The End of a Thing

The End of a Thing

The end of a thing will set the scene for what is next. As the month of August bows and prepares for an exit, I am headed into a new season, one that I can enter into with an accomplishment that is open for growth. I can confidently say another 30-day goal is reachable and something I will take on as a part of my choice to improve my health lifestyle.   

I opted for a 30-day challenge to start off to avoid feeling pressured by time. It is easy to choose a yearlong goal and say how many miles you will run, how much weight you will lose or the amount of muscles you will gain, but the doing is the difficult part. If you think there is more time to reach a goal, you may put off getting started or wait until the last few months to act and over work the body or start an extreme weight loss regimen. Choosing a weekly or monthly goal or doing a quarterly check-in with yourself may provide insight into your progress and help to determine what you really want for yourself.

Running without trying to break a record and doing strength building exercises without trying to compete with a me from the past gave me a chance to commit to a new beginning without limits or minimums. I only looked to finish the miles I planned for the day or the amount of time I agreed to at the start of my strength training. There was not a picture of an athlete, friend, or neighbor hanging in my mind to compete with; only the present me, the contract, and a healthier lifestyle.

In the journey to get back something I love, something I would do on any waking day I found a start to reclaiming a healthier lifestyle. A lifestyle I placed in the background and did not give great importance to. Every day I am making a choice to live better for my health and reaping the benefits that affect the other parts of my life. I changed my routine to get what I love back into my life. I pushed aside the excuses and reasons why I should not, and l decided I would. I looked pass the thought of the physical pain I knew would come and embraced the pain of change I felt. 

I feel great, my body is shaping into a physique I have not seen in a while and I feel no pressure to become a size. I will continue on the journey.

Getting My Run Back

Getting My Run Back

Heading into the third week of executing the contract I made with myself, I looked at the calendar and half the month was behind me. I had done some things to get acquainted with giving my body the daily exercise it deserved. Running was at the top of my list and the other cardio I included offered the right portion of different I needed to spark a fire in my muscles. I could feel the effects of the various squats, lunges, and balancing moves in my fibers. It was satisfying to feel stronger, but I had another feeling going on too.

As I looked at myself in the mirror, I felt a burst of excitement and I smiled as the words “I am really doing this” entered my mind. I almost got a bit goofy. Here I was opening the door that had merely been cracked opened for more than a year and the crack hadn’t been large enough for me to get through. Day after day I would watch people run up hill, downhill and around the parks all from my car window. Why not just go and run? I wanted to, I wanted to take a chance. I didn’t budge and was not planning to. 

I had developed anemia from having low iron and it was extremely paralyzing to think of being out on a trail or miles away from home and not be able to catch my breath. I thought I would be out there waiting for someone to find me. I tried indoor running and exercises, but any vigorous movement for more than a few minutes would send me to the coolest part of the house to catch my breath. Defeated, I took my pills and waited for a change in the numbers.

Months later my iron replenished, but my habit of running was lost on some path I couldn’t find and nowhere near my doorstep. Running has been a safe place for my thoughts and a release for any doubts or stress that would land on my shoulders. The moment I let “the run” slip from my reach I also allowed that place of release to disappear. 

I gained 20 lbs. during this setback and I saw a rippling effect in the making. Knowledge of this uninviting future pushed me to start the scattered exercise routine; you know the one day this week workout or maybe a brisk walk on my break kind of day. It wasn’t working and I was ready for more. Then came the month of August peaking from below July and like a concerned friend I told myself “it’s a perfect time to get your run and back”. 

Preparation

Preparation

My body was still adjusting to the change in routine. At the start of the week I noticed one of my knees had a strange feeling in it after logging 4miles. It wasn’t there while I was running or during other exercises, but post workout I could feel the difference while walking around indoors. The jiggly feeling in my knee nearly psyched me out of doing anything at all. Then I remembered the pain and stiffness from the first week of resting too long after a long run and I wasn’t signing up to walk around with that type pain haunting my steps. 

