Archive for the ‘JogBlog’ Category

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JogBlog: Graduate School

January 2, 2010

I’ve been basking in the glow of “graduation” for a whole day now, and it’s been really nice hearing all the kudos from people since I completed all 9 weeks of Couch-to-5K. But I can’t get past the fact that I haven’t reached the full 5K distance yet with my running, and that is something I still want to do…

…SO, I am planning to work hard on increasing my distance this month, so that by February 1 I will be able to jog the full 3.1 miles. This would be a great thing to achieve in time for my 42nd birthday on February 7. 🙂

I intend to begin my studies at Dooalot Graduate Jogging School on Monday. Wish me luck!

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JogBlog: Week 9, Day 3 (!!!)

January 1, 2010

Happy New Year, everyone!

Are you awake? Did you stay up all night and watch that guy with the last name that sounds like a lunch meat jump his car across some water onto a barge and set some record? Yeah. He had to get up to 93 mph on his approach in order to do it… something like that. He had 900 feet of lead-up space to gun his car fast enough to make the jump and not crash into the water. And he did it!

Today I did not jump any rivers, and I definitely did not go 93 mph, but I did accomplish one thing: I completed week 9 of the Couch-to-5K program. Nine weeks, 27 workouts.

I won’t even go into the details of the run today, except this synopsis: it was COLD… I jogged… I hate the big hill… I forced myself not to stop on at least two occasions… I felt pretty good on a couple other occasions… I cleared two miles and thought, if it wasn’t so cold and so hilly around here, I might run farther… I encountered My Personal Mental Block which rises like a wall before me at about 2.5 miles… I stopped jogging and after checking my time I saw that I had indeed run a little over 30 minutes… and thus ended Week 9, Day 3.

My running pace is, has been, and seems to remain for the immediate future, almost exactly 5mph.

And now, even though I am by no means the valedictorian of my C25K graduating class, I would like to deliver a very special commencement address to each of us who are moving our tassels from one side of the mortarboard to the other… and it is entitled:

Things You Should Know About Jogging, Especially If You Are A Cow.

  1. There is no shame in jogging slowly. Take it from me, the one who is blistering the asphalt with a hot 12-minute mile. That crackle you hear is not the sound of eggs frying in my footprints… it’s more likely the sound of my joints. But hey… I’m doing it. And thanks to the well-conceived structure of this training program, I’m doing it for about 30 minutes at a time now. A far cry from where I began, when jogging 60 seconds was a challenge.
  2. Don’t look at the top of the hill. I learned this first from my experience with riding my bike in the Kentucky countryside around my home. If you look up the hill to see where you have to get to, it can be disheartening to the point where you might quit. But, if you keep your head down and focus on the pavement immediately before you, you won’t see the incline and it’s easier to forge ahead.
  3. Find a running buddy. Or three or four. I admit that it can be hard to find someone to physically run with you, whose schedule and pace are similar to your own… and for the most part, it’s probably easier for me to run alone. BUT… find someone else who runs that you can talk about your workouts with. And in the case of C25K, it’s easy enough to go online and find several others who are doing the program on the same schedule as you. Even though we’ve never met, it’s been fun keeping up with Vicki, Elizabeth, Celeste, and others who are all in the Facebook C25K group. Also, if it weren’t for them, there would probably be nobody reading this little blog 🙂
  4. It’s OK if it’s not your favorite thing. While I do enjoy the feeling of accomplishment after a jogging workout is over, I’m not ready to say that running is my new favorite pastime. But, it’s something I can do, that I know is good for me, that doesn’t require special equipment or gym memberships to accomplish. Some days I like it better than others. I wonder sometimes how much more enjoyable it might be when the weather is warmer in the spring or summer. I can’t wait to find out.

I’ve had several people ask me, “Laura, you’ve completed Couch-to-5K, what’s next for you?” I would answer “I’m going to Disney World!” except that I already did that last year. So here’s a more accurate answer: I don’t know! I’ve “graduated” from the training program as far as jogging time is concerned, but I’ve still got a little way to go before I attain the full 5K distance.

