You're doing the best you can and it's better than you think
The minute I started walking my calves started burning. By the time I made it halfway my legs were hard to lift up and by the time I was headed back to the starting point I felt like I was walking so slow, breathing so hard and sweating so much. Out of all of the activities I’ve been doing here the most challenging one for me is the outdoor mile. We do it each week- twice. Once on Thursdays untimed just to get cardio in and as a practice and once on Friday timed to use as a marker, a sign of progress and growth each week from the time we did it last.
Even though Thursday’s walk was untimed I immediately put pressure on myself to go as fast as I could. No one else did. I did. I wanted to see how I improved from the week before and hoped that if I went faster that day then the walk the next day would be even faster. I ended up timing myself on my phone even though it was supposed to be a no pressure, casual walk. Why do we do that to ourselves? Add pressure and stress when there is none?
I walked too fast to start and ended up hurting. A lot. Each step was a reminder of where my body was actually at currently and what I could physically do. Or what I physically couldn't do. Even though Sia was on full blast on my playlist and the positivity was in my earbuds I started to feel down, disappointed and mad at my legs.
I finished. Last. My group cheered me on and even though I finished I was frustrated. Really frustrated. I was breathing so heavy. I caught my breath and I didn’t/ wouldn't let the negative self talk I had in my head come out. I then talked to a staff member Doreen who I adore and told her how frustrated I was at my body for the walk I just took. She immediately looked at me and smiled so kindly and reminded me of how far I’ve come in such a short amount of time. She reminded me that two weeks ago I wouldn’t even be taking a walk on a Thursday and the fact I did is growth and progress.
She and I talked some more and we emphasized that it’s a journey. I decided that I needed to take care of my spirit and body and take off all the pressure from Fridays’ mile. I didn’t want it to be something I dreaded weekly and instead something that I did on my own pace and honored my body and how I was feeling.
So Friday morning I decided- I wasn’t going to care about the time. AT ALL. I was going to walk as slow as I wanted and try to not have my calves burn and just finishing was a success. I was going to listen to my favorite songs and soak up the beauty around me. It’s so beautiful here. I wanted to appreciate it more. Be grateful that I can even walk a mile and not take it for granted.
As I arrived on Friday morning I walked in and proudly announced to my group as they were warming up in the cardio room, “Today, I am not worrying about time. I’m just going to take my time and focus on me as I walk. You don’t have to wait for me as I finish. I’m OK.” Everyone looked at me and may not have gotten it but still got it. They smiled and nodded. I knew they would still wait because they're the best. Next thing I knew we were off.
Slow and steady. Still last. Sia still in my earbuds and this time I sang along. I was smiling. My breathing was calm and so was my heart. I even stopped a couple times and took a moment to pause and enjoy the beautiful morning and birds chirping around me. I finished, slowly and smiling. Breathing normally and not sweating like the day before. Then, do you know what happened? They read me my finish time and I stopped in my tracks and realized- I finished faster than I did last week. I finished faster and I thought I was going slowly. I finished faster and I still enjoyed the walk. The moment I let go of the pressure I put on myself it happened- PROGRESS.