Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Almost Nine

I started jogging last August - I mean really jogging. I've 'jogged' in the past, but really just played at it, giving up after a couple of weeks because, come on, jogging is not fun! But I started jogging more seriously with my teammate Brian and we've stuck with it now for seven months, averaging two times a week. Over that period of time we've increased how long we've jogged and tried adding different things to keep building up our strength, to keep our weight loss going and basically to just be manly.

We jog at the Cittadella (which means literally 'city of the' but really means, the Citadel) which is an old Napoleonic fort-turned-park which has an incredible view and a pretty aggressive jogging track. Half of it is paved and the other half is gravel. The differential between the highest and lowest point on the track is about 50 feet which means we have a couple of inclines and slopes. The sharpest of these is actually a set of wooden, slippery stairs, at the base of which is a worn, triple set of chin-up bars.

Now, let me take you to the past, when I was about 10, living in Santiago. We had just received a swing set for Christmas and my dad, in some inspired moment of fathering genius, challenged me and my younger brother Chris with this proposal. Ten chin-ups would receive a 300 peso reward. (I think that was the deal, but come to think of it, 300 pesos wasn't very much...)

Try as we might, we could never do it. We tried all kinds of different ways, but just could not do it. Chris has always been more athletic and muscular than I am, so he may have done it in the meantime, but I, over 20 years later, have never done it. (Mock if you will, but go out and try it sometime.) So it is with a dual-vision that I began glancing at these chin-up bars each time we jogged around this track. One - for the money. Two - for the manliness-proving show.

So I started. Here were my rules. I had to have a jogging-buddy witness. I could do them under-handed. They had to be full chin-ups, my arms have to lock all the way when I'm down. And absolutely no using my legs to pump. It had to be all muscle. The first time I tried I think I got 3 and my arms were angry. A few days later, 4. Then 5 and 6.

Yesterday I went jogging with Josh and I went all out. I got to 8 and was pulling up for the ninth but got to where my nose was even with the bar and could not pull myself up another millimeter. So, almost nine.

I'm getting close, Dad. Get ready to make the international bank transfer.

In the meantime, where's Jacob? He's almost ten. I have a little proposition for him...

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