No one asks me how I'm doing any more. It's been 50 some months since I was perforated, and the constant interest in my well-being has waned. I am no longer approached on the sidewalk. I can buy a melon without being hugged by a stranger. No one has offered to pray for me in a very long time.
Instead, I go to the gym and I go to Pilates and I walk to golf tournaments. I park where there is room to maneuver, instead of trying to find the spot closest to the door. Every once in a while, I walk through the market without leaning on a cart, which is a long way from needing the motorized wagon to buy a gallon of milk.
My endurance is a work in progress. It's never been my long suit, and that has been a convenient excuse behind which to hide. I know it was part of me before January, 2011, and I expect that it will be for the rest of my life. I've always been a sprinter, not a miler. On the other hand, I'm never going to be able to take a long hike again unless I push myself. I'm going against physical limitations and emotional stubbornness and it's daunting.
One thing has always remained constant - when I say I'm done, I'm done. My trainers respect my work ethic and we all believe in one basic principle - the only person affected by my efforts and my attitude is me. If I don't do the work, I won't get the results. I've always been willing to do the work
So, I'm doing it. Amster and the kids and I walked down the hill instead of taking a car. That added half a mile at each end, and I made myself do it. I write it down so that I will remember to congratulate myself. It's a real achievement, and they are fewer and farther between of late.
I stay motivated because that's the only alternative I see.
But then, there are interruptions. The baby brought her parents to visit for a week, then there was the Festival of Books, then I was sick. That was two full weeks with no exercise to speak of. I walked, but that's all.
There was no concentration on a particular group of muscles, no conscious coordination of body parts, not much thought given to the breath. I was going through the motions, glad to be able to carry FlapJilly, delighting in traversing the UofA Mall, but not thinking about the mechanics of it all. Then, I lay in bed, trying to breathe, barely able to keep my eyes open, as a sinus infection robbed me of the chance to actively participate in life. Through none of it did I consider exercising.
By Sunday, I was well enough to chat with a friend. On Monday, I went back to Pilates. I went again this morning. Those facts have not been lost on my physical self.
My hamstrings are twanging like banjo strings. I'm sitting upright over my pelvis, my back muscles complimenting my abdominals to hold me there. My neck is long. I'm feeling the air fill the back and the sides of my lungs, and I'm exhaling from my lower diaphragm, expelling all that I took in.
And I'm exhausted. I slept for two hours on Monday afternoon and would have done the same today had I not been so very hungry. My cells are humming, my brain is alert, and my body, that which carries me from place to place, holding those cells and that brain together, is screaming for relief.
There will be none. I'll do some floor work here at home this evening and I'll lift weights in the morning. I will ignore the very large piece of me which says Give yourself a break... even though she is very seductive.
I remember all too well the days when I couldn't do any of what exhausts me today. I couldn't kneel, or sit back on my heels, or make perfect circles in the air with my legs extended. The fact that those things now make me tired is something to treasure.