Where were we? Living life I had dreamed of . . . rug pulled out from under me . . . weight sky high . . . stress sky high . . . walked out the front door.
I didn't have a plan when I left my house. I just started walking and then began sprinting down my street. I ran as hard and fast and far as I could. Soon my lungs were burning and I thought my heart was going to explode. I stopped right in the middle of the street bent over with my hands on my knees sucking in the Fall air. I picture it now like a scene from a movie - deserted street, a black sky filled with hundreds of stars, I stand alone illuminated by a single street lamp (I know - way too dramatic! But this is my story!). I looked around and realized that I made it about two houses down from mine, which in my Pittsburgh neighborhood is not that far. Not ready to go back inside, I stood up and continued to walk around the block. With every heavy step I stomped out my stress: the financial stress, the stress caused by lack of time and sleep, the stress of being a caregiving spouse, the stress of being a working mom, the stress of lost dreams and unmet expectations.
When I had circled back to my house I paused in my driveway and realized that I felt better. My thoughts had cleared. My lungs felt crisp from the cool air. My shoulders didn't feel as tight.
I headed out for a walk again the next night and the next and the next. As I walked I thought about all of the "you should" statements that people had made. I thought about the health classes that I taught my senior citizens at LIFE Pittsburgh and our talks about not letting life pass you by, living on purpose and doing that by setting goals and constantly learning. I found that after a few days I was feeling better physically and mentally. Having a little bit of time alone at the end of the day was a real treat. These walks were making a difference in my life. Maybe there was something to the idea that exercise helps to relieves stress!
A few days after I started taking my late night walks I received an e-mail at work - Prevention Magazine's e-newsletter. I didn't recall signing up for it and it wasn't forwarded from anyone. How did it end up in my in-box?
The lead article was "Sofa to 5K Training Tips." I was instantly reminded of my high school classmate Jodi Barber. She had begun running within that past year and was now running in 5k's all over New England. Jodi looked fantastic and her pictures on facebook showed her having an amazing time at all of these events. I began to think that it had been a long time since I had stepped out of my comfort zone and set a goal for myself. Time was flying by and I was missing everything. There was no excitement, no adventure - just BLAH! My stomach began to stir with that feeling of excitement that you get when you are heading up the hill of a roller coaster - you know that you are in for an exciting ride, but have a twinge of fear mixed in there, too.
I made a decision. I was going to run a 5K. Who cares that I hadn't run since running the mile in my high school gym class (and even then I don't think I ran - just kind of stumbled along in the back of the class complaining the whole time!). Who cares that I couldn't think of the last time I had done any type of physical exercise that caused me to break a sweat. I was going to do this.
Remember that quote that I have hanging in my office - "No one can go back and make a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new end." I was going to make a new end for myself . . . and I was going to do it wearing a pair of running shoes!
I'll share that part my story with you in My Story Part Three.
By the way - I'm still not sure how I got that e-mail. I like to think that God sent it to me to push me into motion. Thanks God!