For now, I plan to continue jogging at least 3 times a week, in hopes of increasing my speed (yeah, right) or my endurance (more likely) to the point of jogging a full 5K without stopping.  If I accomplish that, then I might look into “Gateway to 8K,” or something similar.

Or, I might just bask in the glory of being a 5K runner for a good while. And what would be wrong with that? Because, as you may recall, 9 weeks ago I couldn’t jog one minute without wanting to stop for a nap. And it was embarrassing, having to make sure that there were pillows and blankets strewn about the park, so that I had plenty of places to pull over and doze.

NOW I just need the one pillow, and I can keep it in the car. Much less humiliating!

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Congratulations to all my fellow C25Kers who are graduating today or this weekend. A HUGE shout-out goes to Vicki Capone, a cyber friend whom I met on Facebook, who lives back in my old stomping grounds of Montgomery County, Maryland. She graduated today by running a 5k with an amazing time of 32:29! Thanks for being a faithful blog reader, Vicki, and congrats on posting such a great time on your race. I think I hate you. 😉

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JogBlog: Week 9, Day 2

December 30, 2009

We’re in the home stretch!

I didn’t completely finish the workout today. But, I came pretty close and I’m not too concerned with coming in a little short. For one thing, I spent 3+ hours this morning putting away Christmas decorations at my church. This involved — and I’m just estimating here — something like 1.2 million trips up and down two flights of stairs (one to the second floor, one more up to the attic). And those trips up and down were done bearing seven Christmas trees, six cinder blocks, fi-i-i-i-ive million bows , four hundred flowers, three thousand lights, two wooden tables and o-o-one Baby Jesus. 🙂 Amen.

So anyway, after my three-hour workout at church this morning, I didn’t feel too badly about crediting some of that sweat as time served this afternoon.

My husband wanted to jog with me again, and so did Brody, so we all headed out of the house at about 2:45. I decided to try running the neighborhood again, but this time I thought we’d take a different route that we have walked many, many times in the past. The mileage was about right, and even though I knew there would be a lot of hills I decided it was worth a try.

The beginning was the same as on Monday, with a couple good-sized hills early on. As we continued with the new route, we got to add another even bigger hill (down and then UP) before turning and leveling out somewhat. I just listened to the music, noting when each song finished and estimating the time remaining in the run.

We jogged past the house of someone we know, and I hoped that they were not looking out the windows just then. If they were, I’m sure I’ll hear about it soon. Something like “hey! I saw you guys walking past our house the other day… or maybe you were jogging. Were you walking or jogging?”

On some of the quieter streets, I jogged on the sidewalk while Glenn jogged a few feet away on the asphalt with the dog at his side. I got a good look at Brody while I was running and I am sorry to say that he was barely trotting. Not breaking a sweat. Just sort of speed-walking along while we were huffing and puffing and trying not to keel over.

I knew we were past halfway, probably into about the 18th or 19th minute, and we were on a straightway with a very slight uphill incline… and I told Glenn I needed to walk a minute. I’ve pushed through worse, but right then I just wanted to walk briefly. I am sure I walked for a minute or less, caught my breath a bit, and started jogging again. So there was a mini-fail in there somewhere… but again… lots of stair climbing this morning. For three hours. Is all I’m saying.

So we kept jogging, and I had an choice of direction at one point… one way would be a little longer and would for sure get us the mileage we needed for a full 30 minute workout, and the other way was a little shorter and I knew we might be cutting it close (ending the run a shade early).  I chose the shorter route today. In my mind, I had just resorted to walking once, I was tired and still thinking about all those stairs from this morning, and I just wanted to get back to the house and be done. Not in a giving up kind of way. Just an “I-don’t-want-to-do-anything-extra-today” kind of way.

We turned onto a street where, when we walk this route, we usually race each other for the distance of one certain block. I contemplated sprinting at that spot, but again…. STAIRS. The memory of stairs.

