Your Day Off: A Challenge

I took a day off work Friday to go play in the woods. Specifically, to run the Smithville Lake MTB trails. Between Kansas City's frequent rains and the driving distance, I don't expect too many shots at a day like this, so the plan was to run the whole trail system. Just wanted to check it out, hang out in the woods all day, and if some quality running happened in there, fantastic.

For some of my nine loyal readers (note the revised count!), 14 miles of trail sounds like an interesting if only mildly taxing diversion. Of course, when I tell you that my total on-trail time for said 14 miles was a pitiable 4 hours, you will dismiss me as a poser outright. You will go back to Scott Dunlap's blog and be much happier there.

For others of you, saying "I covered 14 miles of trail" sounds as impossible as saying "I scaled Mount McKinley blindfolded and wearing these."

This post is for the second group. You know who you are. You all tell me I'm an inspiration. You mean to encourage me (and you do!). You know where I came from, and it makes you happy to see strength emerge from doubt. But if I'm such an inspiration, I want some anecdotal data to back it up.

Right now, I want you to bookmark this post. Go, go bookmark, and come back. Now.

I want to see you take a day off from everything else and dedicate that day to doing something active that you love, for three consecutive hours. Something that engages both your body and your soul. What might it be? Dancing. Roller skating. Walking. Volunteering at the Harvesters' warehouse. Swimming. Double-dutch jumprope. Kundalini yoga. Heck, fancy sex if you can manage those logistics. I don't care. As long as it keeps you moving with your heart rate up a little bit for three hours.

You sigh and frown at me. "Nobody can double-dutch for three hours," you say. "You are not being serious, you are a dangerous nincompoop, and I will not read your blog anymore. Although I'd like you to explain what 'fancy sex' is."

Friends! Do you think I went out having never run a step and just blazed around the trails for three or four hours? Is that what you picture? No! I went out after three years of running and COMPLETELY CRAWLED my way around out there! Do you know how many times I stopped? Fifteen! At least! And that's not counting the vertigo episode! It doesn't matter! I ran... I stopped... I stretched and took pictures... I texted Zip to tell her I hadn't fallen into the lake yet... I hung out and looked around at the woods and daydreamed... I ran again.

The point was, I wanted to spend a day. For me. Having fun. Moving and getting my heart rate up and feeling good all the way through. And you can do this too.

You can move, stop, rest, and then keep going. You can. You will move more than rest. You will move more than you think you can. And you will feel so good, so unbelievably good.

Maybe not today, which is why you bookmarked the post. Because you are going to come back, weeks or months or years from now (and after clearance from your doctor, yeah?), and tell me how you found a way to spend your three hours. You are not going to tell me how slow you were or how many times you stopped. Because THAT WON'T MATTER. You're going to tell me what you saw on your walk or how many boxes you stacked at Harvesters or how many different kids you wore out turning the jumpropes. Or you are going to check in on your way to three hours, and tell me it was one hour, or thirty minutes — and that you did not believe it possible until you saw yourself still moving.

Um, no fancy sex stories, though (go start your own blog). Just post a pic of yourself grinning and we'll all know what that means.


Linda said...

Excellent post (as usual) Ann!!

Thanks for the challenge. I will keep you posted. My latest accomplishment was walking outdoors on a beautiful trail for 27 minutes without stopping! :-) I did not have the cool boxing gloves on that you linked to -- how cool are they, though?!?

Keep up the good work my friend -- writing, running, swimming, biking, and smiling your days away!!! :-)

Ann Pai said...

Linda! Nice work! Your 27 minutes put the biggest smile on my face that's been there all day! And yeah, if we could get a couple pairs of those gloves, StaytheCourse might do boxing night... man. No cameras allowed.