Sunday, January 8, 2012

Marathon Part 3: The Beginning

Third in a series. Part One is here and Part Two is here.


The exercise program began the next Monday. My office was located right across Louisiana Boulevard from the Coronado Mall. Sears is the best place for general merchandise so they had the bathroom scale I needed to track any weight loss. Mervyn's had some Nikes on sale that I thought would serve for running shoes and some cheap navy blue cotton shorts, size large. For years I had not owned any exercise clothes.

Anger was my first motivator. As I went out after dark that first night in late September [2001] I was angry at a lot of things, how I had let my body get in such bad shape came obviously to mind. But I was also generally angry with . . . just about everything, good reason or not, and especially angry at Dr. Caesar.

The motivation worked. It got me out every night. It had to be after dark because I was doing this alone and I did not want to be seen in public. I ran. That is I ran a few paces then walked a few. I was coughing up disgusting phlegm from my lungs. I did not get far but far enough to be panting and tired and sore. I pushed myself to go just a little farther each night. First it was a half mile then two-thirds, three-fourths, a mile. I used markers on the route to push me farther each time. I could make it to the stop sign, then around the corner, then to the Comanche bridge across Tramway, then to the next streetlight, the cul-de-sac, then to Candelaria and on towards Menaul. The anger at Dr. Caesar was the primary motivator but I used the anger at others as well.  I came back each time and showered. Sometimes I nearly fainted under the hot water.

The first principal aid came in the form of the exercise bike my father-in-law offered us. My big boys and I carefully carried the heavy thing into the back of our van and then up the stairs into the girls’ bedroom. My wife took to the bike very well. I used it as a break from the pounding of the pavement that was beginning to wear on my left knee. Now, even the bike wasn’t pain free at first. We both got saddle sore but the rear end eventually got used to it and there was no more tenderness. Each night, except Sunday when maybe we would go for a walk, I committed myself to some aerobic exercise, either out on the streets or on the stationary bike. The bike really got me in shape as the left knee continued to hurt and I did more and more work at home on the bike. The bike has handles that pump for arm action along with the hard work of the legs. I worked up quickly to doing ten miles on the monitor in about 40 minutes.

On Saturday mornings, I went for a ten-mile bike ride on my old fluorescent orange mountain bike. There is an asphalt running/walking/biking pathway along the far side of Tramway Boulevard just one block east of our home. The route from Candelaria near our house up to the stop sign where the road to the tram goes up and the Sandia Indian Reservation begins is exactly five miles.  So a round trip is a nice ten miles. It was enjoyable to get out and ride although my gears creaked and my chain was too loose. I had to bundle warmly to keep the wind off. I used the leather gloves with the City of Albuquerque logo given to us when we did the church project clearing the fence line of weeds to help the Virginia Creepers at Kit Carson Park. At the end of the first Saturday ride my legs were weak and my thighs ached as I dismounted.

One of the first Saturdays on my bike I saw my wife's dad out for his early morning walk. I was very happy to see him and be seen by him. He has maintained an exercise program for many years and looked great at 65. I started to think of some good motivators to replace my initial anger.

Continue to Part 4 (My first race--ever!)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome. Feel free to disagree as many do. You can even be passionate (in moderation). Comments that contain offensive language, too many caps, conspiracy theories, gratuitous Mormon bashing, personal attacks on others who comment, or commercial solicitations- I send to spam. This is a troll-free zone. Charity always!