Day 109 – “I feel the need for speed”

When my husband is watching AMC’s “The Walking Dead” I’m sitting next to him and thinking “I’d better do some speed work in case of a zombie apocalypse.”

I didn’t do any speed work so far since I started to run again. I wanted to complete my 100 day project first and I know that without any real rest day, speed work could be quite burdensome to my legs. And, my fitness level was not ready. I needed to build the endurance base first. After 100+ days of running, I think it’s time to try some speed work. So today was the day. Last time I did any kind of speed work was…more than 2 years ago 🙂

It was a warm and sunny day. If the wind was not that strong, I would’ve changed my plan and go out to run. After thinking about what to do for a while, I decided to stick to my original plan and went to the gym. I walked 5 minutes for the warm up and ran 2 miles at an easy pace. Then I did 6X400 meters with a 400 in between walking. And I did more than a mile of easy running and the cool down. The total mileage I ran for today was 6.51 miles. It was more like speed work penguin version but I’m pleased. Just like the way I increased the mileage, the intensity of speed work will be increased gradually. Little by little, I’ll get better. That’s my motto 🙂

Day 108 – hard or not, running makes you happy

Running everyday is like riding the roller coaster. Up and down and up and down. Even when you know when the ride will go up or when it will go down, the thrill of the ride doesn’t get compromised. What you can do, I mean what you SHOULD do is to sit back and try to enjoy it. Sometimes running feels so hard without any specific reason. Then the very next day, it feels easy enough to make you think you can run forever. Today, my run was the mixture of both. In the beginning my legs felt stiff. I extended the warm up until my leg muscles started to loosen. I needed to put out more effort to run at the usual pace in the first half. I even thought about running less again. But I just kept going and all of a sudden, things got easier. I increased the speed gradually and had a good second half. Overall it was a more than okay tempo run. I ran 5.54 miles and I’m happy about it.

It is raining now. My corgis are resting happily on the sofa with daddy 🙂

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Day 107

It was my super easy, less-mileage running day. Yesterday I went out to run late in the afternoon and today I went to the gym in the morning. So I wanted to give my legs a break since they had less time to rest. And from this week, I’m going to add one session of speed work and a long run so Monday and Friday will be the easy days. My weekly mileage will be the same or maybe less because I’ll take some miles from those easy days and add them to the long run. As always, I’m not going to do too much too soon. That was one reason I didn’t have any leg injury during my streak. Today I ran 3.53 miles at a slow and easy pace. After I came back home, I did 15 minutes of “yoga for athletes”. It was one of many fitness videos on Comcast on demand. It was about stretching and breathing and not that hard to follow. I’ll do that again and maybe try other yoga videos. My gym offers yoga class only twice a week. One class is at inconvenient time for me so I can try another one on Saturday morning but I don’t know about the difficulty level of the class. I need to talk to the instructor before I try.

These days we eat veggies and fruits more. Whenever I cut fruits or veggies, Cappy is jumping around me and waiting to get some pieces with a happy smile. She loves to eat everything I give to her but one of her favorite fruits is honey dew melon. Today when I was cutting the honey dew melons, she did her cute happy dancing 🙂 Jeter joined her and they enjoyed melon together. Later they got some mangos, too. There is not that many thing in the world cuter than a corgi’s mouth which is munching fruit 🙂

Day 105 – 500 miles

The sunshine was so bright. It was quite temping. I love running outside on a sunny day. But it was too cold to run on the street. The temperature around noon was 27 degrees and with the windchill it felt like 20 degrees. I know some winter warrior runners still run on colder days than this but I really don’t like the cold day. Everybody’s different. I can put up with the hot summer day but not the cold and windy winter day. So usually my running outside temperature is above 50 degrees. With the beautiful sunshine, I go out around 40 degrees. But not today. No matter how tempting the beautiful sunshine is, my body doesn’t like the coldness. So I went to the gym.

Today I ran 6.21 miles. It was a good tempo run. My 15th week was completed. This week’s total mileage of 39.16 is the most weekly mileage so far. If I didn’t have one “rest” day which I ran just 3.31 miles, the weekly mileage would go above 40 miles for the first time. But I don’t regret having a less mileage day like that. It was a much needed one. And I know sooner or later, my weekly mileage will go up to 40 miles or more when I start to throw in weekend long runs.

