Friday, June 12, 2009

The first week

Hell on Earth. What have I gotten into. I needed some guidance before I started my first run on June 2, 2009. Rachel is an accomplished runner who has several half marathons and one full marathon under her belt. She was therefore the perfect coach for my project and has been a great consultant so far.

Day 1, the treadmill - I was instructed to take it easy, don't kill yourself was pretty much what everybody told me so far. The first challenge therefore was to have a mix of running and walking - 3 minutes each for 24 minutes in total. Pain, so much pain. My breathing technique was totally out of control, which caused my lungs to burn after a little while. To distract me from the torture, I had the TV running. After a while, I checked the clock on the treadmill to see if I can finally relax my burning legs and and my aching lung... ... ... You have no idea how brutal reality can be, especially the honesty and brutal truth of time. The clock just flipped over to minute 1. I decided that treadmills are boring. After 24 minutes, I almost fell off the treadmill and was sucking the water out of the bathroom faucet, it couldn't come fast enough! At least stretching after the run was a relieve. I need to work on my endurance.

Time: 24 minutes
Distance: 1.8 miles
Strategy: 3 min. running /3 minutes walking - Treadmill (for future references: 3/3 format will be used)

Day 2 & 3, on the road - Jess and I drove with the car to find a comfortable running route in the neighborhood, especially distance was a key here. Then I could just get up in the morning and start running leaving the my apartment door and don't worry about finding a nice way away from busy streets where people could look at and laugh at me. I am not chubby, but I think that there is definitely hilarity ensued when I finished my first attempts in the public. We ended up finding a route that was exactly two miles long and had a couple of inclines and descends in the route. The Alden Run has quite some hills.
Running outside makes quite a difference. The play list on my iPod was selected to support the switches of running and walking. After a couple minutes of warm up stretches, I was on my way. I wanted to take it easy the first couple days, but my ego wouldn't let me. On both days, when I arrived back at home, I was breathing like a steam powered machine after caulking the exhaust pipes with concrete! I chugged the water like it was my salvation. I hate water... I hate it sooo much.

Time: 26 minutes
Distance: 2 miles
Strategy: 3/3 - on the road

After Day 3, I decided that my goal was to run the whole two miles without having a walking break on Day 8.

Day 4
- Day of rest
While taking a break of running and resting my sore legs, I started googling breathing techniques. I needed to change something about the steam machine inside me...

Day 5 & 6, on the road. - Adapting the new breathing techniques that I found online seemed to be quite a challenge. I am running the same route, but I was now able to switch to a 4/4 strategy.
A cute story on the side: I was wearing the Air Force t-shirt JP sent me a while ago. An older couple stopped me halfway through the run to ask me if I served. I told them that I was wearing the t-shirt for my best friend who serves in the Air Force and is currently in training. The older couple found it to be an extremely nice idea and told me to let JP now how thankful they were for serving their country. (I am German, so it is not my country... technically).
After I was done with my run, these were some really humid days, I started to include crunches and push ups into my after workout. I already start to feel better, and my belly is not so wobbly any more. This slight sign of progress already motivated me to go on with my every day doings. I also discovered that I am not so sore any more and that my legs are not burning after finishing the workouts.

Time: 20 minutes
Distance: 2 miles
Strategy: 4/4 - on the road.

Day 7 - Day of rest

This week was the worst week of my life. I never experienced this extreme of sweat and pain. But it is good pain. Pain that makes me stronger. I feel alive. Still, I feel like I want to die, and how would I possibly accomplish my goal for Day 8? Jess told me on Day 3 that it would be a great accomplishment and great progress if I could really pull it off. We will see what tomorrow brings.

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