Thursday, August 6, 2020

Around the Block

I am really good about getting a lot of steps per day. Over 11,000 almost every day for a few years. And I make sure some of that involves stairs or going up a hill. However, when it came to the more strenuous exercise, really getting out of breath and getting my heart rate up, I knew I needed to up my game.

So, last November 27, I decided to start doing a timed short run most weekdays. Around my block is just under a quarter-mile. I decided that would do. The first few times I did it, I couldn’t maintain a run for even that short distance. Too much rust.

I had some guilt about how I hadn’t maintained my fitness level from my younger years. At my peak, I could run 3 miles in 21 minutes, and I just didn’t do the work to maintain it.

But, as anyone who exercises can testify, gains happen fast when you’re first starting (or starting back). So, in November, I started at a little over three minutes, part of it walking. In short order, I could run the whole way around and could get around the block in just over two minutes.

The day after Christmas, I finally broke the two-minute mark with my new late-middle-aged record of 1:56. By January 11, my NEW-new record was 1:42. And then I coasted a while and was less consistent.

However, when we began our quarantine in March, I got back into it more seriously. And I nudged Harrison to join me. Being young and in decent shape, he was pretty quick to match my best times, or get pretty close.

I finally broke another new record in April ... 1:38! 

Harrison was stuck at 1:40. And on we went, most every weekday morning, through May and June.    

Then, at the very end of July,  Harrison shattered the around-the-block record with a time of 1:34! He’s been under 1:40 several times since then. I can still get in the 1:30s, too, but haven’t (yet) matched his (temporary) record.

It’s now been over five months that we’ve been doing this. The ritual is that we walk the dog around the block, then one of us holds the leash and times the other one’s run around the block. We switch, and then we all three take another spin around the block. Bella loves it. A lot of days, H and I also take a longer early-morning walk, the Sun not yet up, two miles or so. 

Sometimes we’re silent for long stretches. Sometimes we just bullshit about this or that, songs we like, whatever show we’re watching, and so on. Other times we talk about life in a deeper way. I like it a lot.

This is such a difficult time we are all living through, but I am really grateful for this sweet part of it. 


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