An Early-Morning Exercise Of Mind and Body

'How are your 'wogs' going?" a neighbor asked me recently. He used the term he'd coined for my current style of exercise that combines brisk walking and light jogging.

I've made various stabs at exercise over the years, often gearing up to get in shape only to go too hard, too soon, with the end result being a handy excuse to forgo further workouts.

For six months at a Y, I did a complete workout, getting tangled up in all manner of machines. This practice came to an end because of sagging resolve and nagging thoughts:

1. It is insane to drive somewhere to get in shape.

2. I wish I possessed adequate engineering knowledge to transform the power of all those stationary bicyclists into usable electricity.

So this time around, taking a more prudent course, I started off walking: 30 minutes. I then began adding brief spurts of jogging to my walks, thus embracing walk/jogs.

Another neighbor, a sometime marathoner, mentioned how he often runs along trails on our town's wooded conservation land. Inspired by this idea, I walk/jogged to the nearest trail. Sticking to my 30-minute limit, I was only in the woods about three minutes before I had to reverse direction.

On the return path, I was greeted by the steely eyes of a buck, who acknowledged my presence before prancing off. What a fantastic experience! I like this exercising-in-the-woods business! At my current "wog rate," however, I'm spending most of my time on roads just getting to the woods. Hmm....

Welcome to a bike/walk/jog. Zipping to the trailhead on my ten-speed, I had much more time in the woods. Despite the best trail-clearing efforts of the local forest and trail association, however, a few stray branches impeded my efforts to achieve workout bliss.

So, the next time out, I placed pruning shears in my bike basket. You've got it: a bike/walk/jog/prune! (Of course, when moving along the trails in nonsnipping mode, I carefully held the sharp end of the shears, as I would a pair of scissors, in case I tripped over an exposed root.)

Several weeks ago, on my way to work, I pulled over to take a walk, not planning to add the jog as I was in my work duds. Passing the town's yard-waste dump, I walked down to a pond and was awestruck by the moon setting in the early-morning glow. What a sight! Let me see, my cameras are back in the car....

Yes, a walk/jog/shoot. The moon was moving so fast, I had to trot down trails to catch just the right angle.

After the moon sank beyond the treeline, I spied a misty apple orchard. I then focused my lens on the steam rising from a pile of decomposing vegetation.

Then I peeked at my watch - Yikes! Time to hit the road. Cradling my camera, I loped back to my car feeling fully alive, fully connected.

Ah, yes: A walk/jog/shoot.

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