Road Runner

June 9,2017

Running more frequently and feeling good about it!

After leaving our seasonal job in Kansas, we made our way to visit family in Texas and then California where we are currently staying with family!  The property is a couple or so acres and sits on a hill which means uphill walking/running for this gal (…and of course Levi gets dragged into it).  The trail we follow forms a kind of triangle blob. The first half is all uphill, moderately steep with a hiccup of level spots.  The terrain is almost completely paved save an area of uneven dirt and grass on the descent but nothing treacherous.  One loop is about .42 miles.  We’ve been averaging 4 loops in the AM with rest days inbetween.  Levi has been busy with extra yard work around the property, so he doesn’t always get to accompany me, but our dog and his parent’s dog are always happy to tag along.

Pictures always help so here are a few shots of the trail…

Start of the ascent.
More uphill with some company
Still ascending
You get the point…
The field begins the descent
All the way down to the start of the loop

The first week was spent just getting use to the climb and drop.  We walked, eventually looping around four times.  The next steps have been running up the incline in sections, about 1/4 increments.  This has proven much more of a struggle than predicted.  We have made it about half way up the hill before walking the remainder of the way. Again,we do this four times.  I started running downhill at one point but stopped.  It’s pretty steep and knowing my clumsy luck, I would fall and seriously hurt myself…it’s just uphill running for me. My goal is to run up the hill in one fell swoop before we take off to our next location.  I have another week to get to this point…think this is possible?

Aside from being out of breath on our way up, we are doing pretty well.  There’s some minor muscle soreness; our bodies are adjusting and healing. We don’t push it on the runs. just small strides uphill, making sure to lift our knees.  Having said that, I may start wearing my knee supports as the climbing increases.

We’ve also made some healthy choices with our diet by including more fruits and vegetables. This isn’t a problem living in California in the summer when farmer’s markets and fruit stands are around every corner.  Plus the produce is so fresh and crisp!

Mounds of fresh produce at the local farmer’s market!
A breakfast favorite…eggs with spinach, avocado spread on toast, and strawberries on the side

All of this in preparation for our upcoming 5K scheduled on the 4th of July in Las Vegas…

Special thanks to Levi’s mom for the FitBit Zip!  I wear it everywhere!  The daily updates on mileage and steps I receive on my smartphone via app are very encouraging and keep me out on the trail!
.

April 30, 2017

This will be a short entry…more of an after thought…

One of the best parts about running (or in my case, running/walking sporadically these last two months), is capturing the simple beauties of nature.  We just recently left our work camping job in Kansas for our next venture, but in that wrinkle of time, I had several instances along my routes where everyday sites evoked feelings  of serenity, magnificence, and at times somberness.  However, I could have just been hallucinating from exhaustion or thirst…take a look at the images I captured around Wichita, Kansas.

    

  

  

February 20,2017

So much for keeping Road Runner journal updated every week, but I do have some great news!! Levi and I did it!! We completed the Strataca 5K Mine Run in a little over 35 minutes!! Not too shabby for a couple of newbies averaging one practice run a week for about 6-7 weeks.

Proof that we actually ran those few times…

Levi running just a few blocks away from our work location. Below is snippet of me at the YMCA in my comfy windbreakers.

We ran (or rather jogged) the entire course despite the many times we wanted to stop and take a breather. Levi created a pretty awesome video of our underground run and I wrote an adjoining article about the experience. You can take a look at it here!!

Our overall feeling of the experience was a mixture of exhilaration and exhaustion! The underground run was indeed a one-of-a-kind event and even more remarkable being our first organized run.  We were able to keep a relatively comfortable pace even though we experienced labored breathing for the majority of the run and evident soreness the following two days.

Some things I would change for the next race:

  • Stay consistent with training. Life can get in the way, but making room for exercise makes a world of a difference with stamina and strength!
  • Refrain from greasy food the night before. We indulged in pizza,wings, and soda. Acid indigestion is no fun on a run.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.  I hardly slept the night before.  I’m not sure if it was nerves, bad food, day’s activity  (or lack of), or maybe a combination.
  • Our breakfast was sandwiches and coffee from Starbucks a couple of hours before the race. It wasn’t a heavy meal but more water intake would help with keeping hydrated.
  • Chose shorts or leggings. Shorts allow better air flow than wind breaker pants.  I love my windbreakers, but my legs were burning after the run.

January 17, 2017

Very tired after a long surgery. The wound was left unwrapped so we could monitor progress and treat it as needed.

