For Fitness, Health and Wellness, I Ran. I Ran So Far Away

Flock of Seagulls, Andrew? Really?

Yes. While I never liked them (I’m more of a “70s New Wave of British Heavy Metal” than an “80s New Wave” kind of guy), the lyric is spot on.

Man running on a dirt road
I ran. I ran so far away…

Last week for Wellness Thursday I got to rambling on about pushing through the tough stuff, to just show up and do what needs doing. To go on doing that long enough to develop the habits that will let you live your best life.

Funny thing about doing that. If you follow my advice long enough to develop those habits you’ll find something else, that doing so develops baselines. Baselines for:

  • Weight
  • Fitness
  • Immune system health
  • Stress
  • And a bunch of other stuff

Those baselines you lay down persist. You can gain, or lose, a few pounds to/from your baseline weight, but your baseline persists. In June I lost a bunch of weigh through depression and stress, but now that my mental state is back to what passes for normal, most of that lost weight is back.

My neighbour grew up riding horses. Spend a few years mucking out the stables and you develop a very strong immune system. I’ve known her for seven years, seven years in which she hasn’t been riding horses, but I’ve never seen her sick. Her baseline immune system is strong and has stayed that way.

I laid down a baseline of fitness 30 years ago. When I was 40 lbs lighter I could run 5 miles in 28 minutes, without formal training. Now, the years, bad knees and extra weight have added a little (okay, a lot of) time to my pace, but my fitness level remains excellent.

Every summer I take a couple months off yoga. Summer is simply too busy with the kids off school for me to be able to keep my three to four times a week commitment, so I don’t even try. What I do instead is find time to kayak, and go running with my wife.

Well, the Bat Soup Flu has me working from home, while she goes to the office, and the kids are getting bigger and want to play in the park for longer and longer. Unfortunately, they’re still young enough to require supervision, so there isn’t much time for us to run together.

That sucks, because I love going jogging with me bride. The silver lining to that cloud is that I can take the kids to pop up day camp in the park, and go for a run on my own.

I started doing this a couple of weeks ago and  completely predictable thing happened:

  • Week one I was sucking hind teat
  • Week two I began to get my wind back
  • By week three my knees and back adjusted to the stress of running
  • Here we are in week four and the greatest thing happened today, my stride came back.

I’m not moving anything like I did 30 years ago (who among us is?) but I’ve pushed through the tough bits and from Tuesday to today I shaved almost 30 seconds off my average kilometre. For those of you counting in real distances, that’s 50 seconds off my average mile…IN TWO DAYS

Okay, technically, it was in three weeks and two days.

Okay, really it was because of 30 plus years of keeping in shape, with a three-week boot camp to get my wind and stride back.

But that’s the thing. A habit, developed over a lifetime, laid down a baseline that even a seven-year hiatus couldn’t erase. And along with getting my stride back?

  • I’m sleeping better
  • Rather than get stressed out, I use stress as a motivator to keep sharp and get stuff done

I know that more of my life is behind me than in front, but I’ve created the habits that forged the baselines that mean that, for the time I have left, I will be healthy, fit and happy.

Maybe y’alls should give it a try.