A Smoker's Road To 5K - Week 7

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Week 7 update for my plan to run more and smoke less using the Couch to 5k running program.

Week 7 is when it starts to get tough. No more alternating running and walking from here on out it's all running except for the warm-up and cool down walks.

Even though my goal is to be able to eventually be able to run 5K, I'm doing the program based on time and not distance. At the end of the 9 week program I should be able to run 30 minutes continually.

At my current running pace I would only cover about 2.4 miles in 30 minutes. It would take me close to 40 minutes to run 3.1 miles (5 kilometers).

On February 1st, 2014 there's a M-M-Manhattan Hot Chocolate Run in Riverside Park along the Hudson River that has a 10K and 5K race. That's a couple of weeks after I'm done with the C25K program which gives me some time to work on my pace and distance to hopefully get to 5K. Another Riverside Park race is in March which might be more realistic. I never planned to do any formal races like this. To be honest, I don't see the point in paying someone to run somewhere I can run for free. It's just something I'm keeping in mind.

Schedule for the Week

The program consists of a 5 minute warm-up walk followed by 25 minutes of running and ends with a 5 minute cool-down walk for each of the 3 days.

Day 1

I planned to do Day 1 yesterday but the night before my legs felt very sore. In addition to doing my C25K training I threw in an extra road run to see if I stumbled upon a great winter running jacket. Turns out I did!  I also need a break from running on the treadmill.

The night before I just wasn't feeling it. When I took a peak at the schedule and saw it was all running I was even less motivated but decided to go through with it in the morning anyway. In the morning when I was stretching something just felt odd with my left leg and I decided to wait another day before running and did some weight training and yoga instead.

This morning my legs felt better and was eager to see if I could run the 25 minutes. I had planned to run it at a slower pace but wound up setting the treadmill speed higher than I planned. It was only about 1/10 MPH slower than my last run. The next two days this week I'll try to increase my pace.

It was hard but I managed to run the entire 25 minutes at the same pace. During the 25 minute running interval I covered about 2 miles which is twice as far as my longest run a couple of years ago when I was trying to get started running but wound up not keeping up with it.

In total I spent 35 minutes on the treadmill including the warm-up/cool-down walks and covered 2.4 miles. I spent 11 mins 38 secs in heart rate zone 3. Less than half way into the run I was already in the bottom of 4 and the last 4 minutes I was barely into zone 5.

I'm not sure I'm breathing right when I'm running, or at least I'm sure I could be breathing better. Will try to find some time do research that online.

Haven't made much progress with the smoking since last time but I'm still smoking less than when I started.

Day 2

Ugh. Today startetd off bad. Couldn't sleep last night and overslept. Went down to run and my phone was dead.  Went back upstairs to get the battery pack from my heated running jacket to power my phone and that battery was dead too. Since the program is simple now I decided to just use the timer on the treadmill to do the C25K program.

I don't know if it was the stress or the extra stair climbing but my heart rate was about 10 points higher than when I normally start running. 

Today I also decided I was going to increase my pace a bit. Bad idea. Today wasn't a good idea to push myself that much. I only spent about 5 minutes in heart rate zone 3. Within 6 minutes I had already crossed into zone 4 and with 10 minutes still left in the running portion of the program my heart rate was already at max of my previous runs.

I tried to focus on breathing better and improving my form but my heart rate kept climbing so I reduced the speed of the treadmill. That stabilized my heart rate but it was still high and I was starting to get a cramp and just generally feeling uncomfortable so I decided to take a rest and walk until my heart rate came down  a little. After three minutes of walking I started jogging at Day 1's pace again but my heart rate climbed fast again and I had to go back to walking. 

To compensate I did my cool-down walk faster than normal and then did a 1 minute sprint faster than the pace I started with to end the workout.

In 35 minutes (including the warm-up/cool-down) I covered 2.4 miles. Same  as Day 1.  Even burned the same amount of calories as Day 1 which at least makes me feel better about not doing the full 25 minutes of running. Not sure if this counts as a successful Day 2 or not. I'll see how Day 3 goes and decide if it was really Day 2.1.

Day 3

Think I figured out my problem. When I first started this running program I was well hydrated, drinking at least 70 oz. of water a day. Over the holidays I haven't been eating as well and haven't been drinking near enough water because I didn't want to have to go to the bathroom every hour. Last  couple of days I've woken up every morning with a bad headache due to dehydration. This morning I didn't have a headache but was still dehydrated but decided to give it a go anyway because I had the craziest running dream before I got up.

In my dream I was running in a 5K through the streets of New York. It was very crowded and at one point some old Asian man was having a hard time and decided to grab on to me for help. He put one hand on my shoulder and one between my legs. I was in shock and didn't know what to do. I turned around and told him to get off but I don't think he understood me and he looked like he was in a lot of distress. Still, I wasn't going to let some dude keep their hand on my crotch so I pushed him off and took off running faster.

For some strange reason the race went through a hospital. In the waiting room the old Asian guy was sitting, obviously not doing well, but I was still pissed from his nut grab earlier so I decided to deck his son in the jaw instead. Who for some strange reason was Steven Weber of Wings. Maybe because I'd love to knock out my own brother but it's odd because I always related more to Weber's character and let's be honest... Tim Daly has the more punchable face. MF'er still looks the same as he did in '95. Thanks for not dying your grey hair so we know you're older douche!

Back on the race and when I start having a hard time keeping pace again because this cute, young, blonde chick with one leg and a Marines shirt does the shoulder and nut grab. I think to myself "Bitch! I'm older, not in great shape and am already struggling with two legs to carry I don't need a third." Obviously this time I didn't push her off cause I'm not going to be that guy that doesn't lend a shoulder to someone who gave a limb for this country. Plus, when a cute 20-something year old woman wants  to put her hand on your junk, the polite thing to do is to let her keep it there as long as she wants. My daddy raised me right!

Towards the end of the race people were leaving totally innapropriate promotional items for runners to pick up. With a mile still left in the race I found myself running with an arm full of crap I didn't need like a sleeping bag, yoga mat and box of stainless steel cookware. Some other crazy stuff happened, i dumped the bulky items, picked up a few small things and finished the race.

Not sure what about that dream motivated me to run this morning but I did. Wasn't able to complete the full 25 minutes of running like on Day 1 but I did last longer than last time before needing to take a walking break to let my heart rate settle. 

I only managed to do 2.3 miles in 35 minutes including the warm-up coll-down walks. Most of the time I was running in heart rate zone 4. Looks like I'm going to have to start over with Week 7 of C25K.

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