I’ve Been This Way Before

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By Gilbert B. Elwyn
About this time every year, I begin compiling my list of New Year’s Resolutions. I do not procrastinate about the compiling; just the doing.
Tops on last year’s list was to get in shape and begin running again. On the theory that “misery loves company”…oops: I mean, “exercise is more fun if it’s shared”, I began a series of Miles of Smiles columns.
As e-mail buffs like to say RL got in the way. (That’s Real Life…), so the closest I got to actually running this year was to find some of my old extra-large race shirts, since they would still fit me, and organizing my running drawer. The closest I came to actually exercising was signing up for a three-month membership at a gym, which I utilized one day – the first one.
But just to show that “you can’t keep a good man down”…or me either, I’m going to try it again and I hope that, if RL got in your way, too, that you’ll plod along with me through these first early steps.
Why write about New Year’s resolutions now?
1) By the time the January MOBILE LIFE Today is posted, it will be after January 1st, the traditional day for declaring your New Year’s resolutions.
2) Christmas is coming: ask Santa
for some running shoes
C) (I never could count!) If you want to get in shape for the Race for the Grasshopper 5k it would be good to start training now.
D) The December Holiday season can be stressful and calorie-ful (nice new word there – my Christmas gift to you); what better way to burn off some of each than by walking and/or running.
5) It might be easier to keep this New Year’s resolution if you actually begin it before New Year’s Day,
6) I forget what #6 was, but you can bet that it was a doozy.
My suggestions to those of you who are wanting to get back into shape by running for the first time or dusting off those old running shoes for another go ‘round: check with your doctor to make sure that it is safe for you to do so. Go to a running store to purchase shoes and to obtain advice. Two notes here: the pricier or more fashionable shoes don’t always fit best and if the salesperson won’t or is incapable of giving you running advice, then don’t buy your shoes at that store. Begin your training slowly: “you have to walk before you can run”. (This month’s column really ought to be sponsored by Bartlett’s Quotations!) When you feel up to it, alternate a little running with your walking, and gradually increase your running distance. “No gain without pain” had to have been said by a masochist. I prefer another adage: “The goal is to finish on your feet, not on a stretcher.”
These are cold months, so you do need to take precautions. Dress warmly, but layer your clothes, so that you can remove items as your body heat rises. If it is dangerously cold or if it is icy, DON’T RUN! Stretch and warm up before and after running. Some people suggest doing another warm-up after you’ve run for a short distance. Run with a friend or significant (or insignificant?) other. Check to see if any of your friends already run. Many runners and running groups are good about nurturing novice runners. That is how I began running and I always tried to pass along the favor to new members of our group.
Set a goal. A good goal might be to run or walk/run The Race for the Grasshopper in Cowpens in January. Check January 2008’s issue of MOBILE LIFE Today to find out more about The Cowpens Battlefield Site. Each New Year is capable of bringing new hopes, so mine is this for all of us:

May 2009 be filled with Miles of Smiles.

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