exercise · jogging · Riverside · running · walking

Jogging…

I am a little on the chubby side, I love to bake, feed people and eat so it’s very fortunate that I also like to exercise.  I am not saying that I’m athletic that is something different entirely (I am not athletic if you’re wondering).  But for some reason I like to push myself and sweat and make my muscles tired and take hot showers after and experience that great feeling that you’ve done something good for yourself; follow that up with an oreo chaser and you’ve got yourself a perfect day.

I started running in Jr. High track, no one is cut from the track team so it was the logical choice for me.  Also my dad was the high school distant track coach and cross country coach so I thought maybe it was in my blood.  It was not, but it did help me loose a lot of “baby weight” which was really good for my self esteem.  I remember when I first started running in seventh grade I could not even make it a 1/4 mile, I still remember pushing myself to the corner thinking “you can do it” and how proud I was when I did indeed finish that 1/4 mile with out walking.  I had a very encouraging coach who cheered me on and never made me feel fat or slow (thank you Mr. Cornwell).  Well I just kept at it, jogging and running and doing the old jazz-ersize records my aunt gave me (I still can’t hear “working at the car wash” with out strutting across the room knocking my elbows together). Until it became part of my life and made me feel good.

When I moved in high school I made the very big and brave decision to join the x-country team.  I knew I needed to meet people and I wanted to make my dad proud, but three miles was a long long way back then.  I told my dad I would only do it if he worked with me through the summer so that I could finish the race with out walking.  He coached me with gusto and was and is the biggest inspiration to me.  He was always proud and cheered no matter how far back in the pack I was.  I’m sure he would have loved a son who was placing first and second but he was perfectly content with a daughter that had 100% commitment and 0% talent.  FYI I never did walk in a single race though I’m sure my running pace was slower then a walk at times.

I never really stopped running and still consider myself a runner despite the fact that what I do now is really more of a jog intermixed with hard core walking.  And even though I’ve done every thing from Yoga, to Eliptical to Kick Boxing, when I’m in the market for new shoes I always buy running shoes.  Why you ask, because I’m a runner damn it and cross trainers are for wimps!

My favorite way to exercise is out side, that’s why I prefer running and walking to the gym.  And I’ll walk as long into the winter as possible pulling my old smelly dog along.  The coolest thing about exercising out side at the same time every day is that you’ll discover an entire world you didn’t know existed.  You’ll start to see the same people along your route out there too.  Every one is so friendly in the mornings it’s like your all bound together in some kind of cosmic morning work out ritual. A universe where you are important to each others well being, even though you don’t know each other at all.  I find myself making up back stories about the people I pass every day; that woman used to weigh a lot in high school but got herself in shape and was one of the sexiest at her 20 year class reunion.  The old couple over there has been married for 45 years and when they were younger they traveled all over the world.  That guy there has always been a runner and used to place in all the high school meets etc.  Imagine my surprise some day if I actually sit down and have a more then a one minute talk with them and find out that he used to be large and she the long-time runner.

This is Gail and Sue.  They make me smile every morning and are what
I’m hoping Megan and I are like when we’re their age.

This is Betty. Isn’t she gorgeous I would kill for a body like hers.
Pam jogs on these bouncy things every day! She must have total buns of steal!

Seeing all these smiling faces and exchanging pleasantries always gets my day off to a positive start.  I find that having a floppy eared dog trotting along side you helps encourage people to open up.  They just can’t resist giving you a good morning when you’re doofy dog is running beside you with his tongue dragging on the pavement.

“There’s no way I could run!” your thinking, but that’s not true.  The hardest part of running is pacing yourself.  You can’t go out and expect to run two miles at a break neck speed the first time out you’ve got to give yourself time to improve and get in shape. No one says you can’t walk either I’m just encouraging you to get out in the mornings, meet new people and experience the exhilaration that comes from exercising first thing in the morning in the fresh air.  Some people like to listen to their MP3 player but I like the sound of the birds and the wind and the thumping of my feet against the pavement, it brings me to a place of clarity and contentment.

I guess I’m sharing this with you because I want my friends that I pass every morning, making comments to them about the weather etc., to know that they mean something to me.  For some reason your smiles and commitment encourage me.  And if you’ve thought about getting out there but just couldn’t climb out from under your covers I encourage you to get out there and see what your missing.  Honestly the autumn trees are the most gorgeous with the early morning sun glowing behind them.

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