Saturday, November 28, 2009

slow recovery

I've been slowly getting the house back together after the Thanksgiving debauchery. Nothing is getting done fast and I've intended since Thursday night to run the Swiffer over the kitchen floor. Still not done. Regis fed the dog too much turkey (apparently the ham bone incident has faded from his memory) and we had unfortunate event of dog intestinal distress. Those, believe me, are all the details you want.

I went for a long walk outdoors this morning instead of going to the clear my head of cobwebs. There was a gentle breeze and the air was brisk so it helped.

A year ago, I never thought I would say that I enjoyed exercise. Never having done it, except for short periods of time in my life, I was not going to be convinced that this would ever be fun. In fact, I used that as a justification for not starting: I’m not the kind of person who will like it, so I might as well not start.

If you've been a reader here for a while, you might remember when Regis and I decided to join the 500 miles in a year group through our community education program. We made it through October but figured out quickly that if we missed a day or two, we were screwed. The math of 500 miles in 365 days was against us.

Regis was a vigorous and regular walker for a while. I joined him occasionally but I usually dragged behind and complained. He was a goal-oriented and rapid walker, I was an ambling sight-seer. It didn’t work.

In preparation for my surgery, last August, I started plodding around the block and down the street. I dreaded it and it exhausted me. We tried riding bikes together but the same thing happened as did with walking. I liked to pedal slowly down the street and Regis liked to push further and faster.

Through the winter, I went swimming with a friend four or five times a week. We didn’t join the folks at the high school pool who wore goggles and swam with their faces in the water. We went to the little hotel pool where it was warm and dark and smelled like waffles. We paddled back and forth for an hour, talking and laughing, and rarely getting our hair wet.

An interesting thing happened. Even though I got up at 4:30 to be in the water early and many days it was icy and frigid outside, I started to feel good about what I was doing. Even though I enjoyed the early morning conversations in that pleasant setting, I can’t say I was enjoying the exercise yet, but I did enjoy having done it.

I joined the Pulse in June and started working out with Rachel once a week. She worked me hard for thirty minutes then I did the cardio part on my own. It was difficult and I dreaded it, but gradually I felt better and it wasn’t so hard and I started to think of myself as a person who exercises. Me. An active person who exercises. A person who works out.

Now when I work out, I remember how to breathe. I can plan which exercises to work different parts of my body. I know what abs and biceps and triceps are. Things that are difficult to do this week, like the lunges, I know will be easier next week.

In October, I walked a 5K Halloween Fun Run with my friend, Joanne. We walked fast, ran a little, and finished with a time right around 16 minutes/mile. Since then, I have been fascinated not only with my time, but with the email I was sent telling me where I finished overall and in my age group, and with the possibility of doing this again. I watch people run on the treadmills and outside, playing with the possibility of running myself.

I sent in my registration for the Jingle Bell Jam in New Ulm, a 4-mile fun run and walk. That’s quite a marketing genius who came up with that phrase: fun run! I’m looking forward to the training for walking that far and to maybe running a little. Imagine it. I’m amazed. It’s part of the miracle.

In spite of dire predictions from my friends, I have started running. Rachel was excited about it (a convert!) and set me up with a training schedule that includes running only about 8 minutes out of 30 for now. Surprisingly, my shoulders are the only thing that hurts. I can't figure that one out. I haven't fallen down or ruined my joints. Regis has shown me a couple funny videos on Youtube that show running people toppling ass over teakettle. Very amusing.

My goal with running is only to work hard enough to sweat in less than 30 minutes. I felt like I couldn't walk fast enough to do that and was getting tired of trying to go further all the time. I just want to go faster. I registered for the Jingle Bell Jam in New Ulm on December 12th, my second fun run/walk. It starts at 4 in the afternoon so I imagine that will be dusk. It's 4 miles and I don't know how many K that is...but I can walk 4 miles. Regis will wait for me in a warm, dark bar.

This might be a little mixed up as part of it was snatched from a message board where I write about weight loss and exercise. I get an inspired thought once in a while and I like to take advantage of it.

Now I think I'll go run that Swiffer over the kitchen floor.

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