We turned a corner and jogged past the house of another family that we know well. I’m pretty sure there was no one home at the time, looking out the windows at us. At least I hope so.

Finally we are ready to turn onto the main road through our subdivision. At this point we are at the top of a long hill, so I got to enjoy a little relief while coasting down for a few minutes. We are maybe half a mile away from our house. I can tell from what point I am at in the play list that we are going to finish a little short of 30 minutes. I do not care.

Now… the finish. Before we can get back to the house, where I can finally sit down and relax and stretch a bit and only go up and down stairs if I choose to, we have to go UP one more hill. And this particular hill is one that I hate. I hate it even when walking, because it isn’t very long but it is fairly steep. It’s a hill that I have tried conquering in different ways over the years: walking slowly, jogging, and even sprinting (to get it over with quickly?). But each of those methods usually results in me keeling over at the top, trying to catch my breath long enough to yell “HEELLLLLP” to whomever will listen. AND to make things even more fun, the way you get to this hill is that you are already jogging up a little incline, and then you have to turn 90º and face the monster. I think there is almost nothing worse than climbing a hill, starting to feel tired, and then having to turn and continue to climb up more of a hill. Are you with me?

So we get to the turn, and I head up the hill, and I’m jogging very slowly and steadily. I’m looking down at the sidewalk so I don’t see how far I have to climb. I’m wondering if I can jog slowly enough to survive the hill and stretch this run out for the full 30 minutes… I’m maybe 1/10 of a mile from the house, but it seems so far away…

Meanwhile, Glenn and Brody have gone onto the street and are trotting up the hill at a nice, even clip. It could be because they didn’t spend their morning schlepping boxes up and down stairs. Or, it could be because they don’t care about me. I can’t guess.

I finally reach the top, and turn toward my house… just 3 houses away… going a little bit downhill now… realizing that the music isn’t going to be over when I get there… just wanting to be home… .. watching as Glenn releases Brody’s leash and lets him run like a greyhound toward the kids who are playing in our front yard… and then I reach our driveway!

Whew!

I check my iPod and see that I’m about two minutes away from the end of the music. Which means about a minute and a half away from the actual 30-minute mark. And if you factor in my brief walking sojourn, I’m guessing that I jogged a total time of 27:30.

Good enough.

One more day left in 2010, and one more workout for me to complete the ninth and final week of Couch-to-5K. I’m still not reaching the 5K distance, but I know I can jog about 30 minutes at a time, which is a far cry from where I was at the beginning of November! Now I can either work on getting faster, or jogging a little longer to reach the 5K distance.

But right now, it’s time to sit down. Or lie down…. somewhere that is a good distance away from the nearest flight of stairs.

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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.

Show-off.

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JogBlog: Week 8, Day 3… or not…

December 26, 2009

Well, folks, I didn’t complete my workout today.

First, my normal schedule would have had me running yesterday, on Christmas Day… but that didn’t happen. At one point I thought I would head out and do it, but then I had to bake a pie to take to our friends’ house for dinner that evening, and we had company, and it just didn’t work out to be able to go to the park and run. SO…. I planned to do my workout today instead.

This morning I woke up with nothing official on my agenda until the afternoon. I wanted to get to the park and do my run and then enjoy the rest of the day of general post-Christmas laziness. I got up and had a piece of toast, a.k.a. the breakfast of champions, and drank some water. It was a cold morning, with some frost frozen on the windshield of the car that I had to scrape off before I could drive.

I was actually looking forward to today’s workout, just because I knew it would feel good when I was done. The sun was out, the track was dry, my iPod was cued up and ready to go.

I got to the park and saw the World’s Friendliest Stranger just getting started on a walk with one of her friends. She was a little ahead of me on the track this time, but I knew I’d catch up with her before I finished my warm-up walk. And sure enough, I caught up with her about a minute before my run started. She smiled and asked me if I had had “a good one (Christmas)” and I said I sure had, and how about her? She said yes. I went on.

Around the bend I began my run, in pretty much the exact same spot that I begin each time. It was uneventful. I tried to listen to the music and forget about everything else.

