Miles Away

I sat at the kitchen table and laid both my palms flat on its surface. Fear pierced my heart.

What in the world was happening to me?

Everything tilted, though I hadn’t moved. Familiar sounds came at me as if through a long, steel tunnel. A dense fog invaded my mind. I couldn’t make sense of words or actions. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move.

Even worse, I was completely alone with our two-year-old strapped in her high chair. It would be hours before the older kids came home from school. And the dogs had no idea how to dial 9-1-1.

After several long moments, the episode passed. I was perfectly back to my kind of normal for a few days. The next episode hit on a Saturday with everyone in the house.

When I could speak again, I burst into tears. Within the hour, the emergency room doc had my head in a whirring, clicking machine, drew half my weight in blood, and connected me to so many wires and tubes I could have passed as steampunk.

While we waited for results, the doc grilled me on every aspect of my life.  I thought I had everything under control, but my body told a different story.

The results dripped in. Thyroid – normal. CT – normal. Blood sugar – normal. Vitamins and minerals and various counts – normal.

The doc sat and tapped her pen against her lips.

“I think you need to run,” she said.

Running shoe pic Inspired Prompt jan 2020

As I recall, I laughed so hard I snorted.

“I don’t have time to run!”

Hadn’t she heard a word I said about all the stuff on each of my To-Do lists?

“You don’t have time to NOT run,” she countered.

All the way home, I made my list of reasons why running was out. Too old. Too busy. Too slow. Too lazy. Too hot. Too cold. Too crowded at the Y.

No matter how much I tried to justify my Reasons Not to Run list, the three words on my Reason to Run list outweighed them all: Too Much Cortisol.

Cortisol, apparently, is a stress hormone. It’s normally released in our bodies to aid in those fight or flight situations we sometimes get ourselves into.

For me, though, I had made each day into a fight or flight situation. My stress levels were through the roof. While I hadn’t had a stroke as I had first supposed, the invisible beating my body was taking would eventually take its toll on my heart.

Running track pic Inspired Prompt Jan 2020

Way back in high school and college, I ran competitively. That was four children and almost as many decades ago. So this time, I started slowly. V-E-R-Y slowly. Eventually, I got faster. Each time I passed a milestone (get it? A MILEstone), I allowed myself a little treat.

When I could run a mile without stopping, I invested in an Iron Man watch to count the laps at the YMCA. Eighteen laps equals one mile at my YMCA track. That’s a lot of numbers for a writer to keep in her head, you know.

When I could run two miles without stopping, I invested in those fancy socks that I had my eye on. Fashionable and supportive.

When I could run three miles without stopping, I registered for a 5k run and paid the extra fee for a t-shirt to prove I had run.

It wasn’t easy, and it STILL isn’t easy, but it can be done. Here are some tips I used to help me stay on track and out of the hospital!

  • Find what works to get you moving and start. For me, I used the FREE part of the app C25K (Couch to 5K). For you, it might be weights, cycling, swimming, walking.
  • Find your first micro goal. Even marathoners have to run one step at a time. Set small goals and work toward them. Reward yourself when you get there.
  • Find the right, healthy priorities off the track. Pare down that schedule. Not everything is urgent.
  • Find something to listen to. When I first started working out, I had a tendency to listen to the liar inside my head telling me it was no use. Then, I wrote down scripture on 3×5 index cards and memorized them while I ran. Good, until my hands got so sweaty I could no longer read the words. Then, I discovered PODCASTS for WRITERS. Bingo!

Click-to-Tweet: Remember that we are all miles away from something. If we never start, we will never get any closer. #runners #workout

WRITING PROMPT: Jillian Willows woke up in a sweat. She’d had the same nightmare for the fourth night in a row. Not exactly what she needs the day she is scheduled to run in the biggest race of her life. Write a short scene of dialogue between Jillian and an undercover angel who is sent to encourage her to run the race with endurance.

8 thoughts on “Miles Away

  1. I love that the doctor didn’t just through a drug at the problem! While I don’t do enough of it, exercise can solve a multitude of physical/stress issues. I do need to find something that works for me without adding one more thing to the schedule that would stress me out keeping up with. Take care of yourself!

    • We should find out how Diann Mills writes while on the treadmill. I heard an interview where she said she did that and I was amazed. I could probably do it while walking, but when I run on the treadmill, I’m more concerned with oxygen than words!

  2. Thank you so very much for your very inspirational story, we do need to take care of ourselves. This past Sept. I enrolled myself in our hospital gym, they have a wellness program, 2 of my sisters kept telling me to go enroll and then my husband also inspired me to go, no reason why I hadn’t gone, just plain stubbornness . I go 5 days a week and workout on different machines for a little over an hour, before I enrolled, one of my knees had started hurting, all the exercise I was getting was walking our dog in the mornings, so actually not much exercise at all, and I had all the time in the world my husband and I are retired, he goes and swims Mon. thru Friday and he has been doing that for years. I don’t swim, so I never went with him. Well, since I have been going to the gym my knee has been feeling much, much better, I guess no mobility was what was making it hurt, I actually was hurting myself by not doing anything. Well, when I enrolled in the gym, which is at our local hospital all I had to pay was 20 dollars for the enrollment fee, I am 65 so Seniors get to exercise for free, and it is open 24/7 for whoever is enrolled. We say there is no time, but we have to make time for ourselves especially if we want to be able to help someone else. I am also drinking more water, I hardly drink water, so I have been doing that. God Bless you my friend and keep taking good care of yourself.

    • Thank you for your encouragement, Alicia! And you are absolutely right, to serve others well, it is important to BE well. Way to go for working out. I pray strength and health AND perseverance from the Lord for your gym times.

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