I had trouble getting out the door to run this morning. I have always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with running. I love the feeling of moving. I love rushing through the miles, feeling healthy and strong when I’m at the peak of my fitness. I love crossing the finish line, never first but still a part of the race.
However, I hate the gritty, salty feeling that comes from a really good sweat on a cold day. I hate running through puddles and feeling the cold water gushing between my toes. I hate the burning sensation as I breathe cold air into warm lungs. Most of all, I hate the seemingly endless cycle of fitness, laziness and rebuilding.
Since my move and my subsequent unemployment, I have had time to pursue many of my other interests. Writing, sewing, online classes, knitting, quilting, blogging. Unfortunately many of my interests involve me sitting in one place for hours at a time. Beyond creating a likely permanent impression on my desk chair, there have been other negative effects. Weight gain, depression, a lack of wearable clothing without an elastic waistband; every person feels the strain a little differently. No matter how good a person’s metabolism is (though mine is not good), a sedentary life is not healthy. Our bodies were designed to move. When we don’t move, it’s almost as if our bodies forget how.
Over the past year I have been fighting a losing battle with my exercise routine. At first I fought the good fight, eating as I used to, but working out regularly too. Unfortunately, the old routines weren’t enough. I went from a full day chasing a classroom full of kids to sitting in front of my computer for several hours at a time. My old routines weren’t enough to stave off the weight gain. As the weight crept up slowly, every run got a little harder. I was running the same distance, but carrying more along.
Slowly I began to experience pains; a bit of a strain in my knees, an ache in my back, a shooting sensation radiating through my foot. Each new injury encouraged me to take a break, and rest it off. Each day off allowed more weight to creep on, making the pains that much worse when I started again. I’ve been stuck in a loop. The extra weight makes it hurt to run; I need to run to help take off the extra weight.
This loop seems to appear in other areas of my life as well. Working to publish a novel, agents would like to see an online presence, some sort of collection of readers who might be willing to follow you from the computer into the printed word. I need a following to help promote a book; I need my book published to help attract readers to my blog and create a following.
So where do I start to break into the cycle? The beauty of a circle is knowing it has no end. But there must be a beginning somewhere, how else does it start? How do I break through and turn my cycle into a staircase? I suppose it comes from deciding where you want to be, and making yourself work to get there. I want to get my health back, which means running through the little pains. I want my voice to be heard, so I write. I let each word scream out into the emptiness, writing even when no one reads.
Maybe the cycle will never break. Maybe the loop will continue with no end in sight. If that happens, I have two choices. I can be swept along, rolling with whatever is given to me or I can strap a seat on and learn to balance, riding my ups and downs to wherever I want to go. It might not be easy, but maybe it’s time to try riding instead of rolling for a little while.