Running: Errors and Small Victories


As mentioned in my previous post, I had my first team training session on Saturday morning, at the park near my house. At 5:30am.

It would have been tough enough to get there without having spent the previous evening in downtown Phoenix, volunteering at the busy ComiCon without the benefit of eating any food. But as it happened, I only had about 4 hours of sleep and only one glass of milk at around 11:30 before bed on Friday. I wasn’t operating on all cylinders, as they say. Not enough sleep, not enough food, and not enough brain-smarts to make wise choices while running. Here’s what happened:

I got to the training session on time, and we started off with a brisk walk around one of the lakes as a warm up. Then there were announcements and stretching exercises. I had brought my usual 20oz bottle of water, and I sipped it. (Before leaving the house, I had downed two pints of water, too.) My right shin was still killing me, though. Damn shin splint. I’d decided I would just do what I could and work until I felt pain. Go slow and steady.

Yeah, right. That didn’t happen. Why? Because it turns out I have real issues with working out with other people.

I already knew this, of course. I don’t like to talk while working out. And I really don’t like feeling like I need to keep up with someone who is further along in their training and experience than I am. Yet, on Saturday, I had to do both of these things. That woman I’d met at the kickoff meeting was there, and while she is very nice, she’s also a total chatterbox. And a more experienced runner.

She started off with me, and we were keeping pace well together, but soon my shin was hurting like a bitch. I told her about it, and she launched into her first ‘lecture’ about the importance of wearing the proper shoes. She bragged about getting the shoe-clinic thing done at RoadRunner Sports, and told me how she bought two pains of expensive new sneakers when I told her I didn’t have the money yet to get there, myself. It felt a little obnoxious, to be honest. I just told her I am doing the best I can with what I had until I got paid, and yet she’s still railing on about her new sneakers and why they are so wonderful and how wonderful she’s feeling on the run and how I “really need to get there and get some good shoes” because I will “be amazed at the difference it makes.”


Trust me on this. I know the importance of solid, good shoes when running. And it was killing me that I couldn’t go yet. So stop talking about it, m’kay?

She also dropped the phrase “my boyfriend” nothing short of 10 times during our 40 minute workout. Good lord. She seems to enjoy bragging about how wonderful her boyfriend is and how much money she has. It definitely got on my nerves. Also, I couldn’t really talk because I was gasping for air and having trouble staying upright, and yet she was talking. Clearly, we were at different levels in our endurance. I tried to talk but really, it wasn’t happening. So she filled the space.

And then, she could jog for much longer spurts than I could. My energy was really low, and I was feeling ill. I told her numerous times to just go ahead of me, and not worry if I stopped and walked for a little while. She’d go run ahead of me, but then stop after awhile and either wait for me, or jog back to me. I know she was trying to be supportive and helpful, because she was clearly aware that I was having a hard time out there. But seriously, I wanted nothing more than for her to just go do her own run, like everyone else, and leave me to my own pace. She kept saying stuff like, “Let’s just run as far as that bridge up there and then we can walk.” I’d go along with it, but I only made it as far as she wanted us to go once or twice. I just couldn’t make it happen. This made me feel like a big, out-of-shape spazz and the one who was dragging down the team.

This is exactly why I hated team sports in high school. I was slower than the rest of the kids when it came to running and being all athletic. I wasn’t good at catching balls that were thrown in my direction. I was picked last or next-to-last all the damn time. I got used to it, though. But the other kids would always be so good at all of that and it made me feel inferior and jealous. And it made me push myself very, very hard to try to keep up. My gym teachers often called me out of a game or something to make me sit down on the bleachers. Why? My face and chest flush up like CRAZY when I overexert myself. It was embarassing. And it still is. I know my face and chest were bright red and blotchy on Saturday. I know I probably looked like I was gonna have a heart attack. That’s how I look when I work out, though. I’m used to it, now.

I have this bad habit of wanting to keep up with people around me when I am working out. I want to be good. I want to be at least as good as my peers. In the gym, I tended to try to run somewhat close to what the person on the next treadmill was doing, just because I would think, on some stupid level, that THAT was the rate I should be doing, too. I can’t explain it. I don’t accept my limitations around others very well.

