Today is Friday and I have completed the first week of my new program. I feel very proud of myself and strangely my body already feels different. I have been doing a lot of stretching and I feel as if I have elongated my backbone by adding air between the vertebrae. I seem to be sitting up straighter. The tension from between my shoulders is gone. I can see muscle definition in my forearms.
I have tried a number of activities this week, but my favorite is walking in the swimming pool. I love the sensation of the water surrounding me and supporting my weight. The pools where I exercise are neighborhood pools. One is the pool where four of my seven grandchildren swim on the summer team. I am dedicated to this swim team to the point of fanaticism. The summer meets are fun because I know all the families and can cheer for all the kids. Last year I even won an award for being the the most supportive fan. While I am walking I can wave to everyone. I am a bit of a celebrity there, not only because of my high-pitched screams during close races, but also because of the exploits of my grandchildren. I don't want to brag (don't believe this for a minute), but my eight year-old grandson has set two team records so far this summer!
The other pool is my neighborhood pool. It it is womb-like because it is protected by small hills and surrounded by trees. I know few people in my neighborhood, so while walking I fall into a trance-like state, not making eye contact, and pulling the warm, velvety, turquoise water toward me with each arm as I stride. I watch the clouds form and disperse in the summer sky. I feel totally happy doing this.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is walking on the track. I have to force myself to leave the house and I already feel tired and crabby by the time I park the car and make my way down the sidewalk and stairs to the field. The track itself is a pleasant. It is soft black asphalt that I wish would smell like the warm tar I loved as a child. But is smells like nothing. So far I walk three-quarters of a mile each time I go. This is exactly 20 minutes worth of exercise -- a "block" in my terminology. By the time I start the third quarter mile, my lower back begins to hurt and I feel anxious that I will be too tired to climb the stairs to the car when I am done. This is completely psychosomatic because today I walked for and hour and a half in the super market, doing a giant grocery shop in preparation for July 4th, and I felt just fine. This hatred of the track does not bode well because someday I will have to spend more time there if I want to reach my goal.
I am not going to worry about that now. Instead I am going to order another pair of running shorts and smugly enjoy my new spine.