Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A little something to the tune of "Walk, Don't Run"

[Editor's note: Initially, I was hesitant to swap material between this space and my other fine feature. Then, I decided that hey, it's my blog and I can do whatever the heck I want. My apologies if you surfed over here from "Small Things Considered" in search of fresh material. Hey, the headline's new, anyway. And while we're at it, so is the Editor's Note...]

So, I went out for a walk this morning. I did this with some trepidation. Not because there was anything especially scary about the walk, although I never know what might happen when I spook the rabbits who have apparently taken up residence in our backyard. No, the trepidation has more to do with image.

Yes, for all the world, I look like I really ought to be jogging. In fact, every six months or so, I kick myself into gear and decide I'm going to go out running again. I tell myself, There's nothing to it. Just run a couple of blocks today. Then add another block tomorrow. And another couple of blocks the next day. Before I know it, I'll be running a mile or two every evening.

The trouble is, I hate running. I always have. Even while I was playing baseball in college and in the - relatively speaking - best shape of my life, I couldn't stand it. The difference then was that I was capable of doing it (it's amazing what having a coach shouting at you will do for your motivation). Nowadays, I run those first couple of blocks and instead of coach shouting at me, it's my legs, bellowing, What the hell are you doing to us? Did we do something to upset you? We thought baseball practice was over 14 years ago. At least take us to batting practice when this is over.

But Tosa is a jogging kind of place. At least it seems to be in the evenings when I get home from work. There is always a steady stream of nauseatingly fit-looking people cheerfully bounding by our house. And I worry that walking amongst them, even briskly, will raise all sorts of questions like, What's the deal with that guy? Doesn't he like to run? I've considered buying an enormous knee brace just for the sake of image.

I realize this is stupid. I realize that no one cares whether I'm walking or running. It's about my lungs, and heart, and legs - not the people running by my house at 7 pm.

And that's why I went walking first thing in the morning. And as it turns out, at 6:15 am, Tosa is a walking kind of place. I passed probably a dozen people, getting their blood moving in a somewhat slower fashion. Some of them were less than 103 years old, even. No one seemed anxious to break into a faster gait.

Except for the rabbits, who all seemed like they were in a big hurry.

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