As easy as it would be to turn over and close my eyes at 6:15 on a quiet weekend morning when the house is perfectly still, I have yet to do that because I know that there are people that will actually be looking for me and expecting that I show up. Add to that, I'll be regretful when 7:00 rolls around and the kids are all awake and I didn't get out and do this one thing for myself.
Usually the scene unfolds with me convincing myself to get up and GO.
After laying in bed until the last possible minute, (I'll get up on an even number. No, odd. No, even), I will carefully remove Henry from my chest and place him on Charlie's, climb out of bed, get dressed, lace up my shoes, quietly brush my teeth, fill up my water bottle, grab my recharged iPod and headphones and a banana and tip toe out the door.
Not once have I regretted going for a run, once I'm out.
It's just the getting out that's tough.
I'm still having problems with my feet falling asleep (which I believe is a function of my calf muscles constricting the blood flow to my feet) and the whole act of running isn't yet a pleasant experience for me. But I suspect that similar to the time and energy, sweat and tears it takes to sleep train a child, so is the time and energy, sweat and tears that it takes to get in shape.
Neither is going to happen overnight and both take discipline.
Saturday, during a four-mile run through one of the local wildlife canyons, even though my feet were totally asleep in my shoes, I was determined to run
I was the only person who saw the two-mile marker on the ground and turned around to finish my course. The rest of my team, who are in much better shape than I, completely missed it and were running past the point where we were supposed to turn around.
And if I had been on a bicycle, or better yet a moped, I would have caught up to them to inform them of their oversight. But I'm very slow and I'm always last and my team was far, far away.
So instead of worrying about my teammates, I was excited that "Ah ha!!" every one is running further than we have to! and I'm going to turn around and be back at the cars! and it will almost be like I WON! because for the first time ever, I won't be coming in last!!
At around 3.5-miles with a little ways left to go, I felt my right calf muscle tingle and then I felt a sharp electric shock - followed by the most intense HOT sensation and excruciating pain. I've had leg cramps before during pregnancy and when I swam on the swim team. But I've never had a leg cramp so intense that it felt like someone was trying to skewer the muscle in my leg.
I damn near collapsed.
I cried out a bunch of expletives.
I tried to stretch it out.
I tried to walk.
When every step that I took threw my leg in to a muscle spasm that was visible on the SURFACE of my skin, I thought about laying on the ground and letting the vultures that were circling over head come and put me out of my misery. I thought about why I am doing this stupid running thing because out of the last six weeks, I've been physically handicapped from running for at least three of them - to the point that I hobble around the house for a couple days after a run. And even though my teammates ran a whole mile more than me, they still caught up and beat me on Saturday. I am the SLOWEST one in the group.
I'm no athlete.
But I used to be.
And I really want to be, again.
I definitely don't want to feel old and decrepit!!
When my parents divorced and my mother moved to South Carolina, she was very involved in the YMCA. I was on the swim team and gymnastics team and I took horseback riding lessons and would ride my bike all over town. I would go on weekend hikes with my mother and was a willing participant in a wide range of various outdoor activities. When mom started playing tennis with members from our church on Sunday mornings, I would play too. I have no doubt that it is because of my mom and the lifestyle that she embraced, I grew up being active. I played on the tennis team all through high school and won a coveted athletic scholarship for tennis to college.
But the first month of school, I hurt one of my knees and was put in to rehabilitation and within a week I realized that rehab, tennis team, a full course load and Freshman year socializing just don't mix. So I quit playing tennis and doing anything active. (Unless you count partying until 2 AM as aerobic.)
School and life were in the way. And then later, once I married Charlie, graduate school was in the way. And then we were working and trying to have a baby and I was so busy from work and so depressed from infertility that I had no desire to work out.
Sure, we had gym memberships and we'd get out for walks or bike rides every now and then, but we never did anything consistently. And my weight slowly crept up. And up. And up. And I felt lethargic and depressed and I would think that once we had a baby, THEN I'd get in shape. And every year when we'd make our New Year's Resolutions, I'd think THIS will be the year. But it never was.
Finally, we had a baby. Or rather, three. And it was difficult to get in shape and to make the time to have an exercise routine. We would go for walks around the block with the children and that was a great time to reconnect, but we weren't getting in shape. Because to get in shape it would take time and energy, sweat and tears. And cutting back on our ice cream intake.
And well, that was too much work.
But this year, I'm really inspired.
There's my friend who has asked me to run with her and I've joined a group. And now all of a sudden there is accountability to be there every week and gosh darn, I paid money for a t-shirt and if I don't run I'm not going to get it.
And there's my encouraging husband who wants to get in shape, himself.
And then there's my body that feels a lot older than it actually is. I cannot believe how after a mere 20 years, I have lost almost ALL flexibility. There was once a time I could climb out of bed and immediately do a round off, backhand spring and split. On a balance beam. These days, when I climb out of bed, I wobble around complaining of a stiff back and legs for a good 30 minutes.
But most importantly, there are my children, those little people that I really want to keep up with as they grow older. I want to be able to take them kakaying and surfing and snow skiing and kick a soccer ball with them without completely injuring myself. I want for them to look at me and be PROUD of the person that they see. And I know that if I lead a healthy and active lifestyle - the chances are greater that they will lead healthy and active lifestyles.
And when I think about Tim Russert, one of my favorite journalists who died suddenly this past Friday of a massive heart attack, I can't help but think 58 is way too young to die. And perhaps he wouldn't have, if he'd led a healthier lifestyle.
So although my right leg is still bothering me and I know it will probably be a few more days before I can get out and exercise (or walk without a limp), I have every intention to keep up with my running. Even though I suspect that the next time I run my feet will fall asleep and with every pounding step the vision of laying in bed peacefully sleeping will enter my mind, I will keep up with consistent exercise because I really want to be the kind of person who cares enough about my body to take care of it.
I can wish for good health.
I can want it, too.
But I must will for it to happen.
And now that Charlie has convinced me to compete with him in a local triathlon in late August, we've got a mutual physical goal that we'll be striving towards. But before race day, we're hoping that (at least) one of our family members will volunteer to come to town and watch the kids so we can participate.
Operators are now standing by.
(Hopefully, they'll answer the phone.)
************What about you? Are you at a good place with your physical fitness goals - and if not - what do you think would help to inspire you?
Or ... if you are ... what inspiration can you share?