Monday, July 30, 2012

The Miserable Mile (a fairytale)

Once upon a time there was a girl who desperately wanted to fall in love with the gym.  At times it seemed a hopeless cause and at other times it was fantastic.  However, in her mind there were always more important things to do like work and school and housekeeping.  And, there were certainly more interesting and less tiring things to do like watch television, read a book, take a nap, or go out with her friends.

Then one day she decided that maybe she should stop trying to love the gym and start trying to love gym-like things so she started walking, running, cycling, dancing, and swimming.  This was a much better fit for the girl's interests, but still she struggled to fit them into her busy life.

This was very confusing for the girl's husband because she was not the type of girl to put things off that were important to her and she always took on more challenges and tasks than necessary.  He felt if she really wanted to enjoy physical activities she would make it a priority so he supported her by declaring an entire summer to be devoted to her desire to exercise.  It wasn't that simple though because it was very hard for the girl to focus on only herself so she thought and thought about exercising, but she did very little about it.

Then the girl got a new job where she looked after twin girls in the morning to help their father get them ready for daycare.  You see, the man had Diabetes and ulcers and he had a very hard time moving around especially to chase after two young princesses.  The girl was surprised to find that it was not so easy to get two little ones ready in the morning now that she no longer had her 16-year old body and stamina.  She saw a glimpse into the future of her trying to get her own children ready for school and herself ready for work and she did not like how it felt.  So she thought about her summer goals and her future and what she could do about it.

Then she watched a documentary about super morbidly obese children (children who are 150lbs or more overweight).  She became inspired by their transformations at a weight loss camp and jealous of their results.  She saw their happiness and she wanted it for herself.  So she looked at one of the ways they measured their success at the camp - a timed mile long run.  This seemed the perfect fit for the girl's non-gym going days and past goal of running a 2km race.

She was shocked to learn the run times of the children in the documentary.  Most ran or walked it in 25 to 30 minutes, but the one child that reminded her of the man with twin daughters walked her mile in 1 hour and 22 minutes.  The girl could not imagine reaching the point where physically she would be unable to complete a one mile walk in a reasonable amount of time.  She thought about her previous run times and decided she needed to run a long, tiring, painful mile herself.  She fully expected it to be a miserable experience.

The idea of running a mile seemed daunting.  So much so that the girl drove the course first to truly get an idea of how long a mile would be because in her mind it was going to be a never-ending road.  She was surprised to find out how quickly the turning point came up.  This was do-able.

The girl laced her fancy new sneakers, plugged in her ipod (Ain't No Other Man, Be Somebody, Black Horse and a Cherry Tree, Dirty, Disturbia, and Mr. Brightside), set her stopwatch and set off running, or rather jogging, but she did it with enthusiasm.  She jogged, she walked, she jogged, she walked, and she waved at passing cars.  She jogged, she walked, she huffed and puffed, she walked some more, she jogged, she gasped, she walked, she got a stitch in her side, and she walked some more.  She continued this way for the entire mile.  Mostly walking with short bursts of jogging, a pain in her side, and a cramp in her feet.  This was definitely a miserable mile.  But she was happy.  She was out there and she was doing it better than she thought she would.

The girl arrived home, sweat dripping in her eyes, tunes blasting in her ears, breathing deeper and fuller, a little sore, but so content.  She looked down at her watch 14 minutes 14 seconds.  A long way off from a 5 minute mile, but nowhere near the documentary times.  Not bad for a first timed trial she thought, not bad at all.

The End


  1. Congratulations Amber! It's not how fast you go, it's that you got out there and did it.

  2. Congratulations! You're doing great!