ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER // HELLO FEBRUARY
It’s hard to put into word exactly what it feels like to take six consecutive days off from working out.
Basically, it’s a roller coaster of emotions filled with way more ups than downs. Some days, time seems to stand still. At other times, the days flies by and you almost forget about the fact that you haven’t broken a sweat or felt good physically/mentally in what seems like forever. For me, the biggest hurdle/obstacle that I encountered was stress. Stress over not feeling well physically. Stress over all the gym time I was missing. Insurmountable stress about how on earth I was going to get back into a workout routine and make up for all the lost progress. And, then there’s the stress and anxiety from everyday life that you’re used to burning off with exercise that builds up little by little, one day at a time.
In essence, I woke up every morning at 4:15 a.m. hoping it would be the morning I finally didn’t have any nausea and could get back to my “normal” routine. And, with each that passed, I got just a little more upset. A little more anxious about what things and life were going to look like post sickness. I have never, ever taken off this much time from working out since I first got into working out in the winter/spring of 2011. So, I didn’t know what to expect at all. I sort of just assumed I would end up crying myself to sleep every night and eventually forgetting what the words “working out” and “gym” even meant.
All things considered, my first day back went pretty well.
Waking up, brushing my teeth, and stretching wasn’t even an issue. It didn’t feel weird or out of what had become my new “normal” routine of getting up, feeling sick, and going back to bed for several hours. I felt like I was like 80% better physically…and 100% ready to get back in the gym and sweat all the built up stress and anxiety out. ALL. OF. IT. From the very moment I stepped foot back in the gym, things felt different. It was like I was seeing the gym from a fresh perspective; like it was the very first time I had ever set foot in a gym in my life. As I gazed around the empty gym, everything looked so different from how I had remembered it looking last Saturday.
That’s when the nerves began to kick in. How on earth am I going to make it through this first workout without passing out or giving up? How does one g from 0 to 60 after being sick for so long? And, how is the treadmill somehow more intimidating now than it has ever been?! As I trudged towards the dreaded treadmill, I did my best to mentally adjust my expectations for this workout. Run as far and as fast as you physically can. Lift whatever weight feels doable. And, most importantly, do not under any circumstances let your ego push you to overdo things.
2 miles has never felt longer, Or harder. Or better all at the same time. On the one hand, all I wanted to do was run outside again. Feel the wind blowing through my hair, hear the pounding of my feet against the cold pavement. On the other hand, I really could not afford to fall and break or sprain any bone. So, I just kept telling myself that once I hit 2 miles everything would be FINE. And, believe it or not, everything was fine. I may have had to stay at 6 miles per hour for the entire run and wanted to quit after just 1 mile…but I got it done.
At the end of the workout, I found myself already looking forward to tomorrow’s workout.
Weird, considering this workout was nothing spectacular and I will for sure be super sore tomorrow. However, there’s just something about knowing that I have the chance, the privilege to show up tomorrow and do better. To run farther, to run faster, and to lift heavier weights. All things I severely missed over the past week and would have given anything to be able to do…no matter how terrible the workouts would have been.
In fact, I found myself thinking about how great it would be to just shoot right back up to working out 6 days a week and only having 1 rest day. It’s something I haven’t done since early November/late October, but it’s all I can think about lately. I guess it’s true what they say (and yes I know it’s incredibly cliche and cheesy): absence really does make the heart grown fonder.