My daughter is growing up so quickly. I am starting to see her reacting to peer pressure, to worry about being noticed for the wrong reasons. I often find myself thinking back over time and wondering if I've been careful enough with my words to help her avoid the body awkwardness that has plagued so many women. When I compliment her I try to remember to not just say how beautiful she is (and oh, she IS) but also how loving and smart and funny and creative she is. The time left I have to truly influence her is nearly over - very soon she'll be at that age where her classmates have far more power than her mother over her self-image and the directions she chooses to take her life. Like most of you I have plenty of sweaty-palm moments when I realize just how powerful peer pressure can be and pray like mad that I've been the mother I want to be so that my daughter has an inner compass with a strong enough magnetic north to overcome the negativity and shallowness she is sure to encounter.
I want to be a guide for her just as my own mother was for me, leading the way for me to appreciate the value of having outside interests and staying active.
Riding and caring for my horses, my home and my yard do a lot to keep my body moving, but with a job that mostly involves driving a keyboard, I know those things are not enough. Over the last decade or so I've focused more on being healthy than on losing weight, although after the kids were born I had quite a lot of extra weight to lose. I prefer exercise that feels good, particularly yoga, but I've been aware for some time that I frequently don't pay enough attention to my cardiovascular health. SG frequently cites a study he read which concluded that one of the biggest contributors to longevity is the one's aerobic capacity.
Now I'm no stranger to cardio. I was a rower once, and in the sprint races your typical rower goes anaerobic within the first minute or two of a 2,000 meter race. Rowing uses every one of the large muscle groups, so the lungs must work extra hard to meet the body's demand for oxygen. Of course that was a long time ago and nothing I've done since has been quite as phsyically demanding, childbirth notwithstanding.
Back in 2011 I had started a C25K running program and was in the middle of my fifth or sixth week when I managed to give myself a severe bilateral sprain. That put me off my feet for a while - fortunately NOT during the time of year it would keep me off my horse. Six weeks on my lazy ass helped me go soft in a way I was not entirely comfortable with, but my vow to jump back on the exercise wagon had about as much veracity as my frequent threat to sell my children to the highest bidder. Then last summer I ended up losing a lot of weight due to severe gastric issues. Instead of encouraging me to start exercising again, all it did was give me a good excuse to be lazier than ever. When you are like me and you keep several sizes of clothes and the smallest ones fit without even having to try hard, complaency is easy to come by. Unfortunately, lazy eventually catches up with you. And it has. I haven't weighed myself since I was pregnant with my daughter, but my clothes started telling me I had one more size to go before I was right back where I was at the beginning of the summer.
I made a few attempts to restart my C25K program. Its bitterly cold here, though, and I have little time as it is -- I don't enjoy spending an extra half hour putting layers of clothes on just to stay warm enough to suck in freezing lungfuls of air as my out-of-shape body tries to make itself jog. Screw that. But now what?
As often seems to happen in my life, fate - a/k/a my parents - intervened. About a month ago my parents told us they wanted to give SG and I a wedding gift. Yes, that's right. We got married three days after I sprained that ankle in 2011 and they are just now getting around to the wedding gift. But who am I to argue? Better late than never.
They bought us a treadmill. Not a crappy, cheap treadmill - a really nice treadmill. Probably the nicest treadmill I've ever been on. Its got a Wi-Fi connection and an 11 inch touch screen and will also hook up to your iPod and mix you a martini. In fact, I think might actually be smarter than me.
The days of coming home, dropping my briefcase on the floor and pouring a glass of wine have gone by the wayside. The New Me comes home, puts dinner in the oven, throws on my running shoes and climbs on the treadmill. Its taken a few weeks but I'm starting to see some results. I'm able to run two miles now, and twice I've actually run three. Okay, maybe I didn't exactly RUN. I am not exactly anyone's idea of a runner. But I'm doing a nice imitation of jogging. I'm moving and I'm breathing and its getting easier. I actually had a hard time zipping up my english riding boots this weekend because my calves seem to be growing a muscle.
Will it last? I'm determined to make it so. I think back to all the things I've started in my life that eventually faded away. In context, however, I've always exercised. Just not always consistently. What I'm more keenly aware of now is that the older I get the less attainable fitness becomes. Its not the weight I care about so much as longevity and quality of life. With my arthritis and structural issues, being fit is the best way to keep myself active and pain free for as long as possible. Its the best way to give myself a shot at being around for my kids for a long time to come.
If ultimately it also helps to show my daughter that there's no such thing as "too old to get fit," so much the better.
Just doin' my job.
You've wasted another perfectly good ten minutes reading my blog. THANKS!