After the run was over and we were back at the starting point, that’s when I felt sick as hell. Nausea took over, and because it would have been conspicuous if I ran into the public bathroom to throw up, I just paced around a little bit, breathing through my nose and trying to relax and not puke as the team coaches told us about the next training session and gave us a fundraising tip or two. All I wanted to do was run away and vomit. Or, at least, get to my car, and drive home to vomit in the privacy of my own house. It was killing me.

I got home, and I didn’t puke, amazingly. I kept it in, except for some dry heaves. I took a cool shower, drank some water and had a light breakfast an hour or so later when I felt ready. I’d only had half a banana that morning before the run, which is what I had been doing all week and it had been working out very well. It wasn’t enough for Saturday, though. I need to tweak this food thing some more, find out what works for me.

I took a nap for an hour and then got up to go to ComiCon. It felt very long. I was ravenously hungry during the film screenings we attended. And also, at one point, my left knee suddenly did a weird “shifting/sliding” thing that hurt a lot. It was hard to walk on it. I think it was just fatigued and pushed a little too hard that morning. When I got home later that afternoon, I just got comfortable, drank a lot of water and took ibuprofen and rested all night. I did pretty much the same thing on Sunday, too.

Monday morning, I was back on schedule. The only thing was, I did my workout on my treadmill. I’d been expecting the worst. I thought that if my knee gave out, or I threw up, at least if I was on the treadmill I was in my house and could easily help myself. If I was out running in the neighborhood, who knows.

As it turned out, my workout was pretty good! I was surprised as hell that my knee didn’t bother me. And my right shin wasn’t on fire, either. I did my 5 minute warmup and then launched into the 30 minute workout. I’d expected I would run for maybe ten minutes if I was lucky.

But I wanted to run more than I wanted to walk! It was incredible. When I slowed down to breathe/take drinks, slow my heart rate, etc., I didn’t like how walking was feeling on my legs. I wanted to put them back into running mode! THIS was a new thing.

So, I ended up running 17 minutes by the end of the workout (one burst of 7, then two 5 minute long runs). I went about 2.25 miles, in all. It felt so great to accomplish this!

This meant that I had reached a personal milestone that I had been anxious for: running the majority of my workout. I did it! I made it! AND I didn’t get hurt.

All of the doubts and regrets from the way Saturday turned out were erased. I’m back on track! I just need to really focus on doing everything else right, leading up to a run. Getting a good dinner the night before. Getting PLENTY of sleep. Waking up early enough to eat something small to get it in my stomach before the run. Drinking double the amount of water, just because it doesn’t seem like I can get too much these days. And, finally, and most importantly, don’t worry about other people. Just go at my own pace, not theirs.

I need to remember, when I am in the presence of these more-experienced runners, that I know my own body and limits, and I must trust in myself when I know I have reached those limits. Just because I slow down more than everyone else doesn’t mean I’m NOT pushing myself to get better and faster! On the contrary. I’m going at my pace to get to my final goal. Rushing out and hurting myself isn’t going to do anything, and in fact could derail the entire thing. So it’s important to trust in myself right now. Maybe it looks slow to other people, but it’s what I’ve got. I’ll get there. I will get faster and have more endurance, soon. Over time.

I’m still so excited about the 17 minutes thing. That’s pretty significant for me! The most I’d ever run was maybe 5 minutes straight, total, during a workout. I love that the workouts are actually working, and I can feel it and see it on my treadmill or watch. Awesome!


Yes, I finally got my running shoes! Yesterday I took the day off of work, which was wonderful. The only crappy part of my day off was I had my annual exam and pap smear to start it off. Yay. But after that, I went shopping and got some errands done.

First stop was RoadRunner. I did the shoe clinic thing. They measured my feet and I didn’t know it, but one of my feet is a size 8 and the other is an 8.5! All these years, I thought I was a 9. Those are the shoes that fit me. But anyway, they film how your foot lands when you run on a treadmill and I could see how my feet roll inward as I move. I don’t have high arches, which I suspected. Nope. I’m a normal size 9, B. (They say to buy one half-size up in running sneakers, so I was able to go with what I’d always buy anyway, a 9.)

