On Day 1 Linda and her daughter Bri came over so I could help her make her Tahitian costume. We began to talk about my experience walking that morning. Linda said, “Oh, you better be prepared for everything to hurt tomorrow morning.” I said, “What? No, all I did was walk. I didn’t work out or run.” She responded, “Yeah, but you will see how everything will hurt you because it was a workout!”
Beast Mode Day 2: I woke up hating Linda. I could not believe incredible the amount of soreness that overcame my body that morning! I did not want to get out of bed. Who would notice that I didn’t? Is anyone even keeping track of me? I didn’t think anyone would notice and I knew no one was keeping track of me, so I hit the snooze button and let my body go back to rest mode.Then it happened. You know that dream where you are falling and you wake up right before you hit the ground? Well, I wasn’t exactly falling; I was in bed because my legs wouldn’t work anymore and even though I wanted to get up, I couldn’t. I woke up with this immense fear that if I didn’t get up to walk right in that instant, my dream would come true and I would no longer have the ability to walk. I got dressed quickly into my walking clothes (please don’t ask what this consists of!), and began to walk out the door front door. One. Step. At. A. Time.
Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer was the first song that came on. It was the second minute of my walk and the song seemed very appropriate since I knew I would be praying for the next 58 minutes. I changed my route from the day before. It was the opposite side of the neighborhood but it was an uneventful walk. For the sake of space and brevity, I will skip to today…BEAST Mode Day 3; just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did. I woke up even worse than Day 2. How could this be possible? It was 7:00 a.m. and the only thing I could imagine was hitting the snooze button on my phone. Then I began to come up with a bunch of excuses as to why I didn’t have to get up and go on a walk:
· It’s Father’s Day
· My body ached like I was in a car accident
· I was super tired from hosting a bbq the previous day
Then the best excuse of all suddenly hit me…there was no way I was going to be able to continue this schedule when I go back to work tomorrow. I have to be at work by eight and I have to drop off Azcal to school by seven thirty, so my mind rationalized beginning a new schedule of evening walks. And so it was settled (in my mind) that I would do my walk during the evening. After all, today is about Juanito and Father’s Day, right?Truth be told, I felt very guilty. I had this voice in my head that kept telling me to just go walk and keep up with the commitment. “DEAL. DEAL. DEAL,” is what the voice kept telling me. Then, at 12:30 when we were sitting in the living room catching up on E! gossip, it hit me like a ton of bricks…BEAST Mode Day 3 has to happen NOW!
Turning to Juanito I said, “I’m sorry, but I have to go for a walk. If I don’t go right now, I am afraid that I am going to make an excuse to not go tonight.” There, I said it. He encouraged me to go and after getting dressed and picking my Pandora station, I found myself walking out the door at 1:00 in the afternoon. In the dead of the heat. On Father’s Day. In my Pumas…again.
Have you ever taken a walk around your neighborhood and noticed how many hazards there are in your path? Raised sidewalks were aplenty on today’s walk, and I only noticed each one after I almost tripped over each of them. I guess it was partly my fault. I wasn’t really paying attention to where I was going, because I was too busy singing songs by Journey, Stevie Nicks, Bon Jovi, Guns N Roses, and other sounds of the ‘80s. My neighbors must have thought I was crazy. I was singing off key because I know of no other way to sing. I only remembered half of the lyrics so I would make up my own. And the huffing and puffing in between lyrics—that was the best!
Forget about the singing (or my interpretation of singing) because it only lasted for the first half hour. At the 32 minute mark, I looked over at something that caught my attention in the street. As I walked closer to it, I began to laugh uncontrollably. It was a doll in the middle of the street lying face down. What a perfect metaphor for the way I was feeling in that moment! The doll looked like it was defeated, like it was just so tired that it went to rest in the street. Right at that moment I felt the same way. I wanted to just plop down right there and let my body rest. Nope, I had to keep keepin’ on! And that is exactly what I did.
Today’s route was different in that I chose to venture outside of the neighborhood. I walked to the end of the street and out onto Springdale Street. This was so scary! The brick wall seemed like it was never going to end, like I would never be allowed to get back into my neighborhood and I was going to die of heat exhaustion out there for all the motorists to see. Have I mentioned yet how much I was sweating? Just when I thought I couldn’t focus on anything else other than the sweat beads rolling into my eyes, I saw the break in the wall and began to walk back into the neighborhood. Yes!I was back in my comfort zone and well on my way to the neighborhood park!
One of the goals of today’s walk was to walk through the neighborhood park, get on the swing, and keep on going. The playground became visible as I turned the corner. I became as excited as I would have been to see the ice cream truck in my path, and that’s pretty darn excited. However, as I got closer to the playground, I noticed that the playground didn’t have any swings. Huh? Que? How does a City Planner put a park in a neighborhood without putting in swings? But wait, this is the same park I take my kids to all the time. I begin to wonder why I never noticed that the park didn’t have swings. The whole time I was thinking about it, I didn’t notice that I began to walk in the opposite direction from home. That is, until I almost stepped in the dog poop that someone left on the sidewalk…another hazard. Ugh!
It was easier to recover from almost stepping on poop than it was to see that there weren’t any swings in my neighborhood park. But I took it like a champ and kept on walking. My motivation was that I would soon be home and into a cold shower. But it was then that I hit a brick wall…not a real brick wall, but a metaphorical brick wall. My legs were tired, I was sweating uncontrollably, and I had to keep reminding myself to relax my shoulders. Did I mention that my legs were tired? My left leg was saying, “I was only designed to get you to the couch,” while my right leg was shouting, “I was only designed to carry you to your car!” This is serious now, it was me against my legs and I was not about to let them win. I figured that there would be many more days like this and it is much, much too early to throw in the towel.And again, I knew I had to keep on keepin’ on. That is exactly what I did. I walked and walked and walked and walked, until I saw the familiar street sign that indicated I was home. I could have cheated and made an immediate turn—this would have let me get home much quicker than the route I actually chose. I ended up crossing the street to walk my entire cul-de-sac before going home. It was then that I ran into a neighbor who had never once turned around to greet me or even acknowledge me when I walk by her house. But today was different. There was something in the air today and it was in my favor. As I was walking by her I made eye contact and said “Hi there” to her. She said, “You’re pretty brave walking outside in this heat.” She spoke to me! I stopped and said, “I know it is really hot, but today is my Day 3 and I am afraid that if I didn’t get out and walk right now, I would not get out at all today. Then my journey would end with Day 2.” Without skipping a beat, she said, “Then it was the right thing for you to do. I am so proud of you for doing this. And please don’t think that if you sweat it means that you are overdoing it. It is simply a reaction that your body gives off in reaction to the exertion that you are putting out.”
This was a sign. I thanked her for her advice and practically ran the rest of the way home. I was content. I almost gave up before I even began my walk. I almost gave up when I didn’t see the swings in the park. I almost gave up when my legs didn’t want to give me any more. It’s a good thing that almost only counts in horse shoes, hand grenades, and teenage sex, otherwise, I would have to admit that BEAST Mode was all a façade.
We got this, ladies and gentlemen. One day at a time…one foot in front of the other. Life is good.