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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Vim, Vigor, Vitality, Voom!

Many of you have been wondering about the dearth of posts on this site lately. (All right, only one of you, and he hasn't bothered to write; so, it's just a guess on my part.) While I can't personally speak for Stew (ed. note: golf and incessant RVing in parts of the country where Deliverance could have been filmed) or Nuffy (ed. note: planning the next big Disney holiday) my own seeming insouciance comes from my utter committment to the exercise program I described here back in February.

That's right, instead of blogging, (ed. note: cue dime store Forrest Gump impression) I... was... run - ning!

Unlike Forrest, I've not run consistently from the very moment I posted in Februrary until now. I've slept, eaten, gone to work, etc. in-between runs... erm, jogs. (Well, running will sometimes give you the runs or jogs, but that's not what I'm on about.)(ed. note: Enough with the parentheticals already! Oops!)

Anyway, I can imagine the three or four faithful readers of this blog chuckling a bit at the thought of me out on the road, maintaining something so wholesome and consistent as an exercise program since February. Well, I understand the scepticism, especially given my diet of mostly bacon, beef, cheese, chips, and salsa.

However, I should quickly add that I'm 30 pounds lighter than then. So, and I mean this in the most convivial way: "HA!!!"

Please allow me to add to that churlish outburst: "Double HA!" and a, "So there!!!!"

The running has been much more interesting since I stopped working out at the track. The track was comfortable but monotonous. After a few weeks I started leaning strongly to the left whilst walking about at work. Oh sure, I would right myself eventually, but 100 metres later there I was leaning left again, like a communist NASCAR driver.

Strange simile, I know.

Running on the road offers more variety. First, and ironically given the above simile, there's the constant fear of being hit by cars. I mostly avoid this by running through people's yards, open doors, patios, kitchens, bedrooms, lavatories and so on. (I usually have to do a small loop through the loos.) However, one must find their way back to the road eventually, if only to drown out the cries of "Help! Police!" and "Would you hand me my towel, please!" So, I stick to the side streets and always, always look both ways before crossing roads, in case Stew is in town driving at his customary 130 MPH. (The man parks at 45 MPH.)

Dogs are another interesting challenge. Many of them are harmless, looking for a little friendship, someone to slobber on, or whileing away the time until they can savage the local mailman again. Others are a bit more threatening.

One downside is that they're faster than I am. (Of course, at my age, small children on tricycles are often faster than I am, the smug little brats.) They'll also follow you into homes, so the only real choices for escape are up trees or steep playground equipment. Slides won't do as determined hounds will claw their way up and absolutely ruin the finish on the metal.

All of this really cuts down on the running time. Practical as I am though, I get a lot of stretching and dynamic tension exercises done in the branches.

There is much more to see running through the streets. Early morning jogs make for a fascinating sociological study. For example, you probably have no idea how many people walk out for their morning paper in the nude... and how quickly the national section of a thin local periodical can be converted into an impromptu pair of knickers at the words, "Beautiful morning, isn't it?"

One of the most unexpected challenges with running is heat rash. After a run on a particularly humid day in a sweat-soaked t-shirt my nipples are often bleeding like Jack Palance at the end of Shane.

I also like to pray as I run. There's nothing particularly funny about it. I just thought I'd mention it. I recommend it.*

The weight loss has been brilliant. I played footy this evening and whilst some of the younger chaps were still a bit faster than me I was able to keep up with some of the stouter lads, albeit mostly the ones with smoking habits.

It's being able to turn around and run hard again a few seconds later without throwing up all over myself that I enjoy. (In my fitter state, I'm able to vomit much further.) In the back of my mind I imagine some of the other players asking themselves, "I wonder how fast he must've been 20 years ago?" Well, not particularly so, but to paraphrase a line the Monty Python sketch on penguins, (broad Australian accent) and this is the point, I was faster than I am now!

It's been a real blessing, but I have had the problem of most of my trousers suddenly being too large for me. Without a belt, I'd be half-naked much of the day. Even with one, there's quite a bit of trouser-wrinkle at the waistline, as I have to pull back the front of them to keep the latch from coming undone. Belt or no, if people see you walking around with the front of your trousers undone they tend to think you're up to no good.

Since my day job requires me to maintain a wellness regime, I fully intend to keep up the jogging, football, and occasional beatings on the golf course from Stew (along with continuing to lose the rounds to him). It's good, hard fun. I heartly recommend it to all, with the usual warnings to consult a doctor before beginning your own program, and also, possibly, to bring along a taser if you live in a particularly doggy neighborhood.

*For those disappointed with this moment of pious solemnity, feel free to add the line, "Hard on the knees, though."

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