Yesterday, I went to the gym. Wait, that shouldn’t be a blog post. That kind of inane comment is just what Facebook was made for! But going to the gym is no ordinary matter for me, because this was the first time I went to the gym in 5 years. With Cubby in preschool until noon, I’m now at liberty in the morning hours. My mind was full with the overflow from a particularly hard week and I needed to work it out. To the gym I went!
Although I was pregnant the last time I went to the gym, I was in much better condition back then. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks limping around with a herniated disc, but even before then I was out of shape. Epic inter-continental moves with special needs children is not a lifestyle which lends itself well to regular workouts. You know that wall that runners hit during their marathon? I was hitting mine just getting started.
You know though, if you have spent the last few years of your life tending to little people round the clock, it gets a bit weird being without them. Like having nobody holding my hand. My arms were all dangling free. I felt a little strange being by myself, which is odd considering most of the people there were alone too. I decided to start on the indoor running track.
Ooh yes, my swanky gym has a climate controlled indoor running track with panoramic views of the city. It is divided into three lanes: walk, run, pass. Nothing to do but start walking, and I did. The first lap went surprisingly well, so I set myself a challenge, I’d do 10 of them and I’d alternate walking and jogging. I’m only talking 10 laps, this was no marathon.
It was a marathon.
After a couple of laps, I was ready to pass. And I don’t mean run in the pass lane to overtake the other joggers. There were no others on the track. I mean take a pass on this whole exercise malarkey. I was competing against myself, and losing fast. Or slowly. Losing anyway. I hadn’t brought my inhaler. My thighs used to have a lot more space between them. I really could have used a drink of water. I came up with a dozen excuses to stop.
But I didn’t.
I kept going. My marathon. At around lap 7 or 8, I noticed that there was a distinct temperature change as I moved around the track. I hadn’t noticed at first, but as I passed through the sections with windows, the African sun burned through. In the areas with no windows, the air conditioning was icy, way too much of a contrast for my stressed out body. Just like how certain things don’t bother Pudding at all when she is feeling good, but when she gets upset, she is overwhelmed by the intensity of input she normally tolerates. I didn’t feel like carrying on.
But I did.
I made my 10 laps. I crossed the finishing line. Nobody was there waving me on. There won’t be a medal in it for me. And I certainly didn’t break any records. But this is my marathon, and I kept going. I even moved on to the rest of the gym, spending over 2 hours there in the end. I know that next time I try that track, I’ll find it easier. The next time easier still. In no time I’ll welcome the heat of the sun that reminds me how cool the a/c is. I’ll find it easy, and wonder what I ever found so hard about putting one foot in front of the other.
I’m not who I was the last time I went to the gym. My body has changed, but so have I. I’m stronger now, at least on the inside. With time and effort, that will reveal itself on the outside. I’m aching, but I went back to the gym. This time I was gentler with myself. No track for me today, but I’ll be back. Now that I’ve started my marathon, there is nothing to do but keep going.