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 
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    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
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    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
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  • 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.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.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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