Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Getting in Shape

As a child, I was never the outdoors kind. I played Lego, watched TV (StarTrek), read books, did my homework and practiced my violin. I had to walk about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) to school every day in each direction down and up a hill, and that was my main physical activity for the first 6 years of school. I'm not entirely sure why, but I never played Soccer or Basketball even though I lived next to a park with a basketball court. It might have been lack of encouragement in that direction at a young age combined with accepting it just wasn't in me later on. PE (Physical Education) was not my best subject at school, to say the least. According to a story my father told me, when I learned how to swim in summer camp the teacher described me as lazy...

High school (6 years in Israel, no middle school) was an entrenchment of the braniac image, especially with the reputation my brother made 4 years earlier. By then I was comfortable with that image, and didn't think about being fit, especially being naturally thin and capable of doing the daily activities being a high school student is comprised of. I usually walked in front on school trips but that's easy when you are 6 feet tall and weigh 125 lbs.

In College I trained in Kung-Fu 2-3 times a week for a couple of years, which probably brought me to the best shape I've ever been. After college I served in the Israeli military. Though mostly an office job of writing software, it also entailed digging trenches in the sand to put in cables on the hot and humid Israeli beach for terminal ballistics experiments which I helped conducting and decoding.

I was never entirely a couch potato - I learned to ski at 15 years of age and enjoy it greatly to date. Over the years I have been a member of the local gym though for some stretches of time that's all I was (guess what - paying the membership and seeing it from the road while driving doesn't get you fit...).
Sunrise over the Dead Sea as seen from Massada
Israel 2008A few years ago I trained for a month and successfully rod my bicycle to work and back, 10 miles each direction. A tiny step for mankind, but a pretty big step for me... Last year I climbed the Masada snake path before dawn and saw the beautiful sunrise overseeing the dead sea.

So what now? Well, now I am on a mission. Inspired by the Boulder scenery (a very fit and outdoors kind of place) and the desire to be fit enough to be an astronaut, or maybe it's just a self preservation instinct that's brewing in me as my hair is showing ever increasing amounts of gray strands. Maybe it is a New Year's resolution with all its low success rate implications.

Either way, I intend to hold myself to the written word, and to be specific - run the Bolder Boulder race on Memorial Day 2010. To quote a great president - "...not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win...".

No comments: