Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Springing into shape. . .I think

Sunglasses on and ponytail swinging, the muted sound of each footfall registered briefly in my mind. The sound was a rhythmic, light pitter-patter, not heavy and plodding. I liked to hear the gravel crunching under my feet, a testament to progress. But soon my attention turned to my breathing. I was in the midst of a steep hill and still running. Running and breathing at the same time, mind you. Not the gasping for air kind of breathing but the kind that responds as it should to increased demand. That, my friend, seldom happens.

Topping the hill, I started down the incline. My legs, though not accustomed to such turn over, responded. I felt like a runner again, strong and swift. By the time I arrived back at the house, the big hand on the kitchen clock confirmed I had run well. It felt so good. I hoped it wasn't a fluke.

Back at the ranch-or actually, the YMCA-the line at the bottom of the pool has been a good companion. A while back, the only comforting thing about that line was the end of it, signaling that the wall was within reach. I purposely kept a lap counter on the pool's edge, a good excuse to occasionally stop and move the beads down the abacus-like counter. To swim a full mile was a test of patience and nothing about it felt natural. But now, other than the initial chill of the water, there is nothing I don't like about my swim. No longer do I pant from exhaustion or sputter from not having sufficient air for a flip turn. Instead, I feel free in the water; gliding from end to end with relative ease. It's a great time to think and pray, the water forming a quiet and insulating barrier to the outside world.

Once again, I am beginning to look forward to my daily exercise, whatever form it takes. On most of my recent runs I have felt to be more than a jogger. I think of some upcoming races.  Maybe, just maybe. . . I am tired of not running strong, sometimes using my age as an excuse for mediocrity. Though I may never be as fast as I once was, I know I can be faster than I now am.

I know the road will not be easy and smooth. Potholes of fear may threaten my progress. Life may force some detours. But for now, I have the address typed into the GPS and am heading for the start of a beautiful adventure into the world of fitness gains and challenges.

4 comments:

Rick Gray said...

Something must really be blowing in the wind and is is something more than your ponytail. You get a professional photographer to take a new picture of you and you are getting sort of mushy sounding when you are talking about gravel crunching under your feet and the line at the bottom of the pool. You say "That, my friend, seldom happens", but I say my friend it happens because you are patient. Age does sneak up on us and true we are not as fast as we once were, but that does not mean we do not keep trying and working hard. As you said, we can be faster than we are now. So true. I am so happy that you are feeling good and your body is working as a well oiled machine. Nothing like spring to feel that spring in your step so you will leap over those potholes.

Rebekah Trittipoe said...

Ah, Rick. Once again, you are so encouraging. (But I hope you don't feel compelled to write something out of obligation.) Anyway, the hard thing is that my feelings are so fleeting. I've felt inspired before only to fail to follow through. I must allow commitment carry me when my feelings and emotions of wanting to do well fade away! That's what is really hard!

And yes...mushy is a favorite feeling right now! :)

Rick Gray said...

Obligation, NO - Desire, YES

Life is so short and special for us to be old stick in the muds, so yes, I do like to encourage. There is so much confusion and stress in my work, that it is also a wonderful outlet for me personally. If we can't encourage each other, then we have issues. God gave us our families and friends to help when our feelings and desires fall short, but he also gave us our desire to work hard and that is that commitment you mentioned. Not everything works perfect, but on occasion it does. Just like your post says. Remember, our feelings are up and down, just like the trails that we run. But guess what, we get to that finish and we feel wonderful again no matter the physical pain we feel. Don't worry about the past (just like our speed when we were younger), as we know we can run a bit faster than yesterday!

Rebekah Trittipoe said...

Good. That makes me feel better! I love to hear from you but never want you to feel like you HAVE TO write!

Terrapin for you?