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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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My Journey To Jogging And Back

For no reason whatsoever other than possible spontaneous brain damage, I suggested to Gerry that we should start jogging.

"It will be good for us," I said. "We'll feel better, and my zippered pants might fit again. It will give us time alone together, time during which I'll be completely unable to have my face glued to my phone." I knew that last part would be a huge selling point for my husband, who often comments how beautiful my profile looks illuminated by the sickly glow of my iPhone screen.

Secretly, what I was really thinking was, My friend and her husband started running, and in the Facebook pictures she posts of them finishing marathons and whatnot, they both look so happy and fit and proud of their accomplishments, not to mention they're outside of the house without any children!

Either way, Gerry was on board. I set myself some goals to help with that pesky Motivation stuff people are always talking about.

With that, we were suddenly Joggers. People who jog. Without any training, doctor's notes, or paperwork from any kind of governing authority, we simply decided that we were going to become the types of people who carve out a piece of our day several times per week to go outside in the cold and briskly run away from nothing in particular.

I felt under-qualified for this endeavor, to say the least. Gerry ran track in school, but I'd never once in my life run, on purpose, without a PE teacher yelling at me, aside from two separate occasions when I was being chased by a swarm of wasps.* But I figured, Hey, I didn't have to pass any tests or get anybody's permission to start having babies, and that's arguably even more life-altering than jogging, on some levels. I can do this!

On our first day, I started showing my inexperience immediately. "You're not supposed to stretch first, it's bad for your muscles," Gerry informed me before we'd even left the house. Apparently my exercise-related information was outdated, not having learned any new fitness facts since legwarmers were required gym apparel.

Then I shared one of my few jogging tips with him, by helpfully pointing out that if we intended to do this properly, he probably shouldn't bring his coffee along in a travel mug. Teamwork!

Unstretched and under-caffeinated, we reached the end of the driveway, exchanged a look that said something like, "What the hell do we think we're doing?" and began to jog.

And I can't lie.

It was glorious.

For half a block.

At that point, I started to breathe heavily and lost whatever tiny scrap of motivation I had previously mustered. Gerry, who never once broke his stride or gasped pitifully for air, tried to encourage me. Meanwhile, I wasted what little strength I had on bargaining with the Jogging Gods.
Dear Jogging Gods, I swear I'll run the rest of this block all the way to the stop sign, if you'll just allow me nap for the next two blocks.
Please, let that sensation I'm feeling be a major earthquake, and not my femurs shattering into a thousand pieces while my heart implodes.
Jogging Gods, if you can just make my legs continue pumping in some sort of a rhythmic fashion, I promise to point us toward a hospital.
The next time was not easier. But we did it, and congratulated ourselves, and I messaged my friend to let her know what an inspiration she and her Facebook pictures had been in setting us off on this healthy path (and also to make myself more accountable by admitting to someone else that we'd started jogging).

We jogged again. I complained. Gerry was a natural, always ready to hit the road whenever the opportunity arose. I, on the other hand, revisited my earlier goals.

However, Gerry soon became concerned for my heath and well-being, based on the weird whimpering noises I made every time I crumpled onto the sidewalk and started twitching, which was an alarmingly frequent occurrence.

That was when I learned that, when it came to jogging, the power of my will to quit is powerful enough to overpower my willpower to keep going. (Go ahead and crochet that on a pillow, I'll wait.)

That was a few weeks ago. We decided to save jogging for the spring, and spend the winter months reconditioning our neglected cardiovascular systems on the dusty elliptical machine in the basement.

I love that idea. The elliptical and I go way back, and I absolutely love it. I used to work out on that thing every day, and I have no doubt that using it will be a fitness program I'll be able to stick with.

I'll let you know when we get started.

*It won't shock you to hear that I didn't successfully escape from those swarms of wasps, either time. Those things are pretty fast.
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42 comments:

  1. I will occasionally tell myself that I should go for more walks and hey the dog would love it. I never convince myself that jogging would be a good idea.

    I would never make it past the search for adult diapers designed to make jogging easier.

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    1. Wearing black pants is key, my friend. They hide a multitude of sins (and accidents).

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  2. Crying with laughter!! Seriously, oh my Lord, you just described my experience trying Couch to 5K, which quickly became couch to couch for me. This is hilarious!!

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    1. I'm impressed! I got so far as hearing about Couch to 5K, but never even mustered the motivation to look it up on the interweb. We should start Couch to Couch, though - do you know how many people would join that?!?

      Thanks so much for being here, and commenting, and sharing! :)

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  3. Robin that just cracked me up!! Given the fact that I started running just like you, from tree to tree and nearly died every time I'd start, I found great humor and true life in this blog. Definitely sharing this. Thanks for the laughs!

