Sep 2, 2009

NOW What?

Shh! Be very quiet. They're sleeping.

My new running shoes have arrived and subsequently destroyed the last good reason I had not to dive into those freshly re-asserted fitness goals. There is nothing to stop me from exercising now! I guess I would like to let it all sink in a bit, though, perhaps observe a moment of silence (or a few days)? After all, HONESTLY, I was really, really good and quite naturally talented at sedentary living. It seems a shame to throw that down completely.

But, I remember how great it felt to step out the door for an early morning run. What a joy! I loved the solitude, the feeling of being a little steam kettle out in the crisp, predawn air. On a chilly morning I could literally witness steam rising off of my arms and know that I was truly stoking the old metabolic furnace for the day ahead-stoking it with those big, slow burning logs of fat. I was the little engine that could.

But, let's face it, these shoes will be stepping out for early morning walk-trots attached to an older, less efficient little engine carrying a larger cargo capacity, loaded with a bit too much slow-burning fuel and working with an antiquated cooling system. There may be no "steam" involved. I'll likely overheat quickly, earning myself a bright crimson face for the day ahead and causing passers-by to comment, "Are you o.k.? Should we call someone?"

And I'll reply, "I feel great! Are you kidding? I love my early morning walk-trots."

Being in shape feels wonderful. Getting into shape...well, it can feel wonderful too. (All I need is an attitude adjustment.) Here are a few things I do know to be true about getting into shape when starting from a point of absolute zero:

  • Progress comes fast and easy at the first. It doesn't take long before the beginning runner becomes several minutes faster. 13 minute mile pace can turn into 10 minute mile pace practically overnight. Contrast that to someone who's been running for years. It will take the veteran runner months of hard work to shave mere seconds off a fast time. (That's why I simply refuse to run at 6 minute mile pace:)
  • A wheel in motion stays in motion. And, a wheel that isn't moving at all isn't likely to get very far. When I started my day by getting the old heart rate up, breathing oxygen deeply into the lungs, then sending that oxygenated blood circulating throughout my system, I got that wheel in motion. Sure the "wheel" is a little rusty and squeaks a bit right now. The bearings are locked up and the rim has sunken into the ground. But, just rocking it back and forth is going to get it in motion. Then the body will respond by saying, "Do you plan on using this old wheel? Then we better fix it up a bit each night while you're sleeping." I'll just take it slow and my body will have the wheel moving more smoothly in... 6 weeks so long as I don't overdo it. Forcing the wheel might bend the spokes or warp the frame. (Too much wheel-talk might indicate that I'm already a little bent and warped.)

  • Great ideas come with long walks and/or jogs. Mark Twain, Einstein, Bob Hope and many other well-known figures made common practice of taking themselves out for a dose of daily distance. And, the ones I've mentioned are well known to have said that the answer to a problem, writer's block or some other quandary at hand just popped into their heads effortlessly while in the midst of brisk, outdoor exercise! As for me nothing good really ever comes from thinking. I'm at my best when I can make my splishy-splashy, rippling mind a smooth and quiet puddle. But, the steady clop, clopping of one's feet on the pavement and a few miles of rhythmic breathing can do wonders for yammering thoughts. Running can be a form of quieting meditation. (Plus there's always the hope of experiencing a runner's high.)

So, I'll go ahead and get out there this Friday morning. I'll do the old "scout pace": walk 50 paces, jog 50 paces, and see how that feels. My face will turn bright red. I have no control over that but, I do have control over how fast I try to travel. Slow and steady is the plan. I need to be able to talk when people ask me, "Are you O.K? Should we call someone?"


The Spinning Daisy said...

Good for you! I'm trying to get back into the exercise routine as well, so I'll be cheering you along with my out-of-breath voice

Sara said...

Well yes, since my journing into the exercising world I've discovered that after two children, my bladder just ain't what it used to be. Like, I could walk fast/slow jog when I was in school without a problem. No, I require some um...back up's just in case. Nothing worse than trying to walk/run when you feel like you are peeing your pants. :)