One more thing I want to say is, with today’s run, I passed the 500 mile mark (502.73 miles). It is so wonderful to see that one step at a time accumulated everyday and became 500 miles 🙂

Oh, my 4 new sports bras were delivered today. They are super bright Samba pink color and I love them! They are the gift from my husband to congratulate my 100 day project completion. Thank you my dear!!

Day 104 – snowy day

Yesterday my husband said that “to be happy, you need to sleep 8 hours.” That’s what he learned from the seminar he attended. So we tried to sleep 8 hours but we failed 🙂 There are so many things in life hindering us from sleeping 8 hours. We’re still happy but I think sleeping more hours can be good.

It was snowing this morning. The driveway was covered with lots of wet, heavy snow. It was a good day to stay home and cuddle with my corgis. That’s what I did in the morning. And I went to the gym in the afternoon after the driveway was cleaned. I ran 5.52 miles today. Now my total mileage is less than 4 miles from the 500 mile mark. Tomorrow I will pass the 500! 🙂

Day 103 – “Rest” day

It was a rainy day and Thursday. And it was my “rest” day. I had a super easy, less running day. I went to the gym in the afternoon and ran 3.31 miles. It was a peaceful run with Bruce Springsteen. I enjoyed this short run. When I had a recovery week, I ran 4+ miles a day but I just couldn’t enjoy a shorter run at all. But today I liked it. Maybe my legs are telling me something? I’m going to have this kind of day more often after I hit the 500 mile mark.

It was a quiet day. My corgis didn’t like walking in the rain. I’m wondering whether we I’ll get 9 inches of snow tonight. Anyway it is a good day to “rest” 🙂

Day 102 – Duran Duran & headband

Today my original plan was to run 3 miles. I mean a super easy 3 miles. I couldn’t sleep well last night and this morning I was really tired. I even couldn’t get up to drive my husband to the CTA station. So my poor husband needed to drive to work. I kept sleeping. My corgis joined with me. That’s how my morning went.

So that’s why I intended to have a minimum mileage run day. But once I went to the gym and pressed the start button on a treadmill, running felt so easy. It felt so great. And I was lost in the music. I think it’s funny because the songs I listened to today were by Duran Duran, haha. I wasn’t/am not a fan of them but one day when I looked through my CDs, I put their songs on my iPod for the gym. Their songs have similar bpm and they made my running quite automatic. Duran Duran was “DoRun DoRun” for me today. I forgot how long I’ve been running. When I was back to reality, my mileage was passing 6 miles. My mileage for today was 6.21 miles. I felt much better after the run. But tomorrow, I will run less. I promise.

The other day I bought 2 headbands at Dick’s. They are just plain white headbands. There are different colored ones but I didn’t want to pay more than double just because they have brand logos on them. My headbands look boring but who cares. I don’t go to the gym for a fashion show. Today I used one of them. It worked fine. It didn’t slip and helped to block the sweat from going into my ears. But when I saw myself in the mirror, that just cracked me up. I did look so dorky 😀

Duran Duran and a white wide headband.. Welcome back 80’s!!

Day 101 – Paczki Day

It was cloudy, raining/sleeting and quite wet outside this morning. My corgis came back home from the morning walk and boy, their bellies and legs were so muddy! So it was not a good day for running outside for me and I went back to the gym. After two days of running outside, treadmill running felt easy. I ran 5.32 miles and it was a nice and easy run. After completing my 100 day project yesterday, I thought about running less today. But there was one reason which made me run at least 5 miles. It was Paczki Day. I needed to run to feel less guilty later 🙂

Before I went to the gym, I went to Roeser’s bakery to pick up the Paczki we ordered Sunday. Just like last year, the Fox News’ tv truck was there. Just like last year, there were many people in the bakery to get the sweet Paczki. While I was waiting, Fox News Chicago’s Patrick Elwood and a cameraman came in. Uh oh. They looked around at the people to find good interviewees for their morning news live report. Uh oh again. Because I knew they would find me quite interesting..or at least different than the usual Paczki Day interviewees. Even though Paczki Day is not only for Polish Americans nowadays, but still I was the only Asian in the bakery. He can ask me “how do you know about Paczki? Since when?” kind of questions. And I was also the only one who wears gym clothes. As I expected, they kept trying to make eye contact with me. But I didn’t want to be on TV and moved toward the back. Haha. You know what? I’m shy!! 😉

The Packzi we got today were 1 custard with chocolate icing, 1 custard filled, 1 lemon filled, 2 with pineapple fillings, and 2 with strawberry filling. Tonight, my husband ate the chocolate custard one and I ate the other custard one. They were so tasty!! And we shared the lemon filled one. Yum!

