Sunday, January 18, 2015

Saturday Night at the Gym

It was one of those rare days where nothing was going on.  I had planned on a hike with a friend but that fell through due to rain, so I thought I would rest and relax.  I had some projects to work on and since it was a Saturday the kids would just play.

Everything went according to plan, until late that evening, suddenly I was feeling miserable.  This creeping sense of discontent was overtaking me.  I felt downright icky.  Anxiety was there on the fringes and I was getting cranky with everyone.

It was then I knew that I had to leave the house.  I had to go the gym.  Truth be told, I would have preferred a walk, fresh air biting my cheeks and filling my lungs, but it was too dark to go out by myself.  I hemmed and hawed, but finally gave in, knowing that only the gym would make me feel better.

I kissed the kids, leaving them in the care of the oldest, grabbed the keys, and headed out the door.  This was my third visit to the gym since declaring I was starting over on my journey to health.  It had been months since I had been last.

That first visit, I felt so embarrassed, so ashamed.  I felt like if I walked through the doors of the YMCA they would know.  They would know I put back on weight and that I had not been in forever.  I was really scared to go.

And how foolish that was.

The thing that really struck me, going back after so long a time, was how everything was the same, but so different.  I was taking the stairs up to the women's locker room, the same stairs that just months earlier I could have bound up with a smile and half a thought about it.  This time... this time, it was hard.  It felt a bit like a slap in the face. 

I remembered being so proud of being able to take those steps without a change in breath.  It amazes me how quickly those things can escape you.

I realized, however, on the second visit, that now I had something to look forward to.  I was going to keep taking those steps until I got that same feeling back.  I was going to keep coming and coming till those steps were nothing but a joke.

Book in hand, I headed out to find a recumbent bike.  There it was.  the one in the quiet part of the gym.  It was Saturday night and all but empty.  I slipped into the seat, set my book up, my phone behind it in case I was needed, and began to pedal away my stress and anxiety.

I read and read.  Pedaled and pedaled.  I have been having trouble with my feet, I think my shoes don't fit, so I kept adjusting my feet but kept going.  I would peek at the time and think, ok, a few more minutes, several times.  And then it was silly to stop.  The gym wasn't busy, no one was waiting for the bike, so I took advantage.

January 17, 2015: 15.27 miles in 1 hour and 5 minutes

I left a sweaty, smelly, but very happy woman.

It is strange how easy it is to make any excuse, to think of reasons not to exercise.  Despite knowing how good you will feel.  It is really a mind game in which you have to come to understand that sore muscles can be a celebration, not a thing to fear.  That any goal towards health is completely and totally worth it and in the end you will be swimming in endorphins!

I am so glad to find myself back in that shift of thinking.  Where nothing is out of the realm of possibilities.  That even though I grew up always picked last at sports- today... today, I am an athlete.

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