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I can’t remember a week in which at least one day I did not exercise. In 20–25–30 years I’ve never missed. I may have been sick but at some point I exercised. I may have been on vacation but I found time to go for a run or do some body weight exercises. I am addicted to fitness and the endorphin high it brings.

Last week was the first legitimate attempt (bicycle ride notwithstanding) at regaining the fitness I began to lose 4 months ago. Since June 5 I have done nothing but surf the couch. For the first time in my life I actually did not feel like working out for months. Not for lack of want, I just could not physically make that happen.

Last weekend I took my first literal steps. I ran 1.5 miles. I thought I was going to die. In a quarter mile I was looking to pull the brakes and bail. I stuck it out and allowed the burning in my throat to eventually subside panting on the back stoop.

I ran the same 1.5 miles next day. Twice. An old-fashioned two-a-day misery. I’ve run once each day since. I’ve done some core work as well before I pound the pavement.

Because of my elbow I cannot do any upper body weight bearing activities. That’s a bummer. I have no idea when I’ll be able to lift weights or do push-ups. I can barely do 10 wall push-ups as it is.

I should be able to begin some lower body weight exercises. Lunges, squats, wall sits, calf raises, etc.

All this to say that I seem to have gotten the concussion thing under control. I no longer have daily-long grinding headaches. I nap every day after work. If I don’t I can almost guarantee to have a headache the next day. But even so, it only lasts a day or so. I can do physical activities without getting dizzy. I can’t tell you how great that is.

I now have a little more empathy for people who don’t bother to exercise. It’s awful to get started. I’ve lived my life pretty much maintaining a level of fitness. Sometimes I’d have to work harder and other times it was enough to maintain. But I’ve never started over. I’ve never stopped. Until this summer.

It’s been instructional. Every muscle in my body has atrophied. I have attained a level of zero conditioning. I have zero muscle tone. My left arm and shoulder have been reduced to a skinny, flabby appendage. I honestly don’t see how people stand it.

The following day after running every single muscle from the waist down hurt. Not that pleasant soreness you get from conditioned fitness but physical pain from an activity your body had no interest in doing. It hurt the next day worse. Joint pain. Muscle soreness. Awful.

But an interesting thing happened; as I pushed through each day the soreness lessened. I was no more conditioned a week later than when I started but I could feel my legs starting to adapt. I hope my lungs and heart start working with me instead of against me at some point.

I hate running. It’s not my favorite activity. I much prefer cycling, or really anything else. Unfortunately I just can’t extend my arm out and/or absorb the road vibrations. I let my gym membership lapse so I can’t hop on an elliptical, which I enjoy. No, the simplest thing to do was strap on my athletic shoes and run through the neighborhood.

So now I start a new fitness streak.