The Jogging Group

I survived.

To replace my stolen Lulu Lemon pants I bought a replacement pair for the outrageous price of $118.00.  Am I missing something or should these cost no more than about $35.00?  They asked me if I would like the matching top for an additional $75.00 but I told them I’ve been mismatched all my life and I would find a suitable top in one of my drawers at home.  The night before my first day of ‘jogging camp’ I found a blue Speedo top that is so versatile it’s for swimming and running.  I swam in it once and didn’t like the way it floated around me and it’s been in the drawer ever since.  I thought I’d see how I liked it as a jogging top so put it on and then a tracksuit jacket and a scarf.

Balmoral Beach

Balmoral Beach

I knew I had to be up at 5.30am so I set my alarm.  But I have a problem where if I have an early start, despite setting my alarm I automatically wake an hour or so before I need to.  I then lie there frustrated that I invested time in learning how to set the bloody alarm when my internal body clock wakes me well ahead of the alarm anyway.

At 5.50am I stepped out into the pitch black of night and hurried along to the oval where I would be meeting the running group.  As I approached the oval I saw the runners all heading off in a big herd so panicking, I joined them wondering how I was going to run with a cashmere scarf tangled around my neck.  I stayed at the back of the pack and asked a straggler, ‘Is this the training group for the Mini-Mos?’  And she said, ‘Wrong group.  You’re group is over there’, as she pointed towards the grandstand at the oval.

Beginner’s mistake!

So hard to believe we are just a day or so away from Winter

So hard to believe we are just a day or so away from Winter

So I found my group which was made up of shadowy figures and then a voice came from the darkness which said, ‘Now just take off your outer garments and we’ll get going’.  A female voice said we could store our things in her car so I gave her my jacket and scarf and stood about shivering with cold.

Then the pack-leader’s voice said, ‘Let’s get going’, and he took off and everyone followed him and I became alarmed at the immediate cracking pace and wondered, as I had been promised the group caters for all levels, where the beginner’s group was.  But alas, it seemed that just like one big happy family we were to share the experience as one.

I stuck to the back of the pack, bringing up the rear, and struggled to keep up so that in the darkness I didn’t lose the group.  We were running through the suburb’s streets and we even ran past my house and I was so tempted to just slip through the front gate but then I wondered how I might retrieve my jacket and scarf from that woman’s car.

The beef burger with melted cheese, pineapple, bacon and egg with a side of fries

The beef burger with melted cheese, pineapple, bacon and egg with a side of fries

The pack-leader had a buzzer on his wrist and every time we’d run a kilometre the buzzer would go off and the group would stop for a minute’s rest.  The problem was that I wouldn’t arrive at the stopping point until the full minute was up and then the guy would say, ‘Let’s go’, so we’d be off again with me robbed of my one-minute reprieve.

After the third stop I was beginning to see the light of day however Sydney was enveloped in a dense fog so if I didn’t keep up with the pack I wouldn’t be able to see where they had gone so I was in a world of pain and take it from me, Speedo tops you can swim and run in are just no good.  They’re no good for swimming because they float around your stomach in an annoying way and they’re no good for running because there’s not even enough support for those of us who are well, flat-chested.

After the fourth stop I asked, ‘How many of these are we doing?’ and one of the guys said, ‘Six’, so for my first run in 30 years I was running 6kms at a speedy pace.  Then the pack leader said we were to pick up the pace and we’d be stopping every 500mtrs but by now I was ready to decrease my pace and just couldn’t keep up so the gap between me and the pack widened.

One poor woman felt sorry for me so she fell back to run with me and wanted to chat.  Have you ever tried to chat when you’re completely out of breath and feel like all of a sudden you’re an asthmatic?  I did manage to ask her if she was also running because she has children at the school but she said, ‘Oh, I don’t have children’.  Then I found out she’s all of 22!  In the fog I just couldn’t see her.  She told me she does marathons and half-marathons and will be running the New York Marathon this year.  So where exactly is that Beginner’s Group I’d been promised?

At one point the trainer came over to me and said, ‘Just make sure you’re comfortable’.  I said, ‘I’m not worried about now, I’m worried how comfortable I’ll be tomorrow’.

The Gatecrasher and her mango, dairy-free smoothie

The Gatecrasher and her mango, dairy-free smoothie

And when it was finally over and someone else with a gadget on his wrist announced we had run 6.8kms (4.22 miles) in 36 minutes, the conversation turned to talking about the marathons they’d run and the half-marathon that’s coming up and the one later this year where they’ll close the harbour bridge to traffic so you can run across it etc, I knew for sure that in terms of finding a group for beginners, I’d been duped.