I got to BNH and briefly thought of sprinting up to the top today, just to get it over with quickly and see what would happen. But I feared that I would shut down too quickly if I didn’t keep a careful pace, so I just plodded up as usual.

The play list kept going, and I was doing OK, but somewhere around about the 3/4-mile mark, I started to falter. I started telling myself that I was tired, or that I just didn’t want to do it today. I thought about all the times I have had to talk myself out of stopping before. Just keep going and ignore the voice, and soon enough you’ll be over the hump….

This helped pass the time for a little while. I was running on fairly level ground then, and so I just put one foot in front of the other. I had passed the 1-mile mark.

But the thoughts kept coming back. I thought about walking, and what I would write here when I didn’t complete the workout. I thought about Celeste and Elizabeth and Vicki and a few others who have been reading and giving me lots of encouragement over the past several weeks. I thought about how I would explain my failure to finish today…

And then I laughed, as I realized I’d been planning in my head all the things I was going to say on the blog once I didn’t finish the workout — but the whole time I was thinking these things, I was still jogging! Silly goose, I thought. You just need to keep your mind on something else and you’ll be fine.

But, I was heading toward BNH again. And I was tired. And distracted. I should have gotten more sleep this week. I should have gotten more rest over Christmas. I should have eaten a better breakfast. I should have drunk more water this morning.

With every step, I thought about stopping.

Maybe this will be the step where I give up and walk…

Maybe this one…

I am sure I could push through this if I set my mind to it…

Maybe this one…

And then, I got just a little way up BNH, and I stopped jogging.

I walked up the hill with my head down, breathing heavily. As I neared the top, my shame was magnified by the fact that the World’s Friendliest Stranger was heading toward me. She said something encouraging, I’m not even sure what. I think she didn’t know that my stopping to walk then had been unplanned. She said something about keeping on, and I said something about not having it in me today.

I hit the top, and walked several yards more. I would estimate that I walked for a minute, maybe a minute and a half. I could have kept walking, but I started jogging again. Figured I’d better see if I could pick back up and complete at least most of the run. I still had a couple songs to get through.

So I was jogging again, and on the nice part of the track. And I thought… well… at least I can jog the rest of the time and it would only be a little bit shorter of a run than I was supposed to do. Just push on through.

But you know… after you’ve given up once, it’s terribly easy to give up again. My mind was already in a mode of defeat. The voice kept coming back, saying I may as well give up… or just jog to the end of this song, and then be done. It was like I couldn’t wait to be done at that point.

I did manage to jog about 3/4 of a mile that second time, before I gave up again. I’m guessing that I stopped at about the 24-minute mark on my play list, and if you subtract out the amount of walking time, I probably jogged about 22 minutes.

I have no excuses for not finishing today. I have no explanation other than to say, today I wasn’t on my game. It wasn’t in me. I guess I didn’t want it badly enough.

I walked back to my car ashamed, and mad, and tired, and wondering what to do next time. Should I go on and forge ahead with Week 9 on Monday? Or should I require myself to do a third 28-minute run before moving on? Or should I give up jogging all together? You know, there’s nothing wrong with walking. Lots of people do it every day!

For now, I’m just taking it easy. Maybe I’ll get some more rest this weekend and be raring to go on Monday. I can only hope.

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JogBlog: Week 8, Day 2

December 23, 2009

Just a couple days until Christmas!

The weather was pretty nice this morning. The sun was out, the temperature was in the upper 30s. I rolled out of bed at about 8:30 and thought about when I might do my run today. I admit that there is a desire to blow off this week because of the holiday… I am definitely in a mode of “don’t ask, don’t tell” … you don’t ask me to do anything because I’m on vacation, and in return I don’t tell you where to go.

But I did want to do the run today, or at least try it. My last two runs have been less than inspiring, but I did complete them… and I didn’t want to break my streak of 8+ weeks of consecutive completed workouts! I’m stubborn and prideful like that.

