Keeping Active

Friday morning I didn't have to take care of any kids, didn't have to be at school, didn't HAVE to be anywhere.  Sure, there was a plant that needed to get in the ground.  There were weeds popping up like mad in the garden, and there is ALWAYS stuff like laundry -  but it was an opportunity, so I took it.  I put on my sport tank top and pulled on my running shorts. Went downstairs put my socks on and packed up my gym bag. Just before walking out the door I put on my running shoes, grabbed my coffee, a  water bottle and  drove to my favorite running trail.

As I got out of the car I had to make a choice, the hilly route (to the left) or the flat one (to the right).  At 7am it was already crazy humid and nearing 80 degrees, yet the hilly route looked like a good challenge - so I turned left.  Honestly, I was worried.  I hadn't been running much lately.  So to help me push through, I made a deal with myself  not track time nor distance but to make the run about me and the hills. Sometimes, it is enough just to focus on overcoming one thing.

As the paved trail rolled up the first hill I was glad  I had chosen the path through the forest. I love the nature, the tree's, the view.  I love the wooden bridges.  I like how it feels when the rubber of my shoes hits the wood even though it takes 2 steep hills to get there.

As I put one foot in front of another I found myself passing two woman walking and talking. A couple of minutes later I passed another woman walking. There were more, but I was impressed and inspired to find so many woman, mostly probably mothers, out taking care of their loved ones by not forgetting to take care of themselves.

I could hardly run for majority of my twenties and well into my thirties.   When I was in my early 20's my dad and I would try to go for runs and I couldn't even do a half a mile. My lungs would not keep up with my body and I've never smoked, never really abused my body. It is just how I am built but I overcame it with some help. 

At the end of 2008 I was really concerned about the path I was heading down. During my son's cancer treatment I had started to eat as a way to calm myself. I ate alot of unhealthy things. Sometimes because that is all I could get in the hospital and other times because things like chocolate cake felt good.  When he made it through and we returned home I did not like how my clothes were fitting. But what concerned me the most was my family's history of diabetes and CVD (cardiovascular disease).  I felt like I was flirting with it and I did not want to do that to my kids nor myself.

So I did what I am good at, I talked to my friends about it. I wanted to get back to playing soccer, something I had played one session of a few years earlier but I couldn't find a team with a open spot (or one that was willing to take me). While setting up for a Moms 2 Moms sale two of my friends said they would like to start a team with me. Shortly after, we started an over 30 female soccer team; recruiting whoever we could talk into it.  None of us had ever played before. We were pretty sad but it was fun and almost 2 years later most of us have stuck with it.

It was through soccer that I meet Jen. We started meeting early in the morning to work out. One early morning, probably somewhere close to 5am, we talked about both wanting to do a marathon. That's when the running started. It took a lot of running for one minute/ walking for two for me to be able to run a quarter of a mile, then half THEN a mile. Jen was great. She was so patient with me and encouraging right when I needed it the most.

Something happened during the hours of marathon training, I fell in love with running. I'm not fast nor slow just kind of mediocre; I have good runs and I have bad runs.  There are days I have to drag myself  out to do it and there are days I can't wait to get my running shoes on. There are days I don't overcome myself, nor my circumstances and just don't get to the run I had planned with myself. Those are the days where every other voice around me seems louder and stronger than my own. It happens, and I try to make sure my voice is the stronger one the next day.

The marathon training and the soccer has trained me to plan physical activity for myself. Those endorphins  help ease some of life's more challenging moment;  Feeling my body move helps me to clear my head and try to make sense of the world.  Now I swim, lift weights, do yoga and still run and play soccer. Most of the time I can only find an hour, typically 4 - 5 times a week, but at least its an hour that I am making sure my boys have a healthy mom.

As I pass people on the trails as I run, or even when I notice a face I haven't noticed before at the gym, I may not say anything, but inside I am glad to see them taking care of themselves. There is nothing I hate more than chronic disease and the more people who fight it I figure the closer we will be to overcoming it.

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