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Of the Things that Surprise You in Life December 23, 2016

Posted by Peter Varhol in Technology and Culture.
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I am a distance runner. I have been reluctant to admit that, even to myself.  But after almost two and a half years of this, with a few weeks out for a hospital stay, I think it is a reasonable conclusion.  There have been hundreds of 5AM excursions out into the dawn or (at this time of year in New England) pitch darkness that I think make me eligible to claim that mantle.  I’ve done about 20 formal races over that period, with mostly 5Ks, but also a couple of half marathons (I doubt that will ever happen again).

To be fair, even now, compared to some of those I see, I don’t feel particularly dedicated or determined. And I never thought I would reach this point.  I could, and would, quit at any time.  I’m not sure I feel particularly healthier as a runner (my doctors beg to differ).  I am no more than a casual runner (maybe a little more), and will almost certainly not be anything more.

I am somewhat older; on my proximate birthday, I will be a sexagenarian (and no, it has nothing to do with sex, regrettably). How long can I keep this up?  Oddly, in the winter it is more difficult to get out.  However, I also run better when it’s colder.

And it is a surprise. I have no athletic history, and except for a brief burst of activity in my late 20s and early 30s, I have been pretty sedentary.  I’m an office worker, after all.

I have to say, what has motivated me was the numbers. Yes, I got a low-end Fitbit.  After a day of wearing it, I saw my steps.  I said, “Tomorrow I can do better.”  And I did, and continued to do so.

I am a distance runner. I have a bit of obsessive-compulsive in me.  But I don’t burn myself out in the process.  The step counts don’t work for everyone.  In a few cases, they drive users to excess.  But it my case, it was just about perfect.

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