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    1. I'm so glad you got a laugh - and so glad I'm not the only one who's jogging challenged. :) Thanks for the encouraging comment, and for sharing!

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  4. i would like to pretend that i've gotten as far as the end of the driveway, but....nope, not even. the farthest i've gotten is shopping online for the awesomest cross trainers i could find and then not buying them ;) so congrats, you totally passed me on the way to the hospital!

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    1. I tried to bribe myself with the promise of new shoes that aren't worn through the lining in the heel, if only I could prove my dedication by jogging long enough to need them. Apparently I don't like shoes enough. ;) We'll be Sisters In Inactivity! I'll meet you on the couch.

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  5. I would love to say I was a runner, but then I would have to run. Not worth it.

    "...briskly run away from nothing in particular." Hilarious!

    -Amy

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    1. Agreed! I would just tell people I'm a runner anyway (hey, for all they know I might be) - except I think they'll be able to tell by looking that I'm not. Glad you got a laugh - thanks for reading!

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  6. Do wasps swarm? I thought they were more of the loner variety of flying bastards.

    This post is almost entirely true, but let's not act like I'm in any better shape than you. You just don't know how to run, which apparently is like riding a bike. Except no bike, and if you try to coast while you're running you just end up standing in one spot.

    Thanks for making me laugh, Baby. I am now wondering if you didn't suggest the whole running thing just to get yourself some blog fodder.

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    1. Wasps do swarm if you A) Step on their home in a rotten log in the middle of the woods, or B) Accidentally spray their nest with RAID (I didn't know there was a nest under the deck, I was just trying to get the one that kept buzzing my tower while I was sunbathing) (this was back when people sunbathed).

      I never do anything strictly for blog fodder, babe. Just me being a complete (non-jogging) tool pretty much takes care of the blog fodder by itself. Thanks for loving me anyway, though. ;)

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  7. You're not supposed to stretch before running? What about while running? Because I've had a difficult time doing that.

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    1. I just wait until after, and let the paramedics take care if it for me.

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  8. Your updated jogging goals sound great to me. Need a running partner? I'm your gal.

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    1. Sweet! You bring the chocolate, I'll provide the cable TV. :)

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  9. I have to say, I'm what they call an Athens or bonnydale runner, and I had a lightbulb moment when I read an interview with an ultra marathoner about how the first mile sucks every time. Every. Single. Time. After that, I didn't care about huffing and puffing at first because there honed a glorious moment in every. Single. Run now when I know I've passed 1.5 miles because I take a deep breath and all of a sudden I'm not gasping anymore and things just click into place. That first mile never gets a whole lot easier, but the miles after it do. Hope you learn to love it because the time without children is glooooooorious!

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    1. Well, there's my problem - never going farther than a mile! I'll tell you what, that alone time does make it awfully tempting... :)

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  10. I simply love this: "That was when I learned that, when it came to jogging, the power of my will to quit is powerful enough to overpower my willpower to keep going. (Go ahead and crochet that on a pillow, I'll wait.)" - could not have said it better..

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    1. Thank you! These are the kinds of things I can think about now that a small trickle of blood has returned to my brain after its jarring but brief redirection to my muscles. ;)

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  11. My fiancé and I are running 4 times a week even in the middle of the winter.. we live in Toronto.. I am not sure who is leading; it became a rule and we just keep going.. I wonder who will be the first to escape and choose to exercise in front of a TV..

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    1. Oh, I hope you keep at it - please keep running! It does my heart good to know there really are people who do it. Good for you guys!

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  12. Ha! Funny enough, I just joined a gym, and after my first visit I immediately remembered why I used to hate the elliptical machine. That thing is evil, I tell you. EVIL!

    I've been running on the treadmill, but my fear of falling off again makes the whole thing feel a bit sketchy to me.

    Why can't we just plug ourselves in for 45 minutes a day and lose weight that way??

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    1. I say we pester Science mercilessly until it comes up with a way for us to lose weight from sleeping! I rarely have time for sleep either, but at least it's easier than exercise, plus I'm really good at it.

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  13. Running is hard. That's why I don't do it anymore. Then this workout dude told me that you burn more fat by doing stuff that keeps your heart rate low - like walking. And that's the story of how he became my favorite person in the world.

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    1. I love that story so much, and I'm pretty sure that's the awesomely thing a workout dude ever told anyone. I'm going to go ahead and take that one step further, and keep my heart rate super low by reclining on the couch. :)

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  14. Proud of you, girl! You can do this--and you'll have some great blogging material!

