A few days before our first class the weather forecast promised a mild sunny day…unusual for February…possibly reaching the 50s…and the day turned out as forecasted. Equipped with a few ounces of confidence and high hopes from six weeks of indoor walking I hit the Pumpkin Vine Trail near our house. I did have the sense to dress warmly and have something on my ears even though one could have been fooled by the bright sun rays shining through the house windows. I’m also equipped with a playlist on my IPOD that I had spent quite of bit of time finding music to inspire and to pump me up. The playlist is very intentional and begins with Chris Tomlin’s I Lift My Hands.
The words, “Let faith arise…” are so powerful. As I begin to walk I notice that I’m surrounded by a beautiful countryside bathed in sunshine. Part of the reality though is that I’m thankful I have earmuffs on because that breeze is brisk and cool…takes my breath away…literally. I’m definitely not in the controlled virtual world of Rhythm Island.
My next song cues up. Somehow I’m just not inspired to break into a jog yet. Need more time to warm up those muscles. More songs cue up and I just keep on walking. The driving beat of another song comes up…it’s now or never…I begin to jog…OMG…this is HARD…ok, focus…get to that bend up ahead…you can do it…no you can’t…think I’m hyper ventilating…breathe through your nose…out through your mouth…I have to walk now…how long was that?…that wasn’t even half of the chorus…maybe 30 seconds… I gather up my courage and try again. Same experience. I finish my first outdoor “run” with walking. I travel home as I face the realization that what little confidence and hope I had before is GONE.
My husband is home. His eyes open wide as these words spill out of my mouth, “We are in deep …” Now this is VERY unusual for me express myself in this way but it is what came out. “What happened?” he questions. “If you can’t do it with all of the walking you’ve been doing, there is no hope for me.” Emotionally I reply, “I CAN’T RUN! I couldn’t even get through a chorus. It is so different running outside. What are we going to do? What was I thinking?” He answers, “Maybe this is too much. We haven’t had our first class so we don’t have to go. ” I retort back, ” I’ve already told our class leader (she is a teacher also) why I’m doing this…reading…for those kids that don’t like to read and it is hard for them. I can’t back out now.”
Thinking of kids and reading: I think of the many young readers with anticipation in their eyes as they sit in K and 1st grade classrooms…the anticipation of becoming a reader. They finally have made sense of those lines and circles that translate to letters and sounds. They know some sight words. Then they pick up a book and … do they feel the same emotions I had on my “run”?
I regroup. My training is going to have to be more than walking to Rhythm Island. I buy a punch card to the Goshen College Rec Center where they have a pool. I love to swim and they also have an indoor track. And…