Wednesday, March 7, 2012

On Treadie

Two months in, and Dort Munder is still going strong.

Here we are, a sixth of the way into the new year (at what point does the year become old, I wonder), and Dort has continued to work out despite an injury, increased workload, a couple of week-long trips, and life's general inconsistencies. Woot.

I, on the other hand, have clearly fallen off the resolution wagon -- in an attempt to update Dort's progress every two or three days, I've gone nearly two weeks here without an update. Still, my own lack in this case is yet another testament to Dort's own commitment to his cause: I undertook this experiment in order to help someone else with a resolution and track his progress publicly. I'll try to do better in the future?

Meanwhile, it looks likely that I'll be traveling for a couple of weeks and, as a result, be much less likely to update as frequently as I initially had in mind.

Also, there's this:

Here is Dort's new dear friend Treadie. Hopefully the weather will stay bad for a little while longer, so Dort and Treadie can get some quality time together. Why is it that whenever I look at a treadmill, I think, "An enemy of my enemy is my friend"?

Dort and I have a walk scheduled for Saturday, at which point I'll post something, certainly, more substantive about the world. Until then . . . keep resolving.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Upon His Return . . .

Me, personally, I've been injured and have had to take the past week off. The coming week doesn't look terribly likely either.

Dort Munder, on the other hand, is doing fantastic! Not only has he been maintaining the program, he's also taking steps (ha! a runner's pun) towards insuring that his resolution will last.

I'll note up front that Dort did about a week's worth of travel since the last post, including a trans-Atlantic flight -- not much room for working out on those planes -- and, of course, a second trans-Atlantic flight to get home. He missed two days of workout during his travels, but surely we will forgive him as he forgives himself . . .

And note: the important thing here is not that there were extenuating circumstances that barred Dort from working out -- the important thing, as I see it, is that he jumped back in with both feet as soon as he landed back on this side of the pond.

I visited Dort yesterday for a walk, which was of great benefit to me, because, as I say, my own workout schedule leaves me injured, so I've been whining about my condition, and Dort got me off my chair.

Lo! to my surprise, I found myself helping Dort put the finishing touches on his brand-new treadmill. Fantastic! In your face, harsh Appalachian foothill winters! It's a beauty. What a great way to continue the resolution. All of us resolved to workouts are certainly aware of the thousand things that can keep us from going to the gym or stopping by the gym on a snowy evening. Really.

Of course, not all of us can fit a treadmill into our lives, and we acknowledge that as well. The treadmill, rather is a metaphor for a continuing commitment to this resolution, to the workout, to the self-improvement inherent in this sustained, consistent effort.

Hazah! Halfway through February and maintaining. Best of luck to everyone out there who's sticking with their resolutions. Additional luck to those who might not have succeeded but are considering another go at it

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Welcome to February

From Dort Munder himself:

Monday                      treadmill 30
Tues                            walking 1 hour x 2 = 2 hour
Wed                            treadmill 30
Thursday                    treadmill 30   
Fri                                walking 45 minutes
Sat                               walking 30
Sun                              walking 30

And just like that, we're a month into a resolution! Congratulations, Dort!

It's been a big month, full of weather and committee meetings, and, apart from January 01 and one day following an injury, Dort has made space in his life for his resolution, working towards running a 5K race in the spring. Hazah!

As with all Rocky fans everywhere, I love a good montage . . . unfortunately, I don't know how to blog a montage, so I'll have to quickly change the subject.

To this: there cannot be any greater time of the year to talk about resolutions than the last week of December, and that is fun. But where has all that talk gone? How are your own resolutions proceeding? Have you stuck to them? Have they altered? 31 days in is no joke, and I can't shake the notion that we have more people rooting against us than for us. Am I right about this? or simply cynical?

Dieters: how many advertisements do you see each day for food that will break you, and how few times does someone notice the three grams you struggled to drop last week?

Ex-smokers: do I even need to ask how many times you've watched Robert De Niro light up while you chewed your fingernails from your armchair?

Exercisers: I'll bet you can recall more rain and snow and darkness over the passed month than sun. I'll bet more folks have asked you for a little extra help way more often than they've asked what they can do to get you out the door.

Folks seeking calm: any good experiences driving lately?

Even bumper stickers seem to be against us: "Working is the curse of the drinking class!" Here, here, wait, what? Try taking a month or two off drinking when you see signs like that everywhere you look, advertisements, friends in low places, pop culture . . .

I am tempted to make sweeping generalizations about how our culture resists general tenderness and unasked for moments of encouragement, but I don't want to point fingers. Rather, I want to celebrate everybody who has made it through a month of their resolution. It hasn't been easy, I'm sure. There have been challenges and unexpected obstacles, but welcome to February! Meanwhile, for anybody who has not made it through January, welcome to February! Don't wait for the last week of December -- if you have a resolution in mind, give it a go. There's no better day of the year to start a new way of life than Groundhog's Day, so make plans for tomorrow.

Dort's Running Tally:
As of 025 January 2012
Days Running: 28
Minutes Run: over 1000
Cross Training: 1 day
Days off: 2 day

Meanwhile, we'd love to hear from anybody who has made a resolution and stuck with it, made a resolution and changed it, made a resolution that didn't pan out, or has heard of resolutions and would like to say something about them.

Or if you'd like to give a shout out to Dort, have at it! One month! That's really pretty great!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Running Advice from Stephen King . . .

In On Writing, Stephen King writes:
By the time you step into your new writing space and close the door, you should have settled on a daily writing goal. As with physical exercise, it would be best to set this goal low at first, to avoid discouragement. I suggest a thousand words a day, and because I'm feeling magnanimous, I'll also suggest that you can take one day a week off, at least to begin with. no more; you'll lose the urgency and immediacy of your story if you do. With that goal set, resolve to yourself that the door stays closed until that goal is met. Get busy putting those thousand words on paper or on a floppy disk. In an early interview (this was to promote Carrie, I think), a radio talk-show host asked me how I wrote. My reply--"One word at a time"--seemingly left him without a reply. I think he was trying to decide whether or not I was joking. I wasn't.
Damn near a month into this thing, and I'm still finding mentions of resolutions in my day-to-day life. Here, Stephen King is the inspiration, and, I believe, this is some of the best writing advice I know of, advice I give writers all the time.

More importantly, for us, it translates (very well I think) to many other resolutions, including the one Dort Munder has made. Dort has resolved, as we all know, to run a 5K race after many years of not running and certainly of not racing. Not an easy prospect, and, yet, attainable. He did not say, "I want to run the fastest 5K of my life" or "I want to win my age group" or "finish in under half an hour." He wants to run a 5K. It's a noble challenge. He is working hard towards it.

Stephen King's above quote doesn't come right out and say it, but we all know it, right? Once we've settled into our rhythm of a thousand words a day, once we've carved out a space in our lives for that, once that task becomes easy, we bump it up to fifteen hundred words per day.

Maybe this fall Dort will chase after a 30:00 5K. Maybe, instead, he'll put a 10K on his agenda. Hey, four of those is nearly a marathon . . . but it's this kind of thinking, I think, that can be stifling, ultimately, so I'm sorry if I've planted an awful seed. But I have good reason . . .

There will always be one more thing. There is always the next goal. But we can't reach the next goal if we don't reach the first one, well . . . first. King's right about a lot of things or seems to be right about a lot of things in his writing memoir, but I think the truest thing, no matter what kind of writer you are, is that writing happens one word at a time.

Running, no matter whether your Usain Bolt, Dort Munder, or reading this post, happens step by step.