Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

A not so righteous run…


               With cooler temperatures I resumed my daily run in the park near the office. It’s about three miles around the park on the dirt path, with a smaller concrete path below. I’ve been running, or rather walking mostly, for more than a year, and have come to see a lot of the same people exercising. Bike riding through in the morning on the way to work I run across the morning walkers, who are out with their dogs and/or friends and enjoying the start of a new day. Biking through the park in the evening on the way home, there are soccer moms killing time, and horribly annoying cyclists who think they’re riding in the Tour De France and own the pathway. Then there are the mid-day joggers, such as myself. Nobody’s really happy, we’re all red-faced and huffing in the mid-day sun, with looks of disgust and pain on our faces. The  nooners are there just to get our exercise out of the way. There are no smiles, nods, or small-talk as we pass each other. There is only the desperate look of determination to get it over with.

               When I first started jogging around the park last year, I came across a relatively young man, perhaps early 40’s, who was struggling at one of the workout stations surrounding the path. He was slowly working on doing sit-ups, and I thought he looked a little weak for such a young man. Then he got up and began walking, and it was obvious he was recovering from a stroke. He tediously drug his leg along behind the rest of his body, his arm hanging limply at his side. I had circled the park and was on my way back in the time it had taken him to drag himself to the next exercise station, where he was forcing himself to clutch the bar in front of him while he stretched. I watched him slowly get a little stronger each week, but haven’t seen him this summer, since I’ve mainly been riding my bike for exercise.

               But I saw him again today. And I barely recognized him. He still has a slight limp, and if you look closely you can tell one arm hangs lower than the other, but aside from being a little slow, you would never know he was the same broken man from a year ago. He jogged slowly from station to station, and even though I passed him on the trail, my little 30-minute jog seemed insignificant compared to the great lengths that stranger has gone to for his own health.

               I stepped up my pace slightly to assuage my guilty feelings of my inadequate workout, and was feeling pretty righteous again as I rounded the corner at the far end of the park. The exercise station there is one that’s used for upper body workouts, including a pull-up bar. I once made a goal of being able to do one chin-up, and actually exceeded it by doing two pull-ups, and I remembered my glory days fondly as I approached the station. After all, nor many 40-something-year-olds could even do one pull-up. Or so I thought. An older man, another regular I had seen circling the park for exercise, planted himself beneath the bar. What was left of his hair was gray, making me believe he was nearing 60. He reached up and grabbed the bar with both hands, and almost effortlessly, pulled himself up above the bar. Wow, I was impressed. Then he did it again. And again. And again. Twelve pull-ups he did, without shaking arms or struggling with his legs to kick himself up and over.

               He finished and caught me watching him. I applauded and gave him a thumbs up, and he smiled big and took off walking to the next station. Although my muscles thanked me for the meager workout, I didn’t feel as good as I had hoped after my jog, but am determined to run a little faster, do at least five sit ups and attempt the pull-up thing again tomorrow.

September 20, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , ,

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