Little Goals, Big Rewards

I have mentioned before that Justin & I have been going to the gym for the past few months, I think we started sometime in September or October.

When we first started going, I remember not really liking it very much. I mean, it was okay, but I could think of like a million other things I’d rather be doing than going to the gym. Really.

But the truth is even though I would rather have done something else, I probably wouldn’t have done any of those things. Likely, I would have donned my favorite pastime of staring directly at the ceiling from my bed. Or watching the light tumble over the neighbors’ houses, casting long familiar shapes across my bedroom window. Or drawing circles in the air with only my eyes.

So it came to be that I recognized that I would not be doing any of these other things, even though I would like to have believed that I would.

We continued going to the gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday that proved possible. There were a couple days here and there that we have missed because life is life and things happen and get in the way and such, and it’s all good so long as we keep the habit of going.

I remember the first time so well. I started using the treadmill for 20minutes at 2.0mph and no incline. I was wiped out, but I also remember being ecstatic that I burned 200 calories. Soon, 2mph got traded in for 3. Then 3 got bumped to 3.3 (which happens to keep a nice beat with almost everything I listen to) and eventually worked its way into 3.5 and snaked into 4 for a minute or two at a time. I still didn’t want to go faster, so I started bumping up the incline to get my heart rate up but not have to go so fast. I realized I was burning as many calories as Justin was without running, but I had to walk uphill. Before I knew it I was walking 3.5mph up very steep hills for a half hour with a 20minute warm up and a 10 minute cool down. Now I burn somewhere between 800 and 850 calories on the treadmill alone.

You know what that means? If I wanted to, I could eat 850 calories and still be at zero for the day. And in my world 850 calories is a lot of food.

For the last three weeks I’ve been working on the treadmill at its highest incline for over half of my time on it. On both Monday and Wednesday I ran for 2 minutes straight at an incline of somewhere around 6. I was pretty happy about that, but today I met a new goal: I ran for over 5 minutes without stopping.

I was so excited that I zapped Justin with my electric fingers at the 4 minute mark and told him I was just about to have been running for 5 minutes. I haven’t moved like that that since my brief visit to high school somewhere in the abyss of the 1980s. I honestly couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t out of breath; I wasn’t in any pain and I actually kind of liked it.

Now, I know that 5 minutes of running isn’t a big deal for many people. But I’m not like many people. Just six months ago I smoked cigarettes, ate almost exclusively junk food and spent many of my days looking at the ceiling.

And I’m super jazzed about it anyway. It looks like we might be in for a great summer. We’re cooking up plans for a possible cross country trip to the lovely Pacific Northwest, BC, Portland & California. We want to hike a lot of it, too, so it’s all very promising.

Leave a Reply