If we were having drinks on this Memorial Day Sunday evening, I'd suggest we sit out on my deck. R and I just pressure washed the covered portion yesterday so it's nice and clean. You could help me officially declare the "2017 Deck Sitting Season" open.
You'd immediately comment on the new patio furniture. Gone are my mismatched pieces from previous summers. "Yeah, R bought this over spring break when I was in West Virginia. It was a sweet gesture and I'm very appreciative, but I kinda miss my red adirondack chair," I'd say as I pointed to the area on the uncovered portion of the deck where my chair has been relegated. "He went to all the trouble and expense, I feel like I have to use it," I'd say while motioning for you to take your pick of seats.
As we settled it, I'd ask how things have been with you, for it's been a while since we chatted and properly caught up. You'd then ask about things in my world and I'd tell you how chaotic the month of May was. I've never been so glad to see the end of a school year roll around.
After a few minutes, you'd notice my tan. "Have you been going to a tanning bed? You're really tan, especially for it to only be the end of May." I'd look down at my bronzed arms and hands and laugh. "Oh, Lord, no," I'd say with a chuckle. "Believe it or not, this tan is the result of pure Kentucky sunshine and I got it without even trying."
I'd point out my white feet that are in stark contrast to my tan legs and say, "I got it simply by walking outside this spring." You'd look at me with surprise and say, "You got that tan just by walking? You've obviously walked a lot." I'd nod in agreement. "Yeah, I have," I'd say with a sigh.
I'd take a drink of my soda, kick my feet up on the ottoman, and elaborate. I've been walking regularly, like 3-4 times a week, since last September. When school was in session, I typically walked 3 days after work with my walking buddy and one day on the weekend by myself at a nearby park. I usually averaged 25 miles a week.
"Well, that all changed around mid-April when I decided to participate in a step challenge at work." You'd look at me inquisitively and I'd continue. "That seemingly innocuous little challenge awakened the competitive beast that lurks deep down inside me, the beast that I manage to keep under wraps 95% of the time."
You'd look at me with a puzzled expression. You see, I'm a reformed competitive person. I was uber competitive in high school - grades, sports, involvement in extracurricular activities, awards - you name it. Because of that competitiveness, I graduated in the top 5 of my class and, most importantly, one spot ahead of my competitive best friend.
But, all that competition was stressful and because of that, I developed a severe case of TMJ syndrome. Once in college, I decided that the symptoms of TMJ - pain in my jaw joint, difficulty chewing, headaches, and my jaw locking up - were not worth it and I suppressed the competitive beast. But, every now and then, sometimes when I least expect it, the beast rears its ugly head, like it did in April.
A few days after the challenge started, it was obvious that the 10-member team from my school would not be able to win, for we were going up against teams from other schools that consisted of hardcore runners. Now, when I say hardcore, I mean hardcore - marathoners and Ironman participants. Because winning would be next to impossible, we set our sights on finishing in the top 3. As a result, several of us made a commitment to kick our walking up a notch.
Unbeknownst to my team, I also set two personal goals - to come in first amongst my teammates and to finish in the top 10 overall (out of 140 participants). There were no prizes for either, but I just wanted to achieve the goals for me, for my own personal satisfaction.
"And that's what drove me to double my average weekly miles and walk a staggering 492,358 steps during those 29 days, which, for me, equals the distance of 203 miles."
Your eyes would widen and you'd sit there with a disbelieving look on your face. You'd finally blink and I say with a chuckle, "Yes, you heard me correctly - 203 miles."
You'd take a drink of your beverage and say, "I can't even begin to imagine how much time it took to walk that distance. No wonder you're tan!" We'd laugh and after a moment or two, you'd ask, "Well, how did you finish?"
A big smile would break out on my face. "My team finished third and I finished first on my team and 10th overall."
I'd rest my head back against the cushions. "The lady who coordinated the step challenge has already mentioned that there will be another one around the beginning of the school year, but honestly, I don't think I want to do it again."
You'd ask why and I'd explain. Although I got a lot of satisfaction out of achieving my goals, it came with a price. Contrary to conventional thought, all that walking didn't help me lose any weight - I actually gained weight during the challenge, probably due to a combination of too much cardio and of being legitimately hungry all. the. time. It also took up a lot of time and my feet hurt, like really hurt, every day. "I did what I set out to do and I don't regret doing it," I'd say, "but it's time to lay my competitive beast to rest again."
Thank you for stopping by and reading my latest installment of IWWHC.
Have a wonderful and blessed Memorial Day Weekend!
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