Tuesday, June 10, 2008

When Can I Run?

Finally, I started an exercise routine about three weeks ago. I began with speed walking because my endurance is poor and my knees tend to swell after a lifetime of inactivity. I walk from an elementary school, to a middle school, or by a pool, or around another elementary school and through a neighborhood--anything to stay out of my own area. I don't want anyone I know noticing me; but if you see me in a red Jordan cap with a pair of Saucony's, then toss me a peace sign!

I'd say the distance that I travel is at least 2 miles. I have mustered up enough strength to jog at least half of it, though not all at once. I do a combo of walk, jog, walk, or the other way around. Originally, I wasn't breaking much of a sweat--and they say if you don't, then you're not doing any good. But my heart was pumping and jumping and I didn't want to die for it, so I'm getting my body acclimated slowly.

It is very, very hard not to quit. With every footstep my mind begs me to return home to eat and sleep. My gastrocnemius muscles burn intensely and sometimes I feel like I can't catch my breath. If only I could just stop. But I won't. I try to focus on everything besides the path: my breathing, the birds, other people and their pets. Then I start thanking the Lord: "Thank you for my eyes to see this beauty." "Thank you for my legs to do this run." "Thank you for my strong heart." And I push myself because I know my body is pleased with me. It seems like I start glowing.

For the past 7 days now, I've really been struggling. Last Wednesday, it was 68° at 9 a.m. and I could feel the heaviness on my chest when I began to walk in the humidity. Oh no! I pushed through it though and really broke a sweat. On Saturday it was 71° at 8 a.m., and I knew it would be even more of a problem. It was like running in a smoky room, but I pressed through it and stopped at a garage sale or two.

Today, it was 81° at 8:45 a.m. and I was devastated. I really thought about quitting before I began. My record for the past week has already been quite spotty due to this heatwave providing me a valid excuse. But I got out there, and jogged more than I usually do, sweat, and baked in the high sun. I've really got to get out earlier.