Like the first issue of a new comic book, this is where you discover the origins of your hero and how he came into the role he'll play throughout the series. This story starts on a March day in 1999, when I admitted I had to lose five pounds or buy new pants. I'm allergic to clothes shopping, so I figured I'd eat a little less, go skating along the trail a few times, and lose the weight. I overdid it.
By early August I was down 35 pounds to a weight I hadn't seen since I was 14. I was wearing maybe-they'll-fit-again-someday clothes from the attic. My boss asked me to stop so that I wouldn't weigh less than she does. (She's taller than I am and in no danger of suffering by comparison.) Another co-worker asked in a hushed and urgent voice if I were all right -- she thought I must be terribly sick to lose so much weight. At a blood drive that August the examining nurse asked, "Are you athletic?" I was baffled by the question, which turned out to mean, "Why is your resting pulse only 50 beats per minute?" 1999 was a huge success and I fell in love with inline skating.
I posted occasionally about trail conditions or events to the Arlington List. When list owner Dave Coletta started Live From Arlington, I moved my trail reports there. Live From Arlington is in hibernation now and I'm branching out on my own.
I started setting annual skating goals in 2004. The first goal was to skate more than ever before, which I made by a measly half mile that year. Such a pathetic achievement called for a more ambitious goal and in 2005 I set out to skate the distance from my home in Arlington, Massachusetts to the home of the blues in Memphis, Tennessee. I barely got there, held back by an attack of lethargy that lasted most of September and October. My 2006 goal was the distance to my mother's home in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Unseasonably warm weather kept the trail clear through December for an eleventh hour success. In 2007, I'm aiming for the same distance with an earlier finish. This blog and online tracking of my progress will keep the pressure on.