The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Autumn is my favorite time of year, the cooler days and cooler nights.  My air conditioning and furnace get a break from working, and I enjoy the really cool evenings.  I’ve often said I’m a woman who doesn’t like extremes – I dislike the summers and winters in Cleveland, both are usually too extreme for me.  This past summer was brutally hot, which makes me think that the coming winter will be just as brutal (1988 flashes through my mind of the hot and cold extremes, I hope our winter isn’t like that).  

With the cooler evenings and dark approaching earlier, I became somewhat sloth-like this week.  I’m not sure there was a night that I did not fall asleep in my chair by 9:30 p.m. and then didn’t want to crawl to bed.  With the onslaught of autumn, I think my body is preparing for hibernation!  NOT a good thing.

With no cross-country this week for my son (they ran Friday evening instead), I got up  yesterday morning and decided to get with the program.  As I entered the Metroparks behind my house, I noticed that the leaves are starting to change – it was cool (48), but perfect with a long sleeved shirt on for running.  Usually after a break, my shins bother me or my calves hurt right away, but not yesterday.  It really felt good to be back out – I tried to really just concentrate on the trees and the path and enjoy my run.  I even felt energized and later on the day cut my lawn (when then totally exhausted me).

The weather forecast called for rain on Sunday and secretly, I hoped by the time we dropped my son’s car off for service this morning, it would be raining.  That would mean coming home, having some more coffee and enjoying some sort of breakfast.  Ahhh, the weather gods were having none of that.  I woke up to sunshine and again cool weather.  We had my son’s car delivered by 9 a.m. and headed back home.  I still contemplated blowing off the run (I weighed myself yesterday and was back to my “low” weight), and just going home for breakfast.  

Once back at the house, my son went back into his room and I decided to just get it over with.  I knocked on his door and opened it to find him buried back under the sheets (ugh), and said I was going out for a run and I’d be back.  Again, today, my shins didn’t bother me, and my calves felt good.  I’ve noticed some stiffness in my ankles and I’m not sure what to make of that.  I notice it even without running and wonder if I have some arthritis showing up in there.  

Given that I felt good today, I decided to go another 10 minutes in my run/walk.  Again, this morning, the weather was perfect, with the sun shining through the trees in the park.  There were very few people out so early and I only passed two the entire time I was out.  It was blissfully quiet and peaceful.  

I often wonder what I get out of exercising (besides a supposedly healthier body).  This morning it dawned on me that while I’m running, my head clears out everything that I tend to worry about.  I’m concentrating on my form, the way my feet hit the pavement, how my ankles/shins/thighs feel and my breathing.  I don’t have enough room in my brain to worry about everything else at this point.  Once completed and done, I feel relief.  Relief at being done, relief at the respite from worry and accomplished.  Being a sloth on my couch does not give me that same feeling, needless to say.  

I have a membership to a local gym that I haven’t used all summer (my son is part of that membership and he hasn’t gone either).  I started to think that maybe I need to cancel it because hey, it would be extra money, every month and I’m not using it.  But then I start to wonder about winter – what will I do?  If we have a bad winter, it’s hard enough getting to work let alone getting out and running in ice and snow (and I just won’t do it).  On the other hand, I’m not sure that I’m likely to get to the gym either, although I do know on weekends in the winter I am pretty faithful.  A few years ago, I was working out six days a week, rain, shine or snow.  I made it to the gym in every kind of weather – I was dedicated and focused.  I also despised doing it, but went.  I’m finding now that I enjoy working out more primarily because I’m not that drill sergeant in my head.  If I go out for a run, I enjoy it and the scenery around me.  Life is simply too short to do things because you have to (other than work in most cases).  So why not take the attitude that when I do manage to fit in a run or working out, I’ll try to enjoy it?

My older son has been struggling with his weight since he started college.  When we talked yesterday, I asked him if had gotten to the fitness center like he wanted to and he replied that he had gone once, but “felt so awful afterwards.”  I told him I totally understood – it’s hard starting, but it gets easier.  And it’s true, it does get easier.  I don’t want to always have to be re-starting!  This way, if I dedicate myself to continuing on my journey, everything should be easier in the long run.

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