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I was walking down the street with a million thoughts going through my head. Just strolling along (lah dee dah) enjoying my day in the city. When suddenly,  I feel this nip at my leg. A dog! He almost bit me! And now this mangy mutt is barking his head off at me! I yell- Aaaah! Now what? I know I shouldn’t run, he will chase me, but what else can I do: Fight or flight? I am a Canadian for goodness sake! RUN!

And as I am running and trying not think about Rabies and my own funeral, I see the bus coming. Yay, the bus! I lift my knees up and run, damn it, I run! I am quick!? I even shock myself. Even when a person is running for the bus yelling, “Hold the Bus” they are usually ignored as the bus drives away. My theory is that if you look like you are moving quickly, then sometimes the bus driver has the patience to wait. That old woman with the heavy grocery bags has very little chance of making it. Trust me.

This time, the bus driver sees me coming and actually keeps the doors open for me.  Was I fast? I get on the bus and go to sit down. And that’s when I notice that I am barely out of breath. I am comfortable and I don’t have pains in my sides and everywhere else in my body. Wow! Am I in shape?

I used to run every day.

I am not talking about the kind of running people pretend to be doing because they are busy, like when you are talking on the phone and you have to hang up so you say, “I have to run”. I am talking about exercise. The good, ol’ fashioned, put-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other-and-move-your-butt, running!

And then there was this large span of time, let’s call it life, that came between me and the world of exercise. I wouldn’t say that I became a couch potato since I was busy doing things like going to school, raising kids, community service, moving etc. But exercise was one of those things that I always planned to do as soon as I had a free moment, which by the way, never came.

Until now.

Today I played Frisbee with two of my boys. It was such great fun and it brought back memories of my years as a kid playing Frisbee tag in the school courtyard. We were good! We could slice someone in the calf with a Frisbee like nobody’s business. And here I was running back and forth, shooting the Frisbee, catching it, laughing with my boys, and not feeling even the littlest bit like I wish I were back at home lying on my couch. I am physically tolerable (I try not to use expletives when describing myself).

I am slowly trying to build up my stamina to be able to run a half marathon in January for Chai Lifeline. It’s not easy but I am working hard to succeed. I even set up my profile in order to get donations and I am determined. But people, you should know that no matter what the world of athletic wear and power drinks tell you, there are still some advantages to not exercising which are  sometimes overlooked.

You don’t sit around complaining about knee pain and joint stiffness.

You sleep more hours.

You don’t have to replace your running shoes very often if they spend most of their time in your closet. Between the time I bought running shoes in the 90s until I replaced them this year, so many things had changed in the world of running shoes. You cannot buy a plain running shoe anymore.  I found myself in the Nike store being told by the salesperson about all of the advantages of buying a shoe like the Pegasus or Arch Fit (which all, by the way, looked the same to me except for the price tag on the sole of the shoe.). I tried to justify my purchase by figuring out how much money I was saving on chiropractors and podiatrists by buying these shoes.

But the real truth is that getting in shape is liberating. I want that freedom.

I run, therefore I am.