I'm married to someone who craves exercise. He always comes back from a run or workout saying, "Wow! I just planned my day while working out!" Or, "I have the BEST ideas while running!." He attributes all his awesome brainpower to the blood-pounding, oxygen-inducing side effects of a workout. But, then there's me. I've had some of my best ideas sitting down, on a couch, in front of a fire, under a blanket, cuddling a kid, or a cat. It's just my nature. I don't really recall getting that "natural high," that fired-up feeling that people talk about as a result of working out or running.
BUT wait, here's a newsflash. Life can change you. Now, as I struggle to heal an ankle injury (yes, still, that's why there have been so few posts), I have found that at the age of 58, I am one of those endorphin-seeking persons! What me? One of those people who need exercise for their mental health? Yep, this experience has taught me that if I don't exercise, I get a little grumpy, kind of miserable and hard to live with. So, in a way, I am thankful. Now I understand why runners run, cyclists bike, rowers row, marathoners marathon. They don't just want to, they NEED to.
If you are an athlete who is laid up because of injury and struggling with it, here's a great article about ways to get over the frustrated, down feeling that can creep in whilst you wait to recover. It helped me a lot, so I thought I'd share. https://runnersconnect.net/depressed-after-race/
I've also discovered I've been taking a whole lot for granted. Every once and a while something comes at you that rocks your world and makes you realize, things are actually pretty darn good.
During my masters athlete journey, I've felt a bit apologetic about my successes. I just went out and did it. But now, in and out of an "Aircast" boot for almost six weeks, I've been taught the finer points of thankfulness. (What wonderful timing with Thanksgiving just around the corner!)
I would love to be able to high jump or hurdle at this moment, but I can't. As a matter of fact, just being able to walk without pain would be a gift. So now, for me, the ability to WALK is a gift. The strength to MOVE a muscle, is a gift. Being able to HUG a kid, is a gift. The experience of having an ankle that doesn't work has made me thankful for the parts of me that DO work. Whatever exercise I CAN do, my garage workout, my hand weights, my pool running...is a gift.
It often hits me, that I will heal, but there are those who will not. If YOU, dear reader, can move. Do it. If you can walk, run, or jump, do so. Be thankful you can. It's a gift!
Julia Curran-Villarreal is a three-time USA W55 national masters high jump champion. After a 35-year break from her favorite high school sport of track & field, Julia returned to competition in 2013 at the age of 53. Follow her journey on @juliajumping on Instagram and @juliacurran on Twitter.