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A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Relay this message: It's time to start running again

I’m beginning to look like a manatee.
Just about as mobile, too.
Or maybe a milking cow that is carrying an XXXL load of homogenized.
Just as uncomfortable, too.
I have gotten fat. There is no getting around it.
For a while, I blamed it on hot water in the washing machine and an even hotter dryer.
Things had started shrinking.
Until I realized my wife, Kim, washes everything in cold water and she hangs most things up before they are fully dried.
I even convinced myself for some time my shirts and sweaters were tighter because of all the weight I was lifting.
But I was not lifting much weight. Certainly not enough to go from Pee Wee Herman to Lou Ferrigno. And by far the most weight I’m lifting these days is when I get off the couch at home or out of my chair at work.
Now that is some serious hefting.
So it is time to get into shape. With an asterisk. It is probably not the ideal time, since Christmas cookies beckoned as did Chex Mix. Not to mention prime rib, honey glazed ham, and just about any creation fashioned from potatoes this side of Idaho.
That is not to mention the bowls of green, red and white M&Ms both plain and peanut; and the Reese’s peanut butter cups adorned in holiday foil.
But do you know what, there is no better time than now, especially when now is 2013.
I am going to start by walking a little bit. If my plan holds, that little bit will turn into a little bit more. And a little bit more will turn into running a little bit. And hopefully, that will turn into running a lot more.
                                         A river crossing at an earlier Great Lakes Relay.

My goal is a return to the 2013 edition of the Great Lakes Relay. That is a 10-person relay race that meanders through the northern lower peninsula of Michigan. The three-day event begins on July 19 and concludes on the 21st. It is mostly a trail run, and that hardly ever means wood chips and signage. Instead, it is frequently sand, mud and mosquitoes. Not much of the terrain is flat, either. You’re either going up or down, or down and up. There are a couple of river crossings, too. The Au Sable beckons and so does the Manistee. It goes on and on for about 280 miles, and none of those miles remotely resembles power walking past Macy’s at the mall.
Still, Michigan is a beautiful state, even when you are in a state of exhaustion. The folks from Pure Michigan would be awed.
But back to reality; I need to conquer 10 blocks before I engage in about 10 miles per day. I am in horrible shape, and I wish I was exaggerating. It is sad that I let myself go, because I used to run a lot. Not like a Kenyan who is sprinting all 26.2 miles of a marathon, but like an American who did marathons and Big Macs. I ran marathons. I did 5ks, 10ks, 10 milers and half marathons. I even attempted an ultra marathon or two.
The Great Lakes Relay is also on my resume several times over. I used to have a blast doing it. Rumor has it that my buddy, John Bassier, is signing up for the Relay. Another good friend, Jeff Kuehn, the sports editor at The Oakland Press, has also expressed interest.
I fell of the running wagon. I fell into the food trough. I am ashamed of myself. I don’t revel in my ways. I don’t revel in my weighs, either. It is time to drop some pounds. The Great Lakes Relay beckons.
I swear on a stack of Twinkies with an expiration date of July of 2048 I am back in the game.


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