It’s finally gorgeous outside. Friday afternoon, the sun broke out, and for the entire weekend, it’s been nothing but glorious and awesome and all of the other descriptive words one might use to talk about the beauty that is spring in Oregon – when it’s not raining. Yesterday, Ray and I went on a beautiful hike through Forest Park. Today, though, he has to work both of his jobs, so it is up to me to enjoy the sunshine on my own. Of course, this meant getting out for an actual run, which was long overdue and something I’ve been avoiding because of a few factors.
I’ve put on weight. Not just a little weight, but a substantial amount. Eight weeks of consistently hitting the gym, eating much higher volume of food, and not doing as much cardio as I probably should have been has moved the scales upwards to places that, prior to my increased activity, would send me into a fit of depression and rage towards my body for days on end, and send my anxiety levels through the roof. In the past, this kind of scale weight measurement was a measure of my value, my worth, my ability to function as a normal human. Lately, though, it seems I have lost that worry, or rather, moved on from it. On the hike yesterday, for example, it hit me, as I was noticing my shadow, that I didn’t look awful in the tee shirt I was wearing. Ray commented that he’s noticed some changes in my body, and that whatever I’m doing is working. That’s the kind of encouragement I’ve needed. That’s the kind of kick in the ass that always helps me motivate myself to push even more. It’s those kind of thoughts that sent me out to the pavement today, weeks after my last real run on real pavement.
I ran four point five miles. Nothing major. Nothing I’ve not achieved before. Hell, not six months ago, that wasn’t even the half-way point for most of the running I did. Of course, I was a much different man back then, reeling from the accusation of being fat, and being recently split from the man who said such things, and found me to be lacking in so many other aspects that he decided we needed to break off the relationship we had. It was demoralizing, to say the least, and sent my nerves and anxious nature into orbit. I could run and run and run because it meant I could stop thinking about how awful I felt and just focus on my footfalls. Today’s run – a short one, but a good one – was nothing like that. Today, I ran because I wanted to get out and enjoy the weather. Today, I ran because I needed to shake things up a bit and increase my cardio for the week. I ran because I want to continue the movement towards a better body, with more muscle and less fat on my frame. I ran because I want to see just where I can take my body in terms of physical fitness. I ran because it actually feels good, and I’m not running away from anything anymore. I’m running towards something else. I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears to be repeated. There is a distinct difference in these two types of activity.
In the gym, I generally run about a mile on the treadmill to warm up for the activity ahead. It’s not much. As I started out today, and felt the actual ground moving under my actual own force and pushing myself ahead, I was reminded that treadmills really don’t get you very far. They elevate your heart rate and breathing, which serves a perfect purpose in the confines of the gym. They are not a substitute for actually getting out and moving, though.
I feel accomplished, now that I’m home and showered. I’ve had a tall drink of water and I’m now sitting in the sun, playing a haphazard game of fetch with Dougan, the Scottie. It’s a glorious day, and I’m feeling good. It’s also good to put these feelings down into words, and let them become a reality. Feeling good is vital.