These are Paczki we got 🙂

Btw, in case you don’t know what a Paczki are, they are um… you can say Polish doughnuts. They are similar to American jelly filled doughnuts. Yes, they are an ultimate guilty pleasure!!

Day 100

Sometimes numbers mean more than just numbers. That’s why people celebrate certain birthdays and anniversaries more than others. Today is a special day for me. It’s not my birthday and not our anniversary. But today is the day I hit the number 100. Today is the day I completed my 100 day project. I did run 100 days in a row at least 3 miles a day without any big glitches. Some might say it’s not a big deal. But to me, it is the big day I can celebrate and be proud of myself.

It was sunny again and the temperature was about 38 degrees. It is still below my usual outside running temperature(above 50 degrees), but it felt warmer than yesterday. I went outside and ran around the neighborhood again. I wore my new shoes I got for my birthday for the first time today with new socks.

Cappy is giving her corgi blessing to my new shoes 🙂

Today I didn’t run with my corgis. I wanted to run by myself. The route was quite similar with yesterday. I ran 6.32 miles for Day 100. I thought about running a little bit more to make it 7 but didn’t do it because it will not be my last day of running. The new shoes felt comfortable and I love the bright color! Anyway, with today’s mileage, I ran a total of 476.16 miles in 100 days 🙂

When I first started my project, it seemed quite daunting. Without any rest days, could I make it to Day 100? But it was easier than I thought. The days went by so fast. I just kept spending about an hour or so everyday for running. And that made quite a lot of changes. On Day 1, after about 2 years of no running, I couldn’t run. So I did 1 minute of run/walk repeat. Even 1 minute felt so hard. I tried to forget the days I could run 10 miles. I tried to remember that I’m just like a newbie of running. I just wanted to love running again. I just wanted to be healthy and happy through running. And 100 days later, I could run 6+ miles. My pace has improved from 4.5 to 6.2 mph. Even though I’m still not fast, I can run steady now. I’m not a fish out of the water anymore. Speed wise, I may not be the same runner I once was but I found the same love for running again. And 100 days later, my clothes are all baggy 🙂

Through the last 100 days, thankfully I didn’t have any significant injury. (I once had a slight ankle problem, but that was not from running – I misstepped on the uneven part of a sidewalk while I was walking my corgis.) I didn’t have any rest day. But, I did have a recovery week with some easy running and less mileage days. However, my daily mileage during these 100 days was always more than 4 miles except for the first two weeks. I think I did a pretty good job when it comes to preventing injuries.  I tried not to do too much too soon. I got my natural mid-foot strike back. – When I ran before, many books and fellow runners recommended heel strike as the ideal way to run so I tried to do that 😦 That just didn’t feel natural to me. Training wise, I didn’t include any long runs or speed work to prevent any potential leg problem. To me, my 100 day project was more for building a sturdy endurance base. I knew I can add more training after I completed the first goal.

Even though I had a cough and a sore throat problem from time to time, overall I didn’t get  seriously sick. I tried so hard not to be sick. When I have some symptoms, I did my best to  take care of the problems early. I ate better food, I slept more and better and I took vitamins. The last 100 days were one of the healthiest winter days I had.

Through my 100 days, many friends helped me. Thank you, my DailyMile, facebook, and other cyber space friends. Without your support and encouragement, it would be very lonely and difficult.  And thank you, my precious corgis – Jeter and Cappy. They are my good running partners and always make me smile. When the weather gets warmer, I will run with them more often. And most of all, thank you, my one and only Andrew. My dear husband. Your love and support always lifts me up. Without you, I’m nothing. You’re the reason I want to run. I want to live healthy and get older together happily with you. I love you so much.

So, I completed my first goal. Now what? I will run everyday for awhile. I want to hit the 500 mile mark. Then I will add cross training, speed work, and long runs. When I think I need it, I will have real rest days too. But I don’t know when that will be. For now, I just want to enjoy the joy of running.