Saturday, June 10, 2017

Training for My Half Half Half Half Marathon

  As a kid, driving with my father along Boston's Emerald Necklace, we'd spot a guy dressed in short shorts and a tee jogging along in his own little world. It was always a skinny, long-legged  guy. Even in winter, the only addition would be gloves and a cap. "He's training for the Boston Marathon," my father would explain. My father had run track in high school and respected these guys. Back then only a few hundred runners entered the marathon and Boston's was one of a handful in the world. Now every little burg in the country has it's 5K race in which thousands of duffers puff along.
  My parents later moved to Sunset Point in Hull and my father would sit in the porch and watch the stream of joggers. He'd just chuckle and shake his head. "Crazy." I remember talking to him on the phone one time when he was around 80. He was exhausted. He had just dropped his car off at the shop and walked the mile home . "Maybe that exercise thing wouldn't be such a bad idea," he said. A few years later he was out for a row when the oars slipped out of the oarlocks and he landed on his back in the bottom of the boat. He could not pull himself up. A passing boat towed him to shore and helped to his feet. He was fine, but he knew for sure mortality was creeping up.
  That was when I started going to the gym at work. The experts said three times per week for half an hour on the treadmill was enough.  But after I retired it got harder to get to the gym. I began to backslide until I read an article saying four minutes of intense exercise every day was enough to avoid Kafkaesque scenarios. Even a brisk walk qualified. So a month ago I started getting up at dawn. The bridge on County Road 8 is exactly four minutes away. Once there I could gaze at the river while my heart rate returned to normal. After a couple of weeks I started to jog home. That's when the lactic acid hit the fan. I could barely get to the neighbor's mailbox. But everyday I pushed myself a bit further. I fell into a comfortable lope. My body found its incredible lightness of being. I can make it all the way home now, about a quarter of a mile. Will I push on? It's kind of addicting. If I can get to one mile, why not five or twenty-six? I know about all the diet and exercise gurus who died while jogging, but at least they died happy. Did you know that the only animal that can run long distances without a rest is homo sapiens. I'm one of those. I need a mantra: You can't make your dreams come true on your back. The best guru is you. I could create my own brand of cereal. I just need a catchy name and some wild hickory nuts.
Run Joe, Run

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like this story and such a good memories about your Dad. The photo is perfect. Run Joe Run.

Wannaskawriter said...

Anyone who knows you, knows this image is a selfie. You are no bigger around than a stick figure and if you actually do run, (A sight I've never witnessed in 34 years) it can't be fat you're sweating off, but perhaps merely dew falling from the leafy canopy over your long driveway along which you 'jog'. I can imagine local deer watching you from your woods, nudging one another, making running leaping gestures and smirking as only whitetail deer, our gazelles of the northern forests, can do. "Watch this guy 'run'" they muse,"This is rich!" Your exercise regimen gives then something to chuckle about when the flies and ticks annoy them. Good humor! Yes, yes run Joe, run!

Joe said...

Mantra suggestion: This is the best day in running history, and I'm making it.

Ginny Graham LPC said...

Let me know when you download the C25k app, so we can get a date and place on the calendar 😉

Chairman Joe said...

Will do, as soon as I get off the couch.

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