JogBlog: Week 6, Day 3

December 11, 2009

I woke up this morning to below-freezing temperatures. Something like 20º.

Two days ago, Wednesday’s workout had been really rough. It was one of those bad days when you finish your run and you are not sure you want to exercise ever again after that. And I had been thinking about whether I might run on the treadmill today, especially if the weather wasn’t very cooperative. I had a few people suggest that running in the heavy winds on Wednesday was probably a big reason that day was so hard… and with today’s jump up to 25 minutes of straight jogging (Wednesday was two 10-minute jogs), I wanted to give myself every chance to make a strong recovery and finish out the week well. So… I decided to wait until a little later in the day to run, to give the weather a chance to warm up a few degrees. I also thought it would be good to make sure I had eaten a good breakfast and given it a chance to settle, since I usually get up and do my runs before I’ve eaten anything in the morning.

But I did really want to go back outside again, instead of hitting the treadmill just yet. Sort of that whole “get right back on the horse” thing, you know?

I headed to the park around 11:30. The temperature was just below freezing. I wore my compression shirt, regular running tights with a pair of thermal leggings underneath, a t-shirt and my orange zippered fleece jacket. I knew I might get a little warm at the end, but I preferred that over being cold today. I also had on my warm headband and my thin cotton gloves.

I parked strategically today, estimating where I would start and likely finish the running portion of the workout and wanting to avoid too many trips up Big Nasty Hill (BNH).

iPod on. Headphone in. Stretching begins. Hi, Robert Ullrey. Yes it is week 6. Here we go on our brisk warmup walk.

Now, I had hoped that my brisk warmup walk, from where I started on the track, would take me to the top of BNH before I was cued for the run. I knew I might be cutting it close. But I had my reasons to hope for it. Instead, the cue to run came when I was only about 1/3 of the way up the hill. Oh, well. I started my 25-minute run by trekking up my old nemesis, but at least I had fresh legs at that point. Then suddenly I was on my favorite section of the track… and this had been what I wanted. A strong start. My breathing was a little heavy from that first big hill, but I recovered quickly and tried to find my stride. I wasn’t really sure how fast I was running, and I didn’t want to run too fast in case I ran out of steam later… so I was trying to concentrate on keeping my pace steady.

I listened as Robert cued the Day One People to stop their first 5-minute run and do their walk interval. And the mean part of me thought, what a bunch of wimps the Day One People are! Ha ha. Not really, but I did think it was nice that 5 minutes had already passed by. Then I realized where I was on the loop, and how far I had gone in 5 minutes, and was a little surprised… my pace was a little faster than I had expected so far. Hmmmm.

At around the 8 minute mark, just as the Day One People were being told to start their second run interval, I passed a woman on the track that I have seen at the park several times. She walks with a dog and she always has a huge smile on her face and is just one of the friendliest strangers in the world. So I saw her coming and she shouted out “good morning!” and I returned the favor. Then she asked me if I had lost a glove the other day and I said I didn’t think so. Then she said something about finding a glove and wondering if it was mine. She was wearing a pink puffy down jacket and a hat. I got to have my mini-conversation with her and notice all these details even as I passed her and didn’t break stride. And that, my friends, is just how slowly I jog. 🙂

As I rounded a turn and headed closer to BNH, I once again realized that my pace was faster than usual. Indeed, Robert cued the Day Two People that their first 10-minute run was over when I was within sight of the 1-mile mark on the track. I think that first mile was under 11 minutes for sure. Crazy!

Now, with a mile of distance behind me, I plodded up BNH slowly and methodically. There was a large patch of ice near the top of the hill that I made sure to avoid (over all, the track was dry though). I hit the nice part of the track again and focused for a few minutes on catching my breath and slowing my pace a bit to recover from the hill. Several yards on, I hear the cue from Robert for the Day Two People to start their second run interval… so we’re 13 minutes in, I am a little more than halfway through!

Then it occurred to me that I still had to stick it out for another 12 minutes or so.

OK, OK, I can do this.

Still on a nice part of the track. Heading downhill a little. Trying to breathe evenly. Enjoying the sunny day. It was cold today, but at least it wasn’t raining and we didn’t have 60 mph winds 🙂 In fact, the sun was shining right on me just then. I took my gloves off and put them in my pockets. I unzipped the top of my fleece just a little bit.

