The shape of things

Posted on February 20, 2011

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Recently I mentioned that I had quit smoking (almost 7 months smoke free now) and the biggest factor that has kept me from smoking again was that I don’t want to have to go through quitting again.  This true,  I don’t want to do the withdrawals, and jitters again, and I don’t want to have to take the medication to help me quit again.   I think those were the strongest factors that kept me from starting back up, especially in the first 3-5 months, and the benefits that not smoking has on the people around me should go without saying.   Nearly seven months in though, and my mind-set has shifted.  Now my thoughts aren’t filled with what I need to do to keep myself from smoking, rather they are filled with all the things I can do instead of smoking…that are better than smoking.  For what ever reason my mind never made that shift in the past when I would quit smoking, shoot my mind never made the shift out of  a “how long till the next cigarette” frame of mind.  It’s hard to focus on all the other things you can do besides smoking when all you can think about is the next cigarette.  It’s hard to see all the good that not smoking does for you when all you can think about is what you are missing.  On with my point though.

A few months into my quitting, I started getting this weird anxious feeling in my chest and stomach.  It was and odd feeling, like I had been holding my breath,  like I just needed to get up and move around, and I had this strange urge to run.   Well it turns out the anxious feeling was a side effect of the Zyban, and once it was out of my system it went away, but not the feeling of wanting to run.  Now, I haven’t really run since I was a kid, and when I slipped my kneecap at 12, I have pretty much avoided it since.  I will also go on record as saying I am not in the best of shape…I do actually have pretty good endurance, strength and flexibility for my size, and am more active than most people would think for someone of my size, but not as much as I should be.  However I knew that if I tried to bust out running I would be just asking to injure myself, and that would get me nowhere.  I knew I needed to work up to it, so my husband and I decided to join the Y, and we went for our first time last week.

In the past I have had a love hate relationship with exercise.  I liked to run, jump, hike, bike, climb and play as a kid, but that was fun, and have never been opposed to going outside and getting fresh air.  Exercise on the other hand always seemed like too much work.  I used to wonder about people who would go to the gym everyday, and work out for an hour or more.  I had read, and heard about the “high” people would get from working out and figured something was wrong with me because I never seemed to get that feeling from exercise, I just wanted it to be over.  I have my theories as to why I never got the satisfaction from working out, and without over psycho analyzing things, I just figured I got all my “feel good” rushes from first, food, then cigarettes, so exercise didn’t register with me.  It might not be that at all…it might just be that I made another mind shift.

Whatever the case after this past week, I am starting to understand the “high” people talk about.  It started out rough because, with my lack of experience around gym equipment my first work out on an elliptical cross trainer I had the ramp set to a 10, and the resistance to a 4 before I realized the why the damned thing was so hard to work.  That was on a Sunday.  I walked with a limp until Thursday.  Normally that would have kept be out of the gym until at least Friday, but this time?  This time something has been different.  On that elliptical last Sunday, even though my legs were burning, I felt good, I was actually enjoying myself.  I had never felt that while working out before, and I liked it, so I went back on Tuesday (I had trouble walking at all on Monday) and Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I missed yesterday, because I know muscles need time to rest, and we had to miss today because both the kids have a fever and didn’t feel good so I was looking after them.  It bothered me that I couldn’t go, I felt that I was missing something.

I can’t begin to describe how excited I am about the way exercising has made me feel the past few days.  I feel like I am turning a corner in my life in regards to my health.  I am not worried about losing weight, or becoming a certain size, I just want to feel good.   I just want to run. That is my goal.  Not to run a 5K or a marathon or anything, I just want to run.  I want to feel the wind in my hair, the sharp intake of air into my lungs.  I want to feel my feet hitting the ground and the stretch, and pull of my muscles.  I want to feel like I can fly, the way running made me feel when I was a kid.  I miss that feeling of letting go, of tossing off all inhibitions and just going as fast as your legs can carry you.   If I lose weight, great.  If I go down in pants sizes, that would cool too, and I know it will happen as a byproduct.  Most importantly I want to feel that energy that exercising has given me, I want to feel, and be healthy…not just for someone of my size, but in general.  I just want to run.

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Posted in: Fitness