I did it. I made the transition from indoors to outdoors, from treadmill to track, from jogging with a mirror in front of me to jogging with the sun beating down on me.
It wasn't easy by any means but then again what in my last two-plus years of fitness has been?
Saturday morning my brother Danny accompanied me to the local high school track for a bit of running. I was nervous. I woke up at about 4 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep. I didn't think I was going to be so nervous really. I mean, what's a little jog like this compared to the beast that is the Mud Run? But nonetheless I was a bit apprehensive.
It's not that I didn't think I could do it. I was just worried as if I had a test to take that day. In essence, really, the jog was a test to see how I was preparing myself in the gym.
We got to the track at about 6:45 or so. I stretched. But not too much. My brother in law told me recently he didn't really stretch before he jogged so I thought maybe I'd follow his lead. Then, it was time to start. My brother and I had talked about jogging three miles in under 30 minutes. We got on the track and started our jog.
This isn't too bad, I thought about halfway around the first lap. Really, I've already completed 1/24th of my jog and I made it unscathed.
I quickly supressed those thoughts because 12 laps seems easier a task than 24 half-laps.
Okay, well, maybe this is going to take more than 30 minutes, I thought to myself as we closed in on the end of Lap 2.
Alright! Look at that! I made it past the mile mark! I thought as I started Lap 5. I can't remember the last time I ran a mile straight outsi... oh wait, yes I can. It was right here, right in this very track. But I weighed about 245 then and hadn't worked out in a week and nearly collapsed after finishing that. Let's see, that was March 2007 and, um, well, that wasn't a pleasant experience. Okay, let's focus on the here and now.
Running outside was a new experience for me. As Guns N Roses gave way to Soundgarden on my iPod, I maintained my focus on the task at hand.
Okay, let's see, I only need to pass this particular spot five more times, I thought midway through Lap 7. And if I've already made it seven times, surely I can make it five more times.
Sometime close to the end of Lap 8, I started to feel good about myself. I'd barely jogged one mile in my adult life before and here I was getting set to complete two miles. At once. Unreal.
Okay, two miles down. One to go. Finish strong.
Oh no. I let it slip. I didn't want to tell myself to finish just yet. I said the f-word, and that rattled me. I didn't want to give my body a false sense of hope that the end was near. I was in a rhythm but that stupid thought ruined it. It took me about a lap to get back to wear I was mentally.
Okay, let's go. Less than a lap to go. Now it might be good to let yourself think about finishing.
Danny took off at the end of Lap 11, a clear indication that he was finishing strong. I was doing well to keep up with him but I get the sense he was taking it easy for my sake. It didn't matter. I did what I wanted to do, which was to put myself in position to finish the jog and I was so close. White Zombie's Thunder Kiss '65 was the perfect compliment to accompany me down the stretch. I was in a groove both mentally and physically and I did want to finish strong.
Okay, here we go. Taking this last turn and then it's over. Yeah, the jog will be over. I will have run three miles! Unbelievable!
I had toyed with the idea of pushing myself more than the 12 laps. I thought that it might have been good to push myself that way. But ultimately I didn't want to ruin a good experience. I wanted to set a good foundation for future jogs and let myself enjoy my accomplishment, yet another in a long list of them.
So I stopped after Lap 12. The ground felt wobbly. After a quick breather, we walked one lap. It wasn't really a victory lap. No way. It was a cool down lap. Yeah, I succeeded in my goal but I wasn't about to bask in any perceived glory.
We actually finished under our goal of 30 minutes. The final time was 27:26. The next time I step onto the track, though, that run will mean little. I'll have to do it all over again, and what I did in the past won't matter much.
But at least I did it. And I gave myself the knowledge that I can do it again.