Cool Running

When I was young, I was a runner, not of long distances, but of short sprints. And while I was a horrible basketball player, I would often poke the ball out of the hands of the opposition and race down the court to find myself all alone starring at the little net elusively suspended 10 feet in the air. Without fail, my attempt at a layup would fall short, and the star of the team, Randy Burtniak, would be there to scoop up the rebound and get the two points.

At the track meets I would sprout wings and go flying to the hundred yard marker. I'm still somewhat haunted by the memory of a meet that happened in one of the communities to the north of Kamsack -- Aaron, Pelly or Norquay, I'm not quite sure which. It was one of those races where the wind felt at my back and victory was in my sights. Two or three strides before the finish line, my calves seized up, cramped, and flung me into the dirt, the race lost.

I was thinking of that moment when my muscles revolted almost thirty years ago as I circled the track at the Syncrude Sport & Wellness Centre today for the first time. Running on a track impacts the bones a lot different than running on a treadmill. My bones and my leg muscles were screaming for me to stop. Eventually I got into a routine of walking a lap, jogging for two, then sprinting for a half. The walking provided enough relief from the pain to keep going.

Turning the corner, out from behind the media booth, I broke into a sprint, long strides, eyes forward, young again -- if only for a few seconds.

January 9, 2010 - 204 pounds, 29.9% body fat


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