Monday, February 10, 2014

Run, Kelly, Run!

I was never going to be a Runner. I hated running. Haaaaaaaaaaated it. I would scoff at it and actively avoid it. I always had flashbacks to running track in high school, jogging around the school parking lot on chilly March days in a pair of lined windpants that had probably been purchased sometime in the 80s. Every once in a while, even when I was in college, I'd step outside on a spring day and sniff the air, and it would smell like track season. Burning lungs, tired legs, crisp air. It haunted me. And then I got fat. Well, fatter. Downright obese compared to what I had been when I was a teenager. I didn't have the sense to realize it then, because of course the media machine had already gotten to me and I was convinced that I was unworthy. I found a photo of myself from the summer after my junior year and I was scrawny as hell. The gift of hindsight, I guess. I kind of want to go back in time and slap my seventeen year old self in the face, though. Just because.

But I gained weight in college and then later at my desk job, as one is likely to do, and I thought that maybe running would be good exercise. Cardio, right? Burn those calories! Except I could barely go a minute or two before my lungs started burning and I had to stop. On a good day, I could get through an entire song on my iPod. It was futile. I continued to avoid it mostly because I couldn't do it.

Then, sometime in 2012, I got the random  notion in my head that I wanted to run a 5K. Why, I don't know. I couldn't even run 1K. Or probably half a K. But I knew there was a Couch to 5K program and "anybody could do it" and I figure I fell into the category of anybody, just as much as, well, anybody else.

Long story short, I didn't make it to a 5K in 2012 but I did manage to run a miraculous (and snail-worthy) 32 minutes that year. My all-time PR, even from when I was young and in shape. I'd never run that long before. Ever. In my life. Not continuously, that's for damn sure. So I started running again as soon as spring came around in 2013, trying to build on that. I wasn't even sure how "into" running I would be, but, again, I knew it was a good cardio workout and I still had my white whale to capture - running a 5K.

I started keeping track of my runs in April as a means of tracking my progress. I started taking post-run photos simply because Runkeeper prompted me to the first time I used it... and then it just sort of became a tradition. From there, I decided to document each excursion in a similar manner. Consistency, and whatnot. Blogging helped, also, to keep me accountable. (Yes, yes. Despite my inability to keep up THIS blog, I started a whole new one. That one, however, is remarkably up to date.)

Which is a roundabout way of saying: I have a lot of data and I find stats to be pretty interesting. So I've taken the time to compile everything that I recorded in 2013 in to a nice year-end summary.

The biggest surprise, when tallying everything up? It was only my 6th run of the year when I ran my first 5K equivalent (3.22 miles) on May 10. (Which gives me hope that it won't take me too long to bounce back in 2014 after taking some time off over the holidays/in the winter.)

Number of Runs Per Month
April - 2
May - 8
June - 11
July - 12
August - 6
September - 8
October - 9
November - 3
December - 1
Total Number of Runs in 2013: 60
Month with the Most Runs: July (12)

Total Recorded Time Per Month
April - 45 minutes
May - 184 minutes
June - 269 minutes
July - 277 minutes
August - 133 minutes
September - 146 minutes
October - 215 minutes
November - 105 minutes
December - 15 minutes
Total Time Spent Running in 2013: 1389 minutes (23.15 hours!)
Month with the Most Time Spent Running: July (277 minutes)
Most Recorded Time in a Single Week: 93 minutes (10/20-10/26)
2013 Personal Record, Longest Time/Single Run: 55 minutes (6/21)

Total Recorded Distance Per Month
April - 1.77 miles (only one run was tracked)
May - 15.12 miles
June - 22.69 miles
July - 22.05 miles
August - 8.82 miles
September - 11.57 miles
October - 17.41 miles
November - 8.05 miles
December - 1.22 miles
Total Recorded Distance in 2013: 108.7 miles
Month with the Most Distance Run: June (22.69 miles)
Most Recorded Distance in a Single Week: 7.6 miles (10/20-10/26)
2013 Personal Record, Farthest Distance: 4.29 miles (10/20)

Total # of Organized 5K Races Run in 2013: 4

Number of Runs Per Days of the Week:
Sunday - 15
Monday - 6
Tuesday - 11
Wednesday - 5
Thursday - 6
Friday - 7
Saturday - 10

It is perhaps not surprising that most of my runs landed on a weekend, especially since in the summer I had softball on weeknights, and in the fall once it started to get dark by the time I left work. There were definitely some patterns starting to emerge each month, which was interesting because I never had a "set" running schedule.

Looking ahead: 2014

My #1 running goal for 2014 is to run 5 miles. I was so close last year, I think I can do it! My #2 goal, if I can run 5, is to eventually run a 10K (which is ~6.2 miles). I'm not ready to commit to a goal of a half marathon just yet, even though a lot of my friends are doing it (peer pressure!) but if I have a good year this year and stay injury-free, that might be The Goal for 2015.

I'm also considering investing in a GPS Watch this year. My UP band has suited me pretty well, but it's always frustrated me just a little bit to not know how far I'd run until after I was done. I think it might also help me pace myself while doing 5Ks. They're about $130-150 but I shouldn't need to buy new shoes or gear for a while (unless I magically lose a bunch of weight, but if that happens, I will not be complaining!) so it might be my big splurge for the year.

Lastly, I'm planning on running more 5Ks this year. Probably a couple in the spring, a couple in the fall. Summer is kind of busy since I'm planning on coaching softball again, and late summer is just miserably hot and humid. But we'll see! If a fun one pops up here and there I won't say no! I don't have a set number that I want to do. I don't want to spend too much money on registration fees, and I'd rather do more charity runs than novelty runs. (In other words, I won't be running the Color Run in 2014. I might get talked into participating, but it will be strictly leisurely. Too many people and obstacles.) It would be nice to do a couple of the same races as last year just to see what kind of improvement I can make from last year, so hopefully all the dates will work out.

In the meantime, I am itching to get outside again. We had one really nice day a couple weeks ago - it actually got up to 50°! - but it was such a tease, because the next day we were back to cold and snow. It felt nice to run though - and I managed to last twenty minutes, which is much longer that I expected for the first time out of the gate. Right now, it's just torture, waiting for nice weather.

Listen to me! I think the assimilation into the Running Borg is complete. Yeesh.


Kelly L said...

SO FLIPPING PROUD OF YOU, LADY! Love how you have embraced it and are a total rock star. Keep it up!

Kelly L said...

You are so awesome!! Dang, 4.29 miles?! I think my topsies is still 3 miles. I got so stupidly close to running a 5k and then i regressed. This makes me want to work my way back up to that this year. I'm down to like 2 miles at a go right now. :\

Kelly L said...

If you get back to 5Ks we should do one together. I'm paaaaaaaaaaainfully slow, but it would still be fun!

Kelly L said...

Thanks :D