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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Getting in Shape Goals

What does “being in shape” mean to you?  For many of us, it means looking good, or not being out of breath.  My goal is to improve overall, to diminish the potential for disease or health issues which drop dramatically overall after exercise, along with looking good, feeling great, elevating my energy and improving my mood. It’s just convincing myself to DO IT.

After all, I can walk to and from my car, run up a flight of stairs, and basically stand for hours on end if need be.   I jump around to aerobics DVDs whenever I have the chance and dogs or children don’t accost me in my own space.

But I wanted something a little more structured.  No wiggle room for parts of me that had become… wiggly!  There were plenty of excuses, naturally (do you have any good ones?)—it was becoming quite cold, random crime in one of our locales was on the rise with joggers and walkers being mugged, the sun was rising later in the morning….

My oldest son and I had been doing well until December when the tennis courts decided to open at 9:00 am for the winter.  Great.  For us, half the day is gone at that point.  In our second home’s location, my son had classes or volunteer jobs beginning early in the morning and that seemed to preclude doing much there.  Later in the day, or at night, we had other obligations.  Still, there had to be a way….

I called the local track and asked how early they were open, and if it was a lighted track.

“Usually, there’s some light in the sky by 6:00 am when it opens…” they offered.

As someone who generally rises very early, I knew that, at least in my environs, everything was pitch black this time of year at 6:00 in the morning.  The sun began its pre-dawn glimmers around 6:50 or so, then sunrise by 7:15.

“Should we try it?” I asked Petya, not wanting to arrive to a dark track.

“Let’s go for it,” he encouraged me.

We hit the track at 6:30 am and were dumbfounded.  Floodlights glared, a bootcamp group went through their paces, housewives powerwalked, and a few sprinters flew past.  The two of us looked like war refugees in our multiple layers as we entered the track, not knowing we would be on such display.

“Which way?” I asked my son, seeing people going this way and that.   For the most part, they looked like they were wearing apres-ski spandex wear.

“Follow the arrows,” he replied, pointing downward.

“Thanks, I knew that,” I responded, wondering why others didn’t.

My eyes started to tear due to the extreme cold, which then made me look like I was crying in pain.  I needed to wipe my face, blow my nose, but had no kleenex in the environs.  Lovely.  Note to self:  bring sunglasses tomorrow.  Maybe I could pretend to be a blind runner and really impress everybody.  And if they pretended that THEY were blind, then I could wear spandex, too.

My son and I walked, we ran, we took it easy on our first day back in the saddle, as they say.  He humored me.  I love him.  My legs will thank him tonight or tomorrow when rigormortis begins to set in.

Early this morning, I really didn’t feel like heading out to the icy tundra.  My throat felt a little raw, I gargled with salt water and wondered if I would die by exercising and further exposing myself to the elements.  I could barely see through the iced-up windshield of the SUV.  How would my son return home if something terrible happened to me, like my legs locking up due to lack of pre-dawn coffee? This was leading me to believe that early-morning exercise could be a dangerous proposition.

Within a few minutes, my core warmed up, my throat actually felt better, we headed back home for more French language drills before he had breakfast with the others. (While running, we spoke Russian, lest the sprinters were eavesdropping.)  Then it was out to the courts, feeling fully warmed up and limber.

I could get into this.  In the first few hours so far, I actually feel better.  Do you have any exercise goals for the new year?  (Getting out of bed counts, too, you know….)



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