Zombies Run 5K – Completed!

This past Sunday, I finally completed my eight weeks of training using the Zombies Run! 5K app. It felt really good to wrap it up and get ready to move on to the regular Zombies Run app.

I knew I could do the five kilometer length because I had done it before (soon after I wrote this post about my training). But one of the best things was that I also had my best pace of this training. In fact, my 18:40 min/mi pace was much better than my previous best of 19:03. And it felt good. That truly was the best part.

If you just did the math on when I started and when I finished, you may have noticed that it was longer than eight weeks. I ended up having to stop for over a month due to injury. Nothing serious, but I tried some different shoes that once again tore up my heels badly. In fact, six weeks later, I’m still having to cover my heels with large band-aids in order to be able to wear any walking shoes.

So, along with the red Fit-Bit wristband I treated myself to after completing the training, I’m also going to finally get some new walking shoes. I’ve got a recommendation for Tri-State Running in Edgewood, KY and hope to go there soon. I plan to take the two old pairs of shoes I’m currently using to show how shoes wear when I walk in them. Hopefully, they will have a solution to my heel issue. This keeps happening far too often.

I’ve purchased the regular Zombies Run! app and I was happy to see that all of my 5K training “runs” (I’m still walking) carried over to this app. I’m looking forward to starting this new program and hearing more about the adventures in Abel Township as they fight off the zombies.

Runner Five reporting for duty!

Zombies Run! App

More Thoughts on Walking and Zombies Run! 5K

Due to a bit of slacking off this weekend, I finished the fifth week of my Zombies Run! 5K training this morning. After my review of the app last week, I wanted to add a few more observations on using it as a walker.

Zombies Run 5K

1. I solved the problem I had with the app pausing over and over. Turns out the issue wasn’t the Mophie Juice Pack at all, but rather the juice pack headphone adapter. I ordered two replacement ones and they work like a pro. The old one has been pitched.

2. Because of my Chondromalacia patella, I am never going to be a runner. Even walking must be done carefully and usually combined with water aerobics.

Last year, when I was trying to use the Ease Into 5K app, I would try to walk faster when the disembodied voice told me to run. The problem was that I used up so much energy in those fast walks that trying to complete the entire workout was really difficult. One day, when the voice said to run, I said nope. And getting through the workout didn’t make me not to ever work out again.

With the Zombies Run! 5K, there are weeks where you are instructed to do heel lifts or leg lifts. While I ignored any run commands, I tried the lifts at first. But, I would lose my momentum and my pace suffered too. That’s when I realized what I really wanted to do was to build up my endurance and slowly pick up my pace.

3. So about my pace… Back when I was doing the training for Half Pig in 2009, my starting pace was about 18 min/mile and I was down about 16 min/mile after eight weeks of training. That’s when that nasty chest cold hit me hard and the few walks I had the next month were in the 17 min/mile range.

When I started doing Zombies Run! 5K, I was in the 21 min/mile range. This past week for the first time, I was under 20 min/mile for the entire week. That feels pretty good.

4. Before today’s workout, I got looking ahead to some of the future workouts. I’ve been averaging 2.66 miles in the 50-52 minutes allocated to the most recent workouts. I knew the last workout was a 5K so I wondered how much time was set for that. 51 minutes. Ouch. That means about a 16 min/mile pace. I don’t see me getting to that pace in three weeks.

But it did inspire me. Today, I concentrated on keeping my momentum up while adding on as many little side trips to me route to see how off 5K really is. Plus, when the workout was finished, I just kept walking. And I came really close. 2.98 miles or 4.8 kilometers. I can do this! Add another loop or two and I’ve got it.
So Wednesday’s workout goal is to reach 5K. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I think that’s it for now. And I’ve glad to get this written down. Even if no one else reads it, I have something to refer back to later in my training.

And if someone else does this? Hey, thanks! 🙂

— Carla

Walking: Slow Re-Start

July was a rough month for our household. It seemed like life threw everything it could at us at once. Between trips to Atlanta (unexpected) and New England (planned months ago), we put over 3,000 miles on Tom’s CRV in twelve days. The last few days of July were spent recuperating from all that traveling. I hadn’t really done any real walking since the Disneyland training trip in June, so August became a slow re-start for my walking.

As much as I love the Ease into 5K app, I had run into a problem with it that is more an Apple issue than the app’s. When I walk, I prefer to listen to podcasts or audio books rather than music. I think some of it is linked to the fact that when I worked in radio, music was part of the job. So music often reminds me of working. Because Apple decided to create their own (awful) Podcast app, having podcast playlists in iTunes wasn’t possible for a while. Apple now lets you create playlists for your podcasts again, but they don’t show up on your iPhone or iPod which kind of defeats the purpose for most folks.

So, instead of using the Ease into 5K app, I set a timer on my phone for 30 minutes and then started my Downcast app to listen to my podcasts. The best was when I had about 30 minutes of “Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” left so I knew by what segment it was how much time I had left.