I wore my regular running tights and a cold weather running shirt, tied my shoes and headed out. Today I had my iPod loaded with an updated song list… I changed last week’s list slightly in order to have 28 minutes of running music now. Got out of the car, stretched a little, turned on the music, and began my walk.

Warm-up song: “Walking on the Moon” by Sting. It’s almost exactly 5 minutes in length and so it serves me well as I’m getting started. I’m enjoying the sunshine and clear skies. My hands are cold, though, because I didn’t bring my gloves today (knowing I’d be hot by the end of the run). I tuck my fingers inside the little pockets that are built into the inside of my long sleeves. Who dreamed up these cool running shirts with the special pockets and the thumb holes and everything? I like them.

So Sting quits singing and I start jogging. I pass the Friendliest Stranger in the World in her pink puffy jacket, as she strolls along with another friend. She says good morning and happy holidays. I say thank you and the same to her. She really is friendly. And pink and puffy.

The first running song is “Come Sail Away” by Styx. I chose it because I like the song, and because it starts out slowly and then has more of a rhythm in the second half. So it works for me to start out slowly with my jogging, finding my pace and getting into a smoother rhythm after a couple minutes. Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with meeeeee… Nice. Sometime when they are heading for the skies in their star ship, I’m huffing it up BNH.

Ahhh, BNH. It’s been a week since I’ve seen you, and I still hate you! But in a good way.

[Hey! Today I’m including a photo of BNH. I’m a little afraid to, because I don’t think the picture really gives you an idea of how challenging this little sucker can be. But here it is, in case any of you were wondering. It’s from the top looking down (opposite direction of how I was running) and I took it a couple days ago when I was walking my dog.]

As I crested the hill the first song was ending, and I knew that was about 6 minutes done! (Yes, I did check the lengths of all the songs as I put them on the play list, so I’d have a rough idea of where I’d be time-wise as each song ended. I’m like that.)

The second running song is “Still the One” by the Orleans. One of my all-time favorites! It starts out peppy and it stays peppy and it makes me feel peppy. Also, I love to sing along with it… but no way was I going to do that while I was running. But I enjoyed the song and let it move me along. I was in the best section of the track just then.

Hey, there’s the Friendly Stranger again. I’m in cruise mode now, although I know I’m still pretty slow. As I pass by I say that she must be marveling at how slowly I jog. She laughs and says something to the contrary as I continue on.

Next up on the song list: “Call Me The Breeze” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Well now they call me the breeze… I keep blowin’ down the road… I ain’t got nobody… I don’t carry me no load… And even though I’m sure no one is actually calling me The Breeze, the song also does a good job of moving me along right when I first start to think about stopping to walk…

Yes, it happens every time. I can be going along fine and then something will hit me and I’ll start telling myself, “hey, you’ve gone X minutes already, why not take a break? Who ever said you have to be a runner? Just take a little break.” But I’ve found that if I ignore myself I can usually get through whatever rough spot I’ve hit and keep going. Just keep going.

I’m about 1 1/3 miles in, and I’ve guessed that my first mile pace was under 12 minutes, which is great for me. I’m about to start up BNH when “Dialogue Pts. 1 & 2” comes on, by Chicago. The lyrics on this one… well I’ve never really gotten them all straight before from just listening. But I love the beat of the song for jogging, and then when it gets near the end and they keep saying we can make it happen, yeah… we can make it happen… over and over, it serves as a nice pep talk when you are struggling a little.

I’m tired. But I’m on an easy part of the track, so I keep going.

“Taking Care of Business” by BTO is my penultimate run song today. If you ever get annoyed, look at me, I’m self-employed, I love to work at nothing all day. Yeah, I love the music but I’m also all about the lyrics 🙂

I see the Friendly Stranger again, this time she’s walking the same direction as me with a different companion. As I pass the 2-mile point in my run, I pass her and she says “you go girl!” and I laugh as I’m huffing and puffing and say that I’m just waiting for the music to stop so I can stop running! Which is simultaneously so true and so sad.

