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A Fitness Surprise

Monday, February 29, 2016

Exercise. It's just like riding a bike, right? You don't forget-you just get back on and remember how. No? I'm here to tell you that it may be more like that than you realize. I realized that this past week. Don't get me wrong...you get out of shape when you don't work out regularly, BUT once it has become a way of life, I firmly believe your body remembers how if you will just let it.

I was on a business trip this past week and was both working and traveling long hours, but I was dedicated to getting some gym time at the hotel. It has been too cold to run outside, so I thought the treadmill would be the perfect opportunity to give it a go for the first time since rededicating to my healthy habits.

Five years ago I was running at least three miles a day 5-7 days a week. I was running 12-13 minute miles. I haven't even tried to run since about June of 2011. So, night one at the hotel after a 12 hour travel day, I laced up my running shoes and headed to the hotel gym. I couldn't help but think about my first turn on one of those hotel treadmills several years ago. I thought I could go into a gentle jog and it ended up looking like something that rivaled 8 seconds on a bull named "Killer Beast". That was clear in my mind as I stepped up onto the treadmill. I started out slow at a walk to warm up for about a quarter of a mile before bumping the speed up a little and slipping into a gentle jog. My body was remembering what to do...how to breathe, how to control my pace, and how to run. I was doing it! Before I knew it, I had had gone a mile and a half without stopping! I was SO proud. I didn't know I could do that-especially since it had been so long since I'd run. I didn't know, but my body did. It wasn't a fast run. I was pacing at about a 18-19 min/mile, but I was doing it. I finished the last quarter mile at around a 12 min/mile pace. You have to sprint to the finish, right?

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Once again, I had to think back to the first time I ever tried to run. My first goal was the distance from my mother's driveway to the neighbor's driveway...a distance of about a tenth of a mile. I couldn't make it. I was gasping and limping and pretty sure I might die. At the time, I couldn't have imagined going a mile and a half, much less 2 or 3. Granted, right now I'm not as fast as I was, but back then (at the beginning) I couldn't run that distance at any pace.

This made me realize one of the gifts of fitness. It is long term. That's not to say you can't lose it, but do you ever really go all the way back to where you were before you had it? I didn't. I'm not as fit as I once was, but I am most certainly not as unfit as I once was. Just when I thought I pretty much knew all there was to know, I learned something new with a fitness surprise. I'll take it!
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