I wake up but do not get out of bed. The Iron Girl triathlon was the day before. A .6 mile swim, 17 mile bike and 3.4 mile run. I finished. "To finish is to win," as JT, a fellow triathlon "girl" kept telling the eight of us doing it. I won.
In that sense.But I do not know how my muscles will react to vertical. Instead of throwing my legs over the side of the bed, letting my feet hit the floor and my body go upright, I stay on my back and lift my knees to my chest. And pull. Stretch.
I lower my legs. Lift the left one all the way up. Straight. Then reach it across my body to the right so it's perpendicular to the rest of me. And stretch. I repeat on the right side with my left leg. Feels good.
I continue these stretches and gentle exercises. As many as I can remember.All learned nearly two years ago now, at Devon Hiking Spa. "Fit Health into Life" is the spa's tagline, and this is what I'm doing. Fitting healthy stretching into my morning. (Tucson solo trip stories here. Read in reverse chronological order.)
I don't remember all I learned during my week in Tucson. But I remember how good it felt to contemplate morning instead of diving into it. Instead of rushing and buzzing and scrambling to start the day. As I usually do.
I admit I haven't been doing those exercises every day since that trip. But there are mornings when I remember. Either because something aches. Or I'm not willing to get out of bed too quickly.
I also remember my lessons about eating mindfully, not gorging at meals. Not that I can always follow those either. I try to gauge when I'm starting to feel satisfied and stop eating. It doesn't always work but each time I tend to think about my options and often I succeed at "being good."
It is not essential to finish everything on my plate. Sometimes, I find it fascinating how hard it is to stop eating. To purposely leave just one bite. It's a challenge to the irrational desire to finish what's in front of me, even though if that bite weren't there I wouldn't miss it. Try it. Leave one bite of food on your plate at every meal. Can you do it?
What's my point here? My point is, I traveled alone to a beautiful part of the country because no one was able to go with me. Met a nice group of people to hike, eat and exercise with. The health lessons have stayed with me. I would have missed out if I had passed on this trip.
Instead, I have post-triathlon exercises to do, better eating habits than before and fond memories of red rocks, rushing streams, snow in the desert (it was December), skittering critters and intriguing visions of myriad cacti everywhere.
The only down side was getting just a tad too close to one of those cacti. A nice, big prickly pear. And unwillingly taking a bunch of its cactus spines home with me. But even that turned into an up side. It made for a really great story for friends and family.
And, um, let's just say sharp memories for weeks after, as I'd find a spine here and a needle there. I'd love to go again.
And perhaps, hike just a tad more mindfully when amongst the cacti.
The next spa weeks are in September 2009 and January and May 2010.
Doug Setzer, Iron Girl swimming