Friday, September 28, 2007

Through the Looking Glass

It’s almost two o’clock in the afternoon and I’m finally calming down a bit. Today I accomplished something I thought I would NEVER do. Something that, even as a teenager, I would never have attempted. Basically, after all my equivocation yesterday about whether I’d see measurable improvements by the end, I’m now at a place where I BELIEVE!!! MIRACLES ARE AFOOT IN CANDLER PARK!

Instructor Tim approached me as soon as I arrived this morning and asked me to promise him something. He said he’d been thinking about me and today and that he wanted me to just do the workout, and NOT to think about it. I had already resigned myself to us having a running workout today and I figured he was alluding to how much I’d hate it if I knew how much we’d be running, so I sighed and agreed to trust him. I also took a few minutes to get to know fellow camper “J” who usually joins me at the back of the pack. Turns out this is her second bootcamp and she’s already signed up for two more! And on top of that she lost 100 lbs on her own before starting bootcamp! WOW, talk about staying power. I’m really glad I finally took the time to talk to her. I forget sometimes that I’m not the only one on a journey.

So this workout was called, “A Little Jog.” Ha. Off we went. Down hill, up hill, through Freedom Park, down some streets, holy cow, there’s Moreland, wow, we’ve come far, back through Freedom Park. Early on Tim asked me what was the furthest I’d ever run, I told him, without hesitation, that I had never run more than a mile. Even when I participated in a 5 K as a teenager I did intervals, I had no confidence even then that I could run any distance. As we were coming back through Freedom Park he mentioned that I had blown my previous record. Really? I had run more than I did on September 10, less than 3 weeks ago and I was doing ok? Still slow . . . no doubt, but not only was I breathing fine I was carrying on conversations with Tim throughout? WHAT?

My shins were hurting, my left hip was aching, but none of it was debilitating and it wasn’t stopping me. The most amazing thing was that I was breathing and getting air and I wasn’t gasping and panting. Tim said I had hit my “stride.” WHAT? I have a stride? Who knew?

So, back through Freedom Park, back through the bottom part of Candler Park, past the church. WHAT? But that’s Ponce! We’re running down Ponce? But that’s really far from where we were on Moreland! But hey, I still had this whole “stride” thing going for me, and despite my turtle status Tim said I had an amazingly consistent pace. I was the energizer bunny. WHAT? Me? I’ve never been one of those slow and steady types. I’m a flash in the pan, I start stuff and then drop stuff. Consistency IS NOT a character trait most of my friends would attribute to me.

As we finally returned to Candler Park I realized that we were running the same stretch that had been at the end of the 1 mile run less than 3 weeks ago. I could vividly remember how agonizing that stretch was with Jeff and Heidi and here I was carrying on a cheerful conversation with Tim (and getting to hear about his journey which is also amazing!). When I arrived at the end, where everyone was stretching, I felt like I could keep going. My legs felt lightweight, and it almost felt wrong to stop. WHAT? Apparently Jojo and Tim had given a wristband GPS to one of the campers. As we began stretching Jojo asked her to check and see how far we ran. I’m thinking MAYBE 2 miles and I was feeling pretty darn happy with that.

But lo and behold, we ran OVER 4 MILES!!!!!! We ran MORE than a 5 K!!!!!! WHAT? Actually, that warrants a WTF???? I almost burst into tears, it was literally the most shocking thing I think anyone has ever told me. All of a sudden my entire concept of myself was unleashed from the self imposed weights to which I had chained it.

Had I been doing this on my own, I never would have released those self imposed barriers. By trusting the bootcamp instructors, by blindly following the little red light anchored to the back of Jojo’s shorts and not questioning how far we had come or how far we had left or how much time had passed I had no grounding for those barriers. And Jojo and Tim led me right through that looking glass of self doubt that has harried me for so long.

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