There are some I have shared this cornerstone with and the reply I get tends to tell me if they are in it for life, in it for 10 pounds, or in it to get someone off their back.
That final, critical, can’t-do-it-without foundational rock for me was MOVE.
I started by simply walking. Then the elliptical. Then yoga, pilates, tried a crossfit and training camp (learned that was NOT for me) and when my encouraging friend died, just two weeks after she’d told me of the celebration she was planning for her friends when she was cancer free…it put me in a bit of a free fall emotionally. I told a common friend that I wanted to do something for her. Something to honor my friend and they, in a somewhat casual way, said I should do a 5K in her honor. The very idea of it struck me as crazy. THREE POINT TWO MILES…all at the same time? But I also wanted to so something that wasn’t going to be easy, something that I was going to have to work at.
I had myself fitted for shoes when I started walking, went back to get running shoes. Got some running clothes at Target. Downloaded a free program (Zen Labs C25K) and got to it. My one rule was that when the woman said walk, I would walk and when she said run, I would run—even if my very lungs were going to burst out of my body. I was going to do it. I started out solo and realized that I likely needed a partner, an encourager, and could not find a soul to be my sole sister until a friend recommended her sister in law and voila…running partner! We didn’t run each time together, but I surely appreciated (and appreciate still) knowing she was there those afternoons to go through the cemetery with me.
I was a few weeks into it and I ran for longer than I had ever imagined possible for me (12 minutes) and felt so accomplished in having done so, I was hooked.
But be very clear, this is not to say that fourth rock is running. It most surely is not. I have had periods following some injuries, none of which were running related, I have had to dial back or even completely cease running. And except in one rather severe instance, I have always kept moving. And returning to running has always been that goal for me.
I actually ended up doing a 10K as my first race to honor my friend after a bad fall outside the home of a friend kept me out of the 5K I had intended to run. And then a slew of half marathons, 3.14 miles with some amazing women on Pi day, local 15K and even an 8K in honor of a dear friends child on Thanksgiving last year shortly after his untimely passing. But while the gift of great mental therapy and a high that no drug could ever produce hits me at the end of a particularly great run is so fantastic I am sometimes at a loss for the words to really describe it, the run is not the key. It is the MOVE that keeps me on the track to success.
Had hernia surgery in June and while I could not run right after, I surely walked as soon as I could. Stairs instead of elevators. Park at the far end of the lot. Circle the mall a few times on foot and go the least efficient way from place to place when in a shopping center. Return to the car to put packages back instead of playing Designer Donkey with a crinkling load.
The way I feel, the way my clothes fit, the way that I can almost feel my body burning the fuel I am stoking my engine with—they are all so different when I am being high motion instead of a slug. I spent a whole lot of years where I should have been terrified of salt and a lighter…I was just the most amazing slug. Which is not to say I was not doing a lot.
Doing a lot doesn’t equate to MOVING MY MASS and if I want a lean mass, it needs to be moved…daily.
There are pages of approaches to movement. And you’ll notice I don’t call it exercise. Like diet, it has somehow become a word that has lost the true meaning and people will say they hate to exercise. They hate to diet. Here is the thing. When you move and get your heart rate up, you ARE exercising. If you put any food in your mouth, that IS your diet.
The thrill of my new found therapy on the road kept me from listening to so many—and it is shocking just HOW many—who would have had me plop on a couch and eat chips by the handful. People who told me I was ruining my knees. That I was going to destroy my hips. That my feet would never be the same. That one day I’d come to hate running.
Here’s the base truth: 172 pounds of extra weight I’d been carrying was ruining my knees. And hips. And feet. And I had spent a lifetime hating carrying all that around and realized it more and more as I became less and less on the scale.
I have a few friends who are VERY into Crossfit, kickboxing, burncamps or barre. They all speak of it with the same love and zest that I do of running. Some also enjoy running. Some tell me they can’t imagine going out for 13.1 miles and paying for the privilege, just as I can’t believe they have a $150 auto draft each month to get up before God lights the earth to get muscle fatigue. But those same friends have exactly what I have in running: A community of support. A community of like-minded people who will hear about that bad run/lift/match/leg day and share in the gripe and then pull the right back up to the place of zest and joy. Who will say TOMORROW WILL BE GREAT. And you know what…they are always right. A day that has me moving in a way I love IS great.
The choice to always be sure to move and incorporate that as a part of who I am as much as coffee or animals is a huge thing and it had to be a cornerstone and was, oddly, the final big rock I wrestled into place.
Now, let’s start framing out the rest, this foundation is ready to build upon!
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