Archived Story

Michael Bennett: Spring training doesn’t come easily

Published 8:16pm Wednesday, March 21, 2012

During a winter snowstorm in January I met Dr. David Mathews and his staff at Southwestern Michigan College. I learned about the Dirty Bird Mud Run they are hosting in March. Sounded like a great idea for us at Leader Publications to have our own team.

Editor Katie Rohman said, “I’m in!”

“Awesome!” cried out graphic artist Andrea Schueneman.

Lindsey Cloutier shouted, “Bring it on!”

We had our team.

A mud run, for those that don’t know, is just that — a long run in the mud interrupted by eight military-strength obstacles.

February comes around and Lindsey had to drop out as she learned she was going to be out of town. The team needed one more member. I could not let down the team. Besides, March was a long way off. I could get in shape. And it is just a 5K (3.1 miles).

I read wrong. Actually, it’s five miles. There are three levels of challenge. I voted for easy, but I bowed to Andrea, who was set on intermediate.

Flash forward to last Friday and I haven’t found a good excuse to work out. I figure one last drink at the Wood Fire. By the time I hit my stool, one of my favorite bartenders, Chris, had an icy cold martini sitting in front of me.

As I always do, I chat it up with my friends new and old. I met a third-grade teacher from Cassopolis that asked me how they could get their news into the Vigilant. Easy question. Send it to me.

This week I got a call from Dee Voss and we have some great photographs of the upcoming Daddy Daughter Dance at Sam Adams.

Steve Franks of Franks Farms was also in the house. I was curious about how this warm weather would affect agriculture in the area should we get another frost. Steve wasn’t all that concerned, as he believes most everything would be in full flower and unless it was a hard frost under 29 degrees they should be good.

Talking agriculture got me a bit hungry.  Everyone was raving about the smoked prime rib. OK, the diet could wait after all. I still had two weeks before the run. It was fantastic.

Finishing up, I remembered one of my other buddies. Doc Kennedy had told me that his son, of Kennedy’s Kitchen fame, would be playing the Beckwith Theatre. So I finished up and walked the couple blocks. Finally beginning to get in shape for the run.

The music was great and for the price of admission we were also graced with Guinness and a variety of hors d’oeuvres. Another slight pause on training was needed. Then the music ended and training began again with a brisk two-block walk home.

Saturday morning, I woke up to a beautiful day and training began in earnest. I took a brisk half-hour walk. I tried running and was able to go about 200 feet before becoming winded. I began to worry.

Sunday morning, my training program of brisk walking continued. I’ve cleaned my diet up and sorry, Chris, I won’t be drinking.

Back to work, and I’ve dedicated myself to a brisk walk each day.

On Tuesday, I went to the river walk in Niles. I watched the ducks swimming upstream and was inspired.

I began to pick up the pace and approached a flock of geese. All the birds looked healthy and ready for a mud run. I was pumped up.

And then in the distance, I saw an old goose. He was limping along trying to keep up with his team. My heart sunk. I could be that old goose. My teammates are at least 30 years younger than myself.

I ran cross-country for my high school team, although that career was finished in 1970, years before my teammates were a thought.

I hobbled back to the office and convinced my teammates to try to get us in that easy group.

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