While we were away last week, Husband and I made a commitment to each other that we would go to the gym as often as we could, despite the Christmas hustle. We both made sure to pack all our of gym gear and bring our YMCA membership cards, since they are valid anywhere in the country.
One afternoon, after a particularly slothful evening the night before, we woefully agreed to get suited up for a workout. I hauled out my running shoes, my under armour capri pants, my bright orange workout tank-top, and my
sports bra… wait, where’s my sports bra??? I tore the suitcase apart as I began remembering my last minute load of laundry sitting in the dryer at home – I remembered to grab the kids’ pants and my one pair of jeans… but I forgot the sports bra that I wanted to pack.
I can’t run without a sport’s bra. Even if I wanted to attempt it in a “normal” bra, there is just too much breastfeeding history to even consider that as a viable option. Husband suggested that I just stay home, or lift weights, but I really wanted the cardiovascular workout. I wanted to sweat. I thought that I could just wear my normal bra and do something a little less “high impact,” like the elliptical machine.
Years ago before I started running, the elliptical was my go-to workout machine at the gym. I loved the workout I got and I always felt good at the end. It’s been many years since I’ve last used one, but I figured it would be like “old times.” When I got into the gym, I scoped out a good looking elliptical, turned the power level up to the max, and started my workout. We had agreed on 30 minutes, but it didn’t take me nearly that long to realize that I was not getting the workout I needed from that poor little machine turned up to its maximum intensity. When the 30 minutes was over, I had barely broken a sweat – I was sure that I get a better workout running up and down the hallways of the hospital!
We promptly left the gym and headed to the mall for some last minute Christmas shopping. But before I did any of that, I marched straight to a store where I could buy a sports bra! The next day we went back to the gym and I reunited with my trusty, “new” go-to cardio machine: the treadmill. Thirty minutes of running on that baby got me drenched in sweat and gasping for breath in that feel good, give me more, sense of the word. I had the “support” I needed to do what I wanted to do and what made me feel good.
The elliptical may have worked for me in the past, and it may have been exactly what I needed at that time in my life. However, things change, circumstances change, life changes… and that’s just normal. Sometimes we need to go back to where we’ve been before, or even go somewhere completely new, to know if where we are now is the right place to be. I love running (but not necessarily on a treadmill) and the mistake of forgetting my sports bra gave me the opportunity to make that realization and confirm what I may have lost sight of.
I visited my doctor again this morning and we discussed my thoughts on taking some time off of work. She used the analogy of a treadmill at the gym: We can get so caught up running on the treadmill that we picked out for ourselves a long time ago, and unless we take a moment to jump off that machine and try something else, we’ll never know if we’ve made the right decision for ourselves. Maybe what we chose all that time ago worked for us then, but now it’s just not meeting our needs in the same way. Or maybe it is, and we just need to take a little break or give something else a try, just to confirm that we are, in fact, on the right “treadmill.”
She’s right. I know she’s right. It doesn’t change the fact that I’m scared, though; or that my Type A personality won’t give myself permission to take a step back and re-evaluate my choices and my priorities.
Forgetting to pack my sports bra for my Christmas vacation was a small setback that allowed me to really appreciate where I am and how far I’ve come with my fitness goals. Taking a short break from work might seem like a setback right now, but perhaps it is exactly what I need in order to fully appreciate where my life is and if I’m happy with where it is going.