Now comes a big moment in my run today. I’m heading toward BNH again. Since the run is longer today, my 28 minutes would definitely take me up that monster one more time if I keep going. I’m not sure I’m in the mood. Things have gone relatively well so far… should I risk a major fizzle at the end of the run? Hmmm.

The last running song comes on: “Rockin’ Down the Highway” by the Doobie Brothers. I jog and I think. I get closer and I think. Can’t stop, and I can’t stop, gotta keep moving or I’ll lose my mind… whoaaaaa, rockin’ down the highway…..

So I get to a curve in the track just before BNH, and I turn around and jog back in the other direction. Call me a coward, or call me brilliant, but I’m going to finish without feeling nauseated today! Hooray for me. And, shame on me for not pushing it. I pass the Friendly Stranger one more time going the other way, and say “I just didn’t feel like doing that hill again” and she says she doesn’t blame me.

And I’m jogging along and I know I’m getting close, and wow, that song just sort of ends very abruptly! Da-da da da-da DUM. And you’re through. The end! Twenty-eight minutes are over.

Or… well I don’t want to brag or anything, but if you add up all the songs in my iTunes you would see that I actually jogged for 28 minutes and five seconds. So I earned extra credit!

As was the case with my jog at the end of last week, the cool-down song is “Too Hot” by Kool & the Gang. Which is fitting, since after that long run I am too hot to do anything but run (or walk) for shelter.

I make it back to my car, proud of finishing with relative ease after two lackluster workouts. I don’t know if I would have felt better or worse if I’d gone ahead and tackled BNH that one last time. I don’t care.

My last workout for Week 8 is scheduled to be on Christmas Day. I haven’t decided yet if I will actually run that day or if I’ll skip it and go on Saturday instead.

I guess it will depend on the weather… and  on whether I wake up feeling more like Santa Claus or like a reindeer that morning.

Merry Christmas!

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JogBlog: Week 8, Day 1

December 21, 2009

Monday morning. The week of Christmas. Kids are on break from school. I’m taking some time off of work. I have some holiday baking to do, some serious house cleaning that needs to be done, and at least a little Christmas shopping that I ought to take care of. Oh… and I’m supposed to do my C25K workout today.

I almost skipped it. Thought of about a million reasons to blow this day off, to do other things. Any other things.

It’s a cold day, but not as bad as some recent days. There are some meager remains of snow on the ground from the weekend. We only got a dusting, really… maybe an inch at most. Nothing ever stuck to the roads. The kids went to play in it and made a muddy mess of the yard.

With all the things I’m supposed to accomplish today, I’m not sure I want to take the extra time to go to the park for my run. Maybe today I should do the treadmill instead.

I dread it. Not only do I dread the thought of increasing my jog time to 28 minutes this week, but I also dread the thought of doing those 28 minutes on the treadmill. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to have a treadmill. It’s really a handy thing to have. But in the past when I’ve used my treadmill, it’s always been on my own terms… and I’ve never used it for a lengthy run before, I’ve mostly only ever used it for walking.

As the morning dragged on and I tried many different ways to excuse myself from the workout, I finally told myself to just do it. Get on the treadmill, get it over with. At least try!

I thought about using my playlist to run with, but decided I’d watch something on the TV instead. The music would be nice, but even the best music isn’t going to do much to improve on the boring scenery in our basement. No, at least with the TV I could have something visual to distract me from watching the time tick down…

So, I turned on the treadmill and got started. The TV was on and I was watching the last half hour or so of the movie, “Never Been Kissed” on AMC. That’s a fun movie.

I walked my 5-minute warmup at about a 3.5-4 mph pace. Incline set to 2%. Yawn.

When the time came to jog, I bumped the speed up to 5 mph. Whooohoooo, we’re rockin’ now! Ha ha. Yes I know it’s kind of slow… but I’m the one who has to keep this up for 28 minutes, so I get to pick the speed, mmmmkay?

