Saturday I decided to try running in the morning. I used to be a morning person, but I haven't been one in many years now. And besides, even when I was a morning person my joints didn't wake up for at least an hour after I did.
But on Saturday I reached over and slapped the evil alarm as soon as it managed to stir me from my slumber, as usual. Ten minutes later when it disturbed me again, I almost hit it again, but I got a grip on myself, reminded myself that at this hour the mosquitoes weren't out hunting yet, and the extended dusk that answers in this part of the world for night had cooled the air.
So I crawled out of my nice warm bed, told my screaming joints to shut up, and got on my running gear. A few gulps of water from the plastic bottle I keep by my bed, and I was ready.
My 5 minute warm-up walk was disastrous. My weak ankle kept hurting, and threatening not to support me. That finally worked itself out 30 seconds before I was supposed to start running. My knees were still complaining, but I rarely listen to them.
Finally my five minutes were up. This was going to be a 20 minute jog with allowance for an extra 2 minutes if I felt up to it. I start jogging about the way a freight train takes off from the station, with lots of noise, lots of effort, and not a whole lot of forward momentum.
The first five minutes were an exercise in anguish, as my poor old creaky joints tried valiantly to hoist my obese form over uneven ground, and yes, even gravel and potholes. I galumphed past the coffee cart in the middle of the gravel pit near my home, and around the corner to the slight downgrade to the local bouquet of roundabouts. I picked up momentum, as promised by Sir Isaac Newton, and my joints finally got over themselves, and into the rhythm of the movement.
After I got past my roundabout it was time to turn around. Back up the slight slope I had just huffed my way down, my joints didn't complain at all. When I reached the top of the hill, I decided to take a longer way and bypass the gravel pit, and all the parked cars with people waiting for their lattes. Passing another coffee cart, and on the other side of the road, my favorite coffee cart (have you ever noticed that there seem to be more coffee carts than gas stations?), I rounded the corner, and hit a nice steep downhill to...a pothole-y gravel road. Yes, I live in that part of town. Halfway along the gravel road I hit my 20 minutes. My joints hadn't taken up the chorus yet, so I went for the extra 2 minutes.
After another 2 minutes I was done. I had no more jog left in me. I had a 3 minute walk, and the mosquitoes were out for blood. Somehow I couldn't find it in me to care about the mosquitoes. 22 minutes is a personal best. Even when I was young and skinny and fit, and skied all day, all winter long I wasn't a runner, and I couldn't do a sustained 22 minute run.
My 57th birthday is in just over a month. For my 40th birthday I gave myself a black belt in Tae Kwondo. For my 57th maybe I can give myself a 5K run. Wouldn't that be something?