Thursday, January 24, 2008

In the beginning

It was around this time eight years ago that I crawled into the very back of my closest and found an old pair of tennis sneakers that were fifteen years old. I slipped on some droopy white cotton socks, a pair of cotton summer shorts, a white t-shirt and a sweatshirt that said "Colorado" and went outside to the curb. I took some deep breaths while I swung my arms around. I pointed myself up the street and took off.

Gasping, I reached the top of the block, a quarter mile up. Gratified to have successfully navigated this foray into the unknown, I stopped and walked back to my house in the January chill, huffing and puffing. I was on my way to fitness after decades of sloth.

I was positively glowing. I had started dieting a few days earlier and I was determined that the pounds would drop away. I was already planning to make this three minute dash a daily occurrence. Diet and exercise.

At home my wife watched me come in and offered up her insight. "Two weeks. That's how long these new phases of yours last, two weeks." I showered and went to work.

At the office, my radiant state of exercise bliss returned. I was unusually voluble. I encountered a co-worker and unhesitatingly told her, "I ran today."

She looked at me curiously. "Oh really?"

"Yeah," I said casually. "I put on my shorts and sweat shirt and ran to the end of my block. I'm doing that every morning now."

She looked at me even more curiously. "And do you live on the world's longest block?"

I already didn't like the way this was going. First my wife's two weeks comment, now this. Where was the supportive gush, the effusive praise?

"No," I said a little defensively. "It's just an ordinary block."

"Did you run back?"

"No but there's a little hill at the end."

She laughed witheringly. "You put your shorts on for that?"

This was a valuable observation for me, one that I have always appreciated and adhered to since that day. Go longer (do more). The intention isn't the actualization. The beginning isn't the consummation.

In fact, thanks in large part to this starkly critical appraisal from a neutral source upon my first effort, I was soon up to running two miles a day. I was soon down to wearing size 33 pants.

I am still in those size 33 pants, and have long since given away those stacks of size 38 tent material I used to wear.


Sunshine said...

Your actualization account is inspiration... A celebration of your reaction to the discouraging words... A cherishing of the exquisite parts of today.

Best wishes for a delightful, successful, safe week.

Susan said...

I love it! And I am especially proud that you turned a catty comment into motivation to be the excellent runner that you are today. Good work!

CewTwo said...

You amaze me! It was a "short" tale and yet had a great point. Never let it get you down, just listen and act improving on what IS GOOD for YOU!

Very large goals are realized through lesser ones. You did good!

I am looking forward to a run on February 1! Let me know where you want to meet!

I also hope that the list of cities you are going to visit will be in a more logical order than the way you gave them to me!

Just12Finish said...

He he - you and I might have tied for the shortest first run. Mine was 0.46 miles, recently measured by Garmin, previously thought to have been at least 0.5 miles.

I also walked home that first day.

jeanne said...

this is a terrific story, and well told! You have an ear for diaglogue. nothing like a few naysayers to motivate you! very inspirational. And here I thought you were born to run.