Home > Uncategorized > Halfway there (plus a post-a-day promise)

Halfway there (plus a post-a-day promise)

On the eve of my 30th birthday, a good friend in Dallas told me to expect some changes. “You’ll notice that everything hurts a little more after you turn 30, and things take longer to heal.”

I'm smiling, so this was obviously taken before the run.

Maybe it’s a psychological phenomenon, but I think my friend was right. In the last couple years, I’ve noticed creaky knees, a sore back and a longer recovery time after physical exertion. Mentally, I still feel young. Physically, the aging process is moving a little faster.

Nevertheless, I am putting my body to the test.

As you now know, Jenna and I have limited time left in Belgium — 29 days* to be exact. For a while, it looked like we could move sooner, as early as the second week of May. I’m not quite ready to leave, and Jenna knows that. So I made a deal with her: Do what you can to keep us in Brussels through the end of May, and I’ll make your wildest dream come true.

No, I’m not giving up watching sports on TV. That’s her second wildest dream. Her first wildest dream (I’m making this up … mostly) is for me to run a long-distance race with her. Jenna’s a runner; I’m not. But for some reason she loves to run with a non-runner.

Every year at the end of May is the Brussels 20k. Jenna ran it last year, and I knew she’d love to run it this year — if we were still in Brussels, that is. For me, a few more weeks in Brussels was worth 20 kilometers (nearly 13 miles), so I pledged to run that with her if she could hold up her end of the bargain. She did, so now I’m signed up to run just short of a half-marathon.

She’s been trying to get me in shape ever since. Part of the training included warm-up runs, the first of which (a 10k) was yesterday. As hard as the run was for me, I’m 1) Satisfied I finished in an acceptable amount of time and 2) Happy I even ran it.

After waking up on the race morning, I banged my ankle against our bathtub. There was Excuse #1 not to run.

Later in the day, after we arrived at the race (an hour-and-a-half away on the Belgian coast), I realized I had made a tragic mistake. I had left my arm-band that holds my iPod — along with my headphones — at our apartment. Running is hard enough; running without audio is nearly impossible. Excuse #2.

We walked into the registration building, got our race numbers, and asked two volunteers if any nearby stores might sell these products. Both, simultaneously, gave me an incredulous look. One replied simply with “It’s Sunday”, which translates to “This is Belgium — everything’s closed, duh.” The other one simply said “You are out of luck,” but he said it more mockingly than jokingly. Thanks for the help, guys.

Me impersonating a runner.

Despite the warnings, Jenna and I walked around the town, and within 30 minutes, we found a bike shop that sold iPod holders and a record store that sold headphones. Take that, Belgium! Apparently not everything is closed on Sundays.

With music in my ears, Jenna and I set off on the run. Fifteen minutes into the run I felt great. We were nearly 3Ks deep and I was sailing. There was a lovely view of the coast at this particular juncture, there were people cheering us on, and the latest band I’m into (Faust — give ’em a try) had me running with confidence.

Then came a forest, a big hill, and no cheering bystanders, and my pace slowed. This was near the sixth kilometer. The rest of the run wasn’t so pretty, but the race results I received by email showed there were 400+ runners who finished later than me, so there are at least 400 people in Belgium in worse shape than me, which is a relief.

In 27 days, we will run the Brussels 20k — twice the run that wore me out yesterday. In a race with 30,000 entrants, I might be content beating just 400 people again. At the very least, that would mean I finished the race at the finish line and not on a stretcher.

*We leave Brussels for Memphis on May 31. To commemorate this momentous event, I, La Vie Belge, promise to post a blog every single day until we depart. Please, dear reader, help hold me to this undertaking. Email or comment to remind me not to break this promise.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Ed Harrison
    May 2, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Thanks for the blog. I look forward to following the journey back to the states. Good luck with the 20K.

  2. KP
    May 3, 2011 at 2:34 am

    You go, Jake! Has Jenna included the run up Teurverun (I’m sure I spelled that wrong!) hill, yet? Such fond memories!

    • laviebelge
      May 5, 2011 at 1:20 pm

      Hey Karen — we’re headed back to Brugge this weekend, but this time I won’t be a spectator (though I’m only doing the 5k while Jenna runs 3X that).

  1. May 31, 2011 at 6:32 am

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