Wednesday, Jun. 28, 2006
Dear Diary:

This woman joined my gym a few weeks ago, a university student on a basketball scholarship at UVM. She has a summer job in the area and has to keep her fitness levels up.

We happened to get on the treadmills simultaneously together this morning which only cements my suspicion that the universe is cold place which exists only to humiliate me.

I got the all clear from my doctor to start running again about two weeks before the Milk Run. Yep, after focussing almost a year on doing better at that race, I blew a tire about ten minutes before it.


My stamina is shot to pieces from the post pneumonia lay off. At the moment I can run about half a mile then take a two minute walk, then run half a mile. This I do for half an hour.

Meanwhile, beside me, was this goddess who set the treadmill to five minute mile pace and proceeded to crank out six miles. Oh, sure, she was sweating, but it was the gleaming sort of sweat you see on racehorses, a shimmering mass of rippling muscle effect.

When I was done it was not so much about racehorses as it was about OhPleaseTakeMeNowJeebus.

"Okay, so she can run, she needs that for basketball. Bet she can't match me in the free weights," I told myself.

What's that old saying? Pride cometh before the fall?


That would be the sound of a middle-aged woman being utterly bowled over.

She went to the bench press and put a 45 pound weight on each end, which means she was pressing 135 pounds, probably quite close to her body weight. I can press .:cough:. 85 pounds .:cough:. but who's petty enough to be counting?

Wait. It gets worse. After she did a set at 135 pounds, she loaded another 20 pounds on the bar and did a set at 155 pounds. Fine. Then she loaded another 20 pounds on the bar and ground out five reps at 175 pounds. Fine.

Not that I was keeping track or anything. No, not me.

I am unspeakably proud that I just recently got my incline bench press up to 30 pound dumbbells. So what does b-ball girl do? She grabs a 45 pound weight in each hand -- I have to use two hands to lift a 45 pound free weight � (but who's petty enough to be counting?) and she cranked out three sets of 10 reps.

As I watched her I ran over which of my major organs I would be ready to give away to be able to do what she does.

Do any of my three loyal readers have the ability to magically give me her speed and strength?

Need a kidney?

Part of a liver?

Just asking.

She was still working out when I packed it in. You can bullsh*t your way through lots of life, but if you're going to make your body strong and fit, you have to invest time and do things right. This woman has paid serious dues to get where she is right now.

As I was winding down, drinking my juice/protein drink concoction, she passed by me on her way to the fountain for a drink of water. I couldn't help myself and blurted out that her speed and strength just floored me.

She laughed and said that she's always felt weak because her brothers ride her mercilessly about how they can beat her at everything.


I wanted to say that I thought the sight of her running was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen, then get on my knees and genuflect, but in the nick of time managed to hold that back. Hey, the girl needs to be eased into the weirdness that is me.

Instead, I told her about how I'd been weighing which organ I'd trade off to magically get to where she is, which cracked her up. I'm hoping that as we get to know each other a little better I can get some tips from her on how to make my own workout more efficient.

I know enough to never break the routine of going to the gym, but I must confess that for months now my heart hasn't been there. I'd much rather be outside in my gardens. In my head I know that the physical demands of what I want to do outside mean that I have to keep my body fit and strong, but my heart cries out for greenery, not for a gym.

About a decade ago the spousal unit built a deck for a woman who was entering her 80's. When she found out that I was a gardener, she generously gave me bits of the plants she had to move out of harm's way while he worked.

On Monday she stopped by for a visit to see how her gifts were doing. Yep, she's pushing 90 and she's still going strong. Her secret? She says its great genes, yoga and gardening.

I know I can't have it all, but dagnabbit, I want as much of it as I can get. So I'll keep sweating away at the gym, and when I can't do that I'll find other ways to keep myself strong because even you know what? I still want to be around to smell the roses when I'm in my 90's, too.


Mileage on the Marnometer: 402.43 miles. 10 per cent rubber duck10 per cent rubber duck
Oh, man, but I am having a hard time building back stamina. Ouch.

Goal for 2006: 1,250 miles - 2000 kilometers

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