You know that dramatic moment in almost every made-for-television movie on Lifetime, where the guy wakes up in the hospital and suddenly realizes he can’t feel his legs?
Yeah. I so totally envy that guy.
Because, right now, I’d give just about anything not to feel my legs. Or my knees. Or my ankles. Or basically, any other part of my body that isn’t fingernails and hair.
In fact, I rather suspect all of the major muscle groups in my body have recently filed a restraining order to keep Logan Parrish at least 500 feet the hell away from me.
Logan is the lead athletic trainer for McKay-Dee Surgery Center and Orthopedics, in Ogden. He’s from Burley, Idaho, is a graduate of Weber State University, and I’m sure he’s a peach of a guy. Indeed, under different circumstances — like hanging at the beach, chatting him up in the grocery store, or going out clubbing on a Friday night (baby seals, not drinking establishments) — I’m sure he’d be a perfectly charming human being.
But in Logan’s current capacity as my very own personal athletic trainer? He’s sorta like a cross between Mary Poppins and, well, Lucifer.
Standard-Examiner publisher Brandon Erlacher and I are just concluding our fifth week of training — coordinated by the sadistic folks at Intermountain Healthcare — for our own little hellish portions of the upcoming Ogden Marathon (Brandon the half-marathon, me the 5K). And up until this week, our IHC overlords had been pairing us up with the spunky, friendly physical therapist assistants Sam Fleming and Brooke Schulthies. Sam and Brooke run the treadmill pool at the IHC facility, and it turns out that running underwater is a lot like lifting weights in a hammock — sure, technically it’s exercise, but it’s so darned relaxing you don’t really think of it as work.
That’s because the buoyancy of the water renders you just one-fourth the weight you are on land, meaning a guy like me is jogging as a 70-pound wraith in the pool treadmill, versus a 280-pound lumbering blob on the terrestrial treadmill.
It reminds me a lot of those manatees they have down Florida way. On land, these large creatures are incredibly slow and clumsy. However, get them in the water, and they’re transformed into something graceful and nimble.
So basically, I’m the sea cow of the Ogden Marathon.
But this week, IHC has decided to start playing hardball. Which means they’ve handed Brandon and me off to their crack non-aquatic athletic trainer/drill sergeant, Logan Parrish.
I’d never really spent any time with an athletic trainer because, well … me. But it would appear that the entire job is to stand there looking like a model for a company that sells athletic wear, all the while using a combination of positive reinforcement and constant reminders of how much time is left in a particular exercise.
It’s like a kitchen timer that’s been programmed by motivational speaker Tony Robbins.
Consider my first training session led by Logan, which started out with 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on various instruments of physical torture. Whether it was the exercise bike, the elliptical trainer or the treadmill, our exchange was the same basic conversation.
LOGAN: You’re doing great! Just 30 seconds to go!
ME: Can’t ...
LOGAN: Looking good! Twenty-eight seconds left!
ME: … breathe ...
LOGAN: Way to go! Twenty-six seconds!
ME: … must ...
LOGAN: Yes! Just 24 more seconds!
ME: … lie …
LOGAN: Keep going! Twenty-two seconds!
ME: … down …
LOGAN: Finishing strong! You’ve only got 20 seconds left!
ME: (Clutching chest)
LOGAN: Almost there! Fifteen seconds!
ME: (Collapsing in a heap on the floor)
LOGAN: All right! Excellent workout! Are you feeling the burn?
And that was just the aerobic portion of the workout. The other half consisted of strength training — or as I prefer to call it, “humiliation therapy.”
LOGAN: Great job! Nine more reps!
LOGAN: Sweet! Just eight reps to go!
LOGAN: Good! OK! I’ll give you half-credit on that one! Just seven and a half reps to go!
LOGAN: Well, now you’re not even going all the way down.
LOGAN: I can’t count that rep — you didn’t even move.
LOGAN: Um, still not moving.
LOGAN: Seriously? You’re just lying there making various exertion noises.
LOGAN: Yeah. I think I’ll go grab some lunch …
In Logan’s defense, I can’t imagine what it’s like to remain positive when you’re trying to mold a pasty lump of Play-Doh. I mean, he spends his days working with finely tuned athletes from Weber State, and then once a week he’s saddled with a guy who gets winded just watching him demonstrate the exercises.
For you sadists out there who simply can’t get enough of reading about the cruelty of training for the Ogden Marathon, there’s a lot more where this came from. You can sign up for the Standard-Examiner’s weekly newsletter updates — delivered straight to your email inbox — by going to standard.net/newsletters. It’s available under the “Weekly” grouping, in a newsletter called “Logging Miles.” (Hard to believe editors selected that one over my suggested title for a newsletter about running: “I’d Rather Be Golfing.”)
The electronic newsletter offers insights, tips and other exercise and nutrition information designed for both runners and wanna-be runners. I’ll get around to reading the latest issue, just as soon as I’ve recovered from my first encounter with Logan and can see again.
Because I think I actually pulled a muscle in one of my eye sockets.