Sunday, May 2, 2010

the 20-minute mile

Today's run - Week 8, Day 1 - was the most significant one of all.

First of all, I ran outside for the first time.

I prepared for my adventure the same way I prepared to start Couch to 5K seven weeks ago: with a shopping trip.
At Cleve's in New Minas I got a great Saucony shirt for just $20. It's brighter and bluer than it appears in the image below, and I love it.

I also got some awesome shorts from Sportchek, also in New Minas.

I've never seen an online store include such a horrible image of a product, but there you are. What you can't see is that there are two bright squares of colour on the left side: one pink and one orange. Also, they look way better on me than they do in this image.

Hell, they looked way better than this when they were still on the hanger!

The manufacturer is Matrix, a brand I'd never heard of, but they were only $25.

With money spent, I was committed. I felt nervous about running outside - the issues I've had with moving my body in public (drunken hours on a dance floor don't count) could fill volumes - but I was determined. I felt good about the progress I've made and knew I could do it.

I was right about being able to do it; what I didn't expect was how tough it would be.

I was concerned about my pace so I used a Motion Traxx podcast to ensure I ran at about 4 mph. Even so, I'm not sure I reached that.

It turns out that running on pavement is noticeably different than running on a treadmill. I realized quickly that the treadmill had been helping me move forward and now that I was on the road, I didn't have the forward momentum I was used to. I was running but I felt like my legs were in a vat of glue.

Today's run was for 28 minutes. I've never been more eager for the lovely lady's voice on my Get Running app to tell me that I was half-finished.

The first 14 minutes were difficult. The last 14 took everything I had, or so it seemed. I wanted to walk, I wanted to quit running, but I didn't.

My friend Jason ran a 10-mile race in Philadelphia today. Thoughts of him and his accomplishment are the only reason I ran the entire 28 minutes.

I don't know if I can describe how hard it was to do what I did. My legs felt so heavy and sluggish. I developed a blister on my left foot and every step burned. I survived by getting myself from one driveway to the next. I felt like I'd never run a moment in my life before then.

Of course, I feel really, really proud. I'm determined to do it again.

I understand so much better why I haven't lost more weight. The treadmill has been deceptive. On the bright side, now that I'm outside, the strength I'll gain will be extraordinary by comparison.

Also, check out these numbers: 124, 265, 400. Any guesses as to what they are?

They are the three versions of calories I burned on my run. The first comes from Map My Run, I believe. The second is from the pedometer I wore during the run (which said I ran 2.65 miles). The final one is what the treadmill would have told me I'd burned.

I think that means I have to go with the first. Which means, in turn, that my entries in Lose It! to date have been wildly inaccurate.


I can't be too upset with the treadmill, mind you. It's always given me two calorie measurements: one for fat, one for something else. I see now I should have been going with the fat calories burned.

So I'll make the necessary adjustments.

Besides getting outside more, I have another new goal: to extend today's run further and further. Here's what it looked like, by the way:

It ain't 10 miles by any means, but the mile is mine and I'm happy to say so.

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