Yes, I know. My title is also the title of a 1987 film with Arnold Schwarzenegger, directed by Paul Michael Glaser (Starsky!), based on the eponymous story by Stephen King. (Link to trailer for the film.) I'm sure I saw the film, but I don't recall a thing about it. (Rent/Stream it?) (I just added it to my DVD queue on Netflix.)
No, I am not shamelessly stealing the title. I just thought of a title for a post about my history as a jogger--and this film just popped into my head. So it goes. I think of something; into my head pops something trivial. Ah, dotage ...
Anyway, I started running (warning: "running" is a generous term for what I did) in the spring of 1978 just before we left Ohio to move to Lake Forest, Ill., where I--a fresh Ph.D.--was going to commence the rest of my career teaching at Lake Forest College. (I lasted a single year; I missed secondary school kids, and back I went to that life until I retired, for the final time, in the spring of 2011.)
Anyway, I started running because I was ... fat. I've written before about the Dyer Genes, especially that Fat Gene that punishes me (and my kin) with any indiscretion--like a slice of pie, a bowl of granola, a Klondike bar, etc. The pounds go on with the greatest of ease, come off only with the most savage diet. And exercise. Thus, the running.
I continued running my year in Lake Forest (all seasons, all weather--except thunderstorms), continued when I returned to Ohio and started teaching at Western Reserve Academy (1979-81), continued when I returned to Harmon Middle School (1982-1997), continued on and on and on until ... I couldn't do it anymore. (Maybe ten years ago?) I'd run 4-6 miles just about every day (a few times I went 10), ran a bunch of 5K and 10K races. The pic you see is from the first 10K I ever ran--in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, about 1980? 81? I'm coming over that bridge, finishing, on Portage Trail. I was proud that I'd even finished such a race--a distance unthinkable in boyhood and youth when distance running seemed, well, insane.
Anyway, as the years went on, my knees and ankles began to grumble, then protest, then go on strike. And--after a while--I listened to them--a little too late (I still have a weak left knee).
Now what? Get fat again? (Yo-yo weight is a term invented for me!)
I started riding an Airdyne bicycle--at a local health club, at home (they ain't cheap!). Then ... I started--oh, a year ago or more--on a different kind of exercise bike, and now that is my daily routine: 20 min on the bike, a mile's walk around the indoor track. In the spring and summer and early fall, I ride my own "real" bicycle around town on short errands (haircut, coffee shop). I walk everywhere I can--and Hudson is a very walkable town.
And Mr. Fat, for the most part, has stayed in the shadows. Waiting. Oh, he never goes away. He just waits for the sound of the freezer door opening late, late at night. And then he joins me for a giant bowl of ice cream.