Time to stop running away and start ... running

June 09, 2005|by DAN KAUFFMAN

As a general rule, I don't like columns with "I" used in them, no matter whom the writer is.

I also don't like being a 220-pound, unathletic, overweight, out-of-shape, out-of-breath-after-carrying-the-groceries-upstairs blob. So, for the purposes of accountability, I am writing an "I" column.

As I see it, I don't really have much of a choice.

I've told my wife I was going to get back in shape - maybe even join her in doing the "45 Minute Fat-Burning Workout" - but that hasn't happened.

I told colleague Andy Mason some time ago I would start hitting the North Hagerstown High School track for regular runs, even asking him for advice on how to get going. That plan lasted two sessions before I quit on it and angered Andy in the process. If I were Andy, I'd have been peeved, too.


On Monday - as she has done several times - my wife reminded me that diabetes runs in my family. I have a great ability to not care about things I should care about, my health included, so I've been ignoring her reminders.

Well, it sunk in a little this time.

So, now I'm setting some goals and planning how to achieve them - and I'm asking my readers to help keep my backpedaling backside honest.

Here's the short-term goal: By the end of the summer (Sept. 21), I will complete at least one area 5K road race. I have to believe there's at least one being held in the area in those final two weeks of summer (I have a backup goal just in case).

If hundreds of area high school runners can get themselves in shape to run an almost identical distance during cross country season, there's no reason I can't.

The plan is simple: At least three times a week, I need to run.

I'm not planning on going gangbusters right away. I have no illusions about my current condition. It's pathetic. I need to be able to make it around North's track twice without stopping first, something I couldn't do the last time I tried several months ago (a depressing admission from someone who ran a 5:36 mile as a freshman in high school).

But I need to get out there and do something. If all it is is jogging 200 meters, walking 200, jogging 200, walking 200 and so forth for a mile or two, that's better than sitting on my sofa inhaling Krispy Kremes, chugging soda and sabotaging my quality of life.

In a month, I want to be able to consistently run a mile without stopping. In two, I should be able to get through a 5K run. It doesn't have to be pretty. It just has to be.

At least two other times a week, I need to spend at least an hour doing some kind of excercise. It can be swimming, basketball, tennis, the workout video, whatever.

The long-term goal is to keep running beyond the summer, the sole purpose (pun intended) being to stay in reasonable, active shape.

The plan starts today. If I back out of this one, I have to answer to all of you.

I like it that way.

Dan Kauffman is a staff writer for The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7520, or by e-mail at

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