Life threw a few curve balls this last week and a half.  A routine visit to the vet’s office led us to discover a mass in our dog’s leg.  It was determined to be cancerous and we prepared for the worst.  After the surgery, she is slowly on the mend.  Test results showed that her mass was a low grade tumor so chances of it reoccurring are very slim.  We are still going to a specialist to see if there are any preventative measures we can take.

Assured that our dog could be alone in the RV with her donut or e-collar (equivalent to a cone but 10x more comfortable and stylish), we went back to the gym today to continue our running routine.

We were a bit nervous hitting the track today.  We weren’t sure if we’d lost the momentum we slowly built up to our last run on January 5. Levi ran 1.5 nonstop and I completed 4 reps of running/jogging 6 mins and walking 1 minute.  I ran to music…much better!  Makes running around an indoor track more interesting.

Today we both started out on the indoor track.  Levi ended up running/jogging about 2 miles nonstop, making sure to stretch some before and after.  It took him about 30 minutes to complete.  I repeated my 6 minute run/1 minute walk reps, 4 reps total, walking about 5 minutes before and after.  I did a few leg stretches in the end.

Our overall performance?  Surprisingly, we both felt good during and after the run. Levi’s legs started feeling fatigued toward the end of his two miles, and he commented to me later that he should make it a habit to bring his inhaler next time, but it was a good practice session.  I felt like I reached a comfortable pace and could have continued running.  If it wasn’t for some labored breathing, I would have continued. My music on this run: 80’s music from female artists with a little Red Hot Chili Peppers mixed in.

Later on tonight I am feeling some soreness so may stretch a bit more.

I watched a documentary on Hulu titled Free to Run (2016).  The film details the evolution of running and the ups and downs enthusiasts faced within the last 50 years, everything from women obtaining the right to run in organized events to competitive runners gaining professional status.  It was a profound insight to the sport and a glimpse of the struggles faced not too long ago. If you have the opportunity, I recommend a watch.

We are back on the clock tomorrow, but with warmer temperatures in the forecast, we are looking at doing some road runs the next few days after work.

January 5, 2017

A few workout days in and we realized that we weren’t as fit as we assumed.  Our first running day ended up being January 1st (as opposed to December 30th) since we were asked to start our new job earlier than planned. Levi and I packed some exercise wear and a swimsuit before heading off to the YMCA, conveniently located only minutes away.

We took some before shots and weighted ourselves to set a sort of baseline.  Levi’s main goal in this endeavor is to loose weight.  Mine is to build endurance and if muscle toning is a result, that’s a bonus!

1/1/2017
Height 5'7"
Weight 209
1/1/2017
Height 5'6"
Weight 120

Here is how the last four days have panned out:

Day 1: We used the indoor track at the Y.  Using my stop watch, I initially walked for 10 minutes, jogged for five minutes, walked one minute, repeated the jogging 5/walking 1 two more times before calling it.  I walked for another four or five minutes before a few leg stretches.  I was struggling as soon as I started running.  I could barely hold a conversation with Levi and my heart was pounding. Even my legs were fatigued. I also felt, as ridiculous as this sounds, like I forgot how to run.  I couldn’t pick a happy pace.  Instead of running/walking the planned 4 times, I topped out at the third rep.  I  did not feel discouraged though.  This was a good starting point and a reality check with my body’s activity level.

The indoor track at the YMCA: There are three lanes for speed. The outside lane is for the walkers, the middle lane is for the joggers, and the inner most lane is for the runners.

Levi’s workout consisted of walking the track once (11 laps=1 mile) and then jogging as far as he could before walking again to complete a mile.  It took him about 15 minutes  to complete the mile.  He jumped in the lap pool for another 15 minutes swimming freestyle.  Just like me, his legs and body felt fatigued and talking while jogging was a chore.

This is pretty much how we felt after our first run…….

I joined Levi afterwards in the facility’s jacuzzi and then steam room.  A bit too warm for me, but it was a good muscle relaxer and sinus reliever.

Day 2: Rest day. We were both scheduled to work and spent much of the day on our feet, putting away decorations around the park and finishing our routine responsibilities.  We were both slightly sore but not to the point that inhibited our movements.

Day 3: Back at the Y, we stretched before beginning and then jumped on the treadmill in attempts to complete the four reps of jogging 5 minutes/walking 1 minute.  This time around was much easier.  The equipment allowed us to control our pace, play around with the incline,  and monitor our heart rate/activity level.  We were both able to complete our four reps.  We averaged a one mile reach in about 15-16 minutes.

Again, we enjoyed a bit of time in the jacuzzi and steam room; however, I think I may skip that in the future because I ended up overheating and with a migraine!

Day 4: Rest Day. Ended up running errands and cleaning the RV.  Not really feeling soreness.

One thing we have noticed since beginning our cardio workouts is our increase in food intact.  We are so hungry after each workout, me more than usual.   I am learning to listen to my body more, whether it be avoiding the steam room after running, watching my water intact, and making sure I eat when I am hungry!  Otherwise, my body retaliates.

December 29, 2016

2016 is quickly coming to an end…finally!  Levi and I completed our work camping job as Amazon CamperForce Associates in Campbellsville, KY and traveled down to our current seasonal gig in Wichita, KS.  We are camp hosts at USI RV Park once more (since we worked here last winter).  We are glad to be in familiar territory working with people that have become good friends!

Now that we are all set up, RV hooked up and interior organized and orientation/training completed, we got down to taking care of running business.  (Well, running business for me. Levi wants to continue staying active since he shed some weight and gained muscle this past year with outside jobs. Positives for both!)

Today was final preparations for solidifying our active new year.  We were not only able to find a place to exercise during the cold winter months, but we were able to choose workout options and breakdown the big goal of running a marathon into the first baby step.

We took a trip down to the closest YMCA (since Wichita has a total of nine facilities) and signed up for membership. Lucky for us, we enrolled before January 16 and paid $0 for initial fees! Our monthly bill, based on household income, came out to $50/month. That is our combined monthly payment.  Not too shabby considering that we have access to all nine facilities and each one houses their own activities.  The YMCA closest to us not only has your typical gym equipment, but it has a couple of pools, a sauna, a steam room, an indoor track, racquetball and basketball courts, a rock climbing wall, and an array of daily classes.

Image result for ymca

The Midwest is already seeing temperatures below freezing. Training outside did not seem like the best option, at the moment.  Icy roads and running do not go well together.  Plus, the YMCA offers so many options for cross training, breaking up the monotony of running and walking.

The next “To Do” item (more so for me) was establishing the first small step towards the ultimate goal of finally running a marathon.  With Levi’s help, we came up with a doozie!   I wanted to plan and sign up for a run, a 5K to be exact.  Wichita has a number of 5Ks throughout the year, at least two a month.  Although any of those would have been viable options, Levi and I started talking about one in particular, located about an hour outside of town, that we learned about last year when visiting a rather unique place, Strataca.  This underground salt mine museum, situated 650 feet underground, holds a 5K Mine Run every year, mid February.  Much of the run is in total darkness so a safety helmet and flashlight are necessary to participate.

Image result for strataca mine runWe figured the first race needed to be not only obtainable but scheduled sometime in the near future and one to remember!  What could be more memorable than a run 650 feet underground in darkness!  To top that off, Levi decided to participate, as well! Much of this planning and motivation is definitely fueled by his support!  (Side note: The entrance fee is a hefty $55 per person, increasing after January 1st, but funds are used to maintain the museum and educational endeavors provided to the public.)

Since the Mine Run is a mere seven weeks away, I started looking for training programs that would fit my activity level and fitness preferences. I wanted a plan that initially incorporated both walking and jogging to eventually taper off to solely running.  I also wanted a plan that included cross training days where I could utilize the many exercise programs and facilities at the YMCA.  The result was this six-week program courtesy of Christine Many Luff, a running coach and writer for the health and wellness website, verywell.com.

This plan was copied directly from the article:

Week 1:

Day 1: Run 5 minutes, walk 1 min – repeat 3 times
Day 2: Rest or cross-train
Day 3: Run 6 minutes, walk 1 min – repeat 3 times
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Run 7 minutes, walk 1 min – repeat 3 times
Day 6: Rest or cross-train
Day 7: Rest

Week 2:

Day 1: Run 7 minutes, walk 1 min – repeat 3 times
Day 2: Rest or cross-train
Day 3: Run 8 minutes, walk 1 min – repeat 3 times
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Run 9 minutes mile, walk 1 min – repeat 3 times
Day 6: Rest or cross-train
Day 7: Rest

Week 3:

Day 1: Run 10 minutes, walk 1 min – repeat 2 times
Day 2: Cross-train
Day 3: Run 12 minutes, walk 1 min – repeat 2 times
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Run 13 minutes, walk 1 min – repeat 2 times
Day 6: Rest or cross-train
Day 7: Rest

Week 4:

Day 1: Run 15 minutes, walk 1 min – repeat 2 times
Day 2: Cross-train
Day 3: Run 17 minutes, walk 1 min, run 7 min
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Run 19 minutes, walk 1 min, run 7 min
Day 6: Rest or cross-train
Day 7: Rest

Week 5:

Day 1: Run 20 minutes, walk 1 min, run 6 min
Day 2: Cross-train
Day 3: Run 24 minutes
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Run 26 minutes
Day 6: Rest or cross-train
Day 7: Rest

Week 6:

Day 1: Run 28 minutes
Day 2: Rest or cross-train
Day 3: Run 30 minutes
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Run 20 minutes
Day 6: Rest
Day 7: Race! Run 3.1 miles

As mentioned before, we have seven weeks before the big event, so this will allow some flexibility with the plan.  Not to mention the fact that I won’t be able to follow it verbatim with our work schedule.  Still, the plan includes all of my prerequisites at a pace that I can manage both physically and mentally.

