Running With the Wools

The Wools photo by Author

Back in 2013, I quit smoking. A year later I began running. Or shuffle hopping, as I like to call it.

I ran almost daily for nearly two years before work and life (and in the summer of 2016 cigarettes) got in the way.

In 2018, after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, I started lifting free weights. I really liked it, but somehow turned into a 12-year-old boy wanting to go heavier faster. I injured my rotator cuff.

Then, in 2019, I started having health issues. First skin cancer (surgically removed – I’m fine) and then weird and unexplained stomach issues and full-body aches.

I lost 25 pounds in just a few months. Everybody kept telling me how great I looked. I know it was a compliment but it didn’t feel like one. All the pain and misery every single day. I just felt horrible.

Those issues were resolved. It was a simple fix: stop taking medication that was prescribed prophylactically as part of the medical standard of care for women with T2D.

And then I put the weight back on. I’ve gained ten pounds since August.


So, once again I’m embarking upon a journey of fitness. I’ve been counting my steps and logging my food. Logging my water intake and monitoring my sleep. All thanks to my shiny new FitBit Inspire 2 (no affiliate links – just an early Christmas gift) I’m prompted to get up and move, take a walk, or drink some water. I’m prompted to meditate which, as it turns out, is not at all relaxing. I haven’t meditated, yet. I’ve been getting in some steps and some cardio. I haven’t actually exercised. I’ve been digging holes in the dried-up-home-made-pond in the orchard. Not real exercise.

Until today.

Today I ran (or shuffle hopped).

I was planning on walking through the sheep pasture up to the gate at the back of our property. Something came over me and I ran (shuffle hopped) instead.

The sheep and llama decided to investigate. I think they thought I was crazy. Marilyn, the llama, is the guardian of the flock. She couldn’t figure out what I was doing. I wasn’t feeding them. I wasn’t petting them. I wasn’t threatening them. I was running away from them.

Pretty soon I heard thundering hoofbeats behind me. Marilyn was chasing me and only veered off when she got an arm’s length away. She’d wait until I got a bit ahead of her and chased after me again, with all the food little sheep following where they were led.

Llamas can actually run not just shuffle hop. They move in a loping gallop. Fast! A couple of times I worried she would crash into me. She never did, of course.

Some people spend a bunch of money to fly to Spain and go running with the bulls.

Me? I stay home and go running with the wools.

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