Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Personal Reflection: Faulty Tapes

Today was an eye-opening experience for me.

Most of my rediscovery has centered on my inner self:  emotional - mental - intellectual - spiritual health.  But I definitely prescribe to the notion that a balanced life must incorporate the physical as well as the mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions.  To that end, I am trying to eat close to the earth - that is, locally grown produce with lots of color (and the summertime farmers' markets make this an easy endeavor) and I am trying to include exercise as a daily activity.

I have never considered myself athletic and until recently I considered exercise a painful word that I chose to ignore.  But I finally came face to face with the truth...  I can walk and that is better than nothing.  So on April 8th I began a walking routine.  It was still cool here in Kansas, so I decided to walk two miles in thirty minutes (a 15 minute mile or approximately 4 miles per hour) -- five days a week - on the treadmill (no weather excuses allowed).  And I did indeed accomplish that goal.  In fact, I exceeded the goal.  I found that I was walking 2.25 miles in that same thirty minute time period.  And the notion of an idea came to me:  could I possibly walk a 5K???

Yesterday was the first nice morning in weeks and I decided to walk outside rather than on the treadmill... just to change things up a bit.  Surprisingly, I liked it.  The breeze was nice and helped to cool me off; the scenery was constantly changing; and the uphills and downhills were a welcome variety to the constant slope of the machine.

Today I pushed myself even further.  If a 5K was a goal, then I would try to walk the 3.1 mile distance for a base reading.   My hope was to complete the distance in 45 minutes (four miles per hour) and then perhaps I would attempt to increase my speed to 40 minutes by the end of the summer.  And to my surprise... I did even better than anticipated.  From the graphic you can see that I walked slightly less than the 5K distance, but I did it in record time (for me).  And that is when I realized that I have been listening to some old faulty tapes for decades.

I may not be an athlete... but I do have the ability to do athletic activities.  I was journaling the other day and one of the questions asked was:  what is your happy music?  And my answer was.. my workout playlist.  And I realized that is a GREAT answer.  I actually look forward to walking because I can listen to my happy music.

And when I recall those old high school days I realize that I may not have been a star athlete, but I enjoyed intramural volleyball and I could bat around the tennis ball with the best of them.  I actually enjoyed playing these sports.. why did I allow my perfectionism get in the way?! (I am concluding that I need to eradicate that word from my vocabulary).

Another faulty tape told me that sweating is a sign of being out of shape.  That breathing hard after a work out is being out of shape.  And because I sweat and breath hard, I always felt like a failure.  But my youngest daughter has taught me a valuable lesson.  She is the most "in shape" member of our family, and yet she sweats and pants after each of her daily runs.  And she would be the first to admit that she is not an athlete, and yet she is the only one who can claim to successfully complete a 5K (and she has plans to do more in the very near future).  She has taught me that these outward symptoms are not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of perseverance - a visible affirmation that we are not willing to settle for the comfort zone, but we are willing to push ourselves to greater limits.

And so... I celebrate today.  I am glad that I have stuck with a walking routine for nearly three months.  I am thrilled that my initial base line is ahead of the goal.  And I am tentatively contemplating a revised goal:  38 minute 5K by September 28th when I have been invited to participate in my first ever 5K "race"  There is pressure putting this out in the open... but there is also accountability.  I do believe this a significant piece to reclaiming myself.


  1. I took up jogging when I was 56. I had never once, in my whole life, thought I would be capable of it. Talk about faulty tapes. It was such a great experience for me. I have since lost my peak fitness, but now that I'm retired, I'm working toward that goal again. I have a four-mile route with a moderate hill and then a very steep one. I am only, at this time, able to walk/jog four miles in 58 minutes. When I was at my peak five years ago, I could do it in 48 minutes. I was also 25 pounds lighter.

    Good luck on your goals. I am sure the perfectionist in you will enable you to achieve them.

  2. Cathy - your comments are so encouraging and I am very impressed with your 4 mile pace!!

    And you are correct... that perfectionism will not allow me to settle for less than meeting my goal :)