“What fits your busy schedule better? Exercising one hour a day, or being dead twenty-four hours a day?”
I’m really upset with myself this winter, but I haven’t done anything about it. Of course that means that I really shouldn’t complain, because I have absolute control over the outcome, but here’s my story.
A few years ago, with my age, family history of diabetes, and knowledge of cardiac risks in mind, I decided to take up running. Actually, I didn’t exactly decide, it was more like an epiphany; a realization that it was time to take care of my health or it just might end up taking care of me.
Freshly epiphanized, I went off and bought myself a comfy (and rather expensive) pair of shoes. My marathoner friend, whom I hold in complete awe to this day, gave me all the encouragement I needed to step out in those new shoes. Literally.
In late March, feeling something like this,
I set off on my very first “run”. Oh my. I tried not to imagine my neighbours snickering as I thundered by, trying to achieve the “run for one minute” goal, before breaking into a welcome walk for several more. Honestly, I felt so awful, that I was afraid some day I’d have to be taken home like this:
But, despite the pain, I stuck to my plan to “run” every other day. I panted, I wheezed, I sweated. I got sore, and I got really mad. The madder I got, the more determined I was to stick with it, and, by golly, I finally reached the point where I was really running — and for quite a stretch.
The problem is, I really hated it.
Knowing that there was no way I’d ever keep going once the cold weather came, I joined Curves in the fall, determined to go where no Curves patron had gone before.
During those yucky, cold months I pulled, pushed, squatted, and lifted on the machines as hard as I could, and on the “recovery boards” between exercises, I ran in place. Hard. I was dripping buckets of sweat at the end of the workouts and was so hot I often went home, through the snow, wearing only shorts and a t-shirt. Am I bragging? Not at all. I was just running scared that winter. I’d worked so hard to get where I was, that I was terrified of losing everything if I didn’t keep going.
By spring I’d lost more weight and my body had become quite muscular. But what about running? I put off finding out, afraid to try. Then, one April afternoon, I finally headed out and did 2k, after a run-less winter, no problem. No problem? Only one. I still hated it.
Since then, I’ve searched for a workout routine that suits me and I’ve come up with several. Sometimes I use my stepper, and sometimes I like to join Tony for a P90 workout just to change things up. I use weights for my upper body and other workouts for abs and thighs. And I have a great, hilly, 3 – 5k power walk that I do whenever possible, wearing MBTs.
I park in the farthest parking space in the staff parking lot at work, and when the weather is good, I have a route that will make my walk to and from the hospital total 2k each day. I run up stairs when I have the chance, and try to keep moving whenever I can. I’ve come to realize that no exercise opportunity is too small.
Do I look terrific? No, not at all. Do I feel great? Yes, I sure do — inside and out. Problem is, this winter, more than most, has been a challenge to my workout level and weight, but I try not to fret. Spring always arrives and a fresh round of exercise begins. What’s not to love about that?
While I was nearly killing myself, trying to get in shape, I picked Andrew up at school following a track practice. He said, “I’m really tired, Mom. We had to run 5k today.” Andrew being Andrew, he had absolutely no idea what “5k” meant, simply that the teacher outlined the course and that was that.
Since he’d only run fairly short distances to that point, I asked him if he had to stop and rest. “No,” he assured me, “the teacher said we had to run 5k so I did. It was easy.”
Oh, was I ever jealous that day!