Last week, I resumed my three times a week jogging routine. Today, with temps in the 20s, I still got in my 4.5 mile outdoor run this morning. Prior to resuming last week, I had taken a two-and-a-half-week break; initially because of a cold and then because I was thoroughly enjoying being a holiday couch potato. I definitely value rest and relaxation (see A Restful Mind and a Recharged Spirit ). I really enjoyed my holiday break. So, it took me some time to get motivated and when I started back was running at a slower than normal pace. But, I got my 3 runs in last week and plan to get them in this week, too.
Running for me is almost addictive. There are so many personal benefits. I get my daily physical activity. The health benefits of exercise are proven and I’m especially mindful of trying to help reduce my risk of breast cancer recurrence. For me, I also benefit from the stress relief that I find during and after my run. I solve all of the world’s problems while I’m jogging. I’ve found it to be a fairly easy and inexpensive form of exercise since I run outside and don’t require a gym membership or treadmill. It definitely contributes to my health and wellness. But most of all, I do it because I can.
Not so long ago, I wasn’t jogging, but sock collecting. I have a drawer full of hospital socks, the ones you get when you have a diagnostic test or when you’re in the hospital. They have the slip resistant material on the bottom to keep you upright when you start walking (post surgery or post medical procedure). Through my breast cancer survival, I’ve collected a lot of these socks and wear then around my house. They are comfortable, but they are also a reminder of hospital stays, including my mastectomy (breast removal surgery), my oophorectomy (surgical removal of my ovaries) when sitting up in a hospital bed was a task and walking even short distances seemed almost impossible.
In addition to my hospital sock collection, I’ve also collected quite a few pair of running shoes. For the shoes that I’ve worn out, literally to no tread, I keep them as work shoes. In the last four years, since I’ve taken up distance running, there have only been a few weeks that I’ve taken off, mostly due to a cold or ailment. For someone who hasn’t been disciplined in every area of my life, this is one area where I’m focused and disciplined. I’ve completed 5 distance runs (four 10 mile runs and a half marathon of 13.1 miles). I’ve also completed some distance walks. I average 1 -2 distance runs annually. I don’t run for speed. I run for completion. When I’m not training for a distance run, I run as part of my routine. I’m not trying to qualify for one of the storied international marathons. I might one day, but it’s not my goal. I run because I can.
When I had my breast cancer surgeries and treatment, putting on a pair of socks and shoes for a walk around the block was as unthinkable as a 10-mile run. I’ve said it many times before that as I was laying on my back in a hospital bed or sitting exhausted in my chair while I was getting chemo any activity seemed like an impossibility.
But, I kept a vision of “life after”. I didn’t know what exactly it might look like. I didn’t envision distance runs, but I envisioned more than laying on my back or sitting exhausted in my chair. So, 8 years later, I run because I can.
I’m not really making resolutions this year, but more declarations. I’m bringing back music to my life (see Bringing Back Music to My Life in the New Year). As a cultural tourist, I’m keenly aware of the fact that as we age we tend to become confined by cultural norms or expectations. There are a lot of unwritten rules to follow and abide by as an adult. We do things, mostly the fun, imaginative, adventurous stuff of our dreams, somewhat apologetically. We put off our plans because it doesn’t seem to be the right place or time. We do only what’s necessary and not necessarily what’s fulfilling because it’s what we are supposed to do. But, I’m going to live the way I want to, with an even bigger vision, because I can.
Today I will __________ because I can.
This week I will __________ because I can.
This month I will __________ because I can.
This year I will __________ because I can.
Fill in the blanks. This year, I’m making my own rules and I’m going to live my life bigger and better than ever, full of fun and laughter BECAUSE I CAN!
What’s yours? Please share. I look forward to hearing from you and making 2017 a Because I Can year!
Melanie A. Nix – Triple negative breast cancer survivor. Resilience Coach, Reconstructionist™ and Health and Wellness Advocate. Living my manifesto Soul of a Survivor and always striving to color outside of the lines when defining my new normal.