My health was actually pretty good, considering the 50 pounds I had gained, and lost and gained again. My cholesterol was a little higher than wanted it to be, but not too bad, all things considered. But (there is always a "but", isn't there?) I was afraid of dying before my husband. It's good to have someone love you as much as he loves me, but there is no way he could get along without me. That scared me, suddenly.
So I got up off my ridiculously wide behind and joined a gym. A couple of months later I put some personal trainer hours on the MasterCard and hired a 28 year old former marine named Dave to torture me twice a week. Having been on every diet known, I thought I was pretty savvy about nutrition, but I learned a bit from Dave, in between torture sessions. I stopped weighing myself, concentrated on building strength, and the weight started coming off.
Then I went on a search for an undergarment that would hold "the girls" in place so I could run without hurting myself. Thanks to the Internet, the Queen of daytime T.V. recommended one that looked like it might actually work. Seemed like it might in the fitting room... I could breathe, but just barely. Now, for a test drive... Success! I was ready to rock... Thirty seconds later, I was exhausted!
Keep going, Dave said. I did. Soon I could trot for a whole minute. Geez. I also did not like all the mirrors around the treadmills at the gym. How am I supposed to envision a lean, young body, when everywhere I turn, I see the old fat girl? Thankfully, it was March, and the snow was melting. If I go out early enough, no one will see me. Walk, run. Walk, run...one more mail box.
I decided to channel my father. I had inherited his copy of "Aerobics", first published in 1966. It was encouraging to see his notes... He had struggled, at the beginning, as I was... I knew it, because he had written notes in the margin. Also, I had to report back to Dave. The Marine. He had tattoos. He laughed at me when I whined. He made me laugh at myself when I whined.
By the end of that summer I was running a half mile. Back to the dreaded treadmill over the winter... Geez, would I ever get past the 1/2 mile marker? My father was running three to four miles daily well into his eighties, I had just turned 58 and I felt stuck.
Winter passed, I moved back outdoors. Gradually I felt stronger... It happened, it seemed, all of a sudden. The half-mile became a mile, the mile became two, and I found a 3 mile route that didn't have too many hills and... Ta da! At age 59 I am running (okay, trotting, really) between 2 and 3 miles four or five days a week, depending on my work schedule.
I gained 15 lbs over last winter, probably because my MasterCard could no longer afford Dave, and he moved to another gym, and I hate the treadmill. Winter walks twice a week just didn't cut it. My friend in Montana says "get some snow-shoes!" (The manly spouse scoffs.). Nebraska is not quite as snowy as Montana, but I did see some spiky things you can strap to your sneakers for running on icy surfaces. It gets pretty darn cold here, but if you're moving, and your nose is covered, it's not so bad. I'm pretty excited about this coming winter.
I imagine if my father was still here, he would be cheering me on.
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