I just got back from a four mile run. “Run” is really stretching it. Even “jog” is an overstatement. “Waddle” is more accurate. Which begs the question, “why?”
A number of things conspire against me running. First, I am not thin, nor will I ever be. I am not athletic. I have no speed nor agility. My reaction time is slightly slower than a two-toed sloth. My wife recognizes this and insists that she drive when we ride together, because this exponentially diminishes the likelihood of us getting into an accident. I agree. I also have problems with depth perception so following a ball in the air is not my forte. Plus, I’m a klutz. To top it all off, during my misspent youth, I participated in some extracurricular activities that limited my athletic potential even further.
I did run some in my youth, but that seems like a lifetime ago. My recent foray into running came about through some health issues. About two-and-a-half years ago, I went to the Take Care clinic at Walgreen’s to get a flu shot. The nurse proceeded to take my vitals, and while doing so, the color rushed out of her face. This is not normally a good sign. It is especially not a good sign when your vitals are being taken. She mentioned that my blood pressure was abnormally high and that if I did not get it under control, I was in imminent danger of having a stroke or heart attack. I don’t remember what it was but it was something like 180/120. So, I promptly decided to lose some weight and start exercising. I decided to run thirty minutes a day. Every day. For a hundred days. No matter how slowly I went, I would at least be getting outside, moving, engaging in some form of activity.
So, I did that. I may have missed two or three days out the hundred. And I was hooked. I found I enjoyed getting outside, moving, exploring the scenery. Although I grew up in this community and have been down these streets literally thousands of times, it’s interesting to observe the changes that take place daily and seasonally. I enjoy having time to think.
My weight came down. I got my blood pressure under control. I didn’t have to go to the Big and Tall section of the store to buy clothes anymore. These were tremendous benefits.
Then, I started getting into trail races. You must understand that for me, “racing” is an overstatement, unless starting out slowly and then slowing down more counts as a strategy. But I found that there are a couple of things that I really enjoy about this. The first is adventure. You never know what surprises a day out in the woods is going to bring forth. To me, that’s a positive. The second is perseverance. Ninety percent of this sport is perseverance. Keeping on. Not giving up. Showing up every day. Setting realistic goals and trying to achieve them.
So that’s why you’ll see me out and about, slogging it out in the noonday sun.