Thoughts from the Lake Loop

I did it.

Just like that, I accomplished one of my summer goals from an earlier post; I ran (mostly walked) around the entire Lake Monona loop, roughly 11 or 12 miles.

I couldn’t believe myself, but I actually did it in 2 hours and 59 minutes. I was going to get started in the morning, but you know me and summer mornings, so I ended up hitting the trailhead at Northshore Drive at exactly 1:38 PM. It was a sunny and breezy 79 degrees. I expected nothing, but I was hoping to make it further than last time, when I had to turn back due to threat of darkness/bad weather.

Here’s how I did.

First hour:

  • Run 5 minutes, walk 5 minutes, run 5 minutes, walk 5 minutes, run 5 minutes.
  • A few water breaks later, including a long-ish one at a Walgreens bathroom, I check my progress at the 1 hour mark, and at 2:38 PM, I’d made it past the Madison city limits, to the corner of Monona and Lake Edge Boulevard, about 4 and a half miles. Inspired, I ran/walked on.

Second hour:

  • Did three five-minute intervals as with the first hour, but get increasingly thirsty.
  • Realize that there haven’t been any water fountains – or signs – or runners, for that matter since around my Walgreens stop.
  • Realize that I am very thirsty.
  • Plan to walk until I find the next water fountain, which is not likely to be soon because I’m in the middle of residential Monona.
  • Realize that this whole idea was probably a complete waste of time.
  • Realize how out of shape I am.
  • Consider stopping, walking to somewhere in Monona and finding water.
  • Approach 2 hour mark. At 3:38 PM, I am walking through Paunack Park, approximately 4 miles from my last hour. Considerably less progress, but also, no water along this leg.
  • I’m beginning to think that this was a bad idea.

Third hour:

  • Okay, this is getting really annoying.
  • I don’t see any more signs, or any people.
  • I think one of my professors lives around here somewhere.
  • Okay, I definitely just walked past my professor’s house, and I really hope that he wasn’t home.
  • According to Map My Run, there should be some source of water here…
  • But there isn’t! Moving on…
  • Corner of Hoboken Street, supposed to be water…and there isn’t.
  • Who decided that this was a good idea?
  • What if I randomly walked up to a house and knocked on the door asking for water? It’s really hot, but…no.
  • Resist urge to run through sprinkler on someone’s beautiful lawn.
  • Okay, coming up to another supposed water source, Esther Beach Park.
  • And…water fountain! Thank you, Esther Beach Park!
  • Uh-oh. Dead end ahead.
  • But all these bikers are going down this way, and they’re not coming back, so maybe it’s just a dead end for cars and not bikers or pedestrians?
  • I am going to be so pissed if I have to walk all the way back to Esther Beach Park and take the other fork in the road.
  • Uh oh. Another Dead End sign.
  • But wait…”except bicycles.” YES!
  • Great, now I have a wedgie.
  • And my left nipple is chafing.
  • Un-wedgie while walking, several times, after checking that no one is in my vicinity.
  • I think I’m done with the “running” portion of the day.
  • Okay, coming up to the dead end, and…
  • I was right! Railroad tracks, and then a trail again! No more walk/run in the middle of the street for me!
  • Wow, here come some runners! I didn’t fall into a time slip where this trail doesn’t exist!
  • Okay, here’s an actual street! I fall in line with two older men and two older women on bikes. The men make it across before the light changes to red, but the women and I are stuck waiting. I tell them what I’ve done today, and they say, “what a lovely day for such a long walk.” When I tell them that it was probably an awful idea, because I’ve walking for most of the past hour, one of the ladies shrugs and says “it’ll be easier next time.” Pfft.
  • Light changes, and we’re off.
  • Hey, a sign welcoming me to Madison! I live in Madison! My steps get a bit more lively.
  • How far to home? Oh…three miles…
  • But wait, here’s Olin Park! I’m getting closer to the start of my trek!
  • Remember my “not running” thing? Well, I’ve crossed so many runners now, and I’m getting ever closer to the end, so after this girl in a pink bra top rounds the corner ahead of me, I’m going to run after her for 5 minutes.
  • Run, run, run down John Nolen, with a beautiful view of the Capital in front of me.
  • Five minutes pass, I slow to a walk, and Pink is still running. How is that? Screw you, pink.
  • Time check: 5 minutes to 4:38. Okay, Jacob, let’s run it out.
  • Run, run, run…and I make it to Northshore Drive, where I joined the trail, at 4:37 PM.
  • I’m done.
  • Wait, now I have to go home? What is this? Where do I live?
  • Light is red, so I have to wait to cross the street. Tell of my exploits to the girl on the bike waiting next to me, who congratulates me.
  • Now, time to trek home. It seems a lot longer than coming here.
  • My phone was at 70% when I started, and now it’s down to 1%.
  • Almost get run over by my leasing manager when I turn into my alley.
  • At approximately 5:00 PM, home. Chug cranberry juice, shower, eat tuna sandwich, fruit, and protein shake.
  • Post about it on Facebook. As of now, 36 people liked my status.

And that’s how I accomplished my first goal of the summer.

And I did it without taking any breaks other than water; no standing still for extended periods of time, and no sitting at all.

Now, Starbucks.


I Went Running Today

I sure did.

It’s not that I dislike running; it’s just…who am I kidding, running is for people who like running. Even though I feel inadequate at the gym, it’s even worse when you see someone effortlessly breezing through the air with barely a sheen of sweat on their brow, and then there’s me, stopping to walk every five minutes, which is totally the truth.

I decided I was going to do the Lake Loop, 11 miles around Lake Monona. It started off pretty well, actually. I walked 5 minutes, then ran 5, then walked 5, then ran 5. Then, as I stopped at a water fountain, I checked how far I’d gone…

Barely 2 miles.

This was going to be a long afternoon.

At the water fountain was a guy with two Bichon Frises. We got to talking about running, and he mentioned that he and his wife ran the Madison Marathon. I asked him if he really enjoyed it. His response?

“Well, one day I met this one girl running on the Lake Loop, and I asked to run with her, and we’ve been married 35 years.”

Suddenly the afternoon didn’t seem so long anymore.

I continued my on-and-off run, until Olbrich Park.

3.5 miles.

Oh boy.

And it was getting kinda late. At this rate, I wouldn’t be home until dark, so I turned around and went home, running off and on, getting home just before the rain.

And that’s how I spent two hours this afternoon, not working on my second paper. Whoops. At least I got some exercise.