The Major and the Colonel

In two days I have to go in for a physical. It really doesn’t make me feel unnerved at all, but it did have me thinking back in the early spring that as “fit” as I thought I was, I was also feeling too tired, very irritable, and lacking focus. So I don’t know what exactly motivated me to take the step, but I can remember waking up one morning, slipping on a pair of chucks and taking to the streets for a painful trot around the neighborhood. Well, that was it, I became hooked on the feeling that developed. And not long after I was buying much better shoes and starting to run longer and longer miles. I even opted to buy my own fitbit because I became very curious about how it would track my progress, heartbeat, weight, time and frequency of exercise.

In a few weeks, I started to become addicted to the feeling of these morning runs – well trots as I would call them. My body was getting stronger, and my addiction sought after harder and harder runs with steeper hills, or longer distances. Each morning has been a different route, seeing the sun rise, even feeling some light rains on my head. I ran when the mornings were cool and when they felt like a Queensland rainforest. Each morning was rewarded by a nice cool down on the back patio, sit-ups, pushups, and stretching, then followed by the greatest reward – the first cup of coffee!

In these past two months, yes, not a long amount of time, but I have shed over ten pounds. My arms, chest, and stomach are shrinking and toning. My pants are looser. I am pulling shirts out of the closet from four years ago that now fit perfectly. By all accounts, I am not yet at my ideal weight or muscle tone, but I suddenly do feel ten year’s younger. Well, at least I did until about a week ago when my ankle started hurting more and more after each run.

The thing is, I’m not thirty and certainly not twenty, and though I might be feeling mentally that age, my body has started to push back a lot harder than it did when I was younger. And Stupid here, well, I pushed it too far and it finally just quit on me. Two days ago, I was done, the ankle said “No More!” I have been hobbling to work, hobbling through the house, and missing the chance to get out and just walk. Going into Target today, I had to ask my wife to slow down when it is usually I that has to slow my stride.

Despite this setback, my wife and I haven’t stopped our fitness routine. She is getting much stronger, taking long walks while I at least spend time working doing sit-ups, pushups, working my arms, whatever I can do on the back patio. So, while shopping today, we bought more home gear, found some exercise clothes, and I found a compression bandage for my ankle. Then, on the way home, we did something I also said I would never do – we joined the local recreation center so we can use their gym facilities. Certainly this place is a lot less expensive than those large chain gyms, and a lot less intimidating. Our niece is in competition women’s weight and fitness training, and by all accounts, these are not the kind of folks that we want to exercise near. But this recreation center has your average Jack and Jill, showing the signs of life of the middle aged.

Today was our first trip to the gym. Ankle braced well, I felt I could actually walk and move without pain. I got on an elliptical and then a bike, doing nearly a hour of good solid work without pushing my body over the edge. My wife took to the walking track and then the bike. All the while we were able to watch out the windows at the Rec Center’s outdoor waterpark. And what we saw out there made us peddle just a bit faster, push all that much harder, as sometimes the best motivation is seeing an alternate future out the looking glass and panicking. Let’s just say even the life guards could probably stand to hit the gym a bit. David Hasselhoff they weren’t!

So our path to fitness is weeks to months away. My wallet is a bit lighter because I have signed us up for a year – we are financially committed. We have affectionately named our fit bits: Major Payne and Colonel Clint. We take these sweating minutes and hours as peaceful private time, just our clear minds and some rocking tunes. And we march on, the Major and Colonel demand it.

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