Monday, June 20, 2011

Nugget # 35

Ah, it's good to be done with traveling for a good long time.  Two short (short in days away, not distance) trips on airlines with stops in Chicago, and three out of four travel days involved long delays.  Here in Buffalo we expect delays when we travel in the winter, but not in May and June.  Yet the delays were weather related, so who says climate change isn't happening.  Anyway, here's a short piece I wrote back in 2004 about a friend of mine who was doing a few pieces for the local NPR station.  Oh yeah, Rich did finish the marathon, and many races since.

When the “FOG” rolled in
By Bill Donnelly

Anytime you see an ad for a fitness center, all they show you are people working out who have bodies to die for. Go to see a movie or watch a television show, and it’s likely to be more of the same. Magazines usually only make matters worse, more pictures of people who look absolutely like no one any of us have ever known.
I hang out with runners who put in 40 plus miles a week, and I know no one who has a perfect body, at least the type of body the media bombards us with constantly. That is, no one other than my girlfriend, Diane. Figured I better slip that in just in case she reads this article.
It is no wonder this country spends so much money on losing weight through diet programs and diet pills and diet whatever. But let’s face it; few people will ever reach the “Ideal” body, and how many have tried losing weight just to gain it all back, and then some. It takes exercise also to keep that weight off! It’s just that a lot of people are too intimidated to get out there to start a workout program when so many around them who are working out are already fit. And it takes a lot of effort to stick with it to reach your goal.
Back on a Wednesday evening in the early spring, or as it can be around here, the late winter, I started to run with the Fleet Feet training group. We get together on these evenings just to share in the misery of the cold snowy run, or help to each other through a speed workout. One guy really stood out before the run, because he was big. I don’t mean tall, or big boned, or famous, or important, or, well, he was fat!
The guy just didn’t fit in, but I gave him credit for trying, and I gave him a couple weeks, maybe three of showing up. Well, he kept showing up, and if I missed a run or two, he’d ask me where I had been. Heck, I hadn’t even asked his name for a while, figuring I wouldn’t know him long.
My bad! Finally, after a couple months, as we were finishing a run, I asked him his name, and how much he was running besides on Wednesdays. First off, he was running a lot more than I expected. Second, his name was Rich Hubbard. The guy was hanging in, and I could see he was getting into it.
Rich is still running, and as I write this, he has gone from 260 pounds (see, I said he was big) to under 230. Still large, but he’s working on it, and now he is training to run the Casino Niagara Marathon on October 24 of this year. And he is doing it wisely, running with the Fleet Feet marathon training group, and not over training too quickly.
Turns out Rich has been doing a series of commentaries on WBFO, 88.7 on your dial, and explaining his motivation. He has done two of them, and he plans a final one after he runs the marathon. He calls them the FOG Chronicles.
Let me explain. Rich is a husband, father, self-described computer geek who teaches computers at ITT. He is also all of 44 years old. Oh yeah, did I mention that he is (or was) big. Being the geek, he needed a three letter acronym for his title. Thus FOG, for “Fat, Old Guy.” Being 56 myself, and since I do not think of myself as being old, I think he should have gone with “Young And Big And-Definitely A Bodacious And-Delightful Orator.” Yeah, the YABA-DABA-DO Chronicles would be better, but that’s just me.
I have become quite impressed with Rich Hubbard. He is always there, grinding out the miles, and getting faster. He has run some races, and he keeps showing improvement. He has come to enjoy running, and the friends he has made. He has come to enjoy how much better he feels.
Come the Casino Niagara Marathon, which I plan on running also, I truly expect Rich to finish. Whatever the results of it for either of us, I do expect to see Rich soon after at another Wednesday Fleet Feet workout. And I look forward to listening to his next installment of the FOG Chronicles. 
He shows what one can do when one sets goals that are reasonable. He may never look like any of the people we see in the ads for fitness centers, but he will look and FEEL a whole lot better!

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