Thursday, November 3, 2011

Three Miles a Day - 11/3/11

I can remember when three miles was barely a warm-up. I can remember when I didn't get into a smooth, running groove until six miles or so, and I could hold it if I was fueled properly for 26.2 miles. But for the life of me, I can't remember the beginning of my running career when three miles was a challenge. And, really, I should say one mile is a challenge. I've begun training (again) to get my energy and oxygen deprived body accustomed to walking/running every day. The mileage isn't important right now. That will come in due time. But I have to relearn how to move every day. And I have to relearn that lesson with less oxygen, low blood cell counts, fatigue, and pain.

It's hard. It's frustrating. Nevertheless, I am determined. I keep thinking about what I once could do and not totally focusing on what I can do for now. November 1 was easier than November 2. I'm hoping today will be easier than yesterday. It's just three miles. A lot of people who don't train can go out and walk three miles. A lot of people walk effortless for one mile. I see them every day as they pass me walking from the parking lot to the various State Offices in the downtown area. I can remember when co-workers commented on how fast I walk. Now I sweat and pant desperately for air as I trudge the one mile, trying to keep them in sight. Looking ahead, I'm constantly thinking, four more blocks, three more blocks, two more blocks . . . . Did they move the building, lol?

My partially numb left foot may be an advantage as I rebuild the mileage. The tips of the toes tingle, but the neuropathy has pretty much numbed the foot from mid-foot to the toes. The tingling is irritating, but, so far, it doesn't hamper being on the feet for long periods of time. I physically get tired and want to sit down before my legs and feet specifically give out. That's a good sign that my legs and feet are up for the challenge, but it's a bad sign that my body in general is in poor condition.

Yesterday, I could only walk the three miles. I had a fever and neck and shoulder pains. I was so cold on a bright, sunshiny day, even with a hat and two long-sleeved shirts. I saw runners out in shorts and short-sleeved shirts, and I envied their even pace and smooth strides. Surprisingly, the three mile walk was only about five minutes longer than the three mile run/walk the day before. The major goal is to finish the three miles under an hour. It's not much of a goal, but it's attainable and doesn't stress me out too much. On Tuesday, I finished in 53 minutes, and on Wednesday, I barely made it in 58 minutes, picking up the walking pace in the last mile to my townhouse. I plan to get the three mile course I've mapped out under 45 minutes, and then I'll do a 5K to truly see where I am.

The 5K has always been my least favorite distance. I think it's because I always had problems just going out as fast as I could and holding it for 3.1 miles. According to my spreadsheet, I've only done three 5K races. My PR for 5K is 27:17 in 2004. My last 5K in 2009 was 31:08. I can't touch either one of those times now, but if I can get to 45 minutes, I'll be happy. And then I'll have to tackle four miles, five miles, six miles . . . . But right now, three miles is about all I can handle.

I can run for a block before I get dizzy from lack of oxygen. It takes me two blocks to breathe comfortably and then I can run another block. I'm hoping that as my body becomes accustomed to surviving on less oxygen that I can run two blocks and walk one block for recovery. Ideally, I would love to get to the point where I can run a mile before taking a walk break. I've mapped out a pretty flat route, so that I won't have the added challenge of tackling an uphill climb. That's coming from someone who would use hills as speed work, because she hated running on a track for intervals. Wow! Things have really changed. Now I walk all hills, and I love 12 or 24 hour races on a track, because I'm only 1/4 mile from my drop bag and a camp chair, lol.

The best thing about my three miles a day routine is that I get to be outside. It makes me feel better mentally to be able to still move although I am incredibly slower. It's raining and very cold today, but I don't care. I'm still a runner at heart, so a little wetness and coldness are not going to scare me off. I'll still be outside on a beautiful, rainy, and cold day, dressed like I live in Alaska, lol.


  1. What an inspiration you are! Thank you so much for sharing.
    I am slow but I have no excuses. I have to fight to make myself go running - again no excuses. But I love how I feel when I am done.
    I will be attempting my first marathon in Dec. I will be thinking about you, Tiger, a lot.

  2. I salute your indomitable spirit. Having taken to running quite late in life (at 47 yrs) about three years ago, I was determined not to go beyond a half marathon because I wanted to take it easy. Having read your story, I am now convinced that I will run a marathon. I don't know when. But whenever I do, I will be doing it for Tiger. You are amazing. God bless.

  3. Ewa and icamaven: Please come back and let me know how your first marathons turned out. I'm pulling for you both that this will be the beginning of a life long journey. Godspeed!

  4. Hey Angela,

    As always - you are an inspiration! Winston Davis called me yesterday. Much of our conversation was about your birthday 44 miles! Well, mercy! You are something else! And I am so very happy that you came to Ghost Town when there was a GT 38.5 - not once, but twice we were blessed to have you with us.

    And take it from me who is not a runner but a walker - 3 mph is not a bad walking pace. As I used to say to those who would speed past me as I walked along: "You may get there faster, but I will see more as I go." My European friends who walk think we Americans are way too obsessed with speeding around. It is their thinking that we have no clue about good rambles...that walk across a countryside where you take moments to sit and soak in the surroundings, where destination is far less important than the walking and the experiencing.

    You know you are loved. Please know you are also in our prayers. Many blessings.

    Laugh freely, walk far, create beauty,
    (formerly of the Ghost Town 38.5, now of