I have not been exercising as consistently as I was before the gyms closed, and the stay at home orders implemented. This morning I went running. It was a process to get myself to get out that door and run. I had placed so many roadblocks in my way. I did not get up early enough to exercise and begin my day on time as I walked my dog around the lake I waffled about running. I had almost convinced myself not to go, that I needed to get started with my writing, etc. I pushed those thoughts out of my mind.
I got home and did not allow myself to stop. I knew that if I sat and started to write that I would not go running. My momentum would be gone, replaced by the sitting and working part of my day. One of the few things I remember from high school physics is that objects in motion tend to stay in motion. I am sure there is more that concept, but that part stayed with me all these years. I decided to use my walking the dog momentum to get outside and go running. I did not allow myself to talk myself out of it. I put on my running clothes and left for my run.
I was only planning for one or two miles. Remember, I haven’t been exercising. I am very likely to exert myself too much after couch potatoing (new word alert) and jumping into an aggressive workout. The result is that I would injure myself. Then I would not be able to run for as long as the injury would take to heal. I have learned my lesson, and today I was going to start slow and keep to a short distance. I was determined not to fall into the old pattern. I was doing pretty well until I got lost.
I wasn’t in danger, I mean, come on, I was in one of the neighborhoods in Columbia. For those who have been to Columbia, it is a confusing place. For those that haven’t the joke when I bought a house here was to ask if I received the map because everything is hidden. Columbia feels like you are in the middle of a park. Which is great, except it can be hard to navigate. It is more confusing once you leave the roadways and are running along the pathways. Today I went down a path that I had never gone on before. I wasn’t trying to forge a new route. I was trying to avoid people.
There were quite a few folks out walking this morning, and trying to stay six feet away (at least) was challenging on some sections of the pathways. Since I workout without a mask staying at least six feet away is a requirement. And yes, I could work out with a mask, but I can’t breathe with that thing on my face. Well, I can, but it feels like I can’t. Feeling like you can’t breathe for me triggers panic attacks. I would prefer to maintain at least six feet of distance than have a panic attack while doing something that usually is a stress relief for me.
Staying away from people means staying off the main pathways. And so, I took a side path. And then I took another side path and another. I knew in general where I was. The weird thing about Columbia is that some of the primary neighborhood roads don’t have signs where a secondary road connects. The only street signs I saw were the side streets (not helpful). I knew I was on Green Mountain Circle, based on the houses, but which side? The real question was, do I go back on the path head towards Wild Lake or stay on the sidewalk? To answer that question, I had to go to Google Maps. I quickly pulled out my phone, not wanting to stop for long on the hill. The sidewalk route won out (I was closer).
The sidewalk plan turned into some off-sidewalk running because, along Twin Rivers Road, the sidewalks are under construction. Normally I would deem it safe to run on the gravel but not today. Crews were working on the sidewalks, so off-roading I went. Back on familiar territory, I realized that I had already run farther than I initially planned. I only had a quarter of a mile more to get to three miles, and yet I was so close to home. I can’t stop short of a whole number (don’t ask). So, I ran past my house until I heard the watch beep indicating that I had hit three miles. I did it!
My morning did not go as planned. I went running, got lost, got sidewalk blocked by construction, and ran off-sidewalk through the grass. I ran more miles than I thought I could or should. Getting lost pushed me to do more than I thought I could and, therefore, had planned. Perhaps that is a lesson in this time of uncertainty. The lesson could be that in this time where uncertainty is everywhere, and so many of us feel lost. Perhaps you are not lost. Instead, you are on a journey; the path may be ever-changing. Go with it, be flexible as you adjust from your original plan. The results may surprise you.