JogBlog: Week 9, Day 1

December 28, 2009

Thanks to Elizabeth, Celeste, Judy, Kathy, Susan, Joy, Angela, Brigitte, Laura, Randy, Tim, Kate, and anyone else I’ve missed who left a comment here or messaged me on facebook or through email after my less-than-inspiring workout on Saturday. You guys are great! Thanks for the encouragement.

We had a light dusting of snow last night, and it was COLD this morning… I think about 20º, with a high barely expected to hit freezing.

My husband wanted to jog with me today. He is always very encouraging to me about my jogging, and he also is one of these people who can just get up and jog however long you tell him to, without any training or preparation. I know. He has been sitting patiently in the wings for many weeks while I slowly progressed through the C25K program. He had a little foot injury some weeks back that kept him from jogging while he rested it and made sure it wasn’t anything serious. But today he was ready to jog with me again… and I was glad to have the company, especially after Saturday’s disappointment!

I did a couple new things today. First, I decided to try running the neighborhood streets instead of the park, just for a change of scenery and to keep the mind fresh. As much as I love the park, I have wondered if part of my trouble sometimes is too much familiarity… and associating certain parts of the track with certain things, good or bad, that might get me off my game. So today I thought I’d risk the unfamiliar, not to mention a sure increase in the number of hills I’d be climbing, and just hit the streets.

Second, I created a new custom play list to go along with a 30-minute run. I didn’t include warm-up or cool-down songs… just songs to listen to while I jogged and to help me know when time was up. And today I wanted an all-Chicago play list! So, here it is, with times listed after each song:

  • Beginnings  6:26
  • Make Me Smile  4:28
  • Dialogue Pts. 1&2 5:00
  • Old Days 3:33
  • Saturday in the Park  3:55
  • Another Rainy Day in New York City  3:01
  • Feelin’ Stronger Every Day  4:14

Total time, according to iTunes, is 30:35. So, whoohooo! Bonus time if I get all the way to the end!

A note about the play list… these are not necessarily all the most fast-paced or peppy songs, but over all they are upbeat, and most importantly… I like them and want to listen to them. They can definitely help me pass time. They seem to work well with my regular running pace.

So we started out and we had Brody with us again. Poor dog had no idea what boredom he was in for. We agreed that we didn’t need a full 5-minute warm-up, so we briskly walked about 3 or 3 1/2 minutes to the end of our street and then started jogging. I don’t know about the rest of you, but when it’s cold like this I just want to get running. After all, it’s not like I exactly blast through the starting gate when it’s time to start jogging. The cool-down is something worth taking more time with, in my opinion…

Now, I’m dealing with an entirely new topography today. So we start out heading down a hill for maybe 1/10th of a mile, and then sure enough, we head UP a pretty sizeable hill right off the bat. My neighborhood is full of hills. It’s great for walking. I wonder if there is some way to pit the size of all the people’s calves who live in my neighborhood against the calves of other neighborhoods around here. I bet we’d win.

So we’re down one hill and up another, and then we head down AGAIN so we can immediately start climbing a second, longer/bigger hill. I’m glad that it’s early in the run, but I’m already hating these hills and getting tired.

Brody is trotting along with Glenn, watching and wondering why he only gets to go cow-speed when he really wants to go dog-speed.

As we crest that big hill there is a turn at the top of it that we need to take. Funny how when you drive these roads in the car, you don’t notice the hills so much. I would have said that this part of the road after the turn was relatively flat… until I was running on it. Now I realize that we haven’t crested that big hill at all, we are still climbing, just in a different direction! So the first 1/2 mile or more is largely uphill.

It is cold and there is wind. My legs are cold through my running tights. Note to self: get another pair of tights! My face is cold and I’m hoping that my lips don’t get too chapped.

We are running on a sidewalk in an area that has been cleared out for new construction, but there are only a couple random houses in the process of being built right now. It’s a bleak and muddy landscape, and there are no trees or anything to block any wind. Then we reach a place where we get to jog downhill for a little bit, which is good because I am still struggling a bit to get into a groove.

We approach a fairly quiet intersection, and Glenn asks which way we should go (we had discussed a couple different possibilities before starting). I choose the direction which involves the least amount of interaction with other people or cars. No need for everyone to see me loping along and possibly giving up if it gets too tough! At this point we are in the midst of song #2, and I know that at the end of the third song we will be more than halfway through our 30-minute run. I’m glad for that, but at the same time, that halfway mark still seems a little distant. Glenn says I’m doing great, and I reply with something like “uughhhh.”  It seemed the proper word choice at the time.

We make another turn that will take us on a nice level stretch of road for a while. I am thankful for the chance to catch my breath and find a nice rhythm… we are heading toward a dead-end that I think is going to be come very close to being the half-way point of our run. And sure enough, as we run out of road and turn to head back, the third song is wrapping up with the repeated refrain of “we can make it happen, yeah… we can make it happen… we can make it happen, yeah… we can make it happen…”

OK, 16 minutes down and we’re on a stretch of level road! Suddenly I think that I just may be able to pull this off today. As we approach about the 1 1/2 mile mark, I ask Glenn how he’s doing and he says it doesn’t get any worse than this… which was a slightly odd way to say that the hardest part was behind us.

