Barely a shuffle remained in my shoes as I slogged up the hill. My legs ached, my chest burned, and I panted like an old plow horse mucking through mud. Probably looked the part, too - big, gray and worn out.
Why am I taking up running again? Oh yeah, to feel better and to enjoy myself.
I whinnied - or at least whined - and clipped my cement-filled horseshoes another clomp.
I recited my mantra: ''Must. Find. Lazier. Way. To burn. Calories.''
I crawled back home three days later (it was only a short run) and did what any reasonable person seeking a solution to a problem would do. I Googled it.
Did you know that one hour of texting burns about 132 calories? And you're only working your thumbs.
Better yet, don't type ''LOL.'' Do it. Laughing out loud burns 40 calories every 10 minutes. Busting a gut for an hour watching a slapstick comedy actually will bust about 400 calories off your gut compared to the 132 for typing it.
Completely for research purposes, I have on my desk a Snickers bar and a 20-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola. The first weighs in at 250 calories, and the latter at 240. To offset their consumption (for research purposes only), I would need to burn 490 calories.
I could walk for 200 calories an hour, lift weights for about 300, or do my slow-paced ''run'' for about 800. Or a comedy just about gets the candy and Coke without all the whining and whinnying.
Here's what else you can do to burn calories without really trying:
Buy food. Speeding through the grocery aisles while lugging gallon jugs or pushing full carts burns off about 144 calories an hour.
Sitting in your chair reading for an hour without barely lifting a finger burns about 132 calories an hour. Folding laundry for an hour kicks it up to 136 calories. Barely seems worth wearing unwrinkled clothes, doesn't it?
Every 765 applications of lip balm or gloss adds up to another 100 calories.
The next time she says it's time to rearrange the furniture - even though you know the couch, TV, tables and chairs are perfectly fine right where they're at - think of it as an opportunity. An hour of rearranging burns about 532 calories, and it's a full-body workout. Plus it more than covers the candy bar and Coke.
Clean the gutters. It gets you outside and away from rearranging all the furniture, and it's good for 400 to 500 calories.
Or give your sweetie a massage. An hour burns 190 calories, plus she'll be happy, mellow - and will owe you big time.
Playing with the kids for an hour is good for anywhere from about 200 calories for light goofing around to 450 or more for raucous running, jumping, tackling and tumbling. And it keeps both of you from wasting so much time texting.
Unicycling topples about 450 to 500 calories an hour, not counting the calories for falling off while trying to learn to ride half a bicycle. Add that second wheel, and you only burn 350 to 380 calories for a leisurely ride.
There. I just worked off another 132 calories writing out these tips for you. I suppose none of this will help me in the 5K I signed up to run in about a week. But at least I can have my... hey, who ate my Snickers bar? That's why I need to run - to get the store to buy another one.
---- Now you know why Cole is not a health and fitness professional. Get more questionable advice at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.