Why I Do What I Do
This has been a big week for me. In fact, I’ve been waiting for this week since May 12th. Two weeks ago my doctor told me I could start biking and swimming on May 26th and that day couldn’t get here soon enough. I can honestly say that I have never been happier to sit indoors on a stationary bike. Then today my PT gave me even more great news. I am clear to start practicing yoga AND using the elliptical. Then as I did my single leg dead lifts, he told me he couldn’t even tell which leg was the bad leg. In my mind, I put a gold star beside my name. What did I do to deserve such great news? I guess my efforts to be the best physical therapy patient are starting to pay off.
I like to reflect and yesterday after my bike session (that may have included an interval or 10), I started pondering why it is I like exercise so much. Yes, I like being healthy and I think an active lifestyle is important but I feel like there is something more to it than that. I mean, as soon as I had permission to start doing pushups, I couldn’t get down on the ground fast enough. A lot of people aren’t like that. As I was walking around town this afternoon, a story I heard on the Rich Roll Podcast made it all click, and I finally understood why it is I like pushing my body so much. Rich Roll was talking about how athletes don’t think, they just do. They live in the moment and their bodies know exactly what to do and when to do it. *Lightbulb moment* That is exactly why I like to run, bike, do the elliptical, run stairs, do tabata intervals of pushups, etc.…. because it forces me to be in the now. There is no moment when I am more fully present than when I am running (or biking, etc.) During 20 mile long runs, rarely does my mind drift and I like it that way. When I’m doing tabata intervals on the bike, it’s impossible to be thinking about anything else. My body demands that my brain is fully present. It is my version of mindfulness.
In my earlier workouts years, I tried to read a magazine while on the bike or elliptical. The result? A really gross, sweaty copy of SHAPE magazine. And I never made it past the first paragraph of any story. To this day, I still don’t understand how people read and workout at the same time. I can’t even watch tv. But that’s just me. I like to be fully present of everything I’m doing, from speed to resistance to intensity. Sometimes I go too far and I understand that. But any athlete will tell you, there is a fine line that exists between training hard enough and training too hard. How else do you find your limits?
As I return to the world of working out, many people are telling me to take it easy, and I am very grateful for the people who care so much about my wellbeing. Yes, I know I can be a borderline workout maniac but under no circumstances will I put my hip in jeopardy. This entire ordeal has been a tough, learning experience, and I never want to go through it again. However, I will still push myself. I will still work for a decent sweat and an elevated heart rate. I have to. It’s what forces me to be in the moment. It’s my version of meditation.
On another note, today marks four weeks since my surgery. I still can’t believe all that has changed. That day in the hospital seems so long ago.
Happy Trails and Happy Running,
(The feature image is from last week… after much practice I was finally able to sit back on my feet. I was way too excited!)