Monday, January 18, 2010

Getting nowhere.

I started running in November, and had pretty great momentum through December. One of the perks of being a grad student is a pretty flexible schedule, overall, which allowed me to run every other day, outside, before it got dark, even when the time change kicked in. Then, during finals week I had about a million assignments due all at once, and I took the week off from running. Immediately following that was a whirlwind of cooking, cleaning, packing and traveling for the holidays, and the day we returned to the city I was laid out with a week long illness that left me completely drained and exhausted. So, three weeks off. Ultimately, this wasn't entirely negative (I ended up with a 3.8 GPA for the semester, had a delightful and delicious holiday, and was able to recover fully without straining my body), but it did set me back in my running.

Since then, I have been stalled on Week 6 of the Couch to 5K running program. I seem to have lost a lot of the enthusiasm I had going into this, and am often forcing myself outside to run. Once I'm on the road, I am constantly calculating how long I have to run til I get to stop, and I often find myself going too hard at the beginning and then psyching myself out, so I am gasping for breath and panicking about whether or not I can finish. The last time I went for a run, I had to stop because I thought I was going to throw up, even though I hadn't eaten in a few hours. I've had one truly successful run in the last 2 weeks, where I got home feeling great. Otherwise I've come home gassed and discouraged, wanting nothing more than to sleep for a few hours.

The other tricky thing, going forward, is my schedule this semester. It's going to be getting dark early for another few months (though it's already lighter noticeably later!), and this semester I have class all day til 6 pm on Mondays and an internship on Wednesdays and Thursdays, all day. Somewhere in there I need to work on campus, and hopefully (HOPEFULLY) I will be getting a part time job off campus for other times. This schedule will probably requiring me fixing my running schedule to 3 unchanging days per week, rather than running every other day every week. Also, I might have to get over my fear of running at night and start packing some mace and running without my beloved podcasts.

In terms of this immediate block, I think those podcasts might actually have something to do with it. During the podcasts, their creator comes on to tell you when to walk, when to run, and to offer some encouragement along the way. In general, I have found his podcasts to be extremely helpful, and I kind of feel like he's my buddy, running along with me out in California. However, right now I think the podcasts are kind of hurting my running, because I spend the run trying to figure out when the hell he's going to tell me I can stop running, rather than focusing on form and breathing and speed. I might have to take a little break from the podcasts til I get over this current hurdle.

I am planning to register for a race or two in the next couple of months to get myself motivated and to help me get accustomed to the race setting. I'm evening toying with the idea of signing up for a half marathon in April, with a plan to run/walk it as best I can. Before I jump the gun with this, though, I should probably focus on today's run -- and at least get through it.

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