Starting To See Progress

On my 4.2 mile run yesterday, I decided to push my pace while still doing run/walks. It was the first really cold day of the year, and very windy, but my 5k time was just over 3 minutes faster. So I’m happy with that part. But by the end of 6k I had no legs left, so that pace will not get me through a 10k (right now), which is my next goal.

But – on the positive side – I have a pace that will go 10k (just not as fast as I want), and a faster pace that lasts for 5k. And I’m just at week 9 of this fitness trip I have begun, so small steps are good steps.

But I am now a runner, and enjoying every minute of my journey.

Just Ran 10k for the First Time

I have upped my daily runs over the last two weeks to two laps (4.2 miles) of the outdoor course I’ve been running. This is, for me, a big jump over the 3 miles I was running.

I’m now swimming between 1,800-2,000 yards, three days a week plus running the 4.2 miles twice a week. And today I just added my first weekend long run – 10k. I don’t even want to mention my speed (slow) because I’m still working on my pace and breathing by doing run/walk intervals. I have built up to 4.5 minutes running (slow) and 20 seconds walking. And I’ve been running for just over two months now.

Anyway, the first two miles felt like a slog, it was a longer distance than I’ve ever done and I was getting frustrated. And then…somewhere starting mile three it seemed to come together for me. Next thing I knew I had skipped a couple of the walk intervals and then ran almost the entire last 4 miles. Super excited! Everything I had read said this would finally happen, but I was beginning to wonder.

Of course losing 22 of my 36 pound goal has certainly helped.

Oh Joy, I Get To Start All Over, Learning To Swim Freestyle

When I started swimming two months ago, I wanted to work on my breathing and pace, and the breaststroke seemed like a great way to start. It’s a lot harder to breathe in a mouthful of water during the breaststroke than doing the free. So for two months I’ve worked up to doing 2,000 yards of continuous breaststroke, three mornings a week. I was happy. I was not fast, but my breathing was working for me, and my distance was increasing.

I wanted to start off right on freestyle and stop swimming flat, while forcing myself to breathe bi-laterally. Seemed like a good plan until this morning. New muscles complaining all over again. No stamina. I’ve never done a flip tun in my life (I saw a post somewhere where the Brits call it a tumble turn, which is closer to what I am attempting). I feel like I’m back to square one. But I guess I need a new challenge.

This Is Why I Want To Get Better At Swimming

There is a new article on the Runner’s World website (http://news.runnersworld.com/2012/10/22/activity-linked-to-less-age-related-brain-change/) that talks about a study by Neurology showing that “people in their 70s with higher levels of physical activity have less brain shrinkage than their sedentary contemporaries”.

For me, less brain shrinkage is always a good thing. But I don’t know if I’m going to be able to run in to my seventies. I do feel a lot more confidant that I will be able to swim in to my seventies, swimming having a much lower impact on the body, overall. That’s why I’m cross-training now between swimming and running – it’s all for my brain!

I’ve Made It Half-Way To My Goal Weight

It’s been seven weeks of reading running, swimming, and nutrition articles, and then changing all kind of things about the way I eat. But I’ve dropped eighteen pounds, and the running and swimming are both becoming easier. I can’t believe some of the changes I’ve made to my diet, and the way I’ve been documenting calories, carbs, sodium, potassium, and calcium intake. I’ve really cut down on the sodium, and worked to increase my potassium intake, because moves are supposed to be very beneficial for my heart. I found out I can get just as much calcium from a glass of “kids” calcium-enriched orange juice as I can from a glass of milk – 35% of the recommended daily value. And I like orange juice better anyway. Also, frozen veggies appear to mostly have about one-third less sodium than canned veggies.

Since I ran the 5K I have decided that this is my new “short run” minimum (I have actually begun running two loops of an outdoor park for a total of 6.64K) that I am starting to run twice a week. I have also worked my lap swimming (three days a week) up to 2,000 yards continuous breaststroke, which has really helped me get my breathing regulated.

The magic combination of reducing the calories, while eating right, and increasing the calories burned, is working for me during the first half of the program. I think the second half will be harder, but I’m sticking to the plan.