Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Joy of Fitness
   by Bob Wells, CPT, PES

As I crossed the finish line of the Fit For All 5K, I felt a familiar feeling in my legs.

It was the same feeling that I had after every 400 meter race I have ever run--jelly. I quickly scanned for a place to relieve them--of the nearly 210 pounds packed onto my 5'9" frame.

I am built for the 100 meter sprint or the 40 yard dash, but certainly not a 5,000 meter race, at least according to conventional wisdom. My pseudo running partner, Frank Monteleone, congratulated me as I crossed the finish line, in 26:05, officially. (Frank had long dusted me, finishing nearly five minutes earlier, good enough for a 4th place overall finish.)

Shy of my 25:00 goal, I was nevertheless pleased with my performance. In my first official race, with cold air penetrating my lungs with each breath, it felt as if I were the victim of a robbery gone bad. Coupled with cramps growing more intense, I was also fighting an overwhelming desire to quit.

At about the 2.5 mile point, I seriously contemplated curling up into the fetal position, forgoing a race in which my legs had forsaken me. Had I been wearing more than my black Nike shorts and my "Jews Kick Ass" t-shirt, a bold DNF might have been attached to my name.

Instead, I ran on, encouraged by my fellow runners and an amazing crowd cheering each runner. With the race, I discovered the camaraderie of the distance community. The race was more than just a race.

It was a community gathering, with each participant and spectator encouraging everyone else to dig deep, to finish strong, and experience the joy that comes with accomplishing something you once thought impossible.

It is...the joy of fitness!

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