Treadmills, Lunchtime Workouts, and the Courage Needed for Good Self-Care

I went to the gym at lunch today. I've only just last week joined the gym-- I finally owned up to the fact that I cannot breathe well when I run outside in the winter, and I'm not wild about running in the dark. So I squished 30 minutes of hills on the treadmill into the middle of my workday, and in doing so realized how much I've missed my independance.

I don't, for the record, believe independance must be a natural casualty of marriage. Usually, Mr. M and I work out together. In a lot of ways that's very helpful (I'm not long on discipline). On the down side, I have a hard time not being frustrated because he's faster than I am, and not being distracted by his truly bizarre gait.

When I was single, I'd go for long quiet runs, and my footfalls would muffle the chaos and the noise in my life for an hour or so. I don't have the coordination to breathe hard and worry at the same time, and breathing seems like a priority to me, so running was pretty centering. I used to run on a beautiful trail near my apartment, miles of converted rail tracks. Trees, streams, waterfalls, cornfields, this was a gorgeous path. Until I started seeing police composite drawings posted at the entrance. (Reminder: I live in a small town with a very low crime rate. This can happen anywhere. Be safe.) And I stopped running alone.

In lots of little ways like that, I've lost the confidence I had when I was younger that I can take care of myself. Some of it was foolishness I'm sure, but some of it was just a peaceful trust that I was OK. I really miss that. Even though it was just 30 minutes on the treadmill, I felt like I got a little piece of it back today.


  1. It is sad, isn't it. The loss of safety, of innocence, of independence. Glad you found a gym. I love mine and the time on the treadmill. Just breathing is rather centering. That's all I can do after awhile.

  2. Good for you for doing what you need for yourself!


"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins