Saturday, June 9, 2012

Chasing My Pace

I started running last July 4. I just hopped on the treadmill and started running, one mile, two miles -- whatever I could pretty much do. It wasn't until mid-August that I decided to take to the streets outside. My husband was on vacation for a week, so every morning I went outside and ran. Each day I found myself going further and further. On the fourth morning, I was coming around the final bend and my ankles seemed so stiff. For the remainder of the day, my left ankle starting swelling. It continued no matter how much I iced it or elevated it. Finally, I forced myself to an orthopedic doctor and I got the boot.

Yes, this boot.

A stress fracture. By the time my doctor looked at the results of my MRI (uh, a minute before I walked in the room) it was a week after I had gotten the MRI, plus a week after I saw him initially and about another two weeks after the injury first occurred. So I was already feeling better and this stupid boot was making my ankle hurt all over again. So I ditched it and continued on. I didn't run for about six more weeks. When I was cleared, I started slowly. I did NOT want another broken bone. So I eased into running using the Couch to 5K program and by the time Thanksgiving hit, I was running a full three miles.

I trained inside on the treadmill so I could track my progress, but once the program was over, I hit the outdoors. The mild winter allowed to me run outside much more than I ever could have during a normal winter here in the Midwest.  On the days I had to run inside, I hated it. I started to despise the treadmill. I still do and thoughts of days like this picture below (uh, hello February 2011) put my head in a serious tailspin.


I'm not very fast.  I keep telling myself that slow and steady wins the race. But I clearly want to run faster.

I have seen a 40 second change in my natural pace after I started taking a spin class two days a week. I've read that cross-training is very important and I can vouch that it makes a big impact when you're trying to increase your speed. I wasn't even trying.

Still, a few things I think are inhibiting me from reaching a desirable pace:

My weight.
I'm about 15 pounds overweight. Despite my fairly healthy eating habits and cardiovascular exercise, I have gained about 15 pounds since last summer. I have Hashimotos and my metabolism is extremely slow. Everything I eat just sticks to me. This just means I have to work extra hard to lose weight, which in turn means cleaning up my diet. But when you exercise every day and you continue to gain weight, you get sort of depressed and your eating habits start to suffer. But I'll do the best I can. I'm shooting for 90% whole foods and 10% not-so-clean (for those days when you just need a treat.)

My weakness.
I have not fully committed to a strength training workout, in part because I'm having a hard time finding the right one and because I have to go in the basement to do it. There's something very draining about having to lug two kids to the basement to exercise just to listen to them moan and/or cry the whole time. But I will make it my business to find one and stick to it. Maybe my iPhone is the answer...

My endurance
I am not running far enough. To increase my 5k time, I know I must regularly run farther than 3 miles. I will have to start adding a few 4 milers and eventually 5 milers to my weekly runs and see if that helps increase my 5k time.

My shoes.
After my injury last summer, I knew I needed a good pair of shoes. I bought a pair of wide width running shoes on sale at Kohls (I was later told they were trail running shoes) and got inserts made from Road Runner Sports. My bunions (gross; I know) have been hurting me lately after runs and I think I may have mild shin splints in my right leg. I've been saying I need new shoes and inserts for about two months. This goes to the top of the list because I know I will end up hurting myself because my shoes are shot.

That's the plan. Right now I run a 5k somewhere between 29 and 32 minutes. I would love to see myself running it more along the 25-27 mark.

Time to get to work!

What have you done to run faster and smarter?


  1. Gina, you owe it to yourself to get the book "Why Do I still have Thyroid Symptoms when my Blood Tests are Normal?" by Datis Kharrazian. I'm in the midst of reading it now, and just found out my nutritional chiropractor has attended many of Dr. Kharrazian's seminars, so utilizes excellent methods in dealing the hypothyroidism. The gist of the book is that something is causing your thyroid to malfunction, so treating you with medication for thyroid often doesn't make much difference, and sometimes will make things worse over time. The goal is to determine what is causing the thyroid to become suppressed or diseased or whatever - deal with the root issue.

    1. So many people highly recommend that book. I am going to have to get it from the library. Thanks for the referral!


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