Not okay with the fat part, that is. For long periods of my life I've been lean and wiry -- the term "like a greyhound" was heard now and then -- and for long periods I've been overweight, and thin is definitely better. I want to get thin again.
And it occurred to me that if I blogged about my exercise program, it might encourage me to do better, because some readers might take an interest, so that if I do well, more people will be fired up about it -- cue Katy Perry singing "Firework"
-- and if I get lazy, more people will be disappointed. I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but whatever, I thought of it today.
I'm fat, but I'm not in the worst shape I've ever been in. For years now I've been doing push-ups and crunches every single day. Most days I also do some calisthenics and stretching, but I realized that I have to do more to get my heart rate up and some sweat flowing if I'm going to lose weight. So yesterday I did some walking. I don't know how far I went. More than 5 miles, probably less than 10.
And the way I could tell that I was in better shape than I've been recently is that as I was nearing home at the end of the walk, I wasn't in agony. Fairly recently I've been in bad enough shape that a much shorter walk than that could get me hurting all over and pouring sweat and cramping in my legs and back and feeling like I would much rather lie down flat on my back and not move at all, than continue walking. Sometimes when I got home from a walk, the first thing I would do when I got inside was lay down flat on my back on the floor and stay there motionless for quite a while, breathing very heavily, my heart pounding.
Willie Mays described feeling like he didn't want to move after having collapsed during a game in September 1962. I read about that in the 1972 edition of My Life In & Out of Baseball, by Mays as told to Charles Einstein.
As it's described in that book, Mays passed out on the field, and when he woke up he was lying on his back on the field, and his manager asked him how he felt, and he said that he felt like he didn't want to move -- he could move, but he felt like he'd rather not.
I suppose I was 11 or 12 years old when I first read that. That description of how Willie Mays felt at that moment after having passed out and then come to again -- like he could move but he'd rather not -- made quite an impression on me. At the time, I definitely had never felt that way.
I don't know if I ever felt that tired before I was full-grown. I don't think I did -- and if I did, it would have been near the end of a 50-mile hike, or after having played basketball literally all day, or something like that.
In the past few years, I've felt that way quite a few times, sometimes after having walked a distance as short as 2 miles.
So: what I yesterday, walking 5 or 10 miles and feeling pretty good at the end of the walk: I realize that that wouldn't be a big deal for a world-class marathoner. But for a big fat slob like me, it was pretty good.
And I want to build on it. Although I felt fine at the end of yesterday's walk, when I woke up this morning I felt sore and tired. I thought it would be good, if I'm going to do this instead of letting hard work make me quit, to take a brisk 3-mile walk -- there's a place which according to Google Maps is 1 1/2 miles from my place. So there and back = 3 miles.
As I started off on today's walk I felt terrible. Long before I reached the 1 1/2 mile mark I felt like I would much rather lay down flat on my back on the sidewalk and not move, than keep on walking.
But then, shortly after I got to the halfway point and turned around to return home, I felt much better. A second wind! Wow! If I ever had a second wind in my life before today, it was long enough ago that the memory has faded away completely.
So. Rinse & repeat a couple hundred times and have some discipline in my diet, and I might be greyhound-like once more.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. One day at a time. One step at time.
Tony Mangan, watch yr back! (Is that endorphins talking?)