But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t welcomed.  They loved having a newbie in the group.  And even though I was standing there doubled over and puce in the face with sweat dripping off my chin while the rest of them barely worked up a glean, they were very encouraging and said even though I hadn’t run since 1983 I was obviously very fit and, ‘You’ve done really well’ and then the pack leader said, ‘In fact, you’ve done incredibly well because this is the hardest training session we’ve had’.

What beginner’s luck!

The group meets every Tuesday and Wednesday morning at 6am from now until the race in about three weeks time.  Just to survive that race I’m going to have to attend every training session.

It doesn’t bear thinking about.

Do dust off your Lulu Lemons and come and join me!

Now I have no recipe for you today because my quads are so sore I’m finding it difficult to be mobile but, a few days ago I had a birthday and a friend took me to The Boathouse and I rewarded myself with the biggest lunch option on the menu.  And as you can see, someone else crashed the party.



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  1. Andrea Butler says:

    Gives me inspiration!

  2. Wow! I must say you have guts. Life keeps throwing you in at the deep end, and you keep rising to the challenge. But I must say that to call such a group ‘beginners’ is terribly misleading. Never mind, your life is full of adventure, that’s for sure.

  3. I often walk past Lulu Lemon and dream of looking like one of those expensive, well-put-together pretty exercise-clothes wearing girls that I see at the gym. Alas, I’m acutely aware that if I spent the best part of $200 on exercise gear (I would need that matching top, without question) I would be way too proud to sweat in it, and then what’s the point of exercising or exercise clothes at all?!

  4. Charlie, I’m very impressed! I’m pretty fit and there is no way in heaven I could have done that!

    • Thanks so much. I enjoyed visiting your site but I couldn’t leave a comment due to not being able to understand how to do so – very complicated with logging in and password issues!

  5. Oh Charlie yes talking while out of breath is ridiculously difficult! To make matters worse, my PT knows that if I can talk then I’m not working hard enough 🙁

  6. Oh my goodness – its a wonder you kept going – you are a better man than me gungadin!

  7. Oh my goodness. You are either very determined or very stubborn. I’m sorry but I couldn’t stop giggling, cruel I know! You go girl, absolutely amazing! Xxx

  8. The Boathouse is great. Take me next time.
    Jogging is bad for your health.

  9. Happy birthday Charlie!!


  10. A belated Happy Birthday to you, Charlie! I’ll focus on the birthday part of this post and ignore all that other nonsense running part.

  11. Charlie, you are AWESOME! Kudos to you! I take my hat off to you. Hope the next run gets a little easier.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  12. I am impressed. Seriously. I am not brave enough to join a jogging group, and then go on to keep up with them – fabulous!

    I love that breakfast though. Yummm..

  13. Good lord, by the first one minute break I’d have been in a puddle and all around me would be worried that I’d drown because I couldn’t lift my head. So can you move at all? I’m in awe.

  14. For as much running as I do I’ve never ran with a running group! Sounds like fun/pain.

  15. I’m impressed with your not only your performance, but you have a great “can do” attitude. You’re obviously in very good shape, and I think you’d better be careful…before long, someone’s going to tap you to be the leader. You have the right personality to keep people engaged. You even have me thinking about what I can do to get into better running shape–or brisk walking…oh, and in sweat pants, not Lulu Lemons! 🙂 I did like the look of your birthday lunch. And a very belated birthday wish, but hoping the joy extends all year. 🙂

  16. I’m in awe. Very impressed indeed! Congrats!

  17. Your positive attitude is really inspiring! Despite your busy and crazy schedule you always seem to find time for cooking, blogging, kids, jogging (!), and all. Happy belated birthday Charlie! xoxoxo

  18. Wow I’m so impressed by you!! Good for you! And that makes me mad FOR you about the Lulu pants…I know how expensive their clothing is. I have ONE pair of lulu yoga pants…and I got them for a Christmas gift. My hubby thinks their clothes are way too expensive (which they are!).

  19. Congratulations on an amazing performance. I don’t know how you managed it. I would have been throwing up after the first kilometer and heading back to the cars to wait for the group to come back.

  20. You have ten times more fitness than I do my friend, nice work! Keep up that fabulous metabolism you have going 😀


  21. I’m very impressed, I think I would have succumbed to,the temptation to nip home, even if I did have to loose a jacket. Well done you! GG

  22. We’re in DC for a few days but I wanted to stop by and congratulate you on your accomplishment. And wish you a belated happy birthday! XO

  23. Bravo! Bravo dear Charlie! I toast you from my couch with my pint of ice cream and a spoon! Do it for all of us!

  24. Charlie, you were running at 12k/hour? That’s an outrageously fast pace even for experienced runners! Glad you’re ok love, you’ve got me worried now..

