For­mer couch potato’s mes­sage for us: Go run!

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Sports - BY DAVID WHITE

Run.

Dash for a cause. Jog just be­cause. What­ever you do, don’t just sit there on the soda-stained sec­tional watch­ing oth­ers do some­thing on the telly with their phys­i­cal well-be­ing.

Dou­ble-knot ’em up and make your own run at bet­ter health, for a bet­ter life, be­cause the reaper takes the sil­ver be­hind no one but Je­sus.

You’d be amazed at what you can do.

On Dec. 5, a Porter­ville doc­tor told her new­est pa­tient he had Type 2 di­a­betes. The blood­sugar read­ing was 558 when 120 would have suf­ficed. She said I was drink­ing away my toes, kid­ney and mid­dle-aged years, one Pepsi two-liter at a swig.

Some­thing had to change. A life­time af­ter watch­ing ath­letes run away from the field gave me a ridicu­lous idea.

It was time for me to run down di­a­betes, out­run my fork and ex­tend the race in front of me.

So, this 204-pound sports­writer with a bad left knee ran for 273 miles in 112 days, un­til there was only 166 pounds left of him.

Satur­day morn­ing was spent run­ning a 5K race for the first time since 1989, my ju­nior year on the Selma High cross coun­try team.

The race’s cause was the Porter­ville Preg­nancy Cen­ter, an in­cred­i­ble lo­cal agency that helps young moms-to-be on their par­ent­ing jour­ney.

The real cause was me. Yours should be you. Your health mat­ters, be­cause your life mat­ters. It mat­ters for you, and it mat­ters for ev­ery­one around you.

So run, or walk, or swim, or jump like jacks. Go ride a bike, or climb a hill, or what­ever it takes to get you into a shape other than pear.

So what if you fin­ish sixth in a field of 11 gents, and get passed by a 12-year-old named Knau­tilus and a None-Of-Your-Busi­ness-year-old grandma named Lucy?

Who cares if your per­son­albest 5K time of 29:35 wouldn’t have beat the 10K win­ner?

You’ll al­ways want to quit. You’ll al­ways be glad you didn’t.

We don’t have to be as fast as Usain Bolt, or as his­toric as Phei­dip­pi­des (stay awake in his­tory class next time, would

you?).

You just have to de­cide to be a bet­ter ver­sion of you than you’ve ever been.

Be Joseph Lind­vall, a 24-year-old EMT tak­ing sec­ond in his first 5K. Be Rachel Wo­mack, a 36year-old CrossFit mother who out­ran her pas­tor to the fin­ish line.

Life is catch­ing up on all of us. You don’t have to take it sit­ting.

Start with a walk around the block af­ter din­ner. Take the laun­dry off your tread­mill and give it a jog. It never gets eas­ier, but you’ll only get bet­ter.

Pick a ben­e­fit run and give it a spin. Do what Alice Es­calante did. Walk for 4.9K and run like a gazelle when the crowd sees you turn the last cor­ner.

Hear to­tal strangers cheer you on at the half­way point. High-five your friends wait­ing for you at the in­flat­able fin­ish line.

Let oth­ers walk away with tro­phies and gift cards. You’ll be glad to know you’re walk­ing away bet­ter than when you started.

Do that, and you’ll be as great an ath­lete as any­one you’re watch­ing on TV from your couch.

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