I Had a Choice Today

We spent the last two and a half weeks on vacation.  It is by far the longest vacation I’ve ever left home for.  It was my first trip overseas, to visit my husband’s family in Croatia.  It was amazing.  The food was different, but usually really good.  There was tons of walking.  And drinking.

There was not, however, lots of exercise.  Minus the walking that is the norm for a sightseeing vacation, there was no formal exercise.  I felt unsure of going out for long walks in a place that was not only unfamiliar, but where I didn’t know the language if I did get lost.  And running?  Forget about it.  With temps already in the 80s at sunup, it was just not going to happen.

Not surprisingly, when I got home after 18 days, the scale was up about four pounds.  I honestly expected it to be even higher.  By the end of it all, I was in full blown “I don’t care” mode.  Flight attendant offers me a cookie on the plane?  Sure!  Another glass of wine while we’re having dinner?  No problem!  Let me fill up on that cheese and sausage and bread that won’t be the same in the states, while I’m here.

On Monday morning, ripe with jet lag, I was up early and took my dog on a long, long walk.  I didn’t want to run yet.  I felt unsure.  I felt heavy and bloated.  So I set an attainable goal:  a 60 minute walk.  And it felt great.  It felt awesome.  By the end, I felt ready to run.

But.

My husband got called out of town.  So the next morning, when I had planned on a good run, it was dark until the kids got up.  So I made every excuse in the book as to why a run didn’t make sense that day.  So I didn’t.

This morning, similar story.  I was up early again, before light, and enjoyed a quiet coffee before the kids got up.  But as I sat there sipping it, I thought, you’re making a choice here.  It felt like today, if I didn’t get out there and run, that would be it.  I would give up on running.  I would give up on myself.  I would give up that part of who I am, who I have become.

I didn’t want to fail.  I didn’t want to feel awful in my run, which I was sure I would after weeks not not running.  And I realized that was what was holding me back.  I knew if I walked I’d feel good.  But I wasn’t sure if I would feel that same sense of success running.

So I made a choice.  I decided to go back to what I know works:  the Couch to 5K.  I scrolled through the training runs until I found one that I felt sure I could do, even after weeks of not running.  It was Week 5 Day 1.  That consists of a 5 minute walk, a 5 minute jog, 2 minutes walk, 7 minutes jog, 2 minutes walk, 5 minutes jog, 5 minutes cool down.

It was exactly the right choice.

It felt GOOD.  I know the runs are short.  But they were attainable.  Rather than focusing on what I couldn’t do anymore, it helped me focus on what I could do still.  And I know I can build on that now that I will get back into the routine.  I threw in more running during the cool down and ended up not judging my distance perfectly so I went about six minutes longer than the app asked me to.

I had a choice today.  I could resign myself to these extra few pounds I gained sticking around and allowing myself to stay with my bad vacation habits, or I could turn things around with some small, but sure steps back to the right path.

I feel good about my choice.  I feel good today.

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