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Opinion >  Column

Paul Turner: Fitness isn’t everything…right?

Bloomsday runners finish at the Monroe Street Bridge Sunday, May 4, 2014 during Boomsday 2014. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Bloomsday runners finish at the Monroe Street Bridge Sunday, May 4, 2014 during Boomsday 2014. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Two weeks to go.

For some, especially those who have not trained, this is about when Bloomsday reality starts to sink in.

No more denial. Time to face it. You are not in shape now and won’t be on the morning of May 6. Deal.

I’m just wondering. Have you ever made any of the following statements (even if silently, and to yourself)?

“Run 7.46 miles? I can barely drive that far in my truck.”

“I guess that’s going to require getting out of bed that Sunday.”

“Why do I let my kids sign me up for this every year?”

If any of that sounds familiar, you might be glad to hear what I’m about to say.

Fitness isn’t everything. There are alternatives to training.

Oh sure, they might not be quite as effective as planning and getting in shape. They might not be what so-called experts refer to as “proven” strategies. But perhaps one of these approaches could be just right for you.

The Think System: Inspired by Professor Harold Hill of “Music Man” fame, this training technique involves visualization exercises carried out from the comfort of your own reclining chair.

Whereas Professor Hill’s recommended mantra was “Think the Minuet in G,” you will quietly repeat “Think Bloomsday.”

It worked, sort of, for the boys in the River City band. Maybe it would work for you.

Belief in angels: Religious faith isn’t usually viewed as a viable substitute for regular exercise. Even in Spokane. But a true believer who calls on the heavenly hosts to lift him or her to the finish line might be rewarded with a race day result that astounds onlookers.

Or you might find yourself out on the course without a prayer of finishing under four hours. Could go either way.

Astral projection: One problem with relying on an out-of-body experience to finish Bloomsday is, when race organizers ask what size T-shirt you want, you are really supposed to refer to your corporeal form, not your ethereal spiritual essence.

They don’t make shirts in size infinity.

Another issue is your actual earthbound body still might get rammed in the Achilles by baby strollers.

Tolerating a phenomenal amount of pain (feel the burn x 10): Have you ever asked yourself this: If I ran flat-out and totally ignored oxygen debt and incipient rigor mortis cramps, could I cover 12 kilometers in a decent time, even though I’m not in great shape?

Different individuals might have different answers. Chances are, you would start physically shutting down early in the race. Or perhaps you might, well, die.

But maybe you would be the exception.

Good luck.

Readers’ Mailbag

What, you thought I had forgotten about readers?

Hey, give-and-take is in my blood. Former colleague Jim Kershner once told me, long ago, that I ought to make my column’s motto “Interactive Before Interactive was Cool.”

I heard from a lot of readers about my column no longer being called The Slice. Terry Martin’s note is representative.

“Not calling it The Slice makes it seem like the column has been cancelled.”

I get that. But as you can see, I’m still here.

The name thing? I could argue that either way.

My heartfelt praise for Spokane’s relatively low humidity prompted Dianne Cook to write.

“Pregnancy in the Midwest is the worst.”

My friend Jim Clanton in Spokane Valley reported on the muted praise some visitors from southern California had for our area recently.

They noted that the air is fresh and there was no line for gas at Costco.

“That was about as much as they could muster.”

My column about not being on Facebook generated a number of responses, but none quite like a note from North Idaho reader Lauren Hopkins.

“Oh my God. Can I say I love you?”

You may.

One of my favorite reactions to the confusion surrounding my column’s move came from North Sider Alice Spray. Like a number of others, she assumed I would suddenly find myself with a lot of time on my hands.

“Feel free to stop by this summer to have a beer and meet the cat,” she wrote.

Then there was this from longtime contributor Maggie Fritz.

“I guess I get the distinction of being the first and last Slice Reader of the Year. Wow. Yet another lesson in impermanence.”

No doubt. But they say change can be good.

Let’s move on.

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