Body knows best

Body knows best

I’ve started working out.

I’ll give you a moment to catch your breath. I can’t believe I would even type these words on to the screen. Do you know what I just did? I just committed myself to the world. It’s a long fall if I fail from here.

I spent the whole summer trying to motivate myself to exercise more and I just couldn’t do it. But something happened as the season started to wrap up. September always brings with it something new.

Since I’ve been out of school, there hasn’t really been anything to “new” for me in the Fall. Between my desire for change and the sparkle of September, I found a way.

This is my third week of working out 6 days a week. That sentence just blew my mind.

For the longest time, I’ve hated anything to do with the fitness industry. Gym membership? No thank you. Running? I’ve got bad knees. Sweat? Gross.

I’ve tried running, zumba, treadmill, kickboxing, and yoga. Although I enjoyed them, I was only willing to push myself to a minimal degree. I was terrified of losing control. Body aching, lungs gasping for breath, throat heaving, head pounding; that’s what working out looked like to me. It was a torture I didn’t want to endure.

Two weeks in, I can honestly say I’ve pushed myself harder than I ever have before, without losing control. If I was going to do this, I was going to do this my way. I was going to work hard, but I wasn’t going to scare myself because some ripped guy in a cardio video thinks he knows how hard my body can go.

I’ve gasped for breath. My throat has parched. My head has pounded. And boy, has my body ached. But all of it came with good energy. I refused to beat my body (and mind) into submission. I’ve done it because it’s logically the best possible thing I could do.

You know, once you get into this stuff, you start to think like they do. I find myself whispering motivational phrases to myself all day. You can do this. Focus. You will improve. Hang in there.

That ripped guy in the video can see straight into my soul. I push myself, but I go at my own pace. And I try a little harder each day.

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Glory and failure

Glory and failure

I make it a priority not to run for buses. Or trains in this case.

Maybe it’s because I have a crippling fear of failure. Running leaves me exposed.  If I run and don’t make it on time, it would’ve all been for nothing.

All that hope and energy wasted.

Maybe it’s because running reveals what horrible shape I am in. Is there a worse image than a person keeled over, huffing and puffing as the bus glides away? The look of despair in their eyes. Disappointment in their gasping breath.
They tried and failed.

But today, I ran and won. I wont even bother to be ambiguous about what propelled me.

Soccer. If I caught this train, I could make it home in time to watch most of the game.

Maybe that’s the difference between an athlete running for the net and a person trying to catch a bus. An athlete upon seeing the goal line is fueled with every inch to persevere. The train-chaser too I suppose. What awaits the athlete on the other side of the pitch? Glory …and failure. But they never hesitate to run.

Drenched and gasping for breath, I never thought I could find glory on the inside of a train. But catching this train felt like a victory to me.

And I should also probably work out more.

I’m afraid of dogs

I’m afraid of dogs

I just got chased by a dog.

A small, aggressive fiend who was hungry for my flesh. It’s true. What started as a familiar walk to the mailbox, ended in the most terrifying 30 seconds of my life.

I’ll admit, it was a small dog. But it still ran after me: barking like a maniac and nipping at my ankles and everything. I kept walking and tried not to look back. I figured running was probably the worst thing I could do. So I just walked at a normal pace, resisting the urge to run. It had to go away right? It had to know I was not a threat.

But it didn’t leave. And I felt like an idiot for keeping this leisurely pace when every bone in my body was telling me to run.I cringed inside and started to panic. I stood up on my tippy toes and screamed — a nervous yelp. What was I doing wrong? I turned back to face the little devil in the eye. If fear was my perfume, I was drowning in it.

So yeah, if you’re animal lover, this is about the time when you conclude that I am a horrible person. But let me try to explain. I never really had pets growing up so I’ve been known to get a little tense when a dog is in the room. I don’t hate dogs. I just don’t get them. And that makes me anxious. So please take this post as a the questionings of a animal-ignorant, slightly overdramatic human, curious for some answers.

For most of my life, I’ve denied that I truly have a fear of dogs. But dog-owners can smell fear just as quickly as their furry friends can. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve heard the following well-intentioned suggestions:

“Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite.”

“She’s a friendly dog.”

“You know they can smell fear right?”

“Just push him away and he won’t bother you.”

I have never found comfort in any of these words. The main reason being that I have little to no understanding of the relationship between a dog and its owner. I mean, obviously your dog loves you, but why would he trust me? Isn’t he supposed to protect you? If I pet him the wrong way, could he go into attack mode? What if he jumps on me? What do I do?!

All of this sounds like nonsense to an animal-lover. I find pets, and the relationships they have with their owners so fascinating. How can you trust each other so easily? Part of me wishes I could understand or experience it on my own. But I’m stuck with a black blot on my heart, in the shape of what I assume is a puppy.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking about dogs a lot. I would like to have one some day. I’ve been making some good progress. But today, I feel like all of it has gone down the drain.

Oh, and about that dog that chased me? An older European lady came to my rescue. “He no bite,” she assured me, shaking her head. I did as I usually do in awkward situations, smile — and laugh. And I turned right around, my heart pounding in my chest and skipped up the steps to my house.

The first thing I did was google what to do when a dog chases after you.