Day Thirteen: Milestone
So, I’m halfway through this alphabet series, and I’ll be the first to say that I’m growing weary of it. But I promised myself, dang it…
To liven things up for my sanity, I’m steering away from the singlehood theme today to discuss a milestone that happened for me last night. In April 2015, a photo of Cory, a friend and me kick started my effort to get back into fitness and healthier eating. My face had gotten so chubby that my short haircut did nothing to keep me from thinking of my head as a basketball with tufts of hair splayed out like strawberry leaves. Even when I look at the photo now, I remember searching that morning for a pair of jeans that would fit me (only one pair) and a shirt big enough to camouflage my expanding waistline.
Enough was enough.
In May, I started eating more squash, zucchini, spinach, carrots, steamed chicken and grilled fish, and less fried mozzarella jalapeno cheesesticks, burgers, fries and ice cream after 11 p.m. I joined the gym, but was too afraid to go my first two or three months of membership because I wasn’t comfortable squeezing into my workout clothes and jiggling around in public (and yes, I realize how ridiculous that was for me to feel that way). Instead, I used my five- and ten-pound dumbbells at home to create my own workouts. As the weather warmed, I drove to a local park and slowly built up my stamina to run the entire 1.25-mile gravel course without stopping. By the time the weather turned cold again last year, I could run the course once, take a one-minute break and run it again, plus a little extra. If I wasn’t too exhausted, I’d do some body weight exercises or ab workouts by a park bench.
Still, the idea of a 5K made me laugh.
Since my jogs in the park, I’ve made liberal use of the treadmill at the gym, along with various strength training exercises. Now here comes the milestone part:
Last night, for the first time since November, I went back to the park. My plan was to run around the course once, see how I felt and maybe run around again. I ran around once, no problem. So I ran around again, thinking, “By the end of the summer, I’d like to be able to run around this thing three times.” As my second time around ended, I still had plenty of steam, so I went around again.
Three times. Three and three-fourths miles with hills and gravel with no stops. I felt blisters burning on my insoles, but I kept going. I hobbled on my tender feet over to a park bench under a shelter just as a few raindrops began to sprinkle down. The rain intensified, and other park patrons hurried to their cars and left the park. I stayed under the shelter, doing a circuit of abs, triceps and walk-out pushups.
I left the park with a little cut on my palm from some gravel while doing pushups and stinging feet.
It was one of those times when I was proud of myself. Not because of how I thought I would look in a form-fitting dress after more hard work. Not because of how I thought I would look in a bikini. Not because of how my jeans will fit. But because of what I could do. Last night proved to me that, even though the number on my bathroom scale has fluctuated upward these past few weeks, my body hasn’t stopped improving. I could see real results from my work over the past five months.
Last night also proved to me that I can run a 5K. You can bet I’m on the lookout for one of those.