Brian Hamilton: Ski in, ski out isn’t all it’s cracked up to be | TheUnion.com

Brian Hamilton: Ski in, ski out isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

Look, I'm nearly 45 and, unlike my contemporaries offering those late-night TV testimonials, I am not in the best shape of my life.

It's not for a lack of trying, at least recently, but getting into shape sure seems to be a whole lot harder than I remember.

For the better part of the past two months, I've been hammering away at it nearly every day. Hopping on the bike, elliptical and treadmill, I've racked up many a mile and burnt countless calories. I've put so much sweat-equity into exercising that my gym bag sure seems a whole lot heavier — and according to my girls, smellier — on the way home with saturated sweatshirt, shorts, socks and sneakers inside.

Still, I step on the scale and … Seriously? Let's just say the pounds aren't exactly melting away.

“Once again, Karma had come around, serving its role as the check and balance to my pride, now thoroughly bruised to match my torso.”

But Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was this belly.

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Truth is I didn't set out with a goal to lose weight. I just expected it to be a positive side effect of exercising, as I got moving so I'd be ready to get on my snowboard this winter without wheezing for breath or whining about sore muscles. And to that point, it's been a success, as I finished off five full days of snowboarding without much trouble.

Oh sure, my old ankle injury still nagged from time to time, and strapping the board to my feet seemed a bit more of reach after a burger-and-beer lunch. But at the end of the day, as I cruised down the cul de sac of ski-in, ski-out lodging, I felt good. I felt strong. And, I felt pain.

The faceplant was surely something to behold, had anyone actually witnessed it. But most embarrassing was the fact that the chest-crushing collapse was completely avoidable, had I simply unstrapped the board for the final 50 feet to the door.

But no. I just had to "ski out."

Somehow, it seemed only appropriate that I was facedown in the snow, sucking for enough air to curse myself — or at least be able to let out a laugh, confirming my lungs could actually still inflate, if not yet to full capacity.

Once again, Karma had come around, serving its role as the check and balance to my pride, now thoroughly bruised to match my torso. It's funny that I'm still reminded of my stupidity with each rib-wrenching sneeze, cough or laugh nearly two weeks later. All the same, I didn't let my pathetic pratfall put a damper on things, other than whining to my wife and protesting a trip to the doctor with each shot of searing pain.

Achoo! Ouch.

If anything my self-induced suffering — like my sad attempts at keeping pace with my daughters down the slopes — has served as another reminder that, well, I'm getting old.

Don't get me wrong. That fact doesn't mean I'm giving up. Actually, it's just the opposite. If it takes me longer to get into shape, or to bounce back from being stupid, then I've at least learned that much. Now it's up to me to put that newfound knowledge to work, and to be patient enough to see the results. While it might take longer to watch the weight come off, more important are the energizing effects of once again exercising on a regular basis.

And even if the goal isn't to one day say "I'm 45 and I'm in the best shape of my life," the fact that I'm moving again will at least help to soften the blow the next time I fall flat on my face.

Brian Hamilton is editor of The Union. Contact him at bhamilton@theunion.com or 530-477-4249.

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