PUMPING IRONY: Peer Pressure

Mr. Parkour (AKA my son) has been on a bit of a fitness jag this week and, because I’m the kind of guy who wants to support healthy habits, my poor, aging body has been pretty sore. Tuesday night, for example, I was sitting in my comfy chair, sipping a cup of tea and reading… Read more »

Mr. Parkour (AKA my son) has been on a bit of a fitness jag this week and, because I’m the kind of guy who wants to support healthy habits, my poor, aging body has been pretty sore. Tuesday night, for example, I was sitting in my comfy chair, sipping a cup of tea and reading the newspaper when he arrived home from work raring to go to the gym. This was about 8:30, a time of evening when I’m just beginning to happily slide down the slippery slope toward bedtime. But, I rose up from my reverie and, with MP and My Lovely Wife in tow, climbed into the car and drove across town to the fancy gym in Minnetonka for a little late-night exercise.

We chose the Minnetonka gym because, unlike my club a mile to the east, this one has a basketball court. It’s been awhile since I last had a basketball in my hands, and I figured if I was going to have to get out of my comfy chair and drive somewhere in the middle of the night, there might as well be a hoop at the end of the trail.

A decade ago, my weekly two-hour pickup game at Anderson school in South Minneapolis was pretty much my entire fitness regimen. Sure, I bicycled a half-dozen miles to and from work five days a week, but I never really worked up a sweat, so it didn’t really count. Basketball, on the other hand, was something I looked forward to every week. When I stepped out on the court, I could feel the adrenaline start to pump, and I pushed myself hard for the whole two hours.

It’s been a dozen years since I blew out my right knee and retired from competitive hoops, but I still enjoy shooting baskets when I get the chance. I can work up a good lather after about an hour and work muscle groups I never seem to get to during my regular routine. That’s why on Wednesday and Thursday my body was so stiff and sore that I was hard-pressed to roll out of bed.

The good news, though, was that Tuesday’s hoopfest confirmed that my left knee has recovered sufficiently to allow me to move laterally; stop, start, and pivot; and actually jump a little — developments that all augur well for my return to the tennis court in a month or two (if the snow here ever melts).

When Thursday evening rolled around, I was still pretty stiff, but MP once again persuaded us to grab our gear and hit the gym. This time, I avoided the basketball court and wandered over to the stretching area, where I found a foam roller and worked out some of the kinks in my calves and hammies. Then MP and I stretched a bit, before testing each other’s strength on various resistance machinery. I’m not a competitive guy, but I was happy to be able to keep up with him on everything but the lat pull-down thingy. And at the pull-up bar, he quickly cranked out 10 reps with no assistance. I needed a little help.

Still, I made it through the evening without further injury — to my body or my ego — and the next day I felt no worse than I had before.

At my age, this is called progress.

This is all well and good, but I have to admit that when Sunday morning rolled around I was quietly hoping that MP would sleep in, so we wouldn’t be ushered out into a fast-building blizzard to sneak in a quick workout before he had to go to work in the afternoon. My prayers were answered when he wandered downstairs around 1 p.m. hunting for some breakfast. I was all set to explain the importance of recovery days, when MLW simply stated that we wouldn’t be going anywhere today. He grumbled a little as he bent over his cereal, probably wondering how he got stuck living with such slackers, but he didn’t seem too disappointed. There’s always tomorrow.

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