Five Miles After Breakfast

I planned to wake up early.  I really did.  But then…sleep.  It overtook me, like a massive rogue wave.  I slumbered until after 6:00.  Good times.

So after breakfast, I drove through the rain up to the gym. I need to work out some new running routes because the old ones make me crazy bored. I found my favorite treadmill open and all the others filled.  Huzzah!

As I mounted the machine, the older man on the neighboring treadmill greeted me. He walked along at a good clip with a hefty incline to boot.

“I see you come out of the back room sometimes,” he said. I could tell by the look on his face he wondered if I was part of some secret society. He was curious. Some gym goers never venture past the front room, I guess.

“Oh, I go to kettlebells class,” I said, chuckling. “It’s pretty hardcore.”

He nodded.

“That’s why I walk here.” He gestured to the treadmill.  “I can control my own destiny.”

We shared a laugh. But those of us in the know realize nobody controls their own destiny, despite a glut of inspirational movies and whatever your horoscope might say.

We chatted a bit more.  I mentioned the article pinned on the bulletin board, the one sporting his photo.

He grimaced.  “I only lost about 10 lbs for that article.  I’ve lost about 10 more since then,” he said, not a little proudly.

“The last article featured a gal who’d lost over 100 lbs.  I didn’t even want to be interviewed,” he said, shaking his head.

He didn’t feel his accomplishment merited celebrating.  I didn’t comment on his thought, but I pondered it as the miles rolled by.  Why do we downplay our successes?  Maybe our awards don’t stack up to the Nobel Peace Prize, but they do matter.  I thought about all the folks I know who’d just like to lose a few pounds, 10-20 or so. To me, this man I’ll call Joe, would be inspirational. He started walking on a regular basis, cut down on his caloric intake, and got fit. His bouts of depression became a memory.

“Since that article came out, I also toned up a bit, too,” he informed me.

I glanced over at his slender frame. Weight-bearing exercises provide great benefits for all of us, since we lose muscle mass as we age.  I silently applauded his foresight. Exercise is like money in the health bank, I think. Why not invest in yourself whenever you can?

We talked off and on as I finished up my five miles and he his timed workout. It was nice to have someone to talk to, even if only for a little while.  He encouraged me.  I only hope I did the same for him.