It's time for the "Race for the Cure" and many of you are looking to me for fitness and running advice. With Sunday's 5K run in mind, I thought this would be a good time to answer your questions.
Do you hate exercise as much as I do?
Yes. There are three things I hate in life:
1. Skinny aerobics instructors who squeal like gerbils.
2. Whoever took the last slice of pizza. I know you're out there. I want that slice.
Like it or not, Fatty Arbuckle, you need exercise. Me, too. Thanks to my sofa and my cable subscription I have thighs like a brontosaurus and the metabolism of a three-toed sloth. Call an ambulance. Typing that last sentence left me winded.
For many of us, finding the fridge is easier than finding the motivation to run. I run to control my Type 2 diabetes, which is the trendy boomer disease you're all going to get. If we diabetics misbehave our sugar levels shoot up, our blood turns to maple syrup, and the next thing I know a "Twilight" extra with a sweet tooth is stalking my hearse. Fear of death is the best motivator I know, second only to doughnuts with sugar-free sprinkles.
Where do you run?
I like to break the sound barrier at Sabino Canyon. I lumber like the Jurassic Park T-Rex for about 100 feet and then I collapse into the shrubs. When I come to, I slip into the next pack heading right back to the parking lot. People assume you've run the whole way up into the canyon and back. I like to give it my Tom Cruise "Mission Impossible" sprint. Nothing can make a workout feel more satisfying than the admiration of strangers.
I like the river paths, too. If you're on the Rillito Path and someone shouts, "On your left, Pillsbury doughboy," move to your right or you'll need to have a racing bike surgically removed from your sweat gutter like I did.
To raise money for causes. To catch the Sun Tran bus. And because I have a tight schedule. After the cartoon is drawn, my biggest challenge is what to do with the other 23-hours in the day. There just isn't time for a full workout with the great films on Turner Classic Movies.
Make your workout fun. I make my runs fun by whining. If you like to complain like I do, start out slowly, by whining about walking around the block. I don't stretch before I run because calling what I do "running" qualifies as a really good stretch.
Over time move up to intermittent carping and muttering about the demands of exercise while jogging. These days I'm proud to say I'm running and kvetching like a Catskills comic with heartburn and aches and pains you can't believe.
Form and pace matter. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? The tortoise was doping.
Does sports equipment matter?
Count Nike Von Adidas
Men in my age group should consider a sports bra. Yesterday, jogging in place, waiting for the light to turn, my C-cups were slapping me in the face so hard I got a pair of black eyes.
Don't spend a fortune on expensive running shoes. I run in some old roller skates I found in a dumpster and they work just fine.
Forget monitors. Running with armbands, sensors, wires and earphones you look like experimental subjects who've escaped from a mad scientist's basement, racing to the nearest police substation to warn the rest of us. No, thanks.
My finest piece of sporting equipment is my iPod. My favorite playlist is techno-beat music interspersed with a Marine Corps drill instructor barking out a running cadence. Of course, nothing beats running full bore to the hot beat of Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 1 in D major.
When do you run?
I like to run at night after the last meal of the day. Usually right around the time someone says, "Who wants to help load the dishwasher?" Boom. I'm out the door. The great thing about night runs is no one can see you do the Rocky Balboa dance when "Gonna Fly Now" comes on your iPod.
Running is rewarding. You get endorphins. They're like dolphins, only cuter. After the 13th mile without hydration you'll see them floating around, pink ones and blue ones, over and under the traffic lights like giant paramecium. Your second thrill will be getting a second wind. If you experience a third wind you have a leak and should consider cycling.
Have a great run and be safe.
Ira Thorpe Fitzsimmons loved Dustin Hoffman in "Marathon Man" and is the author of "How to Load a Dishwasher."
Race for the Cure
The 15th Annual Southern Arizona Race for the Cure will be on the University of Arizona campus Sunday. For details visit komensaz.org
Email Star cartoonist and columnist David Fitzsimmons at firstname.lastname@example.org