mile than it was for me to run on the treadmill. I’m curious as to what variables played a role here. First, I’m assuming the treadmill itself made for a smoother, easier run. Next, I think I might run harder outside because I can actually see how far I’m going and just want to make it to my finish line. Nonetheless, I didn’t stop here. I ran for a few more seconds, walked a few minutes, and ran about another 8 minutes. I took another walking rest and sprinted home (to the best of my ability).
I believe ditching my running plan for the remainder of my training is a good call. It was so discouraging this week to not be able to meet the listed goals. I rather set goals for myself and work towards them than to have these pre-set goals of where I “should be” and feeling like I’ve failed. I am going to create some new goals for myself and work hard to achieve them. I have 6 weeks left until my 5K, and I still have quite a bit of work to do! I am officially more concerned with distance than I am duration. My plan for this upcoming week is to be able to run 1.5 miles straight. This past week I learned that I can run a mile, so it is my hope that I can add 0.5 to my max distance with no rest period.
Addressing My Cramps
With regards to these painful cramps that have been interfering with my runs, I sought advice from my boss who has run several marathons. She told me she likes to run on an empty stomach. I typically eat something light about 45 minutes to 2 hours before I run, but now that I am running for longer periods, I’m realizing I need to change that. When I went to the gym and ran my mile on the treadmill, I had only eaten a banana in the hours before. It was such a relief to be able to run without worrying about my stomach. I adopted the same technique for my run the following day. I had a Larabar about an hour before I was out the door, but I was sure to give it enough time to digest before heading out the door. I noticed that I can tell during my warm-up whether or not my stomach is prepared for the run. I’ll be more strategic about this going forward.
The Significance of My Mile
At least once every year, I would ask my sister to try and run a mile with me in our neighborhood. And every year, the farthest I would make it was to the end of our block. There were also plenty of times where I’d try to run on the treadmill and couldn’t go longer than about 5 minutes initially and 1 minute at a time after that. To be able to run a complete mile in my neighborhood — to be able to run for 13 minutes straight and still have more energy — I’ve reached goals that I’ve had set for myself for years. I never actually worked towards running a mile, but running my first one felt so good! I’m more excited for my 5k now than I have been during this entire process. Running that mile was definitely a moment to be remembered.
Running has gotten hard, so I have to work harder. I reached a huge milestone – running my first mile – and that gave me the mid-training motivation I needed to keep me going. I am getting so close to the finish line, so I need to start mentally preparing for the challenges that are to come. I’m reaching new heights and it is so exciting. Although sometimes I feel like quitting, I’m not going to. I’m going all the way and my goal is to be able to run the full 3.1 miles with no rests. I hope I’m able to overcome the cramping and stay committed to putting in the work it takes to get there.