Posted: July 5, 2007 in Lessons

I’m not so much a slow learner. I’m more of a reluctant listener.

I’m in my third week of jogging now. Soon after I began, I received an email from my friend, Fred from Long Beach. He is a runner, and he invited me to participate in the Wesson Memorial Run in Ocean Springs on the Fourth of July (pictured above). He mentioned that it was “just” two miles and that people of all levels of fitness would be running. I thought about it, but the fact that I was barely jogging one mile made me a bit nervous about trying to jog two so soon. I said I would think about it, but probably not.

Fred emailed again. He told me of a training technique he used when building up to run a marathon and thought I might benefit from it as well. It simply revolves around the idea of running for a minute or two, then walking for a minute. Rinse and repeat. Sounded interesting, but being the reluctant listener I am, I didn’t try it out. I just kept suffering through one lousy mile a day, non-stop.

I made the mistake of timing myself one day that first week and noted that I labored through a twelve-minute mile. This brought my friend, Bruno, great pleasure. In years gone by, he thought about writing a book on middle-aged life, titled, “The 12-Minute Mile.” I think the title remains dead-on.

So week two of jogging started off feeling a bit better. One day I noticed that I ran my mile in ten minutes and something or other. “Take that, Bruno!” I gloated. 🙂 Then, unbeknownst to me, some monkey started jumping on my back every day afterward. This was not getting easier after all, but I remained determined not to quit this time.

Then, Donna emailed me. She and her husband, Steve, are somewhat new to our church family, and really cool. They are a beautiful couple who should be photographed in fashion magazines, and to wit, they are very much into fitness. Donna heard about my jogging and invited me to run in the Wesson Memorial Run in Ocean Springs on the Fourth of July (pictured above). She mentioned that it was “just” two miles and that people of all levels of fitness would be running.

Sound familiar? I responded to Donna as I responded to Fred. Thanks, but I doubt I’ll be up to it just yet.

But I went to the race yesterday, not as a participant, but as a photographer. I had a really good time. I got to see Fred and Donna and Steve, and in addition I saw Stella and Keith and Richard and several other people I knew as acquaintances. The weather was a bit overcast, which was a welcome relief for the runners, and I saw some amazing sights. The winner finished the two miles in UNDER ten minutes! I saw a man pushing a double stroller finish the race in just over eleven minutes! My friend, Keith, came trucking through at thirteen minutes. Steve and Donna finished close together at the sixteen minute mark! I was more than impressed…

After the race, Steve told me that when he started jogging a few years back he read about a training technique in Men’s Health that helped him a lot. It suggested running for a minute or two, then walking for a minute. Said it was really good!

Sound familiar?

So I came home yesterday, after the race, to run my mile. And I decide to time myself again. And I run for a couple of minutes, then I walk for one. Then I do it again. And again. And I finish my one mile in eleven minutes exactly. And it felt better than all the other times combined.

This is why everyone in the world should be wary of preachers. We don’t mind at all standing up to tell you what we think you should do with your life. But this one, at least, is an awfully reluctant listener.

But I’m learning. Yes, slowly.

  1. JD says:

    I also suggest dobermans and snakes … great motivation to run faster and farther.

  2. Al Sturgeon says:

    Smart aleck.

  3. fredwalker says:

    Some times we have to slow down to speed up! Good to see you, Al. Hang in there. You’ll be getting that “runner’s high” in no time at all.


  4. Al Sturgeon says:

    Thanks, Fred! For the comment, and for the advice! It was really good to see you, too…

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