The Courage to Start Over Again

I find myself “back at square one” when it comes to my fitness goals. After a year of limited ability to exercise, followed by surgery, followed by recovery, I find myself with the ok to exercise from my doctor and no motivation to do so. I did go out one day and I ran three miles. I felt as if it were a half-marathon and that I was under-prepared. I was sore for four days afterward. Apparently I’m not ready for that and need to start slower.

Dejected and unmotivated, I decided to re-read my blog to see how I was able to get started the last time. Not only did I find my initial posts motivational, I found that I have left a record that, if not beneficial to anyone else, is a goldmine for me.  I struggled just as much back then just to get started walking on my treadmill. The difference is that I know just how far I got from that humble start. I need to do it again, and I need to find the courage to do it. I think I just did.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling that I already did this and shouldn’t have to do it again (the “poor me” trap), or the trap of thinking that I am just not the fitness “type”, or the trap that it just doesn’t matter. I do have to do it all again, but hopefully this time I will learn from past lessons and not get discouraged or take too many false steps.

I am the fitness type, because I’ve been fit and I loved it. I learned this late in life, not having been much of an athlete as a child. I learned that strength training makes me more stable…more graceful (I was never a graceful child). Running, eventually, makes me feel healthy and energized…at least the shorter runs do. The longer runs make me feel powerful in a whole different way…conquering my fears and proving to myself that I can do it.

It does matter. Being fit and healthy is a gift that only I can give myself and one that will extend my life and enhance my quality of life as I get older. It matters because it makes me better at all I do, provides me with endurance, energy, and perspective. It gives me confidence. I was getting used to the words, “I am a long-distance runner”, now I’ve removed all my “13.1” magnets from my car because they made me feel like a fraud. I earned them with blood (not much), sweat (a whole lot), and a few tears.

It won’t be easy, but what worthwhile goal ever is? I have new commitments that will make it harder for me to find time for fitness, but I’m used to scheduling challenges. I have my own, personal record of how to get to my goals, and I will…

Find the Joy in the Journey!


Time To Start (Training) All Over Again

It’s time to get back on the half-marathon-training bandwagon once again. I am at once excited and scared, just as I was in June of last year when I started training for my first half. I am almost as much in despair of getting through the training as I was last year, but this time it is different…This time I know I can do it because I’ve done it before. Make no mistake, though, I am still a novice and I am still stretching myself further than I ever thought I could go.

So, in less than 12 weeks, I will run another half marathon. I hope I can do some, if not most, of my training outdoors. Right now, though, I am too worried about slipping on ice to run outside. So, instead, I have my treadmill and…I joined a new gym. I am not a gym person, but I do love to swim and a gym is the only place I can do it. 

So today, my younger daughter and I ventured to the gym. She had visions of playing pick-up basketball and/or volleyball and I intended to swim. When we got there, she had her photo taken for her ID and we ventured in. We walked past the climbing wall and I remarked that I really wanted to try it, but not before working on my upper-body strength and lowering my center of gravity. We walked past all the machines and over to the courts where a lot of older boys and men were playing basketball. It soon became apparent that she wasn’t going to be able to play ball, but would have to work out on the machines while I got in my swim.

I’d missed lap swim, and it was now family swim, but there were two lap lanes still dedicated to lap swimming. In one, was an oblivious woman doing backstroke…not an ideal partner. So I focused on the other lane where there appeared to be a husband teaching his wife to swim. I got in and waited patiently for them to regroup and move to one side or the other of the lane. Instead, the husband ignored me…or rather, he made sure to be in my way at all times. 

I found an opportunity to take off and swam past them. As I returned, he was taking up over 3/4 of the lane, so I switched from freestyle to breast stroke so I could see better to swim around him. This meant that my head was above water at times, so I heard him ranting about “egotistical people who think they own the pool”.  Now, I am not a confrontational person, but I was bullied too much as a child not to stand up for myself as an adult. 

I stopped and stood up. I faced the older man with his Indian wife and asked him, “Are you talking about me?” The wife immediately started to apologize about being a learner, about not knowing the rules, etc. But I nodded to her and turned towards her arrogant husband and gave him a piece of my mind. Then he went on, to his imaginary audience, about those people who think they are a queen and just come in and ignore everyone else. 

I told him, it was a lap swim lane and we were required to share. I said if he wanted to teach a swimming lesson, he needed to pick a side of the lane so that we could share the lane…he was having nothing of it and continued to mutter on about me being an arrogant “queen”. Fortunately, another patron went for a lifeguard and soon enough the argument was between the man and the guard and I got on with my swim.

Even so, it jarred me. I haven’t swum in almost a year, so I cut my swim short at a half-hour. After rinsing off and dressing, I exited the locker room in search of my daughter. She convinced me to extend my workout, so I got on a workout bike and did a fitness challenge. All in all, I got a nice cross-training session in before starting my 12 week run of half-marathon training. 

Find the Joy in the Journey…insist politely in your right to proceed…and stand your ground against jerks.