Monday, January 20, 2014

I Ran

I did something Sunday I hadn't done in nearly 20 years.

I ran.

I actually took off running and for a while, before I feared having a heart attack and throwing up in front of everyone, I enjoyed it. For a brief moment I felt like the dog hanging his head out of a moving car window, catching the breeze I created and feeling a sensation I had not experienced for two decades.

Granted, running is not a big deal for most people. I have a friend on Facebook who posts he runs 12 miles before he brushes his teeth in the mornings. Others may jog and I'd wager a majority of people could easily run if a bear, zombie, ex-wife came a-chasin'. But I'm not that way.

I, alas, am a fatass. I am 53, grossly overweight and have the knees of a 95-year-old. When my wife passed away, I gave up and didn't care about my own health. My doctor told me when I was 48 that I wouldn't make it to 50 if I didn't quit drinking those sugar-laced energy drinks. I was pounding about four a day. It took a lot of energy to haul my fat self around.

I have a newspaper job that keeps me pretty sedimentary. Exercise? Well, I type a lot. I probably have the strongest fingers around. But the rest of me is as fit as a hunk of cookie dough. My hobbies — reading and playing APBA games — require a lot of sitting. Eating potato chips and other snacks is part of both activities, as well.

In August, I began walking with a girl who works in the same building as I. I did it because I liked her, not because I had a sudden epiphany that I cared how I turned out. She asked me to go with her only to serve as a “bodyguard.” The trail we walk at is in a city park that features some secluded areas she was apprehensive about walking alone.

But as we made the 2.8-mile loop around the park, a transformation happened. I began caring and I took it seriously and I walked with purpose for myself, a direction I was unfamiliar with. I began losing weight and I watched what I ate. I told my walking partner that I was overweight, not simply because I was cramming the wrong food into my mouth, but because I had some psychological issues. Self-destruction? Fear? Anger? Bitterness? Loneliness? Lots of thoughts. I leaned toward potato chips as a comfort food. Her psychological response? “Don't eat chips, dumbass.”

It worked and now, five months after we began walking, I've lost 64 pounds as of today.

And I ran.

We ran about 50 feet along a gravel path the first time and I quit, not because I was tired but because I was afraid someone would see me. It was an odd feeling moving that fast for me; I thought I probably looked like those blubbery polar bears you see on the Discover Channel suddenly darting from a feigned sleep to nab an unsuspecting walrus.

We ran again on a parking lot. This time I opened it up and passed my friend, mocking her on the fly. But as we neared the end of the lot, I slowed down and she flew by me. I feared I'd throw up the fizzy tea drink I had and a guy chucking up his drink in front of a woman ain't pretty.

We continued walking the loop and when we finished that afternoon I had reached 200 miles of walking since we began this in August.

Again, I know the brief run I did was nothing in 95 percent of the world's opinion, but to me, for that brief flash, I felt like a kid again running with the wind and moving faster than I have in 20 years.


  1. Awesome! If you ever feel your knees giving you problems, consider biking. Less stressful on your joints. Either way, they are great ways to clear your head and come back reinvigorated. Congrats!

  2. Swimming is another exercise, easy on the joints.

  3. Congrats on the weight loss; that is a good job by you!

  4. Hey Ken! Another great post as usual. I'd like to congratulate you on winning the 2013 Best Tabletop-Sports Blog from Your 1942 replay made the list of top 10 Best Replays of 2013, too.

    Paul Dylan