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Humor July 2018

Social Insecurity

When the Going Gets Tough — Have a Snack

By Michael J. Murphy

Now comes the hard part — stepping out the door and putting one foot in front of the other somewhat quickly. This is the juncture where most of us falter. For many older novice runners this is their version of “hitting the wall.”

Winter is over and summer is here. If you’re anything like me, your mind is full of what ifs. What if I had actually crawled out of bed during those cold, dark months? What if I had done some exercise more strenuous than watching “Dancing with the Stars” reruns?

Then there is the matter of diet. It’s possible that during the winter you have eaten so many steaks and burgers that when your wife says that you woke her up last night, and you ask, “Was I snoring?” she replies, “No, you were mooing!”

Well, now is the time for all of us seniors to do something about it. Spring has long sprung so spring out of bed and reshape your body with a little self-discipline and a large scalpel.

Jogging — now there is the exercise for folks of all ages. Nothing like the cool breeze flowing through your hair, a bouquet of summer scents gushing up your nostrils, scenery rushing by, the purr of a finely tuned engine ... OK, this time we went for a little car ride in the convertible. But next time we go jogging.

You just can’t get a more basic, a more primitive form of exercise than jogging. Really, it’s easy to imagine our prehistoric ancestor, the caveman, running barefoot across the primordial slime, and then being warmly greeted at the cave door by his cave wife grunting, “Wipe that primordial slime off your feet so you don’t get it on the dirt floor!”

Of course, today we no longer run to escape some saber-toothed tiger slobbering on the heel of our Nikes. We run for fun.

Ha, ha . . . just joking. But actually there are a number of logical reasons why jogging is so popular today.

One great thing about jogging as a form of exercise is that it’s so darn inexpensive. I am living proof that it is possible to pick up a pair of running shoes on the clearance rack for a measly $29.99. That is if you happen to wear a size 14EEE and think that the colors turquoise and beige go well together. But, heck, for that price I’m willing to risk ridicule for doing my best impersonation of Bozo the Clown.

Along with shoes, all a runner needs for clothing is a tank top and shorts. That is, unless you live near mountains like I do. In which case, it is advisable to add long underwear, mittens, stocking cap, thermal face mask and a GPS in case you get lost in a blizzard. And that’s in July!

In addition to proper jogging clothes, you will want to add some optional items that will officially label you as a serious runner.

Paraphernalia such as a pair of cool wraparound sunglasses, an iPod full of snappy tunes to pump you up (“Weeeee are the champions — my friends”), and a fanny pack with those cute little water bottles and a pocket to hold essentials such as keys, energy bars and a whistle in case of a mountain lion attack.

Now comes the hard part — stepping out the door and putting one foot in front of the other somewhat quickly. This is the juncture where most of us falter. For many older novice runners this is their version of “hitting the wall.”

Suddenly, a monologue like this runs through your brain: I have to go to the bathroom (again!). Better check my shoelaces one more time. Maybe I should wait till the sun’s higher. . . or lower. The big toe on my left foot hurts. Now it’s the one on my right foot. Is pain contagious? Maybe the blue shorts would look better. Is that a cloud I see coming this way?

And on and on the litany of excuses rolls through your mind until you realize it will be dark sometime soon within the next two hours so maybe you better wait until tomorrow.

But don’t get discouraged. Every baby has to crawl before it can walk, and that’s exactly what you may end up doing — crawling — if you jump into this running thing too hastily.

So grab a copy of a good running magazine, curl up on the couch, and get a vicarious workout. Just be sure to stretch well before you begin.

 

Mike Murphy retired after a 35-year teaching and coaching career. He has a master’s degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is an Associated Press award-winning columnist.

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