It's been several years since I've had the motivation, energy or mental wherewithal to attempt to get in shape. If you've ever been through a trauma or a sustained period of grief, you get exactly where I'm coming from. It takes all your energy just to survive.
Now, after three years of trial and grief and struggle, I feel like I may possibly be able to thrive. Maybe even grow!
Unfortunately, the years of stress have taken their toll on my 44-year-old body. I am in serious denial about this. I still think my body should behave like it did twenty years ago. I should be able to go out and walk a few miles without breaking a sweat. If I don my running shoes, I should be able to jog by the end of the week and run a 5K by the end of April.
Ha ha ha ha ha. I'm so stupid.
My body mocks me.
Last week, we had one gorgeous afternoon when the sun was shining and the temperature was, remarkably, above freezing. I knew I had to get out and take advantage of it. I donned my running shoes (which have never experienced actual running, by the way), put on a long-sleeved shirt, and gloves and I was off.
It was quite the glorious walk/jog, I'll have you know. Even with the thaw, there were still gigantic snow piles that I had to leap, slushy puddles for me to navigate, and icy patches to negotiate. I even had to duck under some branches that had been broken by the ice storm we had in December. It was like a delightfully sunny, snowy, slushy obstacle course. And to top it off, I jogged up and down the skywalk at the end of the street.
Not too shabby for an old lady, hey?
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I kept hearing this little voice telling me: Take it easy. Don't overdo it your first day. Don't push yourself too hard.
I brushed it off, thinking it was my cynical, tired old body trying to tell me it would be sore the next day. So what? I could handle soreness. I was going to beat my body into submission.
Plus, it felt too good to stop, so I pushed myself.
In addition to the inevitable soreness and fatigue that followed, I also developed a cough. This is normal for me for a day or so after a workout like that. But when the cough lingered into the weekend, my chest and my back started to hurt. And I could hear funny rattling noises bubbling up from my lungs when I breathed.
I finally went to see my doctor today.
He actually laughed as he listened to my lungs and reported, "Jen, you have pneumonia!"
Now, you have to know a bit about my relationship with my doctor to understand why he laughed. We've been friends for years, since my husband and I met him at MSU. Dr. P and I did random evangelism on MSU's campus. Dr. P and I once went into the woods and built a lean-to from scratch, just for fun. Dr. P knows that I did missionary work in the Philippines where I subsisted on fish heads.
He laughed because he knows I'm a little too hearty to subscribe to the idea that I would catch pneumonia from playing outside.
But indeed, I caught pneumonia from playing outside.
It probably won't kill me, but I will be much more wary of exercise in the future.