Highs and lows

What a week of emotional and physical highs and lows it has been! A week ago, I was standing on a paddleboard in a lake, and by the weekend an old hip problem had me hobbling around barely able to walk.

Let’s start with the paddleboard.

I was playing hooky with my daughters and grandsons for the last day of summer vacation, and we headed off to our favorite spot for a swim—Santa Rosa. This was after about a week of really being on task with my home workouts, so I was feeling good, and ready for my favorite way to exercise, which has always been swimming.

When we got there, a friendly woman with a paddleboard let me try it out, and I discovered to my own great surprise that I could do it. I figured I’d just fall off a couple times, the kids would have a chuckle, and that would be it. But I paddled across Perch Lake, and even fell off in the middle but got back on and got back standing. Amazing! The woman said you have to have good balance and a strong core, which are two things I really thought I didn’t have. It was a lovely surprise, which maybe should not have surprised me—I’ve been working out pretty regularly for more than two years.

Follow the paddleboard with jumping in and climbing out until my whole body was tired. We enjoyed a picnic lunch before heading home. You know we all slept great that night.

A few days later, I met a guy whose daughter just had a double lung transplant. In telling me her story, he related how she had gone for her first walk, which made her legs sore. She was thrilled by that, since before the operation she had only 18 percent lung function. Now she’s busy planning more walking and even running.

I’ve often thought how grateful I would be to walk or run if I were in a wheelchair and couldn’t do it. This young woman’s story really touched me, and reminded me how precious and sweet this life is. I love her attitude so much.

I want to be excited about running (and any kind of exercise), just like this young woman is. Stories like hers are a great reminder of that, and it made me very happy to hear it.

Fast forward another day or two. I picked up my son from the airport after his summer in Alaska; he’s here for just a few days before heading back to college. While he is here, we had a birthday party for my daughter Sunday.

We had tons of great homemade food. We also had tons of great dessert, also homemade, and I actually indulged in four different desserts in a single day. Yeah. It was great and I’m very happy the cake is gone now.

Somewhere in the party preparations, an old hip problem flared up, leaving me limping and in pain. Worse than that, it had me worrying and wondering how that would affect my workouts.

Running is out of the question if you can’t walk without pain. I haven’t tried any of my home workouts yet as I’ve let my hip recover. Today as I write, it feels almost back to normal, but now I’m second-guessing myself. Kickboxing? That’s in a few days. I’ll wait and see how it feels, but I’m planning to go for it.

Home workouts? That’s a lot of back and forth motion, and up and down like squats. Again, I’m unsure how that will feel.

Fundamentally, though, I know that moving my body is better than sitting and just letting the hurt parts ache. I feel a deep intuition that the way to heal is to continue to get regular exercise. I’m not advocating ignoring pain and just pushing through it. But I know my body and I know my regular sources of pain, and my gut tells me I’m right.

As to many desserts at a birthday party, this life is sweet and beautiful, and I am here to celebrate it. As long as cake is not on my daily plate, I’m not going to sweat it. I’ll save my sweat for working out.

Emotional highs and lows, and physical highs and lows, are a fact of life. Where in the past, I would have probably let these things derail my efforts, I’m learning to roll with the changes, see what I can do today, and keep pushing forward—in celebration of this amazing life and astonishing body that can do so many things. I can’t wait to see what the week brings.

How do you navigate highs and lows in working out? Contact me at leota@lobo.net or 505-286-1212, or find my Facebook group, “I’m Losing It!” I’d love hear from you.