Yesterday, I finished a 5k. It’s on my list. I’ve never been a runner, barely a long walker. But, I do love to be outside, I enjoy the sounds and sights of summer in New England. How hard could it be? My kids convinced me that this would be the place, to take on the challenge. So, I convinced my mom to go along, and we pinned on our tags near the starting line.
The kids took off without us, but we walked the course. We were slow and steady across the covered bridge, around the vintage town common, and through the meadow. The cattle let out a low bellow as we walked by, the birds sang happily overhead and we talked about the possibilities of snakes, ticks, spiders, and cougars and we kept walking. At mile 1 we were feeling pretty good.
Mile two took us up hill through the meadow and along a washed-out path. The road got steeper and the footing became more rocking. What looked like a short hill, turned into several steeper paths up. Each time, we thought we had reached the top we found another incline just ahead. When the EMT came by to ask if we saw anyone hurt along the path, we showed great restraint as we let him pass by on his little cart.
As the road turned back toward the village, and downhill we recovered our breath and our sense of humor. We gulped water and couldn’t bear to drop our cups in the road, so we carried them to the next trash can. We only had two goals… 1) not to be last and 2) to pass someone. We did not pass anyone on our way, but we were not the last to cross the finish line. We thought about sprinting but decided that we made it in under an hour… we could walk with dignity.
It should not surprise anyone who knows me that I am not really the athletic type. I am more the couch/bookish type. And yet, the older I get the more I realize that if I don’t use it, I may lose it. I’ve always taken good health for granted. My mom regularly told us when we were growing up, “we’re Derricks, we’re made of tougher stuff.” We rarely get sick, and we never went to the doctor, if it could be avoided. Over the years, both my sister and I have claimed that mantel and we rarely get sick, and feel absolutely betrayed when our bodies fail us in any way.
As I approach my next decade, I am aware for the first time that I have enjoyed almost perfect health my whole life and just taken it for granted. I’ve read a lot about health and fitness, I’ve watched documentaries about food and health. Occasionally, I watch yoga videos… they are so calming. My problem has been application! So, I am taking baby steps toward a healthier life style. I don’t want to run a marathon, I just want to keep up with my grandson as he grows.
So, now I’m working on it. Learning to feed my body with healthier ingredients, trying to make sure I get fresh air and movement into my days. We are dusting off our bikes and cleaning up the kayaks so that we can spend time outdoors, moving our bodies and enjoying our lives. I want to ride the horses, and swim in the warm ocean. I’m ready to do what I must to ensure that these simple joys continue to be part of our days. I may be slow, but I am committed to finishing strong.
This is part of a series called 50 before 50… click here for more information!