On Tuesday and Thursday, I got in 30 minutes of walking in. I have no idea what speed I was walking at or exactly how many calories I burned. I have a rough idea on the number of steps and calories burned from my FitBit Flex (which I will be reviewing soon). I hope to get out again tomorrow for three times this week.

My plan is to get comfortable again with walking and then maybe try the Ease into 5K app again. I’m currently testing a Blackberry Q10 for a future review and I may try playing podcasts on it while running the 5K app on my iPhone. That should be interesting!

— Carla

Walking: In Water

So, today’s update is a bit of a good news, bad news thing.

Good news – I made it to the pool five times last week for a total of 255 minutes of water aerobics and 2,397 calories burned. (Thank you SparkPeople for doing those calculations for me!)

Bad news – In order to not re-injure my heel before my Disneyland trip, I’m going to have to put my walking regimen on hold until I get back.

The reality is that I really wasn’t ready to start a walking program like Ease Into 5K yet. I was just too out of shape. As Tom said at the pool this morning, I needed an Ease into an Ease Into 5K program. And that’s exactly what the water aerobics is for me. It’s the exercise I like the best and it’s the one I keep doing once I get back in the rhythm. And, to be honest, I burn more calories in the water than I do walking.

Once I get back from Disneyland, I’ll probably re-start the Ease Into 5K program. I do like it very much. I just wasn’t ready for it.

— Carla

Review: Ease into 5K app

UPDATE (6/20/14): You might want to also check out my review of the app I’m currently using – Zombies, Run! 5K.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I started walking as part of an fitness program. I’ve mentioned before that I’m using the Ease Into 5K app from Bluefin Software on my iPhone. Since I’m sidelined from walking this week while my heel gets better, I thought it was a good time to review the app.

Originally called Couch to 5K, the Ease Into 5K app is part of the RunHelper family of products. They also make Ease Into 10K, Bridge Into 10K, PowerWalk, RunHelper and apps geared towards half and full marathons plus the Susan G. Komen 3-day events. Each app costs about $2.99 and there are free trial versions available of some of the apps (including Ease Into 5K). You can use the app four times before you have to pay for it. Most of the apps are available for Android as well as iOS.

They also have a RunHelper Connect feature. For a small fee (as little as $4.99 for three months), all of your workout information is automatically backed up to RunHelper Connect. So, as soon as you finish, you can see your pace, distance, calories burned, etc. There’s even a map of your route. You can see this on your phone or, in more detail, on your web browser.

Ease Into 5K Start

When you fire up the app and get past the initial start screen, you see the information for the next workout you are scheduled to do. Tapping the green Go button doesn’t start your workout. That happens on the next screen. But, you can set your playlist, check out the journal or the settings from this screen.

Ease Into 5K Start 2

This is where you actually begin by hitting the Start button on the left. The image in the lower left corner is the album art for the song that’s cued up to play on your chosen playlist. The lock image in the lower right hand corner is just that: touch it to lock your screen while you’re walking. (Learn from me… you’re going to want to do that.)

As you work your way through, a voice tells you what to do (you can pick between male and female). The female voice has such an urgent tone when she tells you to “Run!” You also are notified when you are half way through and when you are about to begin the last run segment.

Ease Into 5K Journal

As I mentioned before, after you finish, you can see how you did by clicking the Journals tab at the bottom of the main screen. If you select an individual session, you can add information like your current weight, how you felt, the weather and the terrain. Then when you look at the main Journals page, you can compare some of this information at a glance. The Journals page also keeps track of your total miles and your fastest mile. You can also share this information to your favorite social networks, but please don’t be that person.

One of the settings is a workout reminder. You can set it up for three, four or five days or never. What I like about this feature is that if you ignore it the first time, the next day’s reminder is cute.

Ease Into 5K Reminder

All in all, I highly recommend this app. After trying RunHelper Connect out for a bit, I went ahead and subscribed for a year. It’s on the main screen of my iPhone and it’s going to stay there until I replace it with Bridge Into 10K.

— Carla

Walking: Pulling a Curt Schilling

During both the 2004 American League Championship Series (ALCS) and the 2004 World Series, Boston Red Sox pitch Curt Schilling was playing injured. In fact, he had torn his tendon sheath during an earlier play off game against the Anaheim Angels. In both the ALCS game and the World Series game, Schilling pitched great games. All the while, blood leaked from his sutures and led to the now legendary “bloody sock”. There were members of his own team that didn’t get as much TV time as Curt Schilling’s bloody sock.

On Friday night, we had tickets to see Hal Holbrook in “Mark Twain Tonight!” at the Aronoff. The evening was a bit chilly so instead of my Lands End slides I had been wearing, I switched to my driving moccasins and knee highs. Big mistake. I ended up with a large blister on my left heel that popped while I was walking around downtown. It didn’t hurt lots, but it was noticeable.

