Back on Track


By Jere Moore


On the advice of my wife Kay, a railroad engineer’s daughter, I am running on track in search of a better station in life.

That’s fun to write, but the truth is I am jogging on roads just trying to maintain some semblance of my former condition. The time between stations is getting longer and longer. I used to start at the back of the pack at races and pass a few people along the way. Now, I start at the back of the pack and watch the crowd move away into the distance.

The decline has increased since I passed my 65th birthday. No one seems to know for sure what causes the decline with age, but it happens to everybody if they don’t get run over by a truck or have a tree fall on them. Some say it is caused by free radicals running around in your body, eating your muscles, waving Viet Cong flags, burning draft cards, whatever. I have tried all sorts of things–vitamins, herbs, recovery powders-but I haven’t had any more success with the radicals than Lyndon Johnson did.

No matter. As a friend once said, at our age, just finishing is a victory. Taking part in the Gulf Wind activities gives me a reason for getting out in the morning to jog around Wacissa, even in the heat of August.

Of course, the real reason is to keep my heart strong and overcome some past problems. As my elderly colleague, Fred Deckert, reported earlier in this space, raising your heart rate by regular exercise lowers your resting heart rate and stretches the time for your allotted number of beats.

Many years ago-way back when the Florida State football goal was to get revenge on Southern Mississippi-I took a misstep jogging and broke a small bone in my foot. The bone did not heal, maybe because I walked on it broken for four days before going to a doctor, so the doctor decided to put a screw in it. (That’s why some people say I have a screw loose.) When I checked into the hospital for the surgery, the nurse took my pulse, noted how slow it was and said I must be an exerciser. I responded, “Yes, if I wasn’t a jogger, I wouldn’t be in the hospital.”