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Exercise and Death


An electrical pole.

 

Picture this.  It's early Saturday morning, and you decide to go for a run.  After you get dressed, drink a glass of water, and eat a piece of toast, you open the front door.

 

The morning dew is thick enough to moisturize your skin.  Puddles on the ground let you know it rained.  You begin to move.

 

Your warm-up consists of dynamic stretches, push-ups, and mountain climbers.  You convince your body to do what your mind suggests.  Next, you press the play button on the Nike Run Club app.

 

The automated coach says, "Thank you for pressing play on the Grateful 8k Run." While jogging, you listen to the gratitude-infused workout plan. 

 

Your pace gradually increases until you reach a road notorious for car accidents.  Instructions in the guided run help you climb the hill.  On the descent, you ride the momentum into a sprint.

 

Then, you see an oncoming black Toyota Vitz.

 

You slow down, pass an electrical pole, and ponder the Toyota driver’s sanity to speed on a wet road.  Two seconds later, you hear the tires skid.  You turn, and the car hits the electrical pole you just passed.

 

White and blue sparks light up the sky.

 

Because of the speed, the car lifts vertically off the pavement before landing underneath a billboard sign.  Four people stagger from the totaled vehicle; you call an ambulance and remember to breathe.  You wait on the grass until paramedics arrive and put one person on a stretcher.


A billboard for shirley cookies.

After pressing resume on the app, you start to run again.  When you reach the beach shoreline, you inhale gratitude comparable in size to the sea in view.  You exhale joy and appreciate the moment to be alive.

 

Did I make up that scenario?  No. 

 

The run described happened last Saturday.  If I had been one minute slower, the words you read in this post would not exist.

 

Perhaps, by now, you would have learned of my passing.

 

Moments before my close encounter with death, I thought about my father-in-law, who died the previous Saturday.  He once completed a marathon in a wheelchair.

 

My last words to my son also passed through my head in the aftermath of the accident.  "I love you.  I should be back in about an hour and 30 minutes, maybe a little longer.  Don't worry, you will be on time for football.  Clean up, eat your breakfast, and get ready."  It was eerie to consider not seeing him again.

 

In the final strides of Saturday’s run, I found ideas for Monday’s lecture on active reading strategies.  I decided to start the presentation with something dynamic.  

 

Capturing students' attention spans is critical to impactful teaching. 

 

I jumped rope, backflipped, and did capoeira movements to grab students' attention and introduce how reading can lead to skill development. Earlier that morning, I went to the gym and prepared.


Before you scroll to the video below, identify an idea, situation, place, person, or thing you are grateful for today.  Life is unpredictable.  We are here one minute and gone the next.

 

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