Monday, November 28, 2011

The Climb and The Accomplishments

An objective lesson on life that I got from running on the treadmill today:

Everyone has a weight that they want to be at.  It is seldom the one that is currently being displayed on their scale.  Like most people my age, somewhere around 40, losing weight has suddenly become a battle to maintain my ground more than an occasional skirmish that usually ends with some temporary adjustments that need to be made for me to obtain a win.

I like to run.  Well, I like the results of running.  When I first started running again last year after a 6 year hiatus, it was an accomplishment to just get on the treadmill.  My inner whining and subsequent negotiation to talk myself out of running would start as soon as the gym sensor beeped when I held up my membership tag on my key chain.  I'd start right in with lots of reasons why running today wasn't good.  I had to be careful of my knees, I didn't have enough time, I ran yesterday, I should try some other equipment too.  Lots of reasons not to run but the real one was that of all the other exercises that I'd encounter that day, running would require the most effort.

When you are new at something, it does require a lot.  I'd get on the machine and punch in my numbers.  I always get a twinge of resentment that it has the audacity to ask for my weight and age.  The only pay off for me being honest is that I get a more accurate read out of what my actual calorie burn is at the end of my run.  I am into numbers so having that one is the prize worth suffering through having to put where I am at.  During this time, I'd huff and my inner negotiator would chime in on whether or not we really need to run the whole half hour. Maybe I was too optimistic about the intensity.  These questions would go around until I hit about a mile into it and then I could relax a little more into the music and think about things.

I have been making progress with the running.  I can run 4 miles and I have lost almost 25 lbs since I started last year.  I noticed that as my weight went down, my calorie burn per mile went down as well.  It is simple science, really.  My body requires less calories to move now that I am smaller, but I am also eating the same amount of calories.  The fix to that is also elementary, I need kick the intensity up again.

Today I decided to increase my speed.  Only one tenth of a mile but you'd have thought I threw an extra 5 miles on the count today.  The exertion, while noted, wasn't impossible.  I think it was made worse by the fact that regardless of how my body felt, my mind knew it was going to be harder.  With that it woke up the inner negotiator to try to solve the problem of Britt's optimism in wanting to reach further toward her goals.

The usual inner monologue was squashed by a memory.  I remembered the time I climbed Mount Washington.  The route we took from base to summit was Tuckerman's Ravine.  I went on that hike with a bunch of friends.  Some new hikers, like me, and some well versed.  The first 1/3 of the hike was markedly steeper than I envisioned.  I was thinking it would be a gradual grade, stopping to survey and pick flowers to stick in the side of my ball cap.  It was more like a 40 degree angle with boulders to find footing on and step up.  No matter, I was grateful for the workout.  I found distraction in my natural competitiveness and challenged and encouraged my friends as I climbed along side them.  We made our first landing and I was satisfied with my performance. We stopped for water and I took notice of a beautiful waterfall cascading down the rocky mountain face in the distance.  My heart quickened at how breathtaking the view would be when we got closer to the water.  Little did I know that I would be basically hiking through it in less than an hour.   It was still picturesque.  It was an awesome experience to see the water flowing right next to me.  It was a trip to look down a waterfall up close and personal knowing that if I wasn't deliberate with my steps that I could be at the bottom of it in seconds.  I still managed to find the beauty and embrace the work.  My spirit was willing to see it through.

Imagine my surprise when we made our second landing and I looked up at the last 1/3 to see that what stood between me and the summit was nothing short of an all out rock climbing experience.  The hiking was over.  Time to use all 4 extremities and meat this thing out once and for all.  I was tired, hungry and  every bit completely disillusioned as to what hiking was all about.  I gritted my teeth, grunted, pulled, sweated and willed myself up that rock wall until at last, I saw the most amazing site that day.  The gift shop, complete with a bathroom and real toilet paper.

Yes, once I left the gift shop, I stood on the edge and reviewed my travels. I was astonished at what I had done.  I couldn't get over the fact that I had climbed an honest to goodness mountain.  How many people can say that?

Once my mind finished the movie of my climb, as I ran I related it to my life. There have been times where I have been comfortable but unsatisfied with where I was at.  To reach further required an expense of energy and effort.  It felt hard and clumsy at first but once I continued to endure, it got easier and more rhythmic.  How many times, I have wanted something but didn't want to do the work to get to the glory on the other side?  Don't we do that?  Picture the end of the journey and want to transport ourselves to the destination. Anything worth doing is going to take a piece of you with it.  What you need to ask is easy.  Is it worth it?

No comments:

Post a Comment