Maybe I waited to long to get started. I don’t know where the time went. It seems like only yesterday I was an incredible physical specimen. A Greek god. Somewhere between
“Welcome Back Kotter” and Boston Public” the pecs went to pot. When Jimmy Carter was in the White House the interest rates may have been high, but my cholesterol wasn’t.
The distance between running marathons and riding lawnmowers seems eternal. Truth is, I went from rock hard abs to installing a Lazy Susan in my navel in the blink of an eye.
The only thing worse than looking in the mirror and discovering that your stomach is doubling as a chest rest is realizing what kind of effort will be required to reverse predicament. I guess it doesn’t really matter how tough the task. It had to be done.
At least that’s what I told myself as I sifted through my closet this morning.
After about thirty minutes of moving boxes and shifting bags, I hit the jackpot! A cardboard box with the words “Running Stuff” scribbled on it in blue pen. A flood of memories came to me as I opened the box top. Nothing had been touched since I packed it away. Fifty-seven copies of Runner’s World with picture after picture of emaciated Kenyan’s who ran three to four hundred miles a week in preparation for some marathon. These guys were icons of physical fitness to me once. Now all I saw was a bunch of folks sorely in need of a cheeseburger and curly fries.
Underneath the magazines lay my stopwatch. I used to run a sub-six mile. Now I get tired driving six miles to Subway. There was my head sweat band that seemed cool when I wore it. Hey, the lead singer of Lover Boy wore one. I saw them on T.V. recently. Still playing after twenty years. Still wearing the sweat band. What was I thinking?
Rolled up in a ball was my favorite running shirt. A Springsteen concert T from the “Born To Run” tour. I wore it because I thought it was appropriate. Now I just found it ironic. I slipped off my Polo and tried the old shirt on. Fit me like a bib at the Crab Shack. I squirmed my way out of it certain that male halter tops wouldn’t become a fashion craze any time soon.
Next, I found my old running shoes and tried them on. At least my feet didn’t get fat over the years. It can only imagine that Dorothy felt the same way when she tried on those ruby red slippers. The old shoes still had magic in them. ‘Maybe getting back in shape wouldn’t be so difficult after all’, I thought to myself.
After finding a T-shirt that actually fit, I made my way out the basement door to the top of the driveway. Something about the old shoes had invigorated me. I stretched for a few seconds and began to encourage myself with positive thoughts. ‘You can run a mile or two then rest, old man. It’ll be like riding a bicycle to get back to running. This will be a breeze!’ I stared into the sun and breathed deeply. “Who says I need this?” , I exclaimed as I ripped the Medic-Alert bracelet the Dr. had given me from my wrist. “ Bruce was right! I was Born to Run!”
With that, I took off like a rocket, one of those really large rockets that pick up speed as they go, and charged my way down the driveway. As I came closer to the end of the driveway, it occurred to me that I might be dying. I’d never died before, but I was certain it felt a lot like this. I staggered my way to our mailbox and embraced it to break my fall during my collapse which was scheduled to occur in the next few seconds.
As I lay there staring up at the sky, I thanked God that He had spared my postman from having to move my corpse to deliver the mail. After a few minutes, I was able to bring myself to an upright position. This will be tougher than I thought. I may have lost my physique, but my spirit was still in tact. I leaned against the mailbox for support, brushed the dirt from my gym shorts and smiled.
“Looks like a nice day for a walk.”
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