Thursday, March 8, 2012

Running on Sunshine (Couch to 5K: Week 4 & 5)

Well, as some of you know, I am here in the sunny state of Florida on vacay with my family. As nice as the weather has been at home, it's got nothin' on Florida weather. Wow! From what I've heard, this is the warmest winter they have had in Florida in the last 50 or 60 years. Really glad we were able to get down here for a week and enjoy it! The question is: did this vacay totally derail my running program?

I am proud (and somewhat shocked) to say: NO! I haven't missed a run since I've been here. I've been keeping track of my progress so far, and here's a summary of the four (!!!) runs I've completed in the Sunshine State:

Friday Morning: (Week 4, Day 2) The temps are supposed to soar up into the mid 80's today, so I thought I would get out early before it got too warm. I can't tell you how amazing it felt to put on a tank top and running skirt and head out into the sunshine without bundling up! Methinks this is going to be a great run! I took a few days off after Day 1, due to some nasty knee soreness. I was a little anxious about how my knee would hold up today.....

The pattern was a repeat of day 1 (5 min warm up walk, run 3 mins/walk 90s, run 5 mins/walk 2.5 mins, run 3mins/walk 90s, run 5 mins/cool down walk), and I don't know if it was the sunshine or my general happiness at being on vacation, but I sailed through the run today without a problem! My only issue was one I haven't had to deal with much at home: SWEAT! It was pouring into my eyes and making them burn. FUN! Must think of solution before run #2. Makenna accompanied me on today's run, however she chose to ride her bike. She was a great pace bunny!

Sunday Morning: (Week 4, Day 3): It's funny how at home when it's 7 degrees (44F) outside, I'm dancing around thinking it's spring. This morning it's 60F, and I'm hunting around looking for a jacket to wear on my run. Brrrrrr! Today was supposed to be the cool day of our week here (A high of 68F), so we have an indoor activity planned. But first, my run. The last day of week 4, accompanied, as always, by the question: am I ready for the next week???

I did find a windbreaker to wear, so I "bundled up" and headed out. About 5 minutes in, I wished I had left the jacket at home. It was beautiful and sunny, just a little breezy, which was actually really refreshing. Today, Marc and Erin came out and walked the walk portions with me. When the run intervals came up, I'd jog ahead, then jog back to meet them. I thought it would be distracting, but again, it was nice to have company. I felt pretty freakin' good when this run was done, no issues at all. Bring on WEEK 5!!!!!!

Tuesday Morning (Week 5, Day 1): Week 5 is where things get REALLY interesting. And by interesting, I mean scary as hell. Every day has a different pattern this week, increasing in scariness until the mother of all scary runs arrives on Day 3: Run 20 minutes, no walking (!!!!). But first, I have to survive Day 1.

Today's pattern is: 5 minute warm up walk, run 5 mins/walk 3 mins, run 5 minutes, walk 3, run 5 minutes/cool down walk. There is actually 1 minute less running today as compared to week 4, but the fact that there are THREE 5 minute runs is somewhat troubling.

We have done a LOT of walking in the past 2 days - we spent Sunday at the Clearwater Aquarium (Home of "Winter the Dolphin" from the movie Dolphin Tale) and Monday at Busch Gardens (Home of some pretty freakin' awesome roller coasters), and my knee was feeling a bit off in the morning, so I decided to hold off on the run until the afternoon. Instead, I opted to take the kids swimming so I can hang out in the hot tub under the guise of doing some much needed "knee rehab".

The hot tub must have helped, because I didn't struggle with today's run much at all. The last 5 minute set was tough, but I managed to push through it. I'm finding the music is really helping as a distraction as we get further and further into the program. Today I kept telling myself not to check the stop watch until each song was over. Since each song is about 4 minutes, it definitely helped make the intervals go faster. I did see a snake on this afternoon's run (a Florida Black Racer), but unfortunately he was dead (sniff sniff). In addition to the superior weather, Florida has offered a more interesting array of wildlife to observe while I run - lizards, turtles and lots of colourful birds.

But now.....a margarita! I hear they just as good as gatorade for a burst of energy after a workout ;)

Thursday Morning (Week 5, Day 2): Our last day in Florida (Insert sad face here). I set the alarm so that I could get up early and get in one more run in the land of sunshine and grapefruit. Man, am I going to miss the weather. The first run back at home is going to be quite a shock to the system.

The pattern today is the usual 5 minute warm-up walk, then run 8 (!!) minutes, walk 5, run 8 minutes and then walk home. I couldn't help but wonder how on earth I was supposed to run for 8 minutes (twice!), when just a few days ago, running for 5 had felt like an impossible task. Shocking myself yet again, I managed to complete the workout without succumbing to heart failure halfway through. The music was more important today than ever in getting me through the running sets (Special thanks go out to Britney and the Black Eyed Peas for getting me through the last interval). I have to say, I'm almost starting to feel like a real runner! I really can't believe it!

I'm still not sure how day 3 is going to go, jumping from 8 minutes to 20 minutes straight seems like quite a leap. For now I'm going to trust the system - it hasn't let me down so far!

Farewell Florida! :(

J :)


  1. Yay! Way to go!!! I was wondering how the makers of C25K made the decision to go from an 8-minute run to 20 minutes??? But I did my 20 minute run today and it was a breeze - its ALL mental! The music totally helps and I made myself NOT look at the timer until 5 songs had passed! So if I can do it you totally can!

  2. I agree! Half of the battle is mental. If you can get past that inner voice in your head, you're golden! :) YAY! We rock!