Monday, January 28, 2013

Couch to 5K Beginnings

The family and I have been walking quite a bit. We do walks/hikes several times each week ranging from 1-5 miles. (Check out my blogs regarding the Fort Collins Natural Area Passport) We average 23 minutes per mile. That is not very fast, but at least we are out doing stuff. Right?

  I've been wanting to do a Couch to 5k for a very long time but was not really brave enough. I was worried about my asthma. I was worried about my knees. I was worried about my feet. Iwas worried about what I'd wear. I was worried that people would laugh at the fat lady bobbing down the road.

Today, I just said, "What the heck-let's go!"

Now, some of you might be wondering what is a Couch to 5K? It is a philosophy/training routine that helps you slowly get off of the couch and running a 5K race. How do you do that? The same way you eat an elephant, one bite at a time.  Maybe you might want to start walking around the block or a few times around the track. Last year, I was not able to walk 3 miles without getting pretty winded. Now it is not a problem if my asthma is under control.

There are several websites that have different training programs. Most of them consist of a nine week program that pieces out a walk/run schedule that gets you in shape to run the 5K or 3.1 miles. I first heard of it from one of my favorite homeschool bloggers, Heather Sanders. A fairly easy to understand program is on the Cool Running web site.

Of course there's an iphone app! There's an app for everything. Check out 5K runner by Blu Sky Apps.  This is the one I have. I was able to download a two week version for free.  There are probably 20 more on itunes. They even have one that has zombies on it. They usually are not expensive. I think the highest is around $2.99. (I spend more than that at TCBY yogurt.)

Well, today the girls were bouncy and I just didn't feel like investing an entire hour to walking somewhere. I thought today is the day. We laced up our shoes and headed for the middle school track behind our house. All my fears slipped away after the first ten minutes. My asthma was fine. So we're my knees and feet. Nobody was around to see us and it wasn't that hard.

We did a five minute brisk walk followed by 6 sets of 60 seconds jogging and 90 seconds walking. Then another 5 minute cool down. The girls were breathing heavy at first but half way through Sarah was leaping and dancing during the walking (aka catching my breath) part. We had some fun tunes playing and before we knew it, we were done.

I promised the girls that we would buy a new song for our playlist everytime we practiced our 5K. They are ready to go again tomorrow! I think we'll wait for Wednesday.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Two Creeks

This past month, my family has been walking. Not just around the block but hikes that are 2-5 miles long.  The city of Fort Collins, has some wonderful natural areas and we decided to try and vist all 39 spots during the 2013 year. The city has put together a nice "Passport" that you can pick up at some of the trails or download one here.

Today, was a typical gorgeous January day in Colorado - short sleeves! We decided to hit a south end trail - Two Creeeks  We drove down 287 just south of Harmony and parked in the Discount Tire Parking lot. There is only private parking in this area. Here is a map from my iphone. Pay no attention to the speed of the walk... we stopped at the park for a long time.  Usually we do an 18 minute mile, not too fast, not too slow.

One of the odd things about this walk is that we passed by one of the only "private parks" that I have seen in Fort Collins. A good portion of the creek is planked by a private homeowner's association playground. The funny thing was that even on this incredible day it was empty.

Our hike was just a 2.68 mile loop around the lake at Fossil Creek Park. The trail was busy and people were enjoying the nice weather. Along the south side of the lake there is a spot where you can ice skate and picnic. There are also some nice art pieces that are incorporated into the environment that also teach about fossils.

Because the weather was so nice, there were some awesome kite flyers. One guy was doing some pretty incredible aerobics while flying his kite. Don't you just adore Colorado's blue skies?

We had a great time watching the birds, kites, boarders, walkers, tennis players, hockey guys and even some softball. This park is a busy place. Below, Sarah got to climb a wooly mammoth.

Sarah would like to go back on a colder day to try ice skating and we will certainly be back to enjoy the many facilities that this park has to offer.