I finally got to use the beautiful Happy Fun Health and Fitness Trail* that runs literally right by my new apartment complex. The first few days after I moved in I’d drive by the trail and see all the runners, bikers and in-line skaters whizzing along. It was like they were calling to me “Come with us, PastaQueen! Frolic among the trees and flowers like pixies, all while elevating your heart rate for long intervals at a time!” Then I would think back at them “I can’t! I have to buy a microwave before the store closes at 9:00!” Then they’d think back “Well, then, screw you.”
I was also a little hesitant to use the trail because it would mean I’d be exercising in front of other people. Horrors! However, whenever I start to feel overly self-conscious about the way I look or act, I just repeat to myself a saying I find very helpful even though I have no clue where I first heard it:
“You wouldn’t care so much about what other people think of you if you knew how infrequently they do.”
It’s easy to imagine the only thing people could be possibly be thinking about while I’m running down the path is “I am completely disgusted to see a fat girl in a tank top running in front of me. Watch her flabby ass bounce like Jell-O.” However, it is more likely they are thinking “Did I check the air pressure in my tires?” and don’t actually give a shit about what I look like while I’m jiggling along. Even if they do think it, it’s probably just a passing blip between gear changes. Realizing you are not the center of the universe is one of the nice side-affects of aging. It makes it much easier to act like a complete dork.
The trail is a very busy place. I was glad I thought to stick my emergency contact information in my pocket along with my key because I wouldn’t be surprised if someday someone finds my body on the side of the trail with a bike wheel skid up my back. One girl skated by me with her keys held in her left hand while she was talking on her cell phone on her right. I imagined her colliding with someone and puncturing their lung with her keys, but at least they’d be able to call 911 right away.
I interspersed my walking with some jogging and was surprised by how hard it was. I kept wondering if it was because I hadn’t gone walking in about two weeks because of the recent craziness that had become my life or if the path was going uphill or if running outdoors was just harder. Then I realized I was an idiot because I was running way faster than I had on the treadmill, so of course I was becoming winded. This is probably also the reason I was never able to run an entire mile non-stop as a kid. I just wasn’t pacing myself correctly.
There was a nice mix of people on the trail. I saw a family on their bikes, a mom running along with her stroller, some teenage girls walking as a pack, an old couple strolling together and a totally, built guy on a bicycle who I wish would have slowed down so I could have enjoyed the view a bit longer.
I am completely, madly in love with my new place and its proximity to the trail and I don’t care if I have to start eating out of the garbage to afford it. I’m sure banana peels contain something nutritionally good for me. And the flies must have lots of protein too.
* Note: Not the trail’s official name, just my cutesy “name changed for anonymity” nickname for it.