Spradlin: On the fitness comeback trail

I came home Thursday night after a 6-mile run and my wife asked me if it was getting any easier.

That’s a difficult question to answer, but was posed at a valid point in my training. You see, Thursday was only my 12th day of running since June 14 and I’d not run a step for the nine weeks prior to that. And if you recall, June 14 was the first day in a stretch of nearly two weeks that was unbelievably hot and humid.

Photographer unknown Kevin Spradlin approaches the finish line of the Highlands Sky 40-miler in June 2009 Canaan Valley, W.Va.

Photographer unknown
Kevin Spradlin approaches the finish line of the Highlands Sky 40-miler in June 2009 Canaan Valley, W.Va.

During that layoff — unscheduled down time — I once had bent down towards the floor to pick up a pen. I grunted, as if the act of bending down caused so much discomfort that I feared not being able to get back up. It was warm, but not unreasonably so; I broke out in a sweat anyway. It was a signal to me that I was out of shape — as if my expanding waistline and the discarding of my favorite khaki pants hadn’t been signs enough. I stepped on the scale on June 13 and, sure enough, the result reflected my reality: I was carrying a lifetime high of poundage.

I went for a 3-mile run the next evening. Those two loops around Hinson Lake felt like — well, it wasn’t comfortable. I managed some pushups and sit-ups, too, for good measure. Boy it hurt. But I’ve started over in my training before, and I know it takes more than a day to get things back. Much more.

In the past few days, running friends from across the country have shared with me and others their yearly mileage goals and their midpoint marks. Many strive to hit 100 miles a month (1,200 a year), or 150 a month (1,800). That means that on June 30, they were in the neighborhood of 600 to 900 miles. Most were near or had exceeded those midway milestones.

Me? Only 221.6 miles, on pace for a paltry 442 miles —  which would be my lowest total since 2001. Upon reflection, I’ve realized recently that I haven’t completed a single race since moving to North Carolina — and I’ve entered only a few, resulting in a couple of no-shows and a couple of DNFs. 2014 was bad enough for me, but I was expecting 2015 to be better.

It was in June of 2001, too, that I realized I wasn’t quite in the shape I wanted and jumped in a 2-mile track race without any preparation. I averaged 6 minutes and 55 seconds per mile. But I’m not 22 years old; youth is no longer my friend. My 3-mile run at Hinson Lake on June 14 was slow, almost plodding like, and my opening pace was about 10 minutes and 40 seconds per mile.

So when my wife asked if it was getting easier, the short answer was yes. After all, my long run of 7.4 miles on June 27 was done at a 10:04 pace, and Thursday night’s jaunt happened to be my best yet — the first five miles were at or better than 9:33 each mile. So I’m improving, and that’s getting easier.

I’ll admit, though, I’m not comparing myself to the June 14th me. I’m not comparing myself to 2001 me, either, but I do think the shape I was in only a couple of years ago is attainable. I also know it’s going to take more than a little work, and more than a few hills, to get there. The hard work is just beginning.

Kevin Spradlin is managing editor of The Pee Dee Post. He can be reached at 910-331-4130 or peedeepost@gmail.com.



Filed in: Latest Headlines, Outdoors

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  • trotsky

    I think you should probably spend less time running and make sure that newspapers in town do not delete unpopular posts. A post should not be taken down because it’s not liked by other readers.

    • Kevin Spradlin

      If you’re the person who called about this issue the other day, please clarify – for readers’ sake – that you’re not talking about the PDP but another newspaper.

      I can’t do anything about any other media outlet. That’s between you and that other outlet.

      I have suggested you can write a letter to the editor – peedeepost@gmail.com – to address the issue (using your real name) but you have declined to do so.

      Keep in mind, please, that comments such as this – completely off topic to the column or article at hand – are the type that get deleted by the moderator here on PeeDeePost.com.

      Thank you.


      • trotsky

        I am definitely the person who called you the other day. I spoke with you about the Daily Journal’s policy of allowing readers to delete posts they didn’t like. I told you that my posts were being deleted at the Journal. They were deleted not because they were inappropriate or violated forum rules but only because some other readers didn’t like them. That’s crazy. So I have to get my posts approved by Journal readers and can only post what they allow me to post? Are you kidding me?

        One reason I’m posting here is because you unambiguously supported that policy during our phone conversation. I find that insane coming from a newspaper man? In principle, isn’t that the same as allowing members of the public to decide which letters to the editor and columns can be printed in the newspaper. And isn’t it the same as allowing members of the public to decide which columns you can post here? You should be outraged.

        And don’t you use Disqus and the same program to allow readers readers to delete posts here at the PDP? If so why?

        Another reason I’m posting this here is because I pretty sure you supported this policy while you were at the Journal. If not, clarify.

        Please do not delete this post. You did ask me to “please clarify.”

        • Kevin Spradlin

          I did not support that policy. I spoke neither for nor against it. What I told you on the phone was I can not speak for another news outlet’s policy. Your comments here (and the same on the second piece you’ve listed the same concerns) are full of mistruths and won’t be tolerated.

          Plus, as I already wrote, this is not the thread to raise such issues. Sorry, but you’re far off topic and your comments risk being deleted.

          I suggested you write a letter to the editor – either to the Journal, to the Post or whatever. I did not, however, suggest that you troll any column or article on PeeDeePost.com and express – anonymously – on a topic that is not related to the column or article. Such activity will result in your comments being deleted (and, if continued, your IP address being banned).


          • trotsky

            I understand.

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