I stopped running a year ago. Every time I went to run, I’d get impatient before darting home in that cloud of failure. Be gentle, I reassured my agitated self. This I was and perhaps rightly so since we were entering the holiday season. This gentleness went on for months, and I finally declared, “I’m no longer a runner,” citing back problems, anxiety, and overall fatigue with the sport after almost forty years. At Duane Reade, I breezed by Runner’s World in the magazine section. Nope. Don’t wanna read that anymore. I’m going to relax. Maybe do yoga.
What I discovered soon after this was how easy it was to abandon tasks, like a healthy breakfast or my no-dessert-every-day regimen. My yoga ambition lasted one day. I became easily distracted, stopping a project after five minutes. Eventually, I would finish what I needed to get done, but no more. Rewarding myself was a big part of gentleness, so I did a fair amount of TV watching. When I went to exercise–now trying to befriend the elliptical–I stopped after ten minutes. The boredom was mind-numbing. A personal trainer helped me rebuild my strength and I got through an hour of this each week. Little by little that hour didn’t seem so terrible. An addiction to Fitbit and a competitive streak with my Fitbit friends also fueled my soul (I’m going to beat you, John. I don’t care if you’re biking and climbing mountains now). Maybe weight lifting and protein smoothies could be my new sport.
The nasty reality came when I stepped on a scale and saw a number I hadn’t seen since college (my beer, croissant, double-bacon-cheeseburger days). This got me back to the treadmill fast a few weeks ago. Though I’d lost my endurance, I vowed to fight for it again. Slowly but surely. Last week, I finally hit a distance mark I hadn’t seen in a year.
This is gradually bleeding* into more than one activity and helping me set some real goals with the knowledge that:
- If you don’t work hard, how does that help you?
- If you can’t write a blog post, how can you write a book–especially when you’ve written 8 before, along with 10 screenplays?
- Laziness is good for weekends but not a daily virtue.
- You may be sick and tired. That won’t change if you stay where you are.
- If she can be questioned for eleven hours by people who hate her, surely, you can run three miles a few times a week. Maybe even more.
That is all.
*Forgive me, I am re-watching Dexter.