I had every intention of sleeping in yesterday...but I didn't.
I had every intention of just taking a leisurely stroll...but I didn't.
I had every intention of exercising this evening...but I didn't.
Sometimes our intentions weigh us down. Having the best intentions when eating out, when making food at home, deciding whether or not to eat that last piece of pumpkin pie. Those intentions can lead to big stress and, worse, guilt if we betray them. But sometimes, in the best times, our intentions can be freeing. We expect to have a few slip ups and we vow to be okay with them, we figure our ways around them, and then we up and shock the heck out of ourselves when we do the exact opposite.
I expected to sleep in, but I started my day early instead.
I expected a leisurely stroll, but I ran W1D1 of C25K instead.
I expected to hold off my workouts until Yoga tonight, but I threw in a little one earlier too.
It's days like those where it doesn't even feel like trying. Days like those when it's not about what didn't happen or what should have happened or what we could have done. It's freeing. It's exhilarating. Those are the days I live for.
I don't know why I decided to do C25k yesterday. I just wanted to see if I could get through just a tiny bit more than I was able to do last time. The last time I pulled my hip flexor in the third running segment and limped home defeated. Running for the longest time hurt....a LOT. Like, more than it should. And I stopped trying to do it on a regular basis. There were times when I'd think, "I feel good...let's just try it out." And I'd go slow and steady and wouldn't overdo it and come out with a little more confidence. But it still hurt for a long time. So when I walked out the door yesterday and started the app on my phone, I just imagined how good it would feel to report back here saying, "I'm progressing with it!"
The first thing I did? I didn't start the app at the beginning of my walk. The last time I tried this, I ended up running in a bad, bad spot on my normal route. You see, I live in the stix, the country, the boonies, the hills of wild, wonderful West Virginia. Yes, we have paved roads, but I don't live in a town. When people ask where I'm from, even people from WV, I give them the name of a nearby town that is more well-known. You can tell how well a person knows the area by whether they know the name. And you can certainly tell if someone grew up here if they know of former landmarks that are now long gone.
There's a certain charm about this. The beauty of the back hillside when it's frosted over and looks like a blanket of billowing snow. The field that floods across the street, or houses countless deer or turkeys, or bails of hay - depending on the time of year. But there are difficulties to this living too. The roads can be a challenge. None of them are straight, or flat, or even correctly and fully paved. It's a patchwork of years past and years present, it's the turn up ahead and the magic beyond the next bend, it's neighborhood dogs barking, while horses come up to greet you and a rifle shot is heard in the not-too-distant woods.
So the last time I went out on my run, I hit the first running segment halfway up hill 2 in my route. This time, I wanted to avoid that. I waited a few minutes before turning on the app and getting started on the warm-up, and I think that extra warm-up time may have helped as well. When the run segment came, I ran. And then it was over. And I didn't much think about it. After the third segment I had a brief thought of, "Well, there! Goal completed!" but it was quickly followed by, "Just a LITTLE more." At one point I was worried. How much more? Would I injure myself again? I didn't want to push too hard!
We dodged cars and holes in the road and the rough shoulder, and I kept going, and thinking, and worrying, and telling myself not to worry. Finally I pulled out the phone and turned it on. 10 minutes left?? That's it?! And half of that is cool down! I'm doing this!
My route was silly. I ran my regular 1 mile walking route, the turn around being right before the biggest hill on the route. And then I got to the bottom of the middle hill and turned around and went back. Turn again on the big hill, and back down hill two. That's when I checked my phone. And Ethan was hurting. And I was getting pretty tired. I still had gas, but I had forgotten to hydrate beforehand. I thought about just going home. But when I checked and saw 10 minutes, I told Ethan he could go on home, but I was finishing this.
I hadn't planned this part out...and I was in between hills 1 and 2 and unsure when that ringing bell would tell me to start running again. About halfway up my hill, I started begging for silence. "NO bell! Not yet! Please! Just let me get to the top." I reached the top and had just enough time to sigh with relief before my timer ding-a-linged my next running segment. It was getting difficult, especially considering my last running segment had felt like running on clouds, and this one had given me no time to recover from the climb. I hoped there wasn't much more.
*ding ding ding* "Begin cool down"
What? What did that say?! HUH?! Did I just? A smile as long as the Nile formed across my face. The sun felt beautifully brilliant in that moment. The wind pulled back loose strands of hair and chilled the sweat over my arms and chest. I did it. I, me, this 339 pound woman, had done what she had once thought highly unlikely. A bad knee, sore legs from a killer workout the day before, who always hurt when running. None of it mattered. All that was left was a walk home...and I'd be lying if I told you I was anything other than cheery.
I talked to my son about some problems he's been having. It was a serious talk, about life, and about speaking up for yourself, and about trying new possible solutions to your problem. I couldn't have had that talk without that workout. I had some higher level of understanding in that moment about what it took to succeed. I just knew whatever problem was put before us, we'd face it, together if we needed, separately when we must - but we'd meet it, and we'd find our own way around it.
And without even thinking about what was happening, I heard another *ding ding ding* and the words, "Workout Complete" come into my ears.
I turned to Ethan.
"Mommy did it!" I beamed.
It didn't matter that he didn't understand the significance of what just happened. I did. I knew what was happening to me. And I wanted to shout from the rooftops that I had overcome, I had figured it out, I had struggled and come through the other side. And then I was home. And it didn't matter that my leg was cramped or my shoulder was pinched. I bounced up the stairs and whispered once more to myself, "I did it."
Do I look proud of myself?