Is anyone surprised that those three character traits would appear in a man of 49 and three-fourths years old? I didn’t think so. Maybe since it is such a common set of traits in the human male, I can find forgiveness. Afterall I am making a full and open confession and trying to amend my ways. I just don’t always do it with a happy heart.
You might guess all of this has to do with a woman. This Nancy, my significant other, is trying to show me the light. I just don’t always want to see it.
Nancy is a runner and running has done good things for her physically and mentally. Of late she has an early morning exercise class called boot camp. It is run by a retired Marine who uses some of his military physical training techniques to get his students to run regularly and tone just about every muscle known to man and woman. Let’s make clear that he is not getting close to making Marines out of the classmates, but the physical and mental training seems to draw from military training.
This weekend, Nancy ran in a benefit 5-K race, and I went to cheer her on and hold her towel. She placed first in her age group and out ran a considerable number of younger women and a lot of old fat guys.
Watching the event and seeing the effects Nancy’s exercise program has had on her made me say these words that I suspect will live in infamy. “It makes me want to start running again.”
Gentleman, never speak those words to a driven significant other unless you intend to start down that path. The 5K in which Nancy ran was on a cool but not cold spring morning. The sun was shining. The group of runners raising money for a South Carolina YMCA, was congenial and cheery. It was a nice atmosphere. That encouraged in me a momentary lapse.
After speaking the fated words, the door opened for me to begin running again.
By 6 p.m. I had purchased a $120 pair of running shoes. By 6:30 I was getting instructions about how to begin my training.
Nancy is wise and knows me and began her suggestions by saying, “Now I know you are a guy, and I know you have been a runner before and I know you are going to be stubborn and try to do it the way you did back in the days of yore.”
Sometimes I hate it when she is right, but there I was, nailed to the wall before I even knew what hit me.
In fact I had been a dedicated runner. For five years, I ran almost daily. It wasn’t a huge number of miles. Usually I made three miles a day, but I did it daily, sunshine or rain, sleet or snow. I could probably count on one hand the days I missed during those five years. Then one day I had had enough and quit. But all of that was 10 years ago.
In the last decade, my renewed efforts at regular exercise have quickly fallen by the wayside.
Nancy’s suggestion was to rebuild my endurance by setting aside half an hour, run a minute and walk four minutes; run a minute and walk four minutes. Then I should gradually increase the running and decrease the walking segments
Nonsense, I thought. I used to be a daily runner. I don’t need any walk/run business. I’ll run at a comfortable pace, half an hour a day for a few days and I’ll be back up to speed in no time.
“Now I know you are going to try to do it like you did before,” Nancy said
“Is she some kind of mind reader?” I thought.
But I knew she would be otherwise busy for my valiant re-entry into the running life Saturday evening. I’ll do it the way I please,” I thought.
I tied on my new shoes in the quiet neighborhood I had selected to run in, did some stretching exercises and charged off down the street.
Within a block, I was feeling the strain of breathing. I glanced at my watch – 15 seconds. Fifteen seconds. Geeze this is going to be a long half hour,” I thought. I have never been so happy to see a minute pass, allowing me to walk for a spell. Two minutes seemed to provide adequate respite from heavy breathing, and the rotation of a minute running with two minutes of walking got me through the half hour.
Now gradually I will lengthen the running and shorten the walks. Glad I thought of that idea.
Live and learn.
Adamson is editor/general managerand lives in West Jefferson.