  25. My god Charlie I am seriously impressed. Not only that you ran 6.8km but that you did it in 36 minutes, got out of bed at 5.30, paid a small fortune for running pants and put up with an unsupportive top! Hope you weren’t hurting too much.
    Please tell me it wasn’t your actual Birthday when you did the first run?

  26. Good on ya for running and doing so well, TRUE!
    I think I’ll get my exercise vicariously through you! 🙂
    Cheers! Joanne

  27. Congrats on making it through!

  28. That’s an hour or so of your life you will never get back. There is no way I cold ever do that. But good on you for getting through it. Imagine if you did that 2 days a week…….you may just live forever.

    Have a great weekend. I’m looking forward to your next adventure.

  29. It WILL get easier, just hang in there! I’m a runner (slow one), and have done some of those crazy half and full marathons and I’m often at the end of the pack, but I get it done, just like you did! Congratulations!!

    I have ONE pair of fancy running pants (Lucy’s) and one day while running with the gals, I tripped and tore a hole in the knee! What is the luck of that?! I have not replaced them 😉

  30. Charlie you are a glutton for punishment sweetie! I feel for you with such a tough run, and I’m super impressed you stuck it out. I would have thrown up after the first couple of kilometers…. OK, that’s a lie, probably after the first couple of hundred meters 🙂 Happy happy birthday indeed! Xox xox

  31. I am doing the same thing at the same time, unfortunately on the other side of the world… would have loved to otherwise!

  32. Happy Birthday dear Charlie, have a nice weekend, love, nia

  33. That is such a speedy pace! Awesome job!

    And what is it with LuLuLemon that they think they can charge an arm and a leg for a piece of fabric?!

  34. You go girl! I do the whimpy exercise thing…treadmill with fan blowing cool air on my face! I would definitely be at the end of the pack if I had to run with a group! And I love how Lululemon sucks all those less firm spots in so nicely…but they are outrageously expensive!

  35. Hi Charlie, bravo to you. Congratulation! I really admire you that you manage to get up at 5.30am to join the jogging group. Keep up the good job, stay healthy and beautiful. 🙂

    Have a wonderful weekend.

  36. What luck! You did wonderfully! And happy birthday Charlie! Hope you had a fabulous day.

  37. Oh I ma so sorry!! You did amazing…. you are obviously an over achiever because I would have ditched the belongings in the woman’s car and run at full pace home!

  38. Happy belated birthday to you Charlie! Congrats on making it through the running program as well. That sounds like a tough one for sure!

  39. You are amazing, Charlie! I could never have finished that session, even 30 years ago. Cannot wait to see how well you do after a few more sessions. You’ll surprise us all — even yourself. 🙂

  40. Wow! You are incredible! I wouldn’t have got past the woman’s car and if I had, I would definitely have run into my house, never to return. I bet your quads are sore. I would have to lie down for a month to recover.

  41. Charlie, my goodness! That sounds like a tough workout for regular runners, never mind your first day! I’m impressed you didn’t duck in your gate 😉 What a stellar effort – congratulations xx

  42. Charlie, your opt out thought of slipping into your house unnoticed tickled me greatly. 🙂 Way to go for sticking it out! Your body will thank you later, even if it’s protesting now. (This, from someone whose never run farther than a mile.) You inspire me.

  43. ah crap 6.8 kms in 38 mins is too much!! wow Charlie I am impressed that you did that. Your story reminds me of a race in college time. no idea why but I had signed up and I was about o compete against those kids from grammar sports school. Guess what? I was last and completly out of breath when I finally reached the end. Again hats off, you are awesome!

  44. What an experience! And that’s quite a distance for your first run in a long time. You really did do incredibly well – congrats!

  45. Do it while you can,Charlie.This old body can’t run for anything any more.

  46. My personal trainer use to do that to me! I just wanted to run and focus but he’d constantly ask me questions hahaha gosh just leave me alone 😛 You’ve done a great job waking up super early and running twice a week! Well Done Charlie! xx

  47. Haha, I remember when we used to do “cross-country running” at school – truly a torturous way to spend a morning, especially when you’re a chubby child – there were some kids in my year who used to wait until we were around the corner from the school running along a field with a big hedge. They’d sneakily look around to ensure no teacher saw them and then duck through a hole in the hedge. They’d stay behind the hedge smoking and chatting for the whole run and then just pop out again in the middle of the pack on our return!

  48. Oh I did laugh at reading this because this would so happen to you!!!. I am sure they thought you were a professional in your gear because you are a tall slender streak of a woman and I can imagine you being a marathon runner x


  1. […] have had my second early morning session with the Jogging Group.  I should have had my third early morning with them this morning but I chose truancy […]

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