Some of you will know that I recently bought a really nice bike with some of my savings from not smoking, to get me back into my old hobby of cycling - and to give me something to aim at I signed up for a 100 mile bike ride in aid of the British Heart Foundation in June.
Anyway, Sunday morning was a training ride with me and 4 out of the 8 others from work who are also doing the ride (when word got out, some people wanted to join in and then we "persuaded" others ).... the other 4 couldn't make this one.
We did 20 miles - all 5 of us. The 2 smokers (one New Year quitter recently relapsed), the 2 never smokers and me who is newly quit (just over 6 months).
We averaged just under 15mph, bloody good, and I actually remarked to the smokers as soon as we stopped that I was impressed. I doubt that I would have been able to do that when I was still feeding my addiction.
"You can be fit and smoke, you know" said one as he lit up a fag before he even recovered his breathing.
I remembered saying pretty much the same thing a few years ago. A regular runner I knew at the time had a reply for me that I couldn't remember just at that moment.
Then it hit me.... my breathing had already recovered. In fact, I hadn't really been breathing that hard anyway. Neither had the non smokers. In fact we had been talking and laughing for most of the ride. The smokers hadn't.
I drank from my water bottle and stretched my muscles as he bent over coughing.
Then the runner's reply came back to me.
"Yes, you can be fit and smoke" I said..... "You just can't be healthy and smoke".