It’s funny because 5 mph feels really slow. And yet, I know that my average pace is pretty close to a 12-minute mile, so I want to keep it there. I’m not feeling energized just yet. I’m already thinking, what? I have to do this for 28 minutes? I don’t think I’m going to make it.

I will pause here to say that I think the reason I love to run outside so much more is that when I run outside, I know I have to get somewhere. I have scenery to look at and hills to climb and people to convince that I am a runner. I have a car or a house that I have to get back to when the workout is done. But on the treadmill, I just have the clock. Watching TV is nice, but it’s not the same. Also, when I run outside I know I am constantly making adjustments to my speed… a little faster on the level spots, a little slower on the uphill climbs. Sure, I can adjust the speed on my treadmill when I want to, but I’d rather not bother with it. I’d rather just be able to settle in to my run and not worry about other details until it’s over.

So I’m doing my jog and after, say, 5 minutes I am at least loosened up a bit. I’m watching the movie, but then the commercials keep coming on. Do you own life insurance? What about medical insurance? You should have both of those things, otherwise you will end up like this older couple, where the man was supposed to fix the kitchen cabinet door but he hasn’t done it yet, because he has other things on his “to do” list that he needs to finish first. But his wife points out that buying insurance is so easy! And it will only take a moment on the phone, or something. And by the end of the commercial, they have acquired the insurance they need, even though they are old. And now the husband can fix that cabinet door. These daytime commercials, they are just priceless.

I am not even sure where I am in my run now. Somewhere in the middle. I keep looking at the time on  my treadmill timer, and subtracting 5 minutes for the warmup, and figuring how much longer I have to go. Even though before I ever stepped on the machine, I could tell you that I needed to walk until 5 minutes and then run until the 33 minute mark, I still needed to look and check and recalculate all the time.

Somewhere around 15 minutes of running, I told myself “maybe I’ll just do 20 minutes today.” I tried to convince myself that it would be OK to do some shorter runs this week, that is was silly to ever have tried to do this running program during the holiday season. So yeah, 20 minutes will be fine. Just get to the 25 minute mark on the timer, and then you can walk. No one will condemn you for it.

The movie is good, but these ridiculous commercials keep coming on.  I remember how a long time ago I used to try to do interval workouts at night, and I would speed walk during the show segments and then try to jog during the commercial segments.  I did it because I really wasn’t a jogger, and so I wanted to walk but then do some shorter intervals of jogging just to get the heart rate up.  I realize that if I were doing that same thing during this movie, I’d be jogging more than walking because the commercial segments are SO LONG AND SO MANY. Sheesh. And they are mostly about insurance.

I reach 25 minutes on the timer; 20 minutes into my run. OK, I say, you’re doing all right for the moment, how about try to make it to 25? Then at least you will be where you were on Week 7, you won’t really be falling behind so much as just repeating a week. No big deal. And look, here’s another commercial to watch while you think about it.

So I keep going. But really, I’ll stop at 25 minutes. I’ve been tweaking my speed and incline a little bit, just to keep things interesting and maybe give myself a little break now and then. My running speed was 4.9-5.1. The incline was at 2% most of the way, but then closer to the end I went to 1.5, and eventually to 1. And these are all fascinating numbers, aren’t they? Get out your graph paper and be sure to make a chart showing my progress.Then make a commercial about it… maybe I’ll get to watch it next time.

Finally I reach 30 minutes on the timer (25 minutes of running). Hey! That’s the length of last week’s run. I can stop now. I give myself permission to stop…

Oh, poo. Just keep going, it’s only three more minutes. Stick it out to the end!

Two more minutes… one more minute…

We’re at about 30 seconds left. Let’s go nuts. Let’s up the speed a bit! Whoohoooooo! SIX mph, baby. That’s what I’m talkin’ about. For all of 20-ish seconds, I was running 6 mph.

I ran several seconds past that 33 minute mark on the timer. You know, just to be sure.

Cool down time. Movie credits are rolling. No commercials now, because they would never want to keep you from seeing who the Best Boy or the Key Grip was.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming. 🙂