Photo by Edward F. Palm)

About Me

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Forest, Virginia, United States
A long time ago, my sophomore English teacher, Father William Campbell, saw something in my writing and predicted that I would someday become a newspaper columnist. He suggested the perfect title for my column--"Leaves of the Palm." Now that I have a little extra time on my hands I've decided to put Father Campbell's prediction to the test. I'm going to start using this blog site not just to reprint opinion pieces I've published elsewhere but to try to get more of my ideas and opinions out there. Feedback is welcome. To find out more about me, please check out my Web site: www.EdwardFPalm.com (Click on any of the photos below for an enlarged view.)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What Makes Eddie Run?

[By happenstance, on October 2, 2009, I turned out to be the first jogger to use a new boardwalk section of the Clear Creek Trail here in Silverdale.  Larry Steagall, the lead photojournalist for our local paper, caught me in action.]
Just about 15 months ago, my wife and I decided to make a major change in our lives.  We started on the South Beach Diet the Monday after Thanksgiving, 2008, and I resolved to stop drinking every day (Scotch was my weakness and major calorie source) and to start exercising.
       My wife has lost over 30 pounds, and I've lost nearly 50.  I now weigh in at about 185--which is 7 or 18 pounds lighter than I was when I got off active duty in 1993.  (I am exactly 6' tall.) But what I'm especially proud of is my exercise regimen.
      I started running again last June.  My progress has been slow but steady.  I typically walk to a trail head almost exactly a mile from home--a segment of Silverdale's Clear Creek Trail.  At that point, I start to run.  When I first began last summer, it was all I could do to run .8 of a mile down to where that segment of the trail ends at Silverdale Way.  And then I would walk back home, covering about 3.6 miles in all.  Now, I'm pleased to report, I can keep running across Silverdale Way and on to the next segment of the trail and back to Silverdale way.  That's exactly three miles--without stopping.  I may not be breaking any speed records yet, but I can keep running until I reach my distance goal for that day.  And then there is the walk back, which adds considerable distance and also does me some good, I'm sure.
     On Friday, I managed to run 3.2 miles out of the 6.75 I covered.
      (I took Saturday off.)
     Today, I managed to run 3.4 miles before stopping, covering 6.75 by the time I got home.
      Why do I do it?  I suppose something that happened last week put it in perspective for me.  As I was running in place at an intersection, waiting for the light to change, I struck up a conversation with a man who was holding a sign identifying himself as a down-on-his luck Vietnam vet in need of help.  He seemed to be surprised to see an old white-haired guy out running, and he asked me how old I am.  I told him I'm 63.  He said he was also 63 but that he could no longer work because he has suffered three heart attacks.
       The encounter made me thankful for the good health I still have and for what I can still do to hang on to it for as long as I can.  
        That's what makes Eddie run--that and the fact that I am now 63, the age of the title character of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman.  To quote one of my favorite lines from that play, "Attention must be paid!"
        But I am not just showing off in running or claiming bragging rights in posting this to my blog.  It occurs to me that a good way to keep myself from slacking off is to report the day's weight and distance every day.
        Today, I weighed in at 184.7, and as I reported above, I ran 3.4 miles, covering 6.75 in all.
        This will also be a good way to ensure that I do at least some writing every day.   I find myself thinking about a lot of things as I'm running along.  Today, for instance, I found myself thinking about what the right-wing commentator Monica Crowley said last week on "The McLaughlin Group."   The answer to our economic woes, she insisted, was to "unleash the private sector."
        Pardon me, but isn't that how we got into this mess in the first place?

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