The next morning, I got up early to do my Week 2: Day 3 walk. I put a Bandaid Advanced Healing Blister on my heel, but it really wasn’t big enough though I didn’t realize it until too late. I took off walking and immediately noticed it was a very humid morning. I expected to have some discomfort from my heel so I tried to ignore it. I did okay until I was alternating between “run” and “walk” (for me, that means “walk fast” and “walk slow”). When I walked fast, I could tell that my heel was getting irritated even more. After two run segments, I realized that the only way I could complete this walk was to slow walk the entire distance. I was determined to finish this day’s training since I had cut short Tuesday’s. Luckily, I had loosened the laces on my right shoe and didn’t have the numbness issues that I’d had before. It wasn’t pretty, but I did the whole routine.

It wasn’t until I got home and rested a while that I realized what I had done. Taking off my left shoe was excruciating. And then I saw it. The entire heel of my sock was blood soaked and so was the back part of my shoe. I very gingerly peeled off the sock and saw that I had worn off the skin on my heel in about a two inch diameter circle. I called out to Tom, “Hey, I pulled a Curt Schilling!”

Now, this means that my walking is on hold a bit while my heel heals. But it spurred us to get back to the pool. We got in 50 minutes of water aerobics on Sunday AND Monday. And it felt good. If I feel like I can protect my heel enough, I may try walking later in the week or I may do a slow walk in my Crocs flip flops or my slides. Disneyland is only three weeks away! I have to get going!

— Carla

Walking: Week 2, Day 2

Better. Today went better. I completed the whole workout (just over two miles) and the white New Balance 505 shoes are definitely my walking shoes from now on. I did have a bit of a numbness issue with the ball of my right foot, but I think I can correct it by wiggling my toes more during the walking segments and loosening the lower part of my shoe laces.

I forgot to wear a hat this time and found out how much I need it. Won’t be going without one again. Still tweaking my music playlist, but it’s getting there.

I’ve noticed that most of the sidewalks around here are at a slight angle which puts my ankles at a bad angle for walking. I’ve been walking in the street whenever I see that the sidewalk is slanted and that is helping.

Also, I have to admit that I can only use the loop in front of our place for warm up or cool down. It’s too damn tempting to just quit if I’m that near home.

My pace is picking up each time and that makes me happy. I know I can build the endurance because I have before, but I’ve always been worried about my pace. I’m really liking the Ease Into 5K app and will be reviewing next week.

I have to get Saturday’s walk in early but then I get to go eat pancakes for a good cause. If you’re near Union, KY Saturday morning, you should check it out!

— Carla

Walking: Week 2, Day 1

Blech! That’s about the only way I can describe today’s walk. My left knee was twinging. Both feet were not happy about me walking in my tan New Balance shoes (got a small blister on my left Achille’s tendon to prove it). My playlist got out of order. And I ended up finishing early so I only walked 1.03 miles today.

Today’s Lessons Learned

1. Switch to the white New Balance 505 shoes. After loosening the laces, I wore them this weekend and they have more support than either my tan or grey 646 ones. I probably need new socks too.

2. Make sure playlist is where I want it before starting. I added a bunch of songs and I think that threw things off a bit.

3. Time to break out my belt with the water bottles. Got thirsty during the walk today even as short as it was.

4. Be more patient. I keep comparing my walks this time to when I trained for the Half Pig back in 2009. When I could knock out 4.5 miles and have it feel “normal”. When I weighed 30 to 40 pounds lighter. As the old book title goes, that was then. This is now.

— Carla

Walking: Week 1, Day 3

I must admit that it was rather hard to make myself walk this morning. But, I did it and I think I’ve got my route set for the next few weeks. My Week One stats are below (remember that Day 1 was when I accidentally shut the app off in the middle of my walk – discovered how to lock it today so it won’t happen again).

Happy weekend!

— Carla

Ease Into 5K - Week 1

Walking – Day Two

For starters, I got through the entire work out today. YAY! I had to wear my grey shoes because my white New Balance 505 shoes felt too tight. I’m going to try loosening the shoe laces and wearing around the house for a while before I try doing my walking workout in them. I did end up having to double knot the laces on the grey New Balance 646 shoes because each of them came untied at some point on the walk.

The Ease into 5K app worked perfectly today. I did tweak the settings a bit for Saturday’s walk. I think I’ll really get a better idea of how it’s working then. It was so nice to have the music playlist work this time. I’ll be posting about my walking playlist some time in the future.

Another change for Saturday is my route. When I was training for the Half Pig in 2009, I created a walking route near where I live. There’s a decent incline included in the last part of the loop that would line up right before I would start my cool down. Worked great for that route. But, the Ease Into 5K is timed so I was hitting the uphill incline during a running (walk fast for me) segment. Not good. So I’m going to try sticking to the three little loops that are before the big incline.

There is something special about the second time you actually work out. It is so easy to quit after the first one. So I was very glad to get this one under my belt.

— Carla