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Running out of excuses

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Sports Editor

I've got to hand it to all the brave souls who took part in the Bank of Salem/Mark Thomas Memorial Apple Pie 5K run held May 29 in conjunction with the 55th Annual Fulton County Homecoming Festival in Salem. It's hard enough to muster the energy just to cook outside or lounge around at the lake in the pre-summer haze and killer humidity of Memorial Day weekend, but to get out and actually run in it -- whoa! That's another level entirely. David Hunsucker took overall honors in this year's event with a time of 16:53. This got me to thinking about my relationship with the sport of running. Since leaving the arena of high school sports over two decades ago (has it really been that long?), I've only felt compelled to run on a select few occasions. Now that I think about it, I've probably only run twice in the past 10 years. Once, in the mid-90s, I took part in what I thought was a harmless game of softball to benefit a charity. Turns out the game was harmless, but the next morning wasn't. After finally managing to get my achy, creaky limbs out of bed, I was reminded with every step I took that day the reasons why I don't participate in sports anymore. It only took a week to recover from the two-hour game. My next opportunity to run came more recently when a member of our livestock herd decided to wander outside of her normal territory. As I was desperately trying to sprint across a field in order to head her off, I was once again reminded of the joys of running line drills at the end of basketball practice back in high school. Only this time I wasn't really sprinting. It was more like a vicious cycle of sprint-stop-gasp-puff-sprint-stop-gasp-puff. As the reality that a 650-pound cow was not only faster, but far more agile, than me set in, I vowed to never run again. Only now, it seems my doctor is conspiring against this no-running plan. He has suggested that in an effort to help erase my high cholesterol count, running or walking would be in order. Since I've ruled out running, it looks like walking is the big winner. Up to this point in my life, I've considered walking as only a mode of transportation. As in, if you have a flat on the side of the road, you walk to a service station. I've seen people walking around in a circular pattern inside a mall or Wal-Mart for exercise, but I'd never thought that one day that might be me burning off bad calories in between the electronics and fabrics departments. I know the good people at Nike say "Just Do It," but I don't know if I can. Oh, well. Congratulations on your win, David, and should you see me tooling around our local Wal-Mart with a determined look on my face, please do me a favor, don't run over me with your shopping cart. I'll try my best to stay in the slow lane.

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