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Yes, I notice a difference.

About a week into using my new orthotics when I work out I still hate running as much as ever, but it is more comfortable than before. I’ll call that progress for now.

Today during our morning jog – the usual start to our hour simply to get the heart rates up and blood moving, which is harder than it sounds at 6a – I made a concerted effort to be faster. Not a lot faster. Let’s not go crazy here.

But just a little. Honestly, the way I run it wouldn’t take much.

For context you can review a previous post on my hate-hate relationship with running. Typically everyone passes me during the morning run, some people pass me more than once as we loop the short turf field.

Today, I thought, let’s push it a little and see what happens. I benchmarked myself off of two or three people who I know are not great runners but are still better than me. I positioned myself a stride or two back and then vowed no matter what, I would keep pace.

Two things happened.

First, the people who always pass me still passed me, but only once. Remember, many of the 6a folks are significantly younger than me or haven’t had multiple knee surgeries. So I don’t worry about being passed.

Second, I ended up passing all three of the people I benchmarked myself against. One is a great guy who is older than me and everyone else in the group. The other two were both women younger than me.

I don’t run so that I can pass people. I run because, well, I’m told to run. My favourite part of the run is when it stops. But my feet and knees felt good, my breathing was okay, and I passed a couple people for a change.

It wasn’t exactly an Olympic moment, except to me. But when I started at ATC in June, I walked while everyone else ran. No one else would have noticed what happened today but it was a moral victory for me.

– – –

There was another difference, on the scales. I won’t get into numbers, but I broke through a barrier that I haven’t been on the low side of in decades. I’m now within seven pounds of what I weighed when I got married almost 28 years ago. Our anniversary is later in October, so short of gnawing off a leg I won’t get to that number by the anniversary.

And it won’t matter because I’ll never look as good as she did, does or will. But excuse me for feeling good about the result. In six months I’ve fundamentally retooled my physical self.  I would have thought it impossible not all that long ago.

I’ll say it again: if I can do this, anyone can do this. Just start and then keep going.

– – –

My days are long – self-inflicted pain really, that starts at 520a on weekdays and usually sees me hit the rack at about 1030p. Laura has had a grim run of work-related travel, happily capped by her trip to Cape Breton – which has meant a lot of quiet empty nights at home for me in September.

Last night there was an unexpected diversion, a happy one.

I was sitting in a long, long meeting when Chris texted from school that it was his girlfriend’s birthday and it was raining steadily and was there any chance I could swing by tonight and give him a lift so he could take care of a couple surprise-related errands.

I was just happy to be asked to help. I didn’t make a difference. But I helped him make one.

As of press time, I haven’t heard how it all went but I’m going to guess it was all roses and ice cream. Literally, in this case.

– – –

There was a collision north of Toronto on Sunday that killed three young children and their grandfather, who was driving a minvan taking them home. A 29-year-old man faces multiple DUI-related charges. Witnesses say the van was broad-sided by a car that ran a stop sign; it never even slowed down.

It’s horrifying. There’s no other word. If the guilty party is found and convicted, I hope that person never walks outside of a prison again. But, that’s unlikely, isn’t it?

Four lives taken, countless other lives changed forever; ripped apart and laid waste. Talk about differences. It makes me physically ill.

When my boys get behind the wheel I don’t much worry about the way they drive. I worry about the other people. The people who text while driving and steer with their knees. The people who drink and drive. The people who do their makeup while navigating the QEW.

Is it too much to ask that you slow the fuck down, pay attention and be courteous to other drivers?

Everything can change in a heartbeat. Think about that the next time you get in your car.