From fun run to furnace

After a good nights sleep and a refreshing Monster shake (noticing a pattern? If not, check previous entries) I felt like today was the day for a nice long run. I had been driving down Howell Branch Road a few days ago and thought that it offered a nice scenic route, so I mentally prepared myself to trek down it's length by running North up Semoran, turning West onto Howell Branch, and then South on Orlando Ave. before finally coming back to Semoran via Aloma. Judging a running route by car isn't always a good idea, as I soon found out.


I kissed my wife on the cheek, strapped on my running shoes, and started walking out of the neighborhood, open to what the world had to offer. After noting how cool it is that we have a resident turtle, my run began.


My troublesome right knee started talking to me immediately, but it stayed at a murmur, so I decided that I could probably push the distance a little today. My legs felt strong, my lungs were drawing breath easily, and the sun felt good on my skin.


Along Semoran, I made my way past half desolate strip malls, not-yet-open casual dining restaurants, and a particularly ripe raccoon with a bleached skull peeking out from under what was his face. Eventually, the urban sprawl gave way to tree-lined streets and residences as I turned onto Howell Branch Rd.


I cruised easily allowing my mind to contemplate the recent events of my life. Like R.E.M sleep, the rhythm of a good run seems to allow the psyche to re-order itself. My external senses were engaged by the occasional need to dodge a reaching cacti or tree branch and the cheee-cheee-cheee sound of millions of insects excited by the burgeoning heat of the day.


As I made my way, I realized that Orlando Ave. was probably farther than I realized and I began looking for a road to turn onto so that I could start looping back. Streets passed by with unrecognizeable names and getting lost seemed undesireable, so the appearance of a park was a welcome sight. It looked well-kept and relatively new, so I assumed that it would have a water fountain. It did, and the water was suprisingly cool and refreshing. I also noticed that the park sported a fitness course connected by a meandering path.

Deciding that my legs could use a little break, I began the fitness course which was clearly intended for parapalegics and geriatrics. By performing the exercises in ways that the old man in the examples never dreamed of, I got in a nice bout of cross-training as well as the idea to write a future Examiner.com article about the park.

By the time I finished the course I realized that it was probably getting close to noon. I had to leave for work by 12:30, so I set back out by reversing directions and heading back the way I came.

Not long into the back end, a little man wearing only red shorts blazed past me. Uttering a silent "F that!", I throttled up and matched speeds with him. Unwilling to fall behind I became his shadow, matching every move he made and cursing him for his ruthless pace. After about a half mile he blessedly cut across the street and began walking. I was left running alone once more.

At this point, the sun was beating down relentlessly and I began have fevered thoughts about whether or not I should walk. After what ammounted to a civil war between my ears, I decided that an occasional 10-15s walking break was not uncalled for and may even be a good idea given the soaring temperatures.

The intersection of Semoran and Howell Branch appeared up ahead, but my delusional mind was unquestionably convinced that it was in face the intersection of Semoran and Aloma. By the time I realized the error, I felt like a desert castaway fooled by mirages of water only to gulp handfuls of sand.

The final stretch of road offered a fitting crescendo as a shadless sidewalk exposed me to the full heat of the day. I was a shambling sweaty zombie by the time I stumbled back into my neighborhood and immediately I made a bee-line for the pool.

Floating in the cool chlorinated waters I asked myself "why did I just do that?", fully aware that I would do it again in a heartbeat.
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About Tony Fed

Tony is the host of the Paleo Magazine Radio podcast, author of "Paleo Grilling: A Modern Caveman's Guide to Cooking with Fire", and Cofounder of Powerful PT, an innovative information resource for Fitness Professionals. He has appeared on numerous local and national television and radio broadcasts and regularly hosts healthy cooking workshops and informational lectures. He is also a full-time Personal Trainer and Wellness Consultant who lives in Jacksonville Florida with his wife Jamie.
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