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I dare you to ask me how many times I’ve gotten sick in the last month. No really, go ahead. Do it, I double doggy dare you. Ask me.
Fine, you want the answer? Three. I’ve literally felt significantly under the weather three separate times over a four-week period. The first: a six-day, never-ending jet lag following my trip to Africa. The second, a six-day, never-ending cold/sore throat/fever that finally resolved itself a week or so before my trip to Hilton Head for Thanksgiving. And finally, cold number three, which I’ve been battling for the last three days – no doubt the result of sitting in front of a germy child on my flight back from South Carolina who’d never been told to “cover your mouth” when coughing. Seriously, people, train your children.
So here I am, three days after returning from a relaxing trip down south and fighting to breathe, let alone get in a solid run. But of course, it feels good to be home in New York — especially this time of the year.
Fortunately, my Thanksgiving break was spent basically working out all day, so perhaps this is my body’s way of saying chill out, homes. It’s the holidays. Drink wine and stuff.
At any rate, ever since I began spending my Thanksgivings with Noah’s family, they’ve been filled with more sweat than stuffing (though fear not, there was stuffing as well). See, Noah comes from a family of runners. But they don’t just run on Thanksgiving — they run and bike and swim and do all sorts of other physical activities. Yoga was involved too. It’d been a while since I did any yoga, and I may still be the tiniest bit sore.
To be perfectly honest though, the way Noah’s family spends Thanksgiving wasn’t easy for me to get used to, and it’s taken me — seriously — all three years of attending their family get-together to accept the fact that I simply can’t just sleep all day. The way I was raised, Thanksgiving was reserved for lazy mornings of hot chocolate and parades, lazy afternoons of football and cooking, and lazy evenings where the most difficult task involved lifting the fork from plate to mouth. Chewing comes in at a close second.
In Hilton Head, it’s all about sweat. To my advantage, the sweat takes place against a beautiful backdrop. Really, it can’t be beat.
But still, it’s movement on the most sedentary, food-filled holiday of the year, and it was tough to change my outlook.
A lot of my ability to accept this alien approach had to do with the way I’ve slowly modified my views on exercise altogether over the years. In college, I wanted to keep the beer off and battle my mental demons. After college, I didn’t know how to view exercise without associating it with maintaining my figure and fighting extreme frustrations. For the most part, I’d feel a sense of guilt if I didn’t go to the gym or take a run. All I could think about were the consequences, which ultimately made a generally good habit feel tedious.
But here we are — here I am — years later, an adult — a real girl! — with more moderate views and an accepting outlook. Today, I’ve come to appreciate exercise for so much more than body and brain. For one, I appreciate it for the people I’ve met and the opportunities it’s afforded me. But maybe more importantly, I’ve grown to love the run for the miniature moments of utter satisfaction it has given me. In those moments, you feel dreams and accomplishments, hopes and aspirations, self-praise and selflessness — all at once.
This was one of them.
And this was another.
Just kidding. That’s the cookie dough I made after working out a billion times. I was craving naughty foods.
Anyway, I may not have had the healthiest few weeks, but if nothing else, it’s enabled me to slow my way of thinking and enjoy the best parts. And if that’s not in the holiday spirit, then I don’t know what is.