How a Muppet Became My Personal Trainer…Part 2

When I was a kid I could run really fast.

I was quick and squirrelly.

I had to be. I was always one of the smallest kids in school, or liddle’ as the resident White House toddler calls it.

The bigger boys in my class enjoyed practicing their wrestling moves during recess, and conveniently enough I was the perfect sized 3rd grader to pick up and suplex. Granted we all wrestled as boys do, but I was never the one picking up somebody to suplex. I was always the suplexee.

3rd Grade recess had me like

Honestly, I don’t know how we never broke any bones or worse.

So I learned to sprint to get away, but no stamina. By the time I was in college playing intramural soccer, running also meant shin splints and aching knees. These days my knees feel like old Tinkertoys and bubblegum rather than bone joints and cartilage.

Recently I was cleaning out my closet for donations, and I found an old pair of running shoes that I bought ~10 years ago when was working out regularly at the gym. I only used them for working out, and maybe a few minutes on the treadmill. They’re still practically new, but also pretty fugly as most running shoes are IMO.

When I found the shoes in the back of my closet I asked myself – keep or donate?

“Donate, duh Slothman”.

But then I found another pair of running shoes. I guess I only liked buying the shoes, not using them for their purpose. For whatever reason I decided to keep the newer pair.

Now back to my walk with Jeff the Dood.

The day after we double timed it, I had a giant blister from my slip-ons.  I like how they look, and they feel super comfy while walking, but they’re way too casual for jogs.

I know I need to wear these basic, ugly running shoes- with their giant, floppy laces and weird thick heels.

But at least now they serve a purpose other than holding down the back of my closet. They’re also pretty comfortable thanks to all the cushioning and support.

Our first walk wearing the shoes started the same. Walking. Slow steady pace. Jeff’s sniffing the sidewalk and plants to find out which friends already passed by.

But no podcast this time, and no silence. I need better sound motivation for this.

This time I put on my workout playlist, also from over 10 years ago. Mostly House music with BMP above 120. Remixes like Sinnerman, and Paradise, I Can’t Get Enough and Music Sounds Better.  They keep a good, bouncy pace that I can jog to.

I should clarify what I mean by jogging. My jogging is not graceful like this:

Mine’s more of a rhythmic plodding. If someone filmed me in slow-mo I’m sure it’d be me bouncing up and down at all angles while seeing the Earth move under my feet.

And speaking of my beautiful feet. A pair of genetic blessings passed down from my Grandfather. They’re often confused for adobe bricks due to a condition podiatrists refer to as Flintstonian.

They make running fun and I can always stop on a dime.

So now we’re walking. Cue the Squirrel! Time to move.

I catch the beat playing in my headphones and we’re off. I’m jogging. Jeff’s long legs skitter along next to me and he’s gliding on the sidewalk. He’s barely in second gear. I time my breathing to my steps so I don’t get winded.

We jogged the long side of the block all the way to the end,  then walked up the short side, and jogged the long block again crisscrossing our way back home.

Jeff’s infectious energy is guiding me to do something that I’ve always disliked doing for a number of reasons. And now the reasons (excuses) are disappearing. That’s what a good personal trainer helps you do. They help you empty your bag of excuses.

The Roly Poly Crew Jan 2016

I’m now running short sprints that play to my physical strength instead of longer distances that force my body to do something it wasn’t made to do.

I’m running comfortably thanks to a proper pair of running shoes that I almost gave away. And the pain in my knees and shins has been replaced by healthy muscle soreness in my calves, quads and glutes.

The cannabis acts as a bronchodilator allowing me to breathe in more cool morning air so I can run further without losing my breath. And I’ll save the “Runner’s High…On Weed” for a whole other blog post.

After a jog. Nov 2017

Jeff is pushing me and he doesn’t even know it. He’s just living his best damn life and he wants me to join him. Walking, jogging, running together puts me in the present moment with him.

Our daily routine started as a way to get him exercised so he wouldn’t drive us crazy. Now I’m exercising as a way to help me stay sane in a crazy world.

And we really do have a great time jogging together.

A Yabba-Dabba Doo time.

How a Muppet Became My Personal Trainer…Part 1

I want to tell you about the best part of my mornings, but first let me introduce you to Jeff Lebowowski.

Jeff is a 2 year-old Goldendoodle that we got as a puppy from a rescue (yep, even ‘designer dogs’ can be adopted from rescues!).

As a puppy, Jeff was a cute, roly-poly, teddy bear with the bubble belly that’s just made for rubs and pats. We pictured him growing into a shorter, stocky, furball not unlike yours truly.

We didn’t know he’d grow into a svelte, long legged athletic doggo.

Jeff can stay in bed all morning like an emo teenager listening to The Cure, but once he’s up he’s very high energy. He likes to run. Fast.

More specifically, he loves to run and be chased. He’s got awesome juke moves that’ll make you jump out of your shoes. Yep, this boy’s a runnin’ fool.

Even with all the negativity in the world these days, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life since I retired. I’m grateful for the free time that I now have, and the best part of my day for the past few months has been the mornings when Jeff and I take our walk around the neighborhood.

For the past few months, the first thing I do is wake ‘n bake with a dab of cannabis concentrate. I prefer Jack Herer or some variant of it. It’s a good morning strain that puts me a calm and creative mood, but I can still get things done. Then I throw on a pair of comfy slip-ons, get Jeff suited up in his harness, and we’re out the door. We typically crisscross through the neighborhood for 30-45 minutes while I listen to a podcast, or think about my day, or I don’t think about anything and just enjoy the brisk morning air and sun on my face. The neighborhood is quiet after the morning rush. And we’re not in a hurry, but we keep a steady pace so Jeff hopefully gets somewhat tired.

Jeff does pretty good on a leash, but he gets excited when he sees other dogs and of course…squirrels!


But lately he’s been getting more excited at the very beginning of the walk. It’s something that he really looks forward to now, and he’s learned (or I have) when it’s time to go.

One day last week he was really antzy, and was pulling on the leash more than usual shortly after we started.

Then he saw a squirrel, and I knew I had to do something quickly to get his attention back to the walk.

So I double timed it like I’ve done a couple times before. But instead of gearing back down to my normal pace, I kept it up and we went to the end of the block.

That’s not a big deal for most people, but I was out of breath after ~800 feet. I’ve been a sedentary professional for most of my adult life. I can double time it down the block for a little bit, but I max out quickly.

But I noticed something interesting this time. Usually when I’m out of breath I need a few minutes to recover. This time I was able to catch my breath quickly.  And because of the cooler morning air, my lungs didn’t burn as much.

We double timed it for another half block.

Jeff was ecstatic. He looked back a couple times with a goofball look of confusion to see if he should keep running. We did.

We finished that walk more tired than usual.

And I knew what I needed to do…