The Chair

For a few weeks now I have been simmering in discomfort.  Not a full boil, just a little simmer.  There have been many other things on my mind that kept this discomfort from boiling point, other distractions, until yesterday.  Yesterday I put on my fat jeans and had to do the wiggle to get into them.

Now ladies will know exactly what I mean.  The Fat Jeans are the pair of jeans that are kept in the closet for these moments – the moments when you’re feeling lazy, when you’re bloated, when you don’t want to leave the house, and when you’re… well when you’re FAT.  To have to wiggle, pull and tug and suck in to do the zip on the Fat Jeans is not a good thing.  It needs to change.  Like yesterday.

Since my injury in half-marathon training last year I have struggled to get it together.  The knees creak and complain like they are three times my age.  They have kept me from getting back into the game.  Squats have been a total terror for me.  I fear the pain of bending my knees.

But the Fat Jeans got me into a Bikram Yoga class yesterday.  A studio heated by electic heaters packed wall to mirror with beautiful bodies and hot sweat – just what a girl needs to get her a** in gear… or into her fat jeans.  We started with breathing, stretching with hands locked in Charlies Angels guns to the ceiling until the blood left the fingertips.  And then we entered the chair series.

“Do one thing a day that scares you.”

~the lululemon manifesto 

Every fiber in my body rebelled against it.  The chair.  The squat that changes lives.  Utkatasana.  I closed my eyes and breathed deeply trying to look through my Drishti, the third eye inside your mind.  And looking in there I saw the Fat Jeans, dancing side to side, taunting me.  Slooooow exhale and dammit down I go.  SIT.

“From a standing position, step your feet hip-width apart so you feel grounded and connected to the width of your pelvis. Breathe in deep.  Your feet should be rooted into the ground connecting with the energy of the earth beneath you.  On the exhale, sit down from here into an imaginary chair, keeping your heels on the floor.  You are here for thirty seconds.  Breeeeathe.”

There I sat.  And I sank deeper.  With each exhale I got another inch lower.  Into the deepest squat I think I have ever done.  Space opened up in my mind and in my knees or maybe just in my mind and another half-inch lower.  Pain free.

Isn’t it amazing that doing the one thing that scares you can take you into places you’ve never been before?  Today I am a new woman!  Yes, the Fat Jeans are still tight, but today I am going to the gym.  And tomorrow I will go deeper in that chair.  And on Saturday I am going to run two miles.  And in December I am going to try out the six-mile relay.  And maybe next year the half marathon will look possible again for me.  And maybe before I die I will make it to that medal – the big one – the marathon.

Vanishing Deductible – The Marathon

What hasn’t yet been written anywhere before is the account of Bushlings and her attempt at a half marathon.  The half marathon, some 13.1 miles, was a goal I set to take my mind off weight and get me healthy and fit.  Reasonable and objective goals, much like the Hair.  In the fall of 2010 I teamed up with a guy I know who planned my training schedule for me, coached me with diet and weight training, and ran up to six miles once a week with me – a true champion.  I made it to just under seven miles before all hell broke loose.

Both knees.  Busted.  Off my feet for days.

The disappointment was tangible.  I couldn’t run.  I couldn’t take stairs.  I couldn’t wear heels for a few months.  I have a jagged patella that aggravates and rubs causing a buildup of fluid.  So very very very sad.  I had finally found an exercise that I enjoyed only to have it ripped from me by my own traitorous body!

I loved it!  Running in the rain along the shoreline.  Running on the beach.  Running before breakfast.  Running with an eager mutt.  All glorious and burning and fresh and open and in time to the music.

My trainer is still an inspiration.  He still believes in me.  I started again to run since, just to break a sweat.  I’ve made it back up to three miles!  So what if the doctors say I can’t?  One mile every days won’t kill me right?  Pain is weakness leaving the body.  My coach tells me all the time.

This week he met me out for a quick catchup. He has just come back from the San Fransisco Marathon – one of the hardest in the known world of marathons.  It is super exciting to hold his medal and feel the weight of his accomplishment!

He is also in the best shape of his life.  A very bulky guy with big bones and strong features, he is now half the size he was when I met him a few years ago.  If you’ve seen that Nationwide Insurance ad on American television or on YouTube you’ll know what I mean – he’s a vanishing deductible!

Congratulations to a man who slowed down to let me keep up for a while and continues to inspired me to stretch to, and then beyond, the edges of my limits.  As for me, I’m about to lace up those shoes again.  Time to stop talking and thinking and just jump.