The Bug

My wonderful, supportive boyfriend keeps telling me that I have caught “the bug” for exercise. I suppose that’s true. Exercise, in any form, has always been a struggle for me. I am, deep down, a generally lazy person — which is probably why I’m in this state to begin with.

In 2005, I lost 50 pounds and got down to 226 — the lightest I have been since, I’m guessing, my middle school days. It felt amazing. I felt great, and I pushed myself to do things I’d never done before. But even then, working out was a challenge, and not really a part of my success. Then the years that followed, I gained 58 pounds back. Since then, I’ve joined gyms, but failed to go. I’ve devised programs for myself but failed to stick with it. I just thought that exercise was beyond me because I could talk myself out of doing it very easily.

However, ever since I can remember, I have harbored a secret desire to be a runner. One of those folks you see on the side of the road, jogging away, wearing matching clothes and the remnants of some number badge from a race. I have always wanted to be one of those people.

Always.

But there’s also always been an excuse. I have asthma, I’ve been overweight since I was two, and now that I’m in my 30’s, I have joint problems. With every new ailment I saw my dream of becomming that runner slipping further and further from my grasp.

But three weeks ago, all that changed.

I don’t know what it was. It was still very cold out. But I’d begun cooking low-carb meals for my boyfriend and I thought to myself, “If I’m cooking all of this healthy stuff for him, I have no excuse but to cook healthy stuff for myself.” That night, I sat down at my laptop and dug out an old walking plan that I’d designed to be a sort of “Pre” Couch-to-5K plan. And the next day, I started.

Week one started off badly. My first walk out, which was only supposed to be 10 minutes, I slipped on a patch of ice and banged my knee up pretty badly. Though it didn’t affect my ability to walk home in shame, it did hurt and caused other related strains. The next day I decided not to brave the ice, and instead walked in place for ten minutes. The rest of the week, for whatever reason, I sat on my butt and did nothing.

Week two started out the same way — sitting on my rear. By Wednesday, however, the weather warmed up and things had begun to melt, so I began walking outside. The kind of awesome thing was, on the first walk of the week, I thought it was so nice to finally be outside that instead of walking only ten minutes, I walked 30. Then the next day I walked 30 minutes. By Friday, I had caught the bug, and convinced one of my boyfriend’s kids to walk with me to her favorite park. The journey took us 40 minutes and we were both tired afterwards, but it was so great to share that experience with her and maybe show her that exercise can be rewarding.

Week three had a bit of a bump. Not only was my boyfriend’s mom having surgery, but we were going to an SCA event that weekend and I had a lot to do. Looking back, I can see how these things were all just excuses. With so much down time at the hospital, I could have easily gone for a 30 minute walk. And I know during those sewing days I took breaks to rest my hands, long enough that walks could have been taken. I only managed to get in four walks as a result, and was a little disappointed in myself.

This week starts week four, and I’ve also bumped into a snag — the weather. Previous sunny days with highs in upper 50’s have spoiled me. Now I’ve got three days worth of rain. I decided, however, that weather in the spring shouldn’t keep me from walking. I’ve already added ten minutes to my walks with little strain on my legs. Yesterday I managed to find a span of time to fit my walk in between rain storms, and today I’m looking to do the same. The idea of not going on a walk kind of makes me twitchy — like I need to go out and do it to feel like my day had some meaning to it.

As soon as I’m done writing this, I’m going to throw on my heaviest hoodie, a scarf, and a pair of gloves and go out now that it’s stopped raining for a little while. I feel like I need to go out and do it. Just the little bit of walking I’ve done has helped my breathing a ton, and I’ve found that my knees that usually plague me even when I spend the day rest them, haven’t been hurting nearly as much, and I have loads more energy and drive to do other things. Also, when I get my walk in, I don’t want to eat foods that are full of fat and sugar because they make me feel so heavy. It’s a win-win.

And I have to say, there are worse things to become addicted to. If I have caught that bug, I hope there isn’t a cure!

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