My suburban sedentary lifestyle was taking its’ toll around my midsection. So I challenged myself to start a daily running program.
I tried to recall the last time I ran and remembered exerting myself once back in the summer of 1998. Hal Dibner had invited the neighbors over for a barbeque. Edna Krandall attended with her feisty Yorkshire terrier, Mr. Beasley, which for some reason, had an insatiable desire to start a family with my right leg. I rebuffed his amorous advances with several kicks to his stomach but this only enticed him further. He chased me around the yard but I gave him the slip somewhere in the landscaping. On my way back to join the barbeque, I saw Mr. Beasley decided to satisfy his procreative itch with an unsuspecting yard gnome.
I’ve read it’s a good idea to keep a progress journal when engaging in a new activity. The following is an excerpt from Day 1 of my running journal:
Down the driveaway, off and running. Feel good. Cool morning, no wind. Legs feel good. Wave to next door neighbor. He tosses me an apple. I eat the apple; healthy, crunchy…good energy.
1/8 MILE: Breath getting heavy. Pins and needles sensation on knee caps. Feel a cramp on right side. Can’t control steady flow of nasal secretions. Apple might not have been a good idea.
1/4 MILE: Coughing up some kind of gelatinous wad. Breathing has given way to wheezing. I sound like Teddy Flynn after running the 600 yard dash in the fifth grade, just before he required a blast from his puffer. Promise to quit smoking TODAY! Remember that I don’t smoke. Edna Krandall and Mr. Beasley pass by me on their morning walk. She moves well for an old woman…works that walker efficiently. Nose has dried up, along with mouth and eyeballs.
3/8 MILE: Breathing has become optional. Decide air is overrated. Second wind coming on. Here comes the endorphin rush. Not much of a rush. More like a trickle. Only a single endorphin has leaked out of my brain and settled in my left nipple. Entire body feels like its been through a rock tumbler but my left nipple feels fantastic! Wife drives up and has me sign an increase in my life insurance policy. Starting to have second thoughts on whole running thing.
1/2 MILE: Euphoria has disappeared from left nipple. Both nipples feel like they’re crimped with jumper cables. Lost all feeling in lower extremities. Praying moisture running down my leg is only sweat. Mentally offering my right testicle for one short blast from Teddy Flynn’s puffer. Promise God I will attend mass if He helps me survive this ordeal. Thighs are clapping together in a rhythmic slapping of flesh. Not alone anymore. Grim Reaper decided to keep me company.
5/8 MILE: Reaper has bailed. Pansy! I’m alone with my thoughts now. My thought is to kill myself. Promise God I’ll move to Vatican and become Pope. Constant pounding on pavement has jarred my internal organs loose. Can feel pancreas settling in next to my ankle. Only inspiration to fight on is the steady supportive applause coming from my clapping thighs. Start to think I’m unusually tall, Asian and later today I have a Squash match with Donny Osmond.
3/4 MILE: Reaper is back, way down the block, impatiently tapping his foot on the sidewalk, looking at his watch and shaking his head in disbelief. I’m now legally deaf. Heart has stopped. Liver has taken over life support systems and bile is now coursing through my veins. Tendons in knees have snapped and I now look like a break dancing marionette puppet.
7/8 MILE: Almost home. Passing Dibner’s house. Reaper couldn’t wait any longer so he took Edna Krandall. Serves her right! Show off. That’ll teach her to pass me up. Mr. Beasley has rekindled his passions with the yard gnome. I’m now the Pope. Have decided to hunt down Teddy Flynn and beat him senseless. I start to smell the color brown and it ain’t good!
FINISH LINE: Home sweet home! Jog by neighbor. Return apple via projectile vomit. Stop at driveway and check pulse. There is none. Collapse on lawn and recover slowly. Heart resumes control of blood flow. Mental clarity and feeling in lower extremities return. I abdicate my claim on the Papacy and recall mental sacrifice of my testicle. I survived!
Looking back, I realize some important facts: I’m not Asian, Teddy Flynn’s days are numbered and I can take comfort knowing I’m not a yard gnome.