Monday, November 2, 2015

Great Big Fat Guy, Day 3

The story so far: day before yesterday I walked 5-10 miles, farther than I'd walked in -- I don't know, a while. Yesterday I felt really tired and sore, but went for a 3-mile walk anyway, and got a second wind mid-way through the walk, and finished it feeling great.

I included the video to Katy Perry's "Firework" on my previous Great Big Fat Guy blog post, because I like the song, and because I want to spread that sort of positivity. Also because I had happened to surf onto the end of the documentary How to Dance in Ohio, about a group of autistic teenagers in Columbus, Ohio, having a dance, and Katy sang an acoustic version of "Firework" over the closing credits. And it was super-awesome.

Here's Katy crushing it live:

And today I read in the Hollywood Reporter's review of the documentary that "Firework" is

"the unofficial anthem of the disability rights movement."

And I suppose that if there's a disability rights movement, I ought to be supporting it. Especially if we've got such a cool unofficial anthem.

This morning, as most mornings, I did a bit of exercise and stretching as soon as I got out of bed. My shins and calves hurt. In 2008, I was having a very difficult time exercising, and I got shin-splints from walking not very much at all, and I eventually found out that I had a malfunctioning parathyroid gland which resulted in, among other things, too little calcium getting to my bones. The malfunctioning gland had to be surgically removed. (There are several parathyroid glands in the human body. They are not related to the thyroid except for being located near it.) I felt much better as soon as the malfunctioning gland was removed. I'm hoping that the minor pain I'm feeling today is not indicative of some other chemical imbalance of deficiency, and that it'll get better as I get thinner. I'll continue with the exercise as planned (gradually increasing walking distance, then maybe eventually adding running or cycling or basketball or something like that) unless the pain in my lower legs becomes severe.

I've never been much of a runner, I don't know why. 2 examples: in the 9th grade we had gym 3 times a week, and in every gym class we had to run 1/2 mile. That is, we had to run 5 laps around the gym and we were told that 5 laps was 1/2 mile. (It probably was.) Once during the year we raced the 1/2 in groups of a half-dozen or so and were timed. I thought I was going to to pretty well in the race. I remember looking at a little pudgy kid in my group as I waiting for the starting whistle, feeling a little sorry for him, assuming that he couldn't keep up with me. Then the whistle sounded, and it honestly seemed to me that the little pudgy kid and the rest of our group were somehow 5 to 10 yards ahead of me before I'd finished my first stride. I was amazed by the pace they were setting, and they didn't let up for the entire 1/2 mile. I literally ran as fast as I could in an unsuccessful attempt to catch most of them. If I recall correctly, I and one other boy (not the short pudgy one) were in a very close race not to finish dead last. I don't remember whether I finished last or next to last. I remember that my time was 2:52.

In 11th grade gym class will still were doing the 1/2 mile 3 times a week, and we went outside once during the year for a 1 1/2 cross country race. This time the whole class raced together at once. I remember that I and a few other walked part of the way. I remember that at the end, once again I and another boy were running for all we were worth in our own private duel. I don't remember whether or not the 2 of us were dead-last in the whole class. If not, we were definitely toward the back. Many other boys, who'd finished, were crowded around the finish line, and I knew they were no longer winded, because they were loudly shouting encouragement to both of us. I don't remember which of the 2 of us won our private race. I remember that my time was either 13:13 or 13:31.

In 8th-grade football, I was timed at 7.4 seconds over 40 yards. In full pads and helmet, but still.

So I don't know whether there's something physically wrong with me which hampers my running. The thing is, I don't think I was really unathletic altogether. Among other strenuous activities I did a lot of bicycle riding, and played basketball rather well, played baseball rather well after blossoming as a hatter in the 10th grade.

And I played ping-pong so well that I did not lose a single game for a period of years. My unbeaten streak would have been even longer except that between 2 unbeaten streaks, I happened to play the only player I've ever faced who played ping-pong better than I: my high-school guidance counselor, a grim-faced wiry 6-foot-5-inch monster of a man, a former Indiana state champion. Whether he'd been a high school champion, or won some sort of professional Indiana open, or what exactly, I don't know. The two of us played one day when I was 15, he won every game, and those were the only games of ping-pong I lost from the age of 13 to the age of 20.

They called me King Pong. Yes, they really did.

My point is, my remarkably poor performance in running doesn't seem to match up with my athletic performance in general. I have a right bundle-branch block, an abnormality in the construction of my heart's valves. The doctors say it's nothing to worry about, it's just unusual. I wonder if it has something to do with my having been good at basketball and awesome at ping-pong but terrible at high-speed running. (As a kid, I was even a way-above-average base stealer in Little League: my ability to get a good jump more than compensated for my slow running.)

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