I am no Forest Gump. No one ever saw me and said, “He is running,” in her best Southern Gump impersonation.
Today we ended our most recent FitCamp. We includes Patty, Kimberly, and Tommie.
Tommie told me she was thinking about a FitCamp in June. I told her I would do it with her. I did not realize it would include running. Our opening day included a 1-mile run. If you asked me to run the equivalent of a mile while playing pick-up basketball, I would only ask where and when. But, to willfully run, just run, by yourself, I could not see the attraction.
The aim was to gauge improvement. We would track our mile time as well as the number of sit-ups and push-ups in two minutes. I could have easily written down my numbers – slow and not many. At the end of six weeks I cut my mile time and increased my sit-ups and push-ups to a few more than not many.
Four and a half months later Tommie and I finished our fourth FitCamp. Kimberly and Patty completed their second.
It is confession time. This morning I made the half-way point when Beth, one of our coaches, shouted out my time. I thought to myself, “That won’t beat my last time.” The competitor in me would not settle for less than beating my last time, even if by just one second. Some say running is in your head. I think it is in your feet and legs. There was only one thing to do, pick up some speed.
I finished almost matching my August best of 7:38 coming in at 7:45. Our coaches know I am contesting the distance. Either what we ran at the other location is less than a mile, or this new location is more than a mile. Less than an 8 minute mile for someone who hates to run for the sake of running seems like a good time. If you don’t know my age, don’t ask.
Over these last four FitCamps I have been reminded of some things that may, in some ways, apply to all of life.
1. Everyone needs someone to stick with it. In other contexts some might refer to this as an “accountability” partner. I simply think exercising is better when you share the misery with someone else. Or, maybe it is sharing the competition. Tommie and I push each other quite hard. Yes, she does more sit-ups. I do more push-ups.
2. Everyone needs to move. While the group sponsoring this event is associated with a product they sell, our coaches insist the key is moving and diet. If you need something to get yourself over the hump in terms of diet, then the product may help. But, the truth is it is about moving. Over the same time frame I have been using a stand up desk. I am guessing the combination has been a winning one for me. I now weigh less than when I moved to Tuttle just over 20 years ago. I don’t think I am aiming for what I weighed in college. The wind blows too hard for that. But, I feel as good as I have with the small exception that my body does not recover as fast after workouts as it used to.
3. Everyone needs to eat better. The statistics for Oklahoma show an increase in the incidence of obesity. Sure, that may be said about everywhere in the United States but I live here in Oklahoma. My mentor used to observe that when some lose weight it feels like throwing a deck chair off the Titanic. What I have learned is that eating better and moving makes the proper proportional adjustments to your body. You may not quickly drop weight, but if you move, and with regularity, eating better will mean both feeling better and looking better even if the scales wound your pride weekly.
4. Everyone needs to remember they are not everyone. Stories abound of astounding successes. The truth is comparing yourself to everyone else, especially their success, only serves to discourage. This is a life lesson. We may find someone’s story inspirational. But, you and I are not everyone. We are ourselves. What comes easy to some will be harder for others. What is required is to take those stories and not compare your progress with someone else, even a friend, but to compare with yourself. How have I progressed from last week to this week? Last month to this month? Last year to this year?
Before anyone thinks I am a fitness guru, I am not.
I hate to run. But, running has been one of the ways to gauge my progress as well as a means to know how to maintain goals already achieved. So, run, on occasion, I will. I must.