How are those 2010 diets coming? Anybody slip up yet? Eat something you weren’t suppose to? A piece of chocolate, a slice of pie, a buffalo?
Part of my regiment to lose weight includes jogging 3 to 4 days a week. Not all that much, just a couple of miles at a pop, every stride taken in the carefully controlled environment offered by the local health club. I didn’t always run on a treadmill, preferring the winding roads of my neighborhood and the open sky above. That was until… the incident.
The last time I ran outdoors was maybe 18 months ago. On that day I prepared to run right after work like I always do. If I sit down to watch television, or check e-mail, I can never get myself re-motivated to get back up and exercise. So I immediately slipped out of my work clothes and into a pair of shorts, socks, running shoes, sleeveless T-shirt and a rolled up bandanna tied around my forehead to keep the sweat out of my eyes. I strapped on my iPod shuffle loaded with a 67 song play list I appropriately entitled NITRO, and I was ready to go. On the way out the door, like I did every time I ran, I yelled to my wife “I’m going hoofin.” Her dead-pan reply would always be, “Don’t die!”
On that particular day I was feeling inspired. I’d been recently admiring the way another blogger observed the world around them, noticing the littlest things, however insignificant. So I made a mental note to open my eyes during my run and really take in what goes on in our neighborhood. Typically I’d just run with my head down, listen to the music and focus on the next few feet in front of me. Not that day. That day I was going to be alert!
So I’m starting my pre-run stretching and the first thing I notice is that my MP3 player is repeating the same song over and over. And it wasn’t one that was supposed to be on my play list. I tried to fidget with the controls to get a different song to play, to no avail. I had just recharged it that afternoon and must have screwed something up when I connected it to iTunes. I was faced with running for 30 minutes listening to the Eagles “Desperado”, or no tunes at all. Not exactly music to get your heart pumping, but I started the timer on my wristwatch and hit the road.
I had run for approximately 10 minutes and seen………absolutely nothing! I mean nothing that I would consider interesting. There was sprinklers watering lawns, dogs running along fences, some kids bouncing on a trampoline, but that’s it. I’m not sure what I expected to see, but I was starting to doubt my powers of perception. I was just about to give up and revert to concentrating on my running when I saw something just ahead of me. On the opposite side of the road in the driveway of a corner house was a couple having what appeared to be a heated argument. There were two cars parked in the driveway, a dark colored SUV and a little RX6, and the couple was situated between the two cars. They appeared young (high school junior/senior) and the girl was very animated. She was dressed in a cream color summer dress and her arms flailed around wildly, except when she was jabbing her finger in the boys face. The boy wore only a pair of bright orange swim trunks, and a sour look. As I approached I tried to hear their conversation, but with the Eagles blaring in my headphones I couldn’t make out what they were saying. The boy noticed me running by and gave me a sheepish look that said “Want to trade places?” The girl was too focused on vocally battering the young man to pay me any attention. I was reaching to pause my iPod, when I went down.
I had failed to notice the bags of grass that had been placed by the curb. My foot caught the first black bag, causing me to stumble and I did my best to keep myself upright, but the second and third bags did me in. I sprawled out in the street like a four year old girl learning to cartwheel for the first time. Luckily my fall was cushioned by the other half dozen bags piled there. I sat unmoving for a moment…taking in what had just happened…feeling the heat from the sun warmed pavement on my bottom…sweat running in my eyes because my bandana had come loose and was now cock-eyed on my head…listening to music in my headphones telling me “Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?” I looked up and the couple had stopped their arguing and was now staring at me. Not only were they staring at me, but it seemed like every resident on that block had suddenly appeared on their front lawn to see what the commotion was about. I gave the boy a sheepish look that said “Want to trade places?” Before you could say Glad Bag, I was up and running again.
When I returned home I went straight inside and into the shower, ignoring my wife’s questions about why I had apparently started raking leaves. Screw the post-stretch cool down!
Nowadays I do my running at an electronically determined pace while staring at ESPN sports highlights on the overhead television. It may not be “real” jogging, but at least it’s safe!