September 09, 2021

Return to Running Recap : Week 15

I had an exciting run last week and I'm still feeling good about it. I love those runs--the ones that make me feel like I worked hard and that my body is happy about it (the photo above is after that run). Here is a recap of my runs for Week 15... 

Week 15, Day 1 : Run 3 miles (outside)

We've had some nice days lately where it actually feels like fall--I am SO looking forward to fall weather! It was probably the weather that made me decide to run outside.

It was supposed to be an easy run (I was planning to imitate the pace/effort of what I do on the treadmill), but my heart rate was so high before I even started. My anxiety has been increasingly bad the last couple of weeks; I'd had it under control (as much as I can, anyway) for a while, but it's getting bad again.

My resting heart rate (in normal circumstances) is about 60 bpm. This was right before I started my run; anxiety has this effect on me:

It shot up into the mid-160s almost instantly. I tried to focus on going for "a light jog" rather than a run. Sometimes just thinking of it that way helps me to relax a bit. I lowered my heart rate from the 160s to 152 after half a mile or so. When I saw that I finished my first lap under 12:00 minutes, I was surprised and I couldn’t help but try to stay under 12:00 (I truly don't mind being a slow runner--but it's a natural habit to compete with myself a bit). I couldn’t see my pace because I set my Garmin to just show my distance and heart rate, but I could feel that my speed was a little faster.

Second lap was 11:34, and then I could feel myself picking up speed again. Then I started thinking I could just turn this into a progressive run and call it my speed work for the week. A progressive run is a run that gets faster as you go, so I was hoping for sub-11:33 on the final split. 

I looked at my pace about halfway through that mile and was shocked to see 10:40-something! So I became kind of determined to aim for sub-11:00 that last mile. I was running hard, but not all-out. I could probably run a 5K at that pace if I wanted to really push myself.

I was so happy when I was done to have hit 10:30 for that last split! Seeing that pace shows I’m getting fitter, and THAT’S what I’m aiming for. Since my heart rate was high for this whole run and I pushed my pace, I considered that my speed work for the week and I didn't do intervals.

Week 15, Day 2 : Run 3 miles (treadmill)

I was still feeling pretty excited about my previous run (seeing progress is the biggest motivation to keep going) and I hoped that I would see a lower heart rate for this run. From the very beginning, I felt pretty good and I knew my heart rate wouldn't be as high this time. I refused to look at my Garmin the entire run because I didn't want to get frustrated if my heart rate was high.

After an uneventful three miles, I ended it feeling good. My heart rate wasn't exactly low, but it was definitely better.

Week 15, Day 3 : Run 3 miles (treadmill)

I've been really exhausted lately. The increased anxiety means even less sleep than I already get (I have bad insomnia) and it's mentally and physically exhausting. I really didn't have any motivation to get this run done. I was working on that secret project for Jerry (I'm giving it to him tomorrow!) all day and I just wanted to curl up on the couch. But I promised myself that I was going to get back to doing three runs a week, so I sucked it up and just did it.

My legs felt kind of heavy and my feet were dragging a bit. It felt like the treadmill was moving faster than I could keep up, but I knew it was just that my body was moving slower than it usually does. I didn't even think about my heart rate or anything--I just wanted to get done.

When I finished, I uploaded the data to Garmin Connect and I noticed that my heart rate looked odd for the first mile. It went from 92 to 160 in 30 seconds (and I definitely didn't feel like I was working that hard); and then after five minutes, it went from 161 to 140 in less than five seconds. This happens once in a while if there isn't good conduction; and since I didn't really break a sweat for a while, I'm guessing that's what happened. (To get good conduction, the electrodes on the monitor should be wet--when I put it on, I always wet it a little. That's why the conduction is better once you start sweating.)

So, I don't think the first mile was accurate as far as my heart rate goes. But I'm not worried about it.

While my last run definitely didn't leave me with a runner's high, I am still feeling great about my first run of Week 15. It sounds so simple--running a 10:30 mile used to be SLOW for me a few years ago--but when I think about how far I've come in the last 15 weeks, it feels like a big deal. Seeing the numbers validates that my fitness is improving.

For the first day of Couch to 5K (May 24th), I had to run 60-second intervals and I remember how HARD that felt. I was completely exhausted afterward (and that was with 90 seconds of walking in between each interval). Out of curiosity, I just looked up the data: my average pace for the 60-second intervals was 10:37. Last week I ran a mile in 10:30. So seeing those numbers is motivating!

(Eli had to run a mile in gym class yesterday and he ran it in 8:02! I think that's his fastest mile ever--even from when he was in cross country. I have no idea how that happened, because he hasn't been running in a few years, but I was super proud of him.)

Jerry is off this weekend and we are celebrating his birthday tomorrow. And then on Sunday, we're celebrating my dad's birthday a couple of weeks early. So, it should be a fun weekend--and I'm hoping that will help with the anxiety and I'll feel back to myself soon!


  1. Go Eli! And happy birthday Jerry! I agree with you about the fall weather. I went almost 2 months without doing my stair workout because it was just too hot & humid. Now this morning I'm going for my 8th day in a row! I'm stubborn and my legs were hurting pretty bad at first but now better. Can't wait to see pics of the birthday boy & his cake!

  2. I’ve started running more consistently and I’ve done 5km a day for the last 7 days!! I’ve been reading your blog/journey for years and you’re such a great inspiration! Congrats on the 10:30 mile :)

  3. I hope you have a fun weekend celebrating birthdays! Happy birthday both to Jerry and your dad! Sounds like your running is going great!!

  4. Hi Katie! I wanted to ask...what type of Garmin do you wear to run? I'm looking for one as mine is ancient and ready to kick the bucket, lol. Thank-you!

    1. Haha, mine is eight years old--which might as well be 100 in terms of technology! It's the Forerunner 620. I was looking for a new one, but honestly, I don't like the "fitness tracker" type watches or the smart watches (where it tracks your exercise/fitness all day). I want just a straight-up running watch (with all the running data I can get). I also prefer to use a chest strap heart rate monitor instead of the wrist ones. I guess I'm picky AND old-fashioned! Check out is my go-to when I'm looking for info on sports tech!

  5. What a thoughtful and sweet idea for Jerry. The cat and dog Jerry faces made me laugh out loud!! So funny.

  6. Do you know if there's any historical correlation between your weight and your speed? Just curious because I always plateau on speed because I have a hard time losing weight while I'm running. Wondering if you've noticed that being "lighter" also helps you run faster (since you're such a numbers person!). Congrats on the runner's high!

    1. It's interesting--I thought for sure there would be a correlation there, but there really isn't. I'm sure there is a limit at some point (if I was to keep gaining weight, but continue the same training, I'm sure the weight would take its toll) but for the most part, it's all about training. I was faster than I am now back when I weighed a little more. In late 2017, I weighed 131 and was running an 11:00/mi pace! I had lost weight but wasn't exercising, so I got out of shape that year. This is really interesting--I may have to dig deeper and write a super nerdy post about it! ;) (If you're plateauing, I'm guessing it's not because of your weight--feel free to email me and I can offer some ideas for training!)


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