I'm proud to say that I passed week four with flying colors! This week I ran for 3 and 5 minute durations with minimal issues. I have grown. Today's me is ages ahead of the me that started this blog 14 months ago. I realized that I have advanced physically as well as mentally now that I'm turning the halfway point of this incredible journey. My "AHA!" moment came on day one of this week's challenge.
I was running on day one of week four's challenge when I felt like I should quit. I was on the first set of running for five minutes and after the three minute mark I was breathing hard and slowing down a little bit. I came to a crossroad (metaphorically speaking). I could stop running, claim that this week was too hard, and then repeat it over and over until I became efficient at it. OR I could push through the initial wall of fatigue and complete the run.
I chose the latter.
I pushed through the fatigue and finished the first five minutes. The recovery time is reduced to a minute and a half and two and a half minutes between the running portions of the program. That kinda sucks but I survived. I also survived the second sets of running times as well. WOO HOO! The name of the game is settling into a rhythm. It's easy to let the mind wander when you're set to almost an autopilot like trance. The music sets me free and I'm off, flying to far away places in my brain.
This is where the writing shifts from achievements to achievements. Back in the day I used to lame. I would think that if I was breathing harder that that meant I was hitting the wall and it was time to stop. Getting in shape is just as much mental as it is physical. You have to be able to push hard to break through the body's initial cries for help. It's almost a panic (at least for me) when I'm running and my breath is a little shorter than normal. My mind screams at me "WHAT ARE YOU DOING! YOU AREN'T BREATHING NORMALLY! STOP BEFORE YOU KILL YOURSELF!" but my legs are like "I'm fine. Do whatchu wanna do"(Yes. I envision my legs speaking to me in a sassy way. Judging people is bad).
I'm left to make a decision as to which area to listen to. More recently I've been listening to my body more than my brain. What is funny is when I read about running, the majority of the pieces bring up that you gotta listen to the brain more than the body. Right now, I'm reprogramming my brain to be more sensible in the effort department. This means that I work backwards and instead listen to my body. My legs will feel like lead by the time I finish a long period of running but I never feel like they are too dumb to keep moving. When the breathing picks up then I have to tune into what my body is doing and tune out the negative things my mind tells me.
This is an interesting time for me because the running program is slated to increase dramatically this week. So I'm going to be reworking the circuits in my brain to be more supportive of my life decisions. Since I started running regularly, I see big differences in my body shape. Combined with the fasting from Ramadan, I'm down almost 15 pounds in the past month. PLUS I always remind myself that no matter how much I get tired, and how out of breath I may get on any one particular run, I am perfectly okay two minutes later. I catch my breath quickly and, beyond muscle tiredness, I feel as if I had just been relaxing. I think back to the stairs and dropping my time from 14 minutes almost in half to EIGHT. And how my first time at the stairs it took 29 minutes. These are bullets that I'm going to be using to fight the urge to quit while running. These are bullets that I'm going to be using to fight the urge to quit while running. That will make all the difference between success and failure.
On to the sadness...
I noticed that there is a slight pain just below my left knee while I'm running. It only causes trouble for me when I'm out running, walking, or climbing stairs. At first, I shrugged it off as being just growing pains. Then my knee started getting worse, little by little. I'd feel it when I was getting in and out of the car. The pain is never anything that would be classified as debilitating but it became more and more persistent while I was running. I don't even want to classify it as pain. It's just kind of like a slight feeling in my knee when it happens. Then came the weakness. I would pay attention when I was walking to how I was taking each step with my left knee because it felt a little unstable. When getting up from a sitting position I'd have to put more weight on my right side. This climaxed a week before last Wednesday when, after dodgeball, my knee buckled as I was leaving the bar. I caught myself before I fell, but now I was really nervous. The pain hadn't really changed levels but the added weakness was a concern. Knees are a very precious joint to me. Without them I would lack the ability to run. It would reduce the easiness of walking. And it'd make things like kneeling nearly impossible without them. I want to succeed and lose weight as soon as possible, but I need to make sure all of me will make it across the finish line.
I hit up Google and from an hour's worth of research I was able to self assess myself as having Runner's Knee. It's an ailment created by stress on the knees. The kneecap can get pulled out of position in this. Luckily it can be fixed! My first step was to go out and get a knee brace. This adds stability to the entire knee and holds everything in place. I was really skeptical about how much it would really work, but now I wear it almost daily now. The brace makes my knee feel a lot stronger. Also I haven't ran since that Wednesday because I want to let the knee heal up a little bit before I go back at it. The plan is Monday to start up week Five of the Frank to 5k: Real World Edition running challenge. I've also been reading up on running posture, proper hip movement, leg exercisesand the way to step while running. IF the ailing continues on then I will have to belly up to the sink and get it checked out.
There's a lot of work to be done in the coming weeks, but I welcome the challenge as I continue to march (run) on to victory! That is all for now!
Until the next episode!