Brody continues to trot along. I have a feeling he is not the least bit tired.

We turn back off the level road and now we are heading downhill. The wind is at our back. And for a few minutes I am sort of on cruise control… moving forward without too much effort. It’s nice, but it won’t last forever.

The intersection happens to be a little busier when we pass through the second time. We are able to stay out of the way of any cars successfully until we are just crossing to the other side, and a lady is waiting to turn left at the intersection. Clearly, she needs to just turn and get out of our way before we reach her. That would be such a simple solution. I wave frantically to signal her to please turn. TURN LADY TURN. I mean, we are jogging right toward her, we have made eye contact, and she can see us clearly through the windshield. If she would just go ahead and turn we would not even have to break stride.

Mysteriously, she waits… maybe she didn’t know that me waving my hand and pointing in the direction she was turning meant that she should GO, GO NOW, PLEASE GO BEFORE I GET THERE… but she waits and waits and then finally she turns. Thank you!

We head up another little hill now, and I look over at one of the under-construction houses and see that some workmen are there, and they have started a fire. Giant orange flames are shooting up and they are standing around it. I don’t know if the fire is related to some work they are doing, or if they just built it to get warm… but I would have enjoyed jogging over and standing by it for a while just then…

although I will say that my hands were feeling kind of warm at that point, so that I actually took off my gloves and stuffed them in my pockets. It was still cold and windy, but my hands were getting hot in the gloves. Funny how that can be.

Now we are heading downhill… down the same long, huge hill that almost killed me when we were just getting started. It’s nice to feel like I can speed up a little bit for a while. I’m still no speed demon, but there are times when I feel a little lighter on my feet than others.

We’re just about to the home stretch now. As the last song (appropriately titled, “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day”) begins, I let Glenn know that we are close. But now we have to face one more good-sized hill before we can finish.

For a brief moment, I consider stopping a little early. Maybe just do 25 or 27 minutes instead of 30. Seems close enough. But I really wanted to press on and finish the whole workout today.

“And knowing that you would have wanted it this way… I do believe I’m feeling stronger every day…. yeah yeah yeah!”

That last hill. It’s a killer. It’s not what I wanted to do. I look at the sidewalk as I forge ahead. I know Glenn and Brody are right behind me. I know if I just make the top I get to turn and hit a little level spot….

The song is starting to wind down. We hit the level part of the road. I’m ready to be done. I know the whole song all the way to the end will give me an extra 35 seconds of running past the 30 minutes. But I don’t really know how much of the song is left. I don’t want to cheat.

We turn onto our street. We have just passed the point where we began jogging in the first place. I know the end has to be close now. I’m listening to Chicago repeat the chorus… “feelin’ stronger every day… you know I’m all right now… feelin’ stronger every day… you know I’m all right now…”

And then the music fades off. Glenn is a few steps behind me somewhere. I want to yell out that it’s the end but I’m a little out of breath just then. It takes every bit of my energy to raise my arms above my head as the last notes of the music disappear. I stop jogging. I turn to look for Glenn.

He’s jogging by with Brody. He says “are we done?” and I say YES and he says “you didn’t say anything!” and I tell him I raised my hands over my head, that was the best I could do.

Then I tell him to WAIT UP so I can grab onto him and maybe he can drag me up the rest of this little hill we are on as we head back to our house. 🙂

I’m breathing very heavily, and maybe… just maybe… I might want to puke, just a little tiny bit. But that passes and then I’m just panting like normal.

My breathing recovers over the next 50 yards or so, and as we get closer to the house Glenn lets Brody off his leash so he can run ahead of us to where our son is playing in the front yard.

And the dog takes off like a bullet down the street. With all the energy in the world.




  1. Laura- I posted a reply to your post on Facebook. I AM so very proud of you! You rocked it but good, girl! You showed what you are made of- hmmm… Steel Magnolia’s come to mind!… 🙂 As we’ve found, through this journey together, the mental part is usually the toughest part. And you gave it a what for!!

    You usually do your run before mine and when I come on FB and see you posted your run, I start on mine. It’s almost like a relay- you are the starter and I take the *baton* from you… You and Celeste help to motivate and encourage me and I thank both of you for that! Not to mention, Caitlin, Krista, Lori and a few others on C25K on FB.

    I liked your playlist.I’m going to have to look into Chicago- loved their music when I was in HS (show’ my age here!…). I agree with you- not only the beat but the lyrics help to get and keep me going!

    Your DH sounds like a doll and Brody a cutie- great running partners!

    Again, wonderful blog post and I am so happy today went better for you!

  2. Well done Laura Knew you could do it 🙂 !!! I have enjoyed reading your blogs and found them motivational it is nice to know that some days are great, some day are just awful for us and some days are full of pride…Thank you x

  3. Woohoo! Great accomplishment – especially with all those hills. It sounds a lot like the Turkey Trot 5K I did Thanksgiving morning.

  4. Glad today was a better day. Great music! Thanks for sending me your play list today!

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