New Year’s Resolution #3: Run an official 5K race in under 30 minutes.
Sorry to have been out of touch for a month. I’ve had a lot going on. But I’m making progress on my 2014 goals. Down 18 pounds and running again. No, this picture isn’t me this year. It was taken back in 2006 during my marathon training year. But it’s a motivating image for me. This year, though, I hope to resume my running habit using a lot less plastic.
Getting Up to Speed
I’ve done this before — run 5K (3.1 miles) in under 30 minutes, that is. I know I can do it again. But it’s going to take a lot of work. As I wrote last month, I had been sitting on my butt for the past seven years. So, I have to break this resolution down into sub-goals.
1) Run 3.1 miles without walking… at whatever speed. I’m almost there! 8 weeks ago, I started the Couch to 5K (aka C25K) training program, which starts off with 60 seconds of jogging for every 90 seconds of walking. This week, I’m up to 28 minutes of non-stop running with 5 minutes of walking before and after to warm up and cool down. At the end of next week, I’ll supposedly be ready for a 5K.
2) Sign up for and complete an official 5K… at whatever speed. I’ve done the signing up part. I plan to run the St. Patrick’s Day 5K in San Francisco on March 9. At this point, I estimate the race will take me about 34 minutes to complete. And that’s fine. 8 weeks ago, it would have taken me almost an hour.
3) Complete an official 5K in under 30 minutes. This could take me all year. And that’s fine. I really just want to develop a regular 3 mile running habit. Next year, I may add mileage. But right now, I’m just interested in consistency.
Running with Less Plastic
As I mentioned last month, runners use a lot of plastic… from synthetic “technical” wear and shoes to energy bars and gel packs. And if you believe the popular running websites, wearing 100% cotton while running will kill you. Why? Because cotton absorbs moisture, so you stay wet while running. You might be more prone to chafing, and in the winter, wet clothes could actually be dangerous. But you know what? I live in a mild climate, I’ve been running in natural fibers for the past 8 weeks, and I’m still alive!
Here are some of my running outfits:
Old cotton t-shirt and cotton sweat pants from Goodwill.
Goodwill and thrift stores are great places to buy secondhand workout clothes without creating any environmental impact and saving your wallet. The main thing, I have found, about running in sweat pants is to find ones that are fairly form fitting. The more snugly they fit your body, the less likely they are to rub and chafe.
I did also buy a couple of new items of clothing. I searched and searched, hoping to find natural workout clothes appropriate for running, but everything contained some amount of synthetic fibers. Finally, I found prAna’s Cecilia knicker (2017 update: It looks like the Juniper pant has replaced the Ceclia knicker and is made from the same materials) and bought two pairs.
They’re 53% hemp, 42% organic cotton, and yes, 5% spandex.
It was the least amount of spandex I could find in a tight, form-fitting pant. And honestly? I’m in love with how they feel. No chafing. And they don’t seem to hold onto sweat the way my sweat pants do. Maybe a little compromise is okay? At least until someone comes up with a totally synthetic-free option.
Give Up the Funk
You know what else sucks about synthetic running clothes? They stink. They may not hold onto water, but they sure do trap some funky body odor. Why? Because plastic is lipophyllic, meaning it attracts oils, and it’s those trapped oils that hold the bad smell.
There’s even a special detergent nowadays (in a plastic bottle) for getting the stink out. I know because I used to use it. It’s full of heavy fragrance and who knows what other chemicals — they don’t list them on their website. Apparently, WIN made a “green” version a few years ago, but it’s been discontinued. So glad to be off that particular train!
In my next post, which I promise will be sooner than this one was, I’ve got an interview with a plastic-free runner who asks us to consider whether we really need so much running shoe. If that sentence seems odd, stay tuned. It will be explained.