On running and other things

If you know me at all, you know I hate to exercise and I am not an athlete. But as I've gotten older, I've realized that eating the right things is not enough, and even if it was, I don't want to eat the right things 100% of the time. Sometimes (meaning ideally once a week), I like to gorge on Mexican food and margaritas. So about 2 months ago I bought a 1 month pass to a gym to see if I could get into a routine and actually utilize a membership. The last and only time I joined a gym, I signed a 1 year contract and went exactly 3 times. The gym I tried has something called a cardio theatre...basically a dark room with a big screen that shows a different movie every day, and it makes the time pass while you're on the treadmill, bike, or eliptical. I tried all 3 machines and discovered that I liked the treadmill best. At first it felt like pure torture to stay on that thing for a minimum of 30 minutes, but after going a few times I actually started to enjoy it, and before I knew it I was running! I liked the simplicity of it, and I liked sweating, but mostly I liked it b/c it was the only time in the day where there was no temptation to multi task. Just run and think. Run and think. Or don't think! Zone out for 30 minutes...it doesn't matter.

After a month of the treadmill and actually going to the gym 3 times a week each week, I decided to take the plunge and sign a 3 year contract. Yikes! It was scary, but at the same time I figured that knowing I was paying $29 each month would be extra motivation to go....if not for my health, for the sake of frugality.

Then about 1 week after I signed the papers, I hurt both my knees. Ughhhhh. Very frustrating. I'd finally gotten into a good routine for the first time in my life and I had to stop and give my knees time to heal. It has now been almost 3 weeks, and today I decided to go back...not to run, but to power walk with a knee brace on. I dreaded going (see what a 3 week lapse does?), but forced myself b/c my skirt felt extra tight today, and guess what...it felt great to be back. It was hard to stop myself from running, but I knew I'd better not push it and risk re-injury. It was great for all the reasons I've already mentioned, including the thinking part.

Which brings me to the next part of this very long, picture-less post. I figured something out on the treadmill today: it is impossible to lead a truly balanced life 100% of the time. I have always been one for extremes...I'm either being super responsible and crossing all the t's and dotting all the i's in life that I'm supposed to, or I'm letting all my adult responsibilities fall by the wayside (what I like to call my f-it mode). But as I get older and I try to find more of a middle ground, its hard not to get caught up in trying to live up to a certain standard for every aspect of my life.

I'm either going to be super diligent about keeping the house clean and cooking beans, bread & granola bars from scratch to save money and I'm not going to have as much time as I'd like for down time and socializing, or I'm going to put relationships and fun on the forefront and the house is going to be a wreck and I'll end up spending money on eating out when I know full well its cheaper and healthier to cook all meals at home. I just can't find an in between, and at this point I'm not sure it exists. Something always has to give.

So I guess my next task is to find a way to make peace with that. Find a way to quit feeling guilty if one aspect of my life suffers when I tend to another one. Find a way to be in the moment and revel in the fact that I've got a meal planned and food stocked for the whole week when I'm in ultra responsible mode and fully appreciate time spent with loved ones when I'm choosing to spend moments with them over crossing things off my to-do list.

I have a feeling this lesson might take a lifetime to learn.


Mamabelle said...

I really appreciate this post! I think we are similar ages, and I too really need to exercise. I'm not athletic at all, but I've recently found that I enjoy bike riding. Over the last year or so, I've done a tiny bit of riding, and each time I get into a routine, I really love it. I'd prefer something simple like walking, but my feet can't take any extras. So, at some point, I've just got to suck it up and buy a bike.

Last Days said...

I hope your knees feel better!
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