2006.09.20 Walt Disney doesn't know what he's talking about

Written by David Green.

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” —Walt Disney

By COLLEEN LEDDY

As announced in By the Way by my husband, I jogged 10 laps (two and a half miles) a week and a half ago in my quest to participate in the Neal Singles Memorial 5K Run this Sunday—and it’s been downhill ever since. I thought maybe I just hit a plateau, but that would imply I could still run two and a half miles. A mile and a half of continuous running is the most I’ve done since the momentous 10 laps. This impasse is worse than a plateau. A plateau gives hope. It’s flat and steady. It implies that I will rise again and maybe reach 11 laps, maybe even the whole five thousand dang kilometers.

But I don’t see a rise on the horizon. I hit the track feeling pretty good and by the time I reach the first 100 meter mark, I  feel like I’m pulling a sled full of kids on a thin coating of snow. Back in my early days of mothering I could stand that challenge. But now the extra weight I’m carrying is attached at the hips, buttocks and thighs, and getting rid of it is not as easy as flipping over the sled to dump a kid or two.

 It’s not just the extra weight. I’ve been trying too many methods with not enough time to see if they really work. I started out haphazardly, just trying to add another lap each day, inching my way up to one mile over a three-week period. Then I half-heartedly tried the method Jeff and Grace Johnston swear by: Jeff Galloway. He’s a former Olympic runner who suggests intervals of walk breaks between running.

Grace said she and Jeff run for two minutes and then walk for one minute. “This was more than enough when Jeff and I started but now we play around with the intervals. We are trying 30-second walk breaks now,” she said.  “Check out Jeff Galloway. Maybe he will be your inspiration.”

I tried the two-minute run/one-minute walk method several times and I was inspired to die. One minute of walking disappeared in no time. Even after two minutes of walking, I sounded like an obscene phone call. But I should have heeded Grace’s advice sooner and checked out Galloway’s plan for running a 5K. His website gives a very reasonable training schedule, starting out with the very preferable method of jogging one to two minutes and walking two to three minutes. Too bad I didn’t start there. Although his plan covers 15 weeks and I only had eight, it looks really sensible.

Then my daughter Rozee came along with a weekly schedule from coolrunning.com and its delightful three-days-a-week program. I stopped my six-days-a-week regimen and adopted the suggested workouts, including the admonition to “run more slowly than you think you should.” Wow! I could handle that!

But the best advice came from Heather Whitehouse, one of the organizers of the Neal Singles run. When I whined to her in an email that I couldn’t run two miles to save my life, she shot back with this, “I think you can run two miles, probably more. The thing is, you think you can't because you feel like you're dying, but once you hit that point, it doesn't get much worse until you actually collapse...ha ha.”

She’s absolutely right and I have to keep repeating that to myself as Johnny Cash wails on about getting married in a fever and hearing the train a comin’ while stuck in Folsum Prison. I got hooked on listening to music while running after Renee Collins from Lenawee United Way emailed David: “Tell Colleen...if you listen to really loud music, it’s not so bad because then you can’t hear yourself wheezing...You focus on the beat and stop thinking about how it hurts!”

I told Betsy Bentley of the three-day plan and she said something like, “Oh, I think you can do more than that.” Betsy should know; she runs marathons. But it took at least a week for her advice to sink in and meanwhile I began losing whatever stamina I had gained. I began to despair of ever running the whole three miles. I finally decided I’d try a variation of Jeff and Grace’s method: three repetitions of running a mile and then walking a quarter mile, only I would try to run faster than I had been.

I tried it last Thursday and was pretty happy with myself for stepping up the pace in the first mile I ran.

When I was on my walking lap and could finally catch my breath, I asked David, “Did it look like I was running faster?”

“Yeah! Uh huh!” he said, way too readily and enthusiastically. “And you looked thinner, too!”

So, I can’t really trust my husband. But I think Ron O’Brien has come through just in time for my last week of training. He emailed David this morning.

“I want to pass along some running advice for Colleen from the late great Walt Stack, who ran well into his eighties. When asked how he does it, he replied, ‘I start out slow then ease up.’”

I think that might be just my speed.

– Sept. 20, 2006 
  • Front.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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