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    1. We'll see about that - depending on if I ever exercise again! :)

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  15. I jog. Just like you, I had only run from bees and stuff, swore I would never do it. Then one day I just decided to do it, got me a C25K and did it. I only jog 5k, but I too post my pic at the finish lines and it really is rewarding. (I have inspired a few to start also, which I love!) I love it because it is so mindless, I don't have to count reps or think of which move to do next or how long to do this or that...I just set my phone for 3.1 miles and GO till it says stop. (and I get to listen to something besides the Tangled soundtrack).
    I am sure you've seen the ecard that says "I don't run with scissors. Those last two words were unnecessary."
    All that being said, it really is rough on us oldies, so it's probably best that you gave up. :) I am doing a 5k Saturday, I will tweet you my finish line pic. :)
    Also? This post is hilarious, as usual! I LOL'd! <3 Devan

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    1. DANGIT, Devan, now you made me want to try again! But tell me, how do you make yourself keep going? I mean, how can you tell the difference between signals from your body that you should stop or else you're going to need a stretcher, and the part that people say you just need to "power through"? For safety's sale, I always assume I'm about to die and go back to walking, but it seems unlikely I'll ever make progress that way.

      Please send me a finish line pic, seriously! Have a blast - can't wait to see it!

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  16. Those sound like my fitness goals...especially when it comes to looking fit for the benefit of passing cars.

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    1. Maybe I should just hire strangers to follow me around in their cars - that way I might keep my tempi going. ;)

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  17. GAH! I am going to ruin my "don't give a shit/slacker/where's the wine?" reputation. It is highly unlikely that you are injured or in any real bodily danger, your body is just not used to it. I learned that you CAN train your body to do it, you can. I used to say to myself when I wanted to walk "Self, are you legs still there? yes? are you breathing, even if only barely? yes? THEN KEEP GOING!!" The C25K literally starts you at 30 seconds!! C'mon, you can suck it up for 30 seconds! Long about week 4 when you are running 4 minutes at a time you will get such a sense of accomplishment and pride! Get the c25k by Running Mate, 5K 101. (just look in itunes). It is awesome! And you can like them on facebook, the guy, Todd, that made it is on there and is so motivating and answers your questions personally (plus he's a hottie). Try again for me, please. Do week one, I know you can! Don't shoot for marathon or half marathon or even 5k right now, just shoot for week one. Week. One. mmkay? Much Love chick! Devan :)

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    1. 30 seconds, you say? Hmm, that does seem doable, but then, like you, I do have my slacker reputation to uphold... I totally appreciate the pep talk and info, Devan. We don't have anyone to babysit for the next few days, but I suppose I could check out the app, and maybe start again fresh on Monday... What am I saying?!? Do you see what you've done to me???

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    2. There ain't no shame in self pride! Plus if you jog then you can have more cookies...and wine. :)

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    3. Mmm, cookies and wine... I actually ellipticaled today, and I wish I knew why that's so much easier for me. I can huff and puff but still keep going forever on that thing - maybe I'd be motivated to job more if the street had a display of how many calories I was burning? Good luck on your 5k tomorrow!

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  18. Ha ha! Brilliant post. This is why I don't jog. I recently started swimming, and I totally suck at it. It's really annoying to be left in the dust by people who are 20 years older than I am. But it's really hard to fake. You are either swimming or you're drowning. It is quiet. There are no kids. There is a Jacuzzi. And if I'm going to die by exercise, they say that drowning is a really peaceful way to go.

    Just saying....

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    1. You make a lot of good points, especially about the quiet. I'd be nervous about starting an exercise I couldn't quit doing at any given moment, considering the high likelihood that I'd want to quit. :) Good for you, though - keep it up, you're inspiring the rest of us lazy clods!

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  19. So funny. I would totally pin both your motivational lists, but I'm not on Pintrest. Should I be? (I've struggled with this for a while.) Perfect imagery: "less like I'm falling down an invisible escalator."

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    1. Pinterest is a time suck like the rest of the social media giants, except it's less interactive than Twitter and makes you feel worse about yourself in comparison to others instead of much better, like Facebook. Yet, I love it so. Join, and let me know - I want to be your first follower! I'm RobynHTV :)

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  20. This was a fabulous post! Thanks so much for sharing. I'm so glad someone else understands having a husband who can do no exercise for months on end and then go for a 5 mile run as if it was nothing! Your goals (and the updated version) cracked me up. Keep writing and we'll keep following!

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    1. Thank you so much! And the same goes for my husband's dieting - if he decides to lose 5 pounds, he just stops drinking soda and reaches his goal by dinner. I have to limit myself to carrots and water for 2 months to lose that kind of weight. :)

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