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The Very First Second

So, as you may recall, I recently started jogging again. That used to be my main form of exercise, but then I got into walking ten thousand steps a day. But, that tends to take up rather a lot of time, so, some months ago, I went back to the sneakers and heavy breathing routine. Nothing like a little hyperventilating in the morning. Smells like victory.


Where was I? Oh, yes. You may also recall that I also got a cool new app that lets me map my workout route and share it to social media. The problem being, alas, that most of my routes are short and straight, so my maps are just about as interesting as a brief but detailed chat with your Uncle Abner Crabwonker about the relative merits of sun-dried vs kiln-cooked chicken manure in regards to their effects on birthwort blossoms in summer.


Well, the other day, I discovered something new about my little app. To wit, it talks to me. When you finish a mile, a somewhat officious synthetic woman’s voice pipes up and says something along the lines of “One mile.  Average speed [mumble-mumble] minutes and [more mumbles] seconds.”


It doesn’t exactly add, “So speed the f**k up, you sloth-witted, snail-toed, turtle-brained piece of worm-encrusted pork spleen before I report you to Orangetheory®!” But you sort of hear it between the lines. Feel the burn. And all that.



Poetry in motion, that's me...



Oh, the good news about the little voice, and about the app in general, is that it really does make it easier for me to know how far I’ve run and at what speed.


The bad news is that the former is usually way slower than I’d hoped, and the latter is downright embarrassin’. The other day, for instance, I timed myself running and then walking the same course. The result? I was running at about 17 minutes a mile. (Yah! Cool! Fab!) Then, I walked the same course, and my speed was...18 minutes a mile. As in, you got it. I run a whole minute faster than I walk.


In other words, if you want to get a fairly good picture of me as a long distance runner, head over to Youtube and see if you can’t find a clip of Burgess Meredith as the Penguin in the 1966 Batman movie. You know. The one with the waddle. And the squawk. And that’s me. Poetry in motion. You betcha.


But, I’ve been keeping at it and trying my darnedest to improve my speed. And, fortunately, one of my routes is sort of like the reverse of the way your parents walked to school each morning. I mean, it’s downhill both ways. And if I get started early in the morning, and it isn’t too hot, and it isn’t too cold, and I’ve been to the bathroom twice, and a couple of the neighbor’s Rottweilers (names of Gunther and Eisenfaust, respectively) have gotten lose and are extra eager to encourage me along my way…well, I can push it all the way to sixteen minutes a mile. So, like, whoa, real speed demon, I am.


And yesterday…


I was running along and the little voice came on. Unfortunately, I had my phone in my pocket, and Eisenfaust and Gunther were being perhaps a little noisy right then, and so the officious synthetic lady’s voice was a wee bit muffled. But I definitely heard “fifteen minutes.”


Wow! Fifteen minutes a mile! I’m burning up the road! I thought to myself…


Then, after bidding a fond farewell to my Rotti friends, and giving them small bits of jogging shorts as pre-breakfast treats, I made my way to my yard and whipped out my phone. Fifteen minutes! I thought. Whoa! I continued. A new record! I concluded.


Then, standing under the big tree out front, I checked the app. I pulled up “summery.” And it said, “Distance 1.44 miles.” Okay that was pretty good. “Average pace, 15 minutes…” Yah!


“I’m not done yet,” it interrupted.


“Pardon me?” I said, surprised to having a conversation with my own app.


“Keep reading,” it said.


“Ah, well, okay.”


It resumed, “I was going to say, fifteen minutes and…”


“And?”


“And fi-“


“Five seconds? That’s not so bad. Margin of error.”


“Not five. Fifty…”


“Fifty? Fifty seconds?”


“Fifty-nine. Fifty-nine seconds.”


“Fifty? Nine? Seconds?”


“Uh-huh. Congratulations. You’ve improved your time by a whole one sixtieth of a minute.”


“Oh,” I said. “Phooey. Darn. And Pshaw.” I added.


Okay, that wasn’t exactly what I said. What I said had a little more force. A certain verve. And there were several squirrels staggering around with their paws over their ears. And that deer that’s been eating our flowers at night showed up and said I should be ashamed of myself. And some of the chrome seemed to be stripped off my truck bumper, but, heck, I’ve been thinking of getting it replaced anyway.


Seriously, it’s going to take a while for me to recover from this. Back when I was in my twenties, I used to think a fun way to spend an afternoon was to jog from Sunderland to Amherst, and back again, before tiffin. Okay, maybe I don’t really know what tiffin is. I think it’s a meal at about three in the afternoon. But for all I know it’s a small furry animal native to Guatemala. But we weren’t not going to think about that. And, anyway, running seven or eight miles was not a big deal for me back then. Of course, that was over forty years ago, but I’m still going to be grumpy about it. Because it’s my party and I’ll cry if I wanna.


But…anyhoo…


I console myself by saying that, well, what the heck, at least I’m getting exercise, and some time in the fresh air, and it’s great fun to watch the neighbors look out their windows and say “WTF?” because apparently suburban Texans in Georgetown don’t do that sort of thing. Hunt, fish, football, and use large caliber firearms on libtards, Snowflakes, Hippies (remember them?), potted plants and other threats to the social order, heck, yeah. But not jog.


So, I guess I’ll keep running. What I don’t know is if I’ll continue using the app. It’s great to have the nifty maps of my “work outs,” but, the little voice?


Nah.


I mean, if I wanted well reasoned abuse from smug little voices about my enormous physical, mental, and spiritual shortcomings, why, I could just check the mirror during the downswings of my bipolar cycle.


Quick, convenient, and I never have to even break a sweat.


What more could you ask?


Until next time…


Onward and upward.


~mjt



Copyright©2021 Michael Jay Tucker


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