I came upon the Friendliest Stranger in the World again, she was chatting with another man I’ve seen at the park, who brings his German Shorthair Pointer, “Izzy” there to run. I said hello again and tried to be nonchalant. I wondered whether they thought I was a very slow jogger. No matter.

The cue came for the Day One People to start their second 3-minute walk interval. Now I start to really try to break it down. Day One has 8 minutes left before the cool down. The Day Two People will finish first, then the Day One People, and finally me.

Where will I finish on the track?

I know I’ve got to head up BNH one more time. Will I be able to do it?

A cue comes for Day One’s last 5-minute interval. It’s your last run, so let’s push it, Robert says. Oh, Robert. Let’s not be mean! Some of us are just trying to hang on right now!

I’m doing OK on the back section where the track is straight and level, but then I turn for the gradual climb toward BNH. I’m breathing a little heavily, but not too bad. Trying to time the breathing with my stride.

I’m almost to where BNH is in sight. There will be a brief downhill slope just before the trek up the big hill begins. Robert cues the Day Two People that they have only 2 minutes left on their last run! Wow! And so the Day Three people have about 4 minutes left. Unfair!

BNH still looms in front of me.

I put my head down and plod ahead. I’m leaning forward somewhat, trying to keep whatever momentum I have going. I’m slow. I think I could practically fall up the hill. I get that sick feeling in my stomach again from the fatigue. I dodge the ice patch. I crest the hill.

Cue Day Two to be done with their run. I have 2 minutes left. I’m really not sure I can make it. I let out a few moans as I try to catch my breath and keep moving forward. Two minutes has never been so long. I’m even heading downhill and I just want to stop. Can I stop? Is 23 minutes that much worse than 25 minutes?

And here is where I give a big shout-out to Celeste and Elizabeth, my running buddies from facebook who are at the same point in the program as I am. We have been conversing on the C25K group page and we have cheered each other on and commiserated together on the bad days. I decided I needed to gut this one out for them, so I could tell them that I finished the workout today. Thanks ladies! You help keep me accountable.

Cue Day One to finish and start the cool down. “Day Three, this is your last minute” Robert says. Really? Because I would like to be done several minutes ago.

I’m on an uphill slope. I’m wondering whether Robert has dropped his stopwatch and missed my cue. I’m worried that he will never say it. I’m gasping for air. Say it say it say it!

“Ok Day Three…”

That’s all he got out of his mouth, and I stopped running. I think he also said congratulations on finishing the 25 minutes, but I was already focused on taking my fleece jacket off. I was hot right then and I needed the cool down today.

I was breathing very heavily and was glad there was no one passing me on the track just then to see how worn out I was. I slipped my fleece jacket off and tied it around my waist, just like a nerd. I was walking slowly and steadily, relishing the full cool-down today.

Actual running distance during my 25 minutes was something like 2.2 miles. Total distance from warmup to cool down, plus a little extra walking to get all the way back to the car, was 3 miles.

I passed a man loading wood into a pickup truck. By that time I was recovering pretty well. He said hello. I said “hi” and then thought, you have no idea what I just did. Do you know I ran 25 minutes? Well if you don’t know, maybe you’ll know later, because surely there will be some sort of write-up in the paper about it…

“Local cow runs 25 minutes without stopping.”

Something like that.



  1. too funny! My plan was to do day 3 but seriously after the first 10 min i was needing to breath.So decided to just stop and do day 2, it should get easier next time right? Awesome job, i don’t have a nasty hill to climb up either i incline the treadmill by .5 and was running at 5.2. I agree you guys keep me accountable too, because honestly i just am not enjoying this running stuff, but will complete it to do a 5k. hopefully by then i will enjoy running. Great Job Laura.

  2. Way to go Laura!! I’m a week ahead of you in the program. Week 7, as I’m sure you already know, is nothing but 25 minute runs. By the end of the week you’ll stop doubting yourself. Unlike you, I’m not trying to brave the cold today so I’m going to hit the treadmill in a few minutes for my first 28 minute run. I’ll play with the incline to try to simulate running outside but I’d be just as happy if I can maintain a 10 minute pace with no incline. Congratulations on making it 25 minutes. Week 6 was hard for me too.

  3. Great Job!!

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