The observant reader might have noticed that the title of today’s blog post looks familiar. That’s because last year, I declared that, in a joint effort with the duck, I would attempt to extend my running stamina beyond the approximate ten seconds it was at. Given our unsuccessful history with running, the duck and I are surprised to admit that, about a year later, we’re still pretend-running on a somewhat regular basis. Although our fatalistic 2021 prediction didn’t come true, we are still not 100% convinced that we will not have to outrun zombies sometime in the future (though, running from zombies is not what today’s post is about). For now, we can say that we’ve caught a few buses after 30-second sprints without feeling nauseous, which the duck and I consider a great success.But, since we are inherently lazy, getting to those rewarding bus sprints wasn’t always smooth sailing:
A rough timeline of our rough running journey
Our first ten-minute run
When we first wrote about taking up running, the duck and I had just begun increasing the running intervals in our run-walk schedule to three minutes. Getting there was not fun. Can you imagine the joy we felt when we had completed our first ten-minute stretch? Whatever you’ve just imagined – triple that. I think I’ve only ever managed to consciously run (well, when I talk about running, I actually talk about very slow jogging) for that many minutes once before in my life: just before I conceded defeat during my first attempt at learning how to jog with a run-walk schedule.
Our first fake 5K jog
The duck and my run-walk schedule was supposed to conclude with a continuous 5-kilometer jog. According to my cheap fitness tracker, that’s what we successfully did about four months in. However, my fitness tracker doesn’t use GPS and thinks I make much bigger steps than I actually do. I doubt that, to date, the duck and I have jogged an actual 5k, though our tracker wants to make us believe we’ve surpassed six kilometers by now. Real or fake, the ability to
run slowly jog continuously for over half an hour was a major achievement in our lazy-people-book!
When the heat slowed us down
Just as summer had begun, the duck and I were getting too busy to run. But we were determined to continue once our schedule would free up because, even though we were very slow, we felt accomplished. Not even a coworker who considered taking back his encouraging words along the lines of “speed doesn’t matter and isn’t it healthier to not overdo it?” when we mentioned that we had been out-jogged by people who were several decades our seniors – on multiple occasions! – could deter us (more than our dramatic suffering can, anyway).*
When we finally resumed our version of running, it had gotten so hot and humid that it took the duck and me weeks until we could get back to where we had been before our break. I credit the power of our running podcasts (we had gone from listening to music to fiction once we were no longer doing scheduled walking breaks) for our uncharacteristic endurance, as well as the increasingly pleasant temperatures.
New challenges? I don’t think so!
After that, the duck and I spent a month or two on slowly extending the time we could jog.
We’ve been running the same amount of minutes each week ever since, allowing for the occasional break. At the moment, we’re still too weak (mentally and physically) to properly build up our speed from a jog-that’s-almost-as-slow-as-our-regular-speedy-waddle/walk to an actual jog – maybe even a slow run sometime in the future (hahaha, I wish)? But we’ve surprised ourselves so much in the past year that I think we might be able to get there someday. For now, we’ll keep taking it slow.
Our preliminary conclusion
Back then the duck and I didn’t expect that the inspiration we got from Haruki Murakami’s memoir What I talk about when I talk about running, probably one of the most impactful friend recommendations we have received, would turn into an actual habit, you know, with us being so lazy and all. It seems that the one thing that can beat the duck and my laziness is our stubbornness. We should probably use that to our advantage and set proper running goals. But that’s something to think about some other time. How about some more tea, duck?
* P.S.: The most surprising part
What makes the duck and my success even more surprising is that we still don’t enjoy jogging. We see it as something that might help us stay somewhat healthy with our otherwise quite sedentary lifestyle, but we can’t imagine ourselves going for a run to successfully clear our minds or relieve stress – without requiring an exciting podcast to help us forget how much we dread it. Not ever has either one of us woken up and thought: “What a beautiful day! The only thing that could make this day even better is a two-hour run, up and down some hills, with a nice little swimming break added for good measure.” That’s how our coworker told us he had spent a particularly sunny Sunday afternoon last summer. The duck and I, in contrast, had decided to spend that afternoon on our laptop, cheerfully pursuing our sedentary lifestyle outside, in the fresh air.