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.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Front.batter

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