Tomorrow is Day 1 of training. Levi has his own method of preparation, which I will mention in the next post, alongside my progress.  Time to get in gear and make the new year one to put in the books!

Image result for meme me at the beginning of 2016 me in 2017

 

December 14, 2016

Just about to complete our final week here in Campbellsville, KY as Amazon CamperForce Associates.  Our final day will be the 21st and the company has our shift working 6 out of 7 days, with Friday as our only reprieve.  It’s the last push for final orders before Christmas.

This means Levi and I will be on our feet for six more, 10-hour days.  I was hoping to get a head start on my running regime but looks like that will be happening after we head out of here towards our next destination in Wichita, KS.

This past week was five, 10-hour days at Amazon stowing away.  Even though we have been at it for six weeks, our legs and feet are tired.  Standing on concrete, I suppose, does not help.

This past week I have had time to examine my New Year’s Resolution a bit more….examine any unfulfilled resolution for that matter.  Two major problems I found seem to revolve around the obvious: they are too complex and for that matter, unobtainable. In my current case, running a marathon involves months of preparation. Don’t get me started on the countless running plans and runner’s philosophies.  Plus, with our transient lifestyle, it’s hard to plan so far in advance…and the excuses continue.

My solution: think small and make it simple.  Baby steps.  I’ve broken down the goal into mini goals, running in various races based on ascending lengths: beginning with a 5K, then a 10K, followed by a half marathon, eventually reaching the ending goal of a marathon.

BUT…even with this breakdown, I know myself.  I know that simply seeing a big idea broken down into more manageable achievements will still be a struggle.  My husband gently reminded me of the fact that a well thought out schedule does not necessarily mean it will be completed…often times a little carrot needs to be dangled in front to keep the rabbit hopping.  What would be my carrot to get me through each day and each passing week?  What would be that push to help get me out of my lounging position, into my running clothes, and out the door?

What is your carrot?

December 7, 2016

downloadWhy is it so difficult to stick to New Year’s Resolutions? Why is eating healthy, getting to the gym, or spending less such an obstacle? According to Joseph Shrand, M.D., an instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, much of the struggle is a tug of war match with the front and back regions of the brain. One is seeking rational thought and self-control; the latter wants immediate satisfaction and comfort. Read more about this on the WebMD.com article, here.

 

download-4For the last five years (at least), I have made the resolution to run a marathon.
Each year, I’ll buy the latest marathon training book and sometimes sign up for a race. I’ll announce to my friends and family that THIS IS THE YEAR that I will get active, get fit, and cross that finish line. I arm myself with a beginning runner’s schedule for the next 4-6 months, pinning it to the refrigerator or somewhere I am sure to see it.

 

 

 

download-3January comes around and I begin my planned routine and stick to it for 2, 3 days…sometimes even a week. Then I miss a day here or there because I am sore or not feeling up to it, refuse to get up early because I am so warm under the sheets, or have too much to do today I couldn’t possibly fit in a half hour run.

Whatever the reason, I end up convincing myself to completely forgo even getting out and running regularly. In fact, except for an outing here or there, regular exercise is not very regular. After all, why am I subjecting my body to this torture?

 

imagesWhy do I continue groveling for this false hope? Because… I know that I am perfectly capable of doing it and going even further.

This new year, I am asking my family, my friends, anyone interested in reading my Roadrunner page for help! We all strive to better ourselves in one area or another, more often when the new year rolls around. I am hoping that those who follow this journal can help drive me to reach my goal, and in return, I hope I can inspire you to achieve yours.

 

download-1I’ve decided to forgo the list of 5+ resolutions for the new year and focus on one: my oldest, most frequently listed one: Run a marathon by the end of the year.

I will be posing a question at the end of each weekly journal entry for your input and support. You know my one New Year’s resolution. What’s yours?**

**Comments can be posted via Facebook, the comment section on this page, or email at levi@henleyshappytrails.com.  Resolutions will be shared in the following entry.

Share this post!