They made some custom insoles right there, too. And those felt amazing in my new Brooks sneakers (below).

It was pretty cool learning about my feet and having them select the proper shoe for my feet and running goals. They brought out three different brands of sneakers and I tried them all on, and the Brooks pair fit the best. Combined with those insoles, I have a feeling my training is going to get a lot more comfortable now.

Today I was supposed to run this morning, but I woke up too late. I was also out of bananas, so I had some melon and berries instead. I guess that was a bad idea, because about two blocks away from my house, I got that shaky nauseous feeling and decided it was better to head back home and try again later today. I don’t want to work out after work, but I have to. I need to get it into today’s schedule.

And so, that’s how things are going with the running. It’s been such an educational week. Now to get back to the fundraising part of things. Ugh.


4 responses »

  1. OMG! You and I should totally train together. I’m quiet and slow too! ha ha.
    No really, that was what got me into trouble when I did TIT. I hated talking to the people I didn’t know. The running people were more fun, but ran WAY fast and I was supposed to be walking. The walkers walked too slow and talked too much. It was a mess. The only thing that got me through the actual marathon was my music.

    I love getting new running shoes. I like Runners Den on Maryland the best. I went to RoadRunner last time and I think my shoes are a little on the small size.

    It’s so cool that you are doing this. It’s all about doing the time (as my ex-boss used to tell me). When you keep building on your own time, you’re making progress! I’m so ready to get started on some running. I should have started last night, but it was our ship date. I was beat.

    Anyway, congratulations! You’re doing great! 🙂

  2. I am so glad to hear someone else has the same kind of issue with talking/working out with a group. I’m skipping this Saturday’s group training, actually… because I missed my workout yesterday, and will be adding one on Friday in its place. Also, that will mean I can properly celebrate my birthday on Friday night and not have to get up for training in the morning. I’m just moving workouts around this week, is all. Fortunately the group training isn’t mandatory and they do expect you to miss a couple here and there. As long as you’re training on your own, that’s all that matters.

    Question about new running shoes: is it normal that your legs KILL the first time you wear them out? Because my workout this morning was another impossible one and it felt like it was because of the shoes. My lower legs were cramping up like crazy! I think maybe I am not used to “good” sneakers and my legs were acclimated to my crap-ass old sneakers. Ya think? Ugh.

    I hate how I have one bad workout, one good one, one bad one, etc. I’d like a little more consistency.

    And thank you for the encouragement! I totally appreciate it. Especially on days like this, when I am scratching my head and thinking “what the hell have I gotten myself into?” 😉

  3. I do remember having some major problems adjusting to new shoes at one point. I had been wearing shoes that were my actual size for so many years, that once I had shoes fit for running/walking, I had to slowly get used to them. I think I even wore my old shoes for a workout because I couldn’t stand the pain. It was more in my feet, near my heels though.

    If you still have pain after a week, you might want to take the shoes back. (I might even try going to Runners Den to get “fitted” and see what kind of shoe they put you in. Just for a comparison.) I also have a friend that works at New Balance who might be good for fitting questions.

    I did most of my training on my own. It was sad. I think if I do another TIT, I will force myself to stick with the team. But I know it will be hard for me. I feel like such a slow runner.

    There is a running group I used to go to that you might be interested in, if the training group isn’t doing it for you. They meet every Weds night and Saturday morning. I improved SO much with my running from the little amount of time I spent with it. But they get a group there that is always training for some marathon or race. Everyone just goes at their own pace, so it’s cool. You run on a track on Weds, so it doesn’t feel so bad when everyone is at a different pace. The coach is really good about catching any problems with form, etc and helping to improve your running. I couldn’t believe how easy it was for me to run the treadmill after going to these training sessions. It was so effortless, so I knew I was improving.

    If you’re having a lot of pain the next time, you might want to give yourself an extra day to rest. I ignored those signs and really damaged my knee. You seem to be pretty good about listening to your body though. That is key!

  4. This is exactly why I can’t stand working out/running with other people. I want to do my thing at my pace and when I am with someone else I feel like I need to keep up with them. Yes it pushes me to do better but most of the time I end up pushing too hard and injuring myself.

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