JogBlog: Week 7, Day 2

December 16, 2009

Another sunny, cold morning. The kind of morning where everything outside has a slight sparkle to it, from all the tiny ice crystals. I considered waiting until later in the day to do my run, but after a nice big piece of homemade sourdough toast, I felt like I was ready to get the workout out of the way.

This morning I wanted to start in a different spot on the track than I have been. I hoped this strategy might result in a stronger finish for me since by my estimate I wouldn’t have to hit Big Nasty Hill right at the end of my run.

I also wanted to try using my own playlist of music instead of the podcast. As much as I have enjoyed and appreciated the programs from Robert Ullrey, I thought it would be worth it to see if some of my own carefully chosen tunes might be more motivational during the run. Also, since I no longer get any time reminders from Robert other than a halfway point and a one-minute countdown at the end… well I figured it would be nice to have a list of songs that were all roughly 5 minutes long, and then as I reached the end of each song I’d have an idea of how far along I was and how far I had left to go. It was a great plan! But my song list had a very specific order to it,  so there was a particular song that was meant for the walking segment, and a certain song that I thought would be good to start the running with, a particular one for the cool-down later — you get the idea — and when I got to the park and cued it all up, I discovered that when I had synced the list onto my iPod, the songs had been shuffled around. This simply would not do! So, I reverted back the podcast today. BUT, I plan to make sure the music is all correct for Friday’s workout.

I was a little later that usual getting to the park, and I saw that there were already a few cars in the lot when I arrived. It was about the time of morning when the social walkers are there with their dogs. I figured I would probably see the Friendliest Stranger in the World, with her pink puffy jacket and her big smile. Sure enough, about a minute into the warm-up I passed her.

It’s funny how the littlest things can nag at you. I wasn’t very far along when I decided that my shoes were not tight enough, so I paused to re-tie them. I saw a reference online recently to information on how to properly tie your shoes for running, so I guess I’d better check that article out now.

I hadn’t started running yet and my face was VERY cold. I had on my warm headband as usual and my fleece zipped up all the way to help protect my neck… but my nose and chin felt icy cold. Maybe I should have worn my neck gator? But I didn’t want my sunglasses to fog up. That always happens.

The cue to begin running began uneventfully on a back section of the track that was straight and level. Today I was going to see what it’s like to start out and get settled in to a steady pace BEFORE heading up BNH.

And it was nice. I reached the hill about a quarter mile into the run and plodded upward. Reaching the top, I was breathing heavily as usual, but was able to recover fairly quickly. And now I had a whole 2/3 of the track or so, of what I consider to be pleasant terrain. I thought about deliberately speeding up on some of the easiest parts, but I didn’t go off my pace too far for fear of running out of gas early.

Now I was trying to guess where I’d be when Robert gave me the halfway cue. If I played my cards right, I’d only be heading up BNH two times during my run, instead of three. So far, I seemed to be on the right track.

Then I got the halfway cue, and had a brief flash of “oh man, another 12+ minutes to go.” I tried to stifle that thought immediately.

As I headed toward BNH again, I gave a good look at it ahead of time. It’s very deceptive. Just looking at it straight on, it really doesn’t seem all that formidable. In fact I have debated about putting a photo of it on this blog, but I’m afraid of all the teasing I’d probably get. I don’t think it looks nearly as bad as it feels. All I can say is, I don’t like jogging up that hill.

Then I jogged up the hill.

At the top, I was happy to have BNH behind me for the last time today. But I was really feeling tired just then. I was trying to steady my breathing and stride again, but I started to doubt myself. I still had probably 3/4 of a mile to go before I’d be finished.

Really, can’t I just stop and walk for a minute? Maybe even 30 seconds? How much of a failure will I be if I don’t do the complete 25 minutes this time? I started to think about what I might write on this blog when I got home. Something like “I just didn’t have it in me today.” What would Celeste and Elizabeth think?

I willed myself to keep going. Look, Running Cow, you’re on the best part of the track right now. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you’ll start to feel better soon. You’ll be going downhill for a bit. Just put it on auto pilot for a while.

I started to feel marginally better and then I was on a downhill slope. At some point I decided that I would finish after all. But I still had a way to go. I passed The Friendliest Stranger in the World again and she said something like “you’re doing it!” or “keep doing it!” or something about “doing it!” and I managed only to grin and let out a pathetic “Heh” as I passed her by. Goodbye Stranger, it’s been nice.

I saw another woman far ahead of me on the track, going in the same direction as me. She was walking. I wondered if I would pass her before finishing. I kind of hoped not. She was pretty far ahead and seemed to be walking at a good clip.

I rounded a curve and there was one more slight uphill grade to get through before things would level out for the remainder of my jog. Then I saw the walking woman, but much closer now. I guess I was going to pass her after all.  Look out lady, here comes… what do you call a stampede when there is only one cow?… I don’t know, but look out lady!

I passed her by right at the 2-mile point in my run. I grinned as big as I could muster, and waited to see if she’d say anything to me. She didn’t.

Now I knew I was getting close. I had passed (for the 2nd time) the point where Robert had said I was halfway, and I knew based on my pace that the last minute countdown should be soon. But wait… what if my second mile pace had been faster? That might ruin my plans to avoid BNH again. Had I been faster? No way, I thought… after how close I had come to quitting a little while before, I felt sure I had slowed down in order to survive.

And then Robert gave me the one minute countdown. And I knew I would make it, but boy… it’s funny how once I know the end is near, it’s like a signal for my body to start breaking down. Even though I wasn’t near BNH just then, and was actually on a pretty level part of the track… even though I knew for sure I was going to finish, I still found myself saying “come ON, surely 60 seconds is up now! If I don’t finish NOW I won’t make it!” So it really is true that a big part of running is mental.

OK! We are done! Phew. I’m guessing I ran about 2.1 miles all together. And I had wanted to give up at about 1.5. That’s the power of pride, baby.

I think it’s funny how Robert says that the run is over and now it’s time to cool down, so I can return to my “brisk walk.”  But I don’t think that I want to walk briskly right now. I’m mostly just glad to be in an upright position. I’d much rather have Robert tell me to stroll for a bit.

I did head up BNH one last time, but this time it was at a nice walking pace, and I didn’t feel like I wanted to puke when I got to the top.

And so concluded today’s workout. I have now run 25 minutes straight THREE TIMES in my life, and I have to do it once more on Friday..

OK, “have to” isn’t really the right way to say it. I want to do it. Because even though I’m a big, lumbering, 6’1″ Amazon woman… this program is showing me that I, too, can go outside and put my feet on the ground and move around a track as well as anyone. Maybe not as quickly, maybe not as gracefully, but I can do it.

See you Friday!



  1. Awesome job Laura. I never realized you were 6’1. How tall is your husband? You and Elizabeth keep me going to when I want to quit. Great to have the accountability. See you Friday.

  2. I only run outside on Mondays which are my long run days. I do tempo and speed drill runs on the treadmill at the gym. But my technique for long runs is to run halfway out and turn around to come back. You can’t quit a 10 mile run halfway in when you are 5 miles away from home! Lol. Anyways, great job!

  3. very very funny. great post!

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