Old Dogs and New Pains


On my drive into work recently, I passed by a woman pushing a jogging stroller. That’s not unusual, these days, as lots of women – and men – put their kids in a stroller while they pursue fitness. The reason I mention this particular woman is that – as far as I know – she doesn’t have a child; she has a black Labrador Retriever.  Many times, I’ve driven by her and the dog out on a morning run together.  But this day, the dog was in the stroller, along for the ride.

He’s an old dog. In previous sightings I noted, as she ran at a moderate pace, the dog loped along, doing his best but struggling to keep up. It appears that his body has worn out enough that he can’t run along side her anymore. I know the feeling.

Recently, I tried a new circuit training workout that involves considerably more squatting than I am accustomed to.  The workout went well, but the next day my butt hurt so much I had trouble walking down stairs.  I didn’t shed tears, but I did whimper.  A few days later, my knee started to hurt for no good reason, aside from the possibility that I’m approaching the expiration date on some of my parts.  While I’m in decent shape overall, there are days when I’d like to climb into that stroller and just go along for the ride.

Of course, that depends on having someone willing to push me.  I’ve always been a loner when it comes to exercise. I run alone, and I workout in my living room by myself.  Recently, though, I’ve started running with co-workers during my daily lunch time run on a regular basis. I’ve also joined a running group – a loosely organized Facebook-based team appropriately titled It Hurts So Good – and gone on group runs on a few Saturday mornings. Those runs have become more than just workouts; they are therapy sessions.  We are all approaching, or are deeply entrenched in, middle age and experience a range of maladies, but the aches and pains aren’t all physical.  We have job struggles, too.  It seems that the circuit training program of employment includes a ridiculous number of glute-busting squats, if you’ll allow the metaphor.  As we run together, exchanging complaints of jobs, bosses, and bureaucracies, we take turns pushing the stroller.  Just like the woman and her dog, we depend on each other to move forward together.

Several of my It Hurts So Good teammates are taking on the Portland Marathon today.  I was feeling a bit too much like an old black Lab to join them this time, but maybe next time I’ll push them up the hills. Either way, I’m rooting for them.  Go Team Go!


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