i mentioned in passing a few posts ago that i hadn’t worked out since before the wedding. by this i mean that i haven’t been to the gym, put on a jillian michaels sadistic dvd, or otherwise done a formal exercise activity. this, however, doesn’t mean i haven’t spent time doing things that require exertion, like moving things around and walking around theme parks and digging in my small but disgustingly in need of tlc garden plot and walking across campus and you get the idea.
my problem is really time. i just didn’t have the time, or so it seemed, to truck to the gym (which is now much farther away than it once was, across gville downtown/campus traffic), work out for an hour, come home, shower, and move on with my day. i just don’t have those kinds of windows.
so i think i thought that i was just going to have to stop working out, though in the back of my mind, some part of me was screaming both in warning and in horror.
it sounded, faint though clear, a little something like this: WE HAVE NOT WORKED THIS HARD FOR YOU TO GIVE UP RIGHT NOW! THERE’S ALWAYS TIME FOR WORKING OUT! MAKE IT WORK, WOMAN! MAKE IT WORK!
you see how that might be a bit difficult to ignore, even in its faintness.
as the weeks progressed and the stress continued to build and the realities of life hit me, as they hit everyone, i realized that i wasn’t sleeping well, i wasn’t eating well, and i wasn’t feeling as regularly sassy as i normally do.
the sassy was sort of…sporadic.
i knew, in my heart of hearts, that it was because i wasn’t moving.
moving is an incredible stress reliever. it’s amazing to me what 20 minutes of giving my all to something does not only for my sleep patterns and the way my body works but for my feeling about myself. somehow, when i see that i can in fact run for blocks at a time or i can stay at the jillian michaels workout o’ pain for the full 20 minutes, i feel like i can conquer anything.
(that’s nice to remember when i wonder, every day, if i can manage the daily mountain that faces me. which is probably a grain of sand, to quote carrie underwood, but nevertheless seems like everest sometimes.)
today, despite the fact that i really have oodles to grade and heaps to do, i decided that it was a beautiful sunny day. it’s hot but not death hot. it’s the kind of hot you want to go hang out in. it’s an inviting kind of sunshiny florida day that makes you want to strap on an ipod and some slightly worn out sneakers and take on your neighborhood for a good game of “how long can i run before i die?”
that’s what i did today.
i tried out a pretty short loop in my neighborhood, one with well-traveled roads and as little ghetto as possible. it was fantastic. i mapped it. it was 1.5 miles–decent, i suppose. it took me about 20 minutes, which isn’t great but isn’t horrible either. i gave myself permission to walk as fast as i wanted and run as slow as i needed.
i came away knowing the following:
- no matter what happens, i have to exercise. if it means that i need to wake up earlier, i need to do it. i need to do it for me. i need to do it for my job. i need to do it for my family. a better me is a better wife, a better teacher, a better scholar, a better friend.
- i need to remember that taking care of me is not selfish. it’s essential.
- i need a longer route. because i’m better than i thought i was at this whole running/walking combo.
- i liked it. a lot.
- running slow is not a bad thing. in fact, i am beginning to think that it’s the only way i’ll be able to build up my endurance.
- my neighborhood is actually fairly conducive to running. i wasn’t the least bit nervous, scared, or inclined to trip.
- i need a new ipod holder. the bra isn’t really working well.
this was a very productive day, and i’m proud of myself. even if it’s only 20 minutes a few days a week (but let’s get real: exercise is like a drug. i’ll want more soon enough.), i will find time to take care of me.
it’s going to pay off. i know it. here’s hoping i can stick with it.