The Stairs Less Taken
Saturday, March 02, 2013
Or not taken, as the case may be.
For the first four years I was at my job, our branch was located on the 4th floor. And every day I would get to work and I would take the elevator to the fourth floor because although 1 or 2 flights of stairs were reasonable, I couldn't possibly do 3.
And every time someone got on the elevator with me and pressed either floor 2 or 3, I would roll my eyes and think 'oh come on, you can't climb 2 flights of stairs? I understand if you're on the fourth but if you're on the 2nd or 3rd, you could easily take the stairs'.
Fast forward to last year at this time and my branch moves to the 3rd floor. Just GUESS how many times I've taken the stairs now that we're on the third floor? Yeah you guessed it. Not once. So now I'm probably that person that people roll their eyes at and wonder why I can't climb up two lousy flights of stairs (and these are just a normal flight of stairs, not anything monstrous or out of the ordinary).
This was of course until Thursday. On Thursday morning I arrived at work and suddenly turned right towards the staircase instead of head towards the elevator. That's right, for the first time in 5 years, I climbed the measly 2 flights of stairs to the 3rd floor. And I didn't die.
I was winded for sure. In fact, I'm shocked at how bad my cardio has become since I moved. Until last summer I had always lived within walking distance of work and had to walk about 2km each way to and from work so the worst that I could possibly do was walk 4km in a day - even if it was slow, it was 4km. But then I moved and now I take the bus to work. The bus is about 100 yards from my front door and another 100 yards to my work.
So I'm vowing to take the damn stairs now. Even if I can barely breath when I get up them - I know it will improve with time. I've also decided that in non-rainy weather, I could afford to get off the bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way home. I've thought about it a few times when the bus was crowded and uncomfortable but the desire to be home on my couch with a soda in hand as soon as possible always won out. But if these changes are to break habits, that is one habit that really couldn't be that hard to break. Surely I could do this a couple of times a week. It wouldn't take me long to be up to a regular 5km like I was. This is the distance from work to home, I could walk home a few days a week.
One of the things I've been working on this week is visualization. So I was surprised when I was watching that documentary 'Food for Change' how it talked about visualization and what a great tool it is. Imagining yourself as you wish to feel. For me, one of my common visualizations is running. I've always wanted to be a runner - someone that 'goes for a run', someone that says things like, 'oh I just got back from my run'. Sounds dumb doesn't it? Well, not to me. I visualize myself running on a trail near my house, feel my feet pound the ground but not the weight on them that I have now, feel my lungs expand and contract in a steady rhythm as the wind flies into my face and the greenery passes me quickly. This is something I want to work towards, becoming a runner.
A friend of mine that used to be the same size as me (though she'd gained it over the course of a few years as opposed to my lifetime of being fat - she was skinny in high school!). Anyway, she lost all her weight and is down to a size 2 and she has kept it off for 3 years - and she does that by running a few times a week. Now I don't intend to ever be a size 2, but I'd sure like to be able to run with her and be at a point where I could join in. Whenever I find my mind wandering to the 'jealous of her' stage, I try to redirect it to a 'learn from her' stage and remember that she worked damn hard for it and she deserves it. And that I need to work damn hard too.
Goals, visualization, maintaining a positive attitude - which I struggle with dozens of times a day, taking the stairs. It all adds up.
(btw - went for my first walk yesterday in months. 2km, 1/2hour - nothing major but I did it.)