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Giving thanks and being sore for it
10/30/2013 2:00:24 PM

By Chad Kimberley
Splash Column

As the calendar turns to November, many of us become like Pavlov's dog as we start salivating at the idea of a Thanksgiving holiday filled with our favorite foods and family, but we would all be remiss to not pause and give thanks as the calendar first reads Veterans Day before it reaches Thanksgiving Day. 

So on a cold and foggy Sunday morning, my family and I headed to Rocky Hill Park to both remember and work out. 

As a history teacher, I couldn't help but think of the many battle scenes through time painted on a similar backdrop. But instead of it being the fog burning off the ground, it was the smoke from cannons and muskets being fired or the ground literally shaking, rattling and spewing dust from our modern methods of warfare. 

The pages of American history include a continual thread of battle after battle, from the Revolutionary War continuing to this day, while our nation and armed forces battle the war on terrorism. 

I was trying to convey this reality to my kids as we arrived at the park and took time to reflect on the young man, Marine Corporal Joshua R. Dumaw, who lost his life in Afghanistan. I explained how a group of folks from our community are creating this Fallen Heroes circuit of remembrance and exercise to honor those who have served and given their life for the freedoms we enjoy in this country. 

So with a small lesson on American history in their minds, we set out to get a little sweat going in the morning as we tried out this circuit of events. 

I immediately was reminded of the upper body weakness I have spent years trying to hide. The past few months have been widely used to get into a regular running regiment, which culminated in the completion of my first half-marathon. But all of this came at the expense of doing any upper body workouts, and boy could I tell it right off the bat. 

Now I have never been one who has enjoyed doing pull-ups. In fact, all the way back to my junior high years I was that kid who just hung off the bar while throwing my legs up into the air repeatedly in hopes that it would spur my arms to actually pull my chin over the bar. It never worked, and I eventually chose the inglorious path of the failed trapeze artists by falling to the ground in a mix of shame and ineptitude. 

This unremarkable feeling came back to me as I hung on the bar for a few seconds before quickly realizing it was time to move onto other parts of the circuit. The kids and I enjoyed several aspects of the circuit, but a few of them stood out for various reasons. 

"Stand and spin," as it became known to us (more properly referred to as "step and twist"), reminded me of those old exercise machines that you stood on, wrapped a thick belt around your waist and then allowed the equipment to "jiggle" the weight off while you stood there. In essence, it didn't do anything for me. I am sure this was supposed to build my core muscles, but I believe the problem was that I do not have a core - or at least an athletic core. 

We moved onto the seated lat pull, which has always been a favorite exercise of mine as it allows me to work on my lack of upper body strength while sitting, which traditionally has been the most common exercise I have done. The kids equally enjoyed the machine as they would take turns placing one of their siblings in the seat while the other two took the outside positions to raise their brother or sister up and down. Hey, whatever works. 

Over the course of my adult life, I have gone through periodic times of lower back pain (this could be from the equally periodic front stomach gains), so I truly enjoyed the back extension, which allowed me to stretch out my back while also trying to shrink down my front. I admit I probably looked more like a fish flopping on the bottom of a boat as I went through several repetitions, but that was a burn that felt great.

One of the final stations we covered was the one in which my lack of strength manifested itself to the highest degree - the parallel bars. The kids at first enjoy using the parallel bars as a tumbling and flipping device until I explained to them the goal is to support yourself using your arms and to slowly "walk" down the bars using your arms. 

My collective family was not strong at this - not even remotely close. We may have to start a push up regiment as part of the going-to-bed routine. I figure if we use the distance that each individual member of the family made it across the bars as a collective whole, we would have made it about halfway across. 

With a sufficient amount of sweat expended and the kids having moved onto the park and the basketball court, it was time to head home. But on our way to the parking lot, I stopped by and reread the quote that is on the memorial for Corporal Dumaw. 

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The Marines don't have that problem."

This November, make sure you thank not only the Marines but also all the men and women serving in different military branches for making a difference in our world. And if you get a chance, also say a word of thanks to those who have begun the work on this Fallen Heroes Circuit Course for helping to make a difference through remembrance and exercise in our community. 

So let me start off by saying thank you to all my friends, neighbors and those I may never meet who have served and are currently serving our country. And most importantly, thank you Corporal Dumaw.

Splash columnist Chad Kimberley is a resident of Liberty Lake, teacher at Valley Christian School and girls basketball coach at Freeman High School.