Although the discomfort in my knee was not painful, and it would come and go I couldn’t ignore it. If I was going to get stronger and healthier, I also needed to include proper before and after care of my body. I couldn’t allow one health concern be reason to put my body at risk for a real injury, so I took some care action. 

I checked my gear and to be sure I had the right shoes for the distance and impact. The running shoes I was using had also become the ones I would leave at the door and throw on to go wherever. I switch them up with another pair that were tucked away in the garage and the switch up made a huge difference. I could feel the cushioning and a solid support in theses old but new shoes, and they did not weigh me down. They were not the only change up, I also decided to wear a brace to help reduce the movement of my knee and the area around it while causally going up and down the stairs in the house.

Research, learning and doing without worrying myself out of progress are what carried me through the second week of real commitment to self. I thought my takeaway this week would be the connection to the outdoor scenery or the music that helped to boost my effort, but it was the knowledge of preparation. Having the best tools for the hour is just as important as having the will to do the work for the type of improvement I want to see.

A Maze of Solutions

A Maze of Solutions

The next day, Sunday, the day after my big run I woke up with fatigue muscles. I was sore and as the day went on, I became excessively sore. A short walk and stretch or foam roller may have helped, but I did neither and opted to rest for two days. On Tuesday my legs were willing to engage in a light run, 2.28 miles and .58 miles of walking. My body felt pretty good, but I did not want to exhaust myself right away, well not until midweek.

Wednesday hit and I felt the need to apply pressure and responded with 30 minutes of cardio including dancing, 200 squats and 100 leg lifts. I squeezed all the energy out of my being during this session. My eyes were looking past what did not feel good in the moment and focused in on the image of a drastic transformation, so I did not hold back. 

Finally, the end of seven days was near. Of course, I rested on Thursday after wearing out my legs the previous day, and that left Friday open for a light run of 2.02 miles and a half mile walk through my hilly neighborhood. The weekend arrived and I got caught up in it with no problem. The thought of exercise or running did not even marinate in my mind at all, and besides achieving some basic daily movements my flesh was deprived.

I do not know if I am doing more hurt or harm the way I have been juggling intense and light workouts with extended rest days. I used to feel as though I had a better grip on what was good for my body type and exercise level; now I feel like I am a beginner finding my answers through a maze of solutions. 

Hiccups and struggles overall, I was excited that I made it through the first week and I felt good about it. Habits were broken and new habits were created. I want to go on, I want to challenge myself and I will.

The First Contracted Run

The First Contracted Run

August was approaching and I thought, why not start this month with a contract with yourself to renew your love of running and to commit to daily exercise. It sounded good in my head, so I agreed with my thoughts. It would at least give me a chance to get out of the sporadic exercise routine I had fallen into over the last year. I went from running or some form of daily exercise to a couple days a week. This fall off had affected my health and my mental being. My cholesterol was up in January and I really did not want it to worsen or any other health issues popping up. I had been looking at my mushy arms for months and was longing to get some lost muscle back into my body. I figured since I have always enjoyed running and being outside that this would be the way to get to a better place physically and mentally. 

I went for it, 5 miles that is. August 1st rolled up quickly. It was on a Saturday and I set out to do a 5mile run. It was mid-morning by the time I laced up my shoes and pulled on my mask. By this time the number of cyclists and other pedestrians out on the trail had grown to a moderate number, but I was up for the challenge of maneuvering the path and any obstacles.

As my feet hit the ground and bounced up again, I tried to think light and push off my toes without planting my weight into the ground. I think I was over focused. I worked to power through my moment of feeling tired and wanting to stop and lie down right on the path. My lungs did not quickly agree with my new actions, but I ignored the pain and pushed through. Eventually my breathing improved even with the impairment of the mask I was sporting, and the tired feeling left. I had made it over the beginners’ hump and after a fair amount of wind, sun and sweat I was breezing through my run.

Some time passed and I caught myself smiling and daydreaming (enough to nearly smash into another runner) as I approached the stop lights right off the trial. I realized I was a few steps from reaching my 5-mile mark and my home. A feeling came over me that made me believe I could actually do this for 30 days and maybe even something more difficult. Those thoughts were tested immediately after the pain set in the following morning.