2006.10.18 Running the race, and living to tell about it

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

Grace (Tarala) Johnston was right. Intervals of two minutes running at an easy pace and one minute walking at a slow pace will get you to the finish line faster than my combination of running at a faster pace until you feel like croaking, and then walking at a relatively fast pace until you’re afraid if you don’t start running again, you’ll be dead last in the race.

Ah, the race. The Neal V. Singles Memorial 5K Run. My husband groaned when he read the start of my column two weeks ago.

“You’re not going to write about running again, are you?”

“What else am I going to write about?” I asked.

“You can’t do that to your readers,” he said.

So I didn’t.

But then people kept asking me if I finished the race, and if they happened to read the race results, they asked if I was happy with how I had done.

Let me say that I was both pleased with and amused by my performance. Even though Grace showed me the folly of my ways, I am proud to be the owner of the coolest medal I have ever seen; far cooler than any medal any of my three children have won in cross country and track events.

Yes, I placed third in my age group and thus became a medalist in the first annual Neal Singles run. Of course, there were only three people in my age group (the amusing part), but as Grace said, think of all the women who didn’t even enter the race. I beat the pants off of them, all right! And, I like to think that the first two placers in my age group were among those who took the wrong turn and thus lopped three tenths of a mile off their course. I ran/walked the whole dang 3.1 miles.

I liken the experience to being in labor with my firstborn, Ben. David and I had taken Lamaze or whatever childbirth preparation classes were offered 24 years ago. They taught us breathing exercises and relaxation techniques and harped on focal points and the stages of labor and which breathing patterns to do for each particular stage of labor. I don’t remember what else.

David was an excellent Lamaze partner who made sure I exercised regularly and practiced my breathing and relaxation techniques every night.  When I was finally in the throes of labor, all that regimentation went out the window. Relax? Hell, I was having a baby! There’s nothing relaxing about that. I found comfort in throwing up. And when David consulted his stopwatch to time the contractions, I could have belted him one. I just wanted to sling my arm around his shoulder and lean on him as I walked up and down the halls of the maternity ward.

When he noted I must be in the transition stage and should begin a different breathing pattern, I think I might have tossed his watch across the room. There was no way I could breathe in any prescribed pattern. I just did what felt right. I’m sure I must have learned something in that class that came in handy for the actual birthing experience. I know pelvic rocking proved beneficial in Rozee’s birth three and a half years later. But when it came to the breathing exercises, they went out the same window. It seems the only purpose they served was something to rebel against: Well, heck, that’s not working. I’ll do this instead.

And the same sort of thing happened with running. As the day of the race neared, I realized none of the standard methods such as Jeff Galloway and coolrunning.com were working for me. So I tried the technique David had suggested at the start of my “training.”

“Why don’t you run until you feel like stopping and then walk until you feel like running,”  he said.

Ah, after all these years, the man knows me better than I know myself. When he had first suggested that, I pooh-poohed him.

“That won’t work,” I told him. “I feel like stopping just about as soon as I start. I’d be walking the whole race.”

By the week of the race I realized I really only like running if I can do it at a faster pace. Sure, I could “run” three miles continuously, but it would be at such a slow pace, I’d be miserable the whole way. So I may not have completed the course as fast as I would have liked, but I had a good time doing it—the anti-Lamaze way, so to speak.

And I didn’t come in dead last.

Or dead, for that matter.


   - Oct. 18, 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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