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One of the buffer guys at the gym on Monday was wearing a very tight T-shirt with this message: “An awkward morning is better than a boring night.”  I’ve had a few awkward mornings since I last posted — though not for the reasons his T-shirt is implying. I spent last week with My Lovely Wife and the kids (Nora, 20; Martin 17) up north at the family cabin (Woman Lake, Longville, Cass County, Minnesota) fully intending to jog the mile to the lodge at daybreak each morning to fetch the newspaper (and donuts?) and then maybe walk/jog on the way back before doing some stretching/meditation/pushups on the deck overlooking the lake.

The first morning, My Lovely Wife and I did, indeed, rise at a reasonable hour, pulled on our sneakers, hitched up the dog and set out for the lodge. After a few minutes of walking, we broke into a jog that lasted about a minute. Hmmm. We walked awhile more. Jogged about 30 seconds. Hmmmm.

Did I mention that the lodge sells real tasty donuts?

I should point out in our defense a few mitigating circumstances: 1) The cabin’s water heater was not in a functioning mode for the first two days of our stay, and My Lovely Wife prefers (no, strongly prefers) to end her run each morning with a refreshing warm shower. 2) She’s accustomed to running alone (with the dog) and at a pace that favors her bum knee; I run a little faster, at a pace that favors my bum knee. 3) We were on vacation, for Godsakes!

Away from our familiar surroundings and freed from our daily routine of dog-walking, bike-riding and gym-going, we found ourselves slogging through awkwardly guilt-ridden mornings lounging with the newspaper (which, after that first day, we simply retrieved with the Crapmobile) and nibbling on the aforementioned donuts.

We did swim nearly every day, which for me is about as challenging a workout as I know (I tend to sink like a stone), and I did on a couple of occasions manage to crank out a  set of “Dr. Oz” pushups — which are fast becoming my favorite basic exercise.

But mostly I sat on the beach, reading (Points of My Compass, by E.B. White; Messages From My Father, by Calvin Trillin) and enjoying the sun, sand and surf. We didn’t even take the canoe out of the boathouse. At various moments during the week, I thought wistfully about the gym and the workouts I was missing, but it was never enough to get me to pull on my sneakers again.

Martin and I did play mini-golf. Twice. Didn’t really work up a sweat, though.

Anyway, it felt good to be back in the old routine again on Monday. I weighed myself before the workout and was pleased to learn I was carrying around about the same load I’d been toting before all those donuts (162.5). I took it easy on the cardio side of things, opting for 20 minutes or so on the Elliptical Danger Machine (no heavy-duty interval stuff yet) before diving into a fairly ambitious 30-minute  lifting session that got my heart rate up and reminded me once again how much I enjoy this stuff.

I haven’t had a donut all week.

Thoughts to share?

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