Monday, December 31, 2012

OT: Running, just as addictive as Pet Battles

I have made a few posts about the running I have been doing, and a few comments in otherwise WoW-related posts.  My last really serious running post was back in October 2011.  While surfing the blogosphere today I found a blog by a truly inspirational geek who has lost a lot of weight (140 pounds or 65 kilos if you are a metric person).

While my story isn't that dramatic, and I certainly haven't changed my diet to the extent he has, it is a very timely moment to think about those pesky New Year's Resolutions that always seem to crop up, and then get discarded a week or so later.

I started running in September 2011, and am now signed up for my first 10km fun run, at the end of Feb.  I am also going to sign up for a 15km run at the end of March, then a 11.4km run that includes some serious hills in May.  My goal is to run the 10km in under an hour, which should be quite doable given I went out with a mate the other week and ran 1 hr 08 min in my first actual 10km.  If I can run 10km of the 15, and walk the rest I will be happy, and as to the May run, just completing it with the hills involved will be an achievement in itself.

In that October 2011 post, I had just run for 20 minutes, and that really was impressive given where I had come from.  I now run every second day, and have invested in a pretty serious Garmin watch to track all my heart rate, times, and pretty much any stat you could think of related to running or other exercise. Tomorrow I will run 10km, in Zone 2 - for my height/gender/age that is a 141-152 Heart Rate range.  When I started, simply the idea of actually running 5km was unbelievably far off.  I got to 5, then worked for a while on improving my time.  I have been increasing the distance each time I can do the previous distance at 6 min k's - the end goal is to run a fun run in under 60 minutes, which isn't going to get me into the Olympics, but is a very respectable time for a novice runner. Even with 5 months off running when I picked up an injury (Runners Knee of all things), I guess that I am probably out of the novice category.

I'm starting to get into the science, running in the different zones, and looking forward to proudly crossing that finish line in 8 weeks time. I had never expected to even aim for 10km - the idea was that I would get off the couch and run 5km, something which many of my friends couldn't (can't) do.  My wife now laughs as she tells me that a half marathon is the next thing I'll come home and say I'm doing - while I'm still not convinced about that, I keep finding that there are new goals, new challenges. Competing against myself and going that bit faster, or further.

The other day I ran 5km, 4 in Zone 2, and the last one hard finishing in a time of 31 min 52 sec.  If an IT nerd can do that, 18 months after barely making it through 60 seconds of running and 90 of walking for 20 minutes, you can too. Maybe running isn't your thing, but find something that you can do every couple of days, and just get out there. You will feel better in yourself, and happier, as well as less stressed and obviously fitter.  Don't let those resolutions go by the wayside this year!