Jonathan the marathon man | Inquirer Opinion
High blood

Jonathan the marathon man

12:06 AM March 15, 2017

God only knows and God makes his plan (but) the information’s unavailable to the mortal man,” wrote Paul Simon. And so, that’s how it goes—we don’t know what is in store for us, but one thing I am sure of: God helps in many ways.

I am a lazy person, I do almost everything seated on my recliner: reading, writing, watching TV, listening to music, going on you tube, calling people I need to talk to, making lists, gathering information from Google, eating and sleeping. So my battle with laziness is with my recliner and often it wins.

But when God has had enough of our shenanigans, He steps in and takes over, and on such a day I found myself crossing the street to the mall with Liezl L., a pretty mother of two young boys, who works in our administration office and who sometimes thinks she is my mother.

She says, “Sit somewhere while I get us something to eat.”


I look around and see a young man seated by himself with three extra chairs near him. I sit there with his permission. He says he’s waiting for his mother who is at the supermarket.

Soon, Jonathan the marathon man, as he calls himself, and I are in deep conversation about health. He gives me four pieces of paper, enumerating his program of easy exercises for seniors—plus a detailed style of going from slow walking to jogging then, running, and finally, to competitive marathon training.

I miss a lot in life just by being lazy—like rollerblading, ice skating, bicycling, and ballroom dancing. The only sports I have indulged in are rapid mouth movement, eyebrow-raising, time-wasting, and jumping to conclusion.

Jonathan says, “Sometimes it takes understanding to be courageous.” How true. He urges me to do the easy exercises of wall stretch, toe rotation, knee rotation, ham stretch, hip rotation, arm rotation, face-up stretch, left-face stretch, right-face stretch and head rotation. I silently ask God why he sent Jonathan to me at such a late date.


Jonathan says that if I do his program, I would feel better, live longer and be happier. But that I should have absolute dedication.

Listen to what he says: “Make it your lifetime commitment by enjoying it. I encourage you to do this because in many cases this prevents and erases sickness, postpones aging, quickens thinking, tones muscles, and many other benefits will come your way aside from obtaining a super, healthy body. Don’t wait for your doctor to tell you, ‘I’m sorry, it’s too late for you to exercise because of your ailments. Just lie down in your bed or sit in your wheel chair for the rest of your life.’”


Isn’t that bone-chilling? Hey, all you senior citizens, get a-moving!

Here comes Liezl with a very slim hotdog, with a whiff of mustard and ketchup on it, in a stick; not even a lousy piece of bread.

Jonathan eyes our meal and asks me: “How old are you now, Ma’am?”

Afraid to tell him that I am rapidly going on from 78 to 80, I couldn’t tell him I haven’t done a darn thing in my life for the likes of the Jonathans of this world to be proud of me.

On the way back Liezl chides me for always talking to strangers. I ask what can a stranger do to me. It’s my friends I am afraid of because they know my routine. I am too old for anyone to be interested in; too heavy for kidnappers to pull into a waiting van; and too loudmouthed that I can do a better job of alerting the people around me than that silly “Siren Song” gadget being promoted on YouTtube to discourage crime.

But Lord, and Jonathan the marathon man, thank you very much!

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Shirley Wilson de las Alas confides that she is turning 79 years young in June and she says she feels lucky to have lived this long with few ailments amid the observation that many senior citizens, especially those who have caregivers tagging along wherever they go, have stopped trying to look good and have abandoned all forms of activity.

TAGS: elder, exercise, High Blood, marathon, opinion, Senior citizen

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