I just completed my almost daily two-mile jog. No, I do not run. I’ve never been a runner, and I’ve been chugging along since 1975. I’d like to pretend that I was in my early teens when I took to the trail, but you won’t believe me. I realized I was in awful cardiovascular shape (did we use that term back then?) when on a trip to Europe with my then husband and son, I had to sit down to catch my breath several times on the walk up that winding little mountain road to Neuschwanstein Castle.
When we got home, I signed up for an Aerobic Dance Class. Again, I was shocked at my inability to keep up with the famers’ wives in my class that regularly worked a day’s worth in their gardens. That’s when I decided to jog in a big figure eight through my house each morning. I dared not jog outside because our small town did not have leash laws and a dog bit the mayor. I knew if dogs bit the mayor, they would surely bite me. So, before my morning shower, I donned tennis shoes (pre-jogging gear) and raced (sort of) through my house in my gown. At the time, I had large breasts, which I carried in each hand. Only one friend caught me in my routine, and she collapsed in hysterics on the kitchen floor.
After I moved to Austin, Texas, the city of runners, I met my current husband who started jogging in 1968 before it was stylish. Knees have recently forced him to walk, but I’ve steadfastly maintained my jog. Those who wonder why I’ve not increased my speed have chided me to set some goals, to aim higher. I tell them my goal is to finish. Period.
In the early days some people were confident my husband or I would drop dead on the trail. Most of those people have since died of something other than jogging. One guy claimed that he would take up jogging as soon as he saw joggers smiling. My response seemed simple: “Athletes don’t smile while they’re doing whatever they do. Even dancers have to be taught to smile while performing rigorous routines.” That fellow has long since passed as well.
I guess the bottom line is that I keep jogging because I feel better when it’s over. That is, I feel better all day long.