Today, I have woken up early, donned my running gear, and am sipping coffee and eating some frosted mini wheats before I go. This, for me, is a first. Not the running, and certainly not the coffee or breakfast. No, today, I woke up and took an active stance to face down a day that’s sure to be a challenge.
It’s not going to be an awful day. It’s all relative. I have a training class at 10:30 this morning, and will be working until 9p tonight, which makes for a rather long day at work. I will make some extra cash, which is good. I will get to drive a nice newer bus, which will be good. I will be able to spend the extra cash I’m making on improving the camping trip that Ray and I will be taking in a few weeks.
Still, today, as I sit here and sip my coffee, I have not done this kind of approach to a day that is sure to be long and wearisome. I typically would stay in bed until I need to go, and perhaps whine about it all day long, feeling heavy and gross and defeated, trudging through it all just to get to the end of the line and get my butt home. That’s no way to spend the day. It’s certainly no way to start the day – already feeling defeated. No, today will start differently. It already has.
My last run – on Tuesday of this week – saw me go by a glassy store front and catch myself in the reflection. There, bouncing up and down, was my body, my belly specifically. My calves were flexing, legs pumping, chest moving up and down. I saw a very fluid and squishy exterior being supported by a strong, taut body beneath the surface. I saw something in myself in those fleeting seconds of reflection that gave me the drive to push harder during the rest of my run.
Beneath the cellulite, the layers of fat that rest on my body, lies a machine. A powerful (and growing more powerful each time I flex) machine that has capabilities I’m only just beginning to realize. When I started to see development at the gym earlier this year – broader shoulders, bigger arms, larger and more robust thighs and glutes – I found myself seeing something I’d never actually seen before. It was a bigger, stronger, more powerful me that was just below the surface, expanding outward from my core. Of course, because I had put the brakes on my running and had begun to eat food again, all of that growth simply pushed the fat on my body outward and gave me a larger size all over, rather than more muscular definition. Still, I knew what was going on under the fat. I’ve never had muscles before. Not like that.
What I need to do, for now, while the weather is good, is continue with the cardio, the running, and the commitment I made to myself to train like I was going to run a marathon by my 37th birthday. I’m a little behind on my running schedule, but that’s okay. I have time. In the process of all this running, I hope to see the fat that I’ve been packing on since the first of the year start to shift again and slim down. Once I’m back in my running shape, then I hope to hit the gym again, and find a way to incorporate workouts that will tone up my muscles again while the running and other cardio will help me keep burning away the exterior fat that rests on my body.
This is a process of figuring out how food, exercise, and mental state all affect how I see and present myself to the world. It’s convoluted, chaotic, frustrating, and exhilarating. I haven’t figured it all out, but I’m getting there, on my own, and under my own steam. I will have the body to match the mental image I have of myself. I will be the strong, sound, proud presence in the rooms I enter. I will be the man I have always wanted to be. I’m growing up and shaping myself accordingly every day. I just need to remain focused.