Thread: Fittest President ever?
06-30-2003, 04:40 PM #1AR-Hall of Famer / Retired
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Fittest President ever?
Run, George, Run, but Not Too Fast
By ELISABETH BUMILLER
President Bush arrived at his 1,600-acre ranch here close to 1 a.m. on Saturday, when he crawled in next to the first lady — "she'll be the lump in the bed next to me," he memorably said to 800 political donors in Burlingame, Calif., on Friday afternoon — then got up later in the day to continue his rehabilitation work on a sports injury that has slowed the first runner.
Mr. Bush, who also used the weekend to rest between multimillion-dollar fund-raisers for his re-election campaign, has been suffering from a minor muscle tear in his calf for two and a half months. His running times have suffered, too. A president who once averaged a 6:45 mile over three miles — an unusually strong showing for a 56-year-old — is now loping along at eight- and nine-minute miles, interspersed with walking. And for the first time, he is warming up before hitting the treadmill or the White House track.
"When he used to go running, he would just run without stretching," said Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary. "He recognizes that's not a good way to take care of your body."
As first reported by Edwin Chen of The Los Angeles Times, Mr. Bush noticed an ache in his right calf muscle after a hard run in April, as major combat operations in Iraq were winding down. It was also around that time that the president complained to Mr. Chen, at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner, about his aching knees. But rather than tend to the signals from his body, Mr. Bush simply ran through the pain.
"Which he recognizes now was a mistake," Mr. Fleischer said.
Benched from running, Mr. Bush still worked out six days a week, focusing on other forms of exercise, lifting weights, swimming in the outdoor White House pool and using an elliptical training machine. But by late last week, his running rehabilitation program was well under way.
On Tuesday, Mr. Fleischer said, the president ran two miles and walked two miles on his treadmill in the exercise room on the top floor of the White House. On Wednesday, Mr. Bush ran two miles on the squishy outdoor track that circles the South Lawn, which is tucked so discreetly into the dip of the landscape that tourists can see the president only as a dot at the very tip of the track, just outside the South Portico entrance to the mansion. On Thursday, Mr. Bush ran three miles on the treadmill.
07-01-2003, 10:14 AM #2
If he's the fittest president ever then he's not doing much for that "fitness meathead" image. I'm sure the Secret Service makes sure he finds his way back home.
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