During cross country season in high school, I used to run 10 miles a day not even counting our regular practices. I would run the mile from Garden Grove to Mile Square Park, do two laps around the park and run the mile home.
But my mom raised us as a single mom working two full time jobs. As soon as I was old enough to get a work permit, I got out and worked. School, sports, friends--all that was secondary to survival. Working warehouse work and anything that paid the bills in the 1980s, I would come home every day and write computer code, first on paper, and then finally when I had my own computer.
I was probably 28 or 29 before I realized that I wasn't struggling. But I wanted a family, so I still kept my head down and focused on my goals. Strangely none of my goals involved taking good care of myself or having fun. I just worked and took care of my family.
So, now in my life 2.0, I try to channel the kid who used to win track meets. I used to get "runner's high" but to me it was more like runner's hypnosis. I could just go to my happy place and come back when I was done.
The first week of the stationary cycle, every day I would get on the bike feeling like someone who had been mugged the previous day. I just got mugged and now I have to ride a bike. Then I started doing stomach crunches. Then I started doing aerobics on top of that.
Finally I'm getting in the zone instead of just feeling like the victim of a beating. I'm starting to feel more like an athlete than a middle aged man.