Morning Jogs With Our Neighbors

It seems as though every great idea comes to me after a glass or two of wine.

It was a warm summer evening on July 4, 2001 and my neighbor Cindy Whiteman and I were sharing a glass of wine on our deck. We were talking about fitness and decided to start jogging together the following week before work.

Monday morning came and we got up bright and early and started out slow. Mark decided to join us but wasn’t quite up to our running distance so ran by himself for a week. Then Paul Whiteman, Cindy’s husband, and their friendly dog Rusty decided to join us too, so we all started jogging together and said if one had to stop, we all would stop. We were a great team that talked while running the distance, which made the run much easier because our minds were occupied on talking or listening to great conversation instead of concentrating on our labored breathing.

We needed some sort of system to know if we had to wait for one another so we decided if our porch or garage lights were turned on then that meant we were going to run that morning.

Cindy and I share the same birthday, so we were 44 years old when we started this neighborhood jogging club. We ran three and a half miles every day (except rainy days) for seven years until Mark and I moved out of the neighborhood.

Accountability was key for me. Even if I wanted to stay in bed, my conscience wouldn’t let me because I wasn’t going to let them think I was a slacker. Cindy and Paul are so dedicated that they would run in ice and snow, so Mark and I would too. We all loved rainy days because then we got a reprieve from running. It’s kind of funny that we wouldn’t run in rain but we would run on snow and ice. Silly us.

Seven years of running together meant that we got to know each others’ families really well. We experienced 9/11 together that fall and Paul and Cindy had just visited New York that summer. We lived through many births, deaths, joys and sorrows together. We all became like brothers and sisters during the early morning jogs down Robinhood Drive.

Those morning runs helped me get through some truly sad deaths in my life. One year my mom passed away in April, then my sister Jean in December and then my brother Mick suddenly in January. After Mick died I didn’t think I could get out of bed and run anymore. I prayed for help getting myself out of bed and into my running shoes and it worked and helped me a lot.

Today we miss our neighbors and running partners but we are still very close, even though we can’t run together anymore.


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