One year ago, on August 16, 2012, I logged my first activity at the new AUM Wellness Center, a 250 yard swim that took 25 minutes. This involved hanging on the wall and panting at the end of every 25 yards, while being totally unable to comprehend how people could lap swim for an hour. The next day, my first run on the indoor track was just under 45 minutes and I made it 3 miles. That’s a 15:00 min/mile pace – blazing.
Now I’m looking back at the original “just get up three mornings a week and do some kind of exercise” goal, and comparing it to what it has evolved in to, and I can’t believe where I am now. I logged over 1,400 miles of activity! In one year.
I’ve done three 5k races, an 8k, a 10k, and one sprint triathlon. I’m now training for the Montgomery Half Marathon in October, and my second sprint triathlon (my first open water) in just three weeks. My best pace for a 5k race is 9:05, my only 8k pace was 9:31 on a very hilly course, and I just yesterday ran 13.1 miles for the first time ever and managed a 10:17 pace. This is what my running has looked like:
I’ve gotten my swim pace down from that initial 11:23/100 yard pace to a 400 yard average pace of 2:04. Still lots of room for improvement, but I’m happy. I try to do a minimum of 2000 yards at every workout, something old me could never imagine. This is what my swimming has looked like:
Then, in May, just to round things out, I bought a road bike and started squeezing in cycling workouts so I could compete in triathlons. This is what my cycling has looked like:
My goal for year two, and really for the rest of my life, is to never let myself get back to the over-weight coach potato I was. I found a great local triathlon club, Team MMS that gives me great opportunities to run and bike with groups of people who push me, coach me, and encourage me. If you haven’t found a local group to work out with, you should go out and find one.
Now the thrill of finishing my 5k race with a PR of 28:18 has subsided, I am beginning to train for an 8k coming up on May 25th. It runs through the downtown area of Montgomery, which has a lot of hills. I wanted to run this race because we also have a half marathon here in October that runs some of the same hills, so I might as well get used to it.
I figured that if was totally out of gas by the end of my 5k, running about a 9:20 pace, I needed to train at a slower pace. So I picked 10:30 out of thin air as a starting point. Counting this weekend’s attempt, I have three weekends to run this course in preparation – the joy of running in your own town.
I finished my first attempt at a pace of 10:21 over a 5.33 mile course (I made a wrong turn part way through). Here is the elevation graph – Garmin Connect says a 436 foot total climb.
Obviously, this is not your typical flat-as-a-pancake Florida run! But I ran it the entire way, and felt good at the end. Several times, as I crested one hill only to a dip and then yet another hill, I wondered what I had gotten myself in to. n the downhill stretches at the end had uphill stretches. But I would not allow my brain to tell my legs to stop, and by the end I was in a zone and having a blast. Endorphins are marvelous things!
Part of this I have to attribute to the fact we began working out on a whole series of weight machines at the Wellness Center. My aim is both strengthen my core for running, as well as strengthen my upper body for swimming harder. And Saturday showed it is helping.
The journey began yesterday, at the AUM Wellness Center. I got the first pair of swimming goggles I’ve ever owned, hopped in the pool, and had to give up swimming after 350 yards…panting like a dog. But I hadn’t been swimming in a lot of years, so maybe that was it.
But no, this morning I couldn’t even complete the 1/8 mile indoor track without stopping, out of breath. So I now have a goal – get out of the bed at least four times a week, and work out before I go to work.
But it is a beginning!