Yesterday I was at the gym. I realize that starting every post like that makes it sound like I spend every day at the gym. I don’t. But Wednesday is my day to go to the gym and my night to post, so let’s enjoy the illusion, shall we?
Anyhow, there I was, warming up on the treadmill, when my phone rang. I answered it without looking, because obviously it was Clay, right? It was Clay, calling to say “Do we have any more baby wipes?” or “Don’t worry about picking up eggs, I’ll get some later.” It was obviously Clay, so I answered it without looking.
Except it wasn’t Clay. And here’s where it gets irritating for you, because my children have reached an age where I have to tiptoe around certain subjects for their sakes. So I’m going to write one of those posts where I emote and complain, without ever telling you what it’s actually about. Don’t you hate those posts?
Suffice to say it was someone from the past, bearing news that someone else from the past is no longer exiled to the wild west, as I thought, but living right here in my very own state.
You know what else I hate? I hate it when people call any strong feeling PTSD, because they’re just not the same thing.
Annoyingly, I have to say that PTSD is the best way to describe what washed over me there, standing stock-still, balanced on the sides of the treadmill, surrounded by the noise of the gym. My heart raced, my breath came fast and short, and I wanted to hide and cry and scream and punch someone, all at the same time. Even now, the next day, I cannot fully unclench my jaw and random muscles in my neck keep spasming painfully. Ah, the wisdom of the body, eh? Thanks for the “protection.”
But there I was, in my panic bubble, alone in a way that I can’t even begin to describe, and the treadmill was still whirring beneath me. So I stepped onto the belt and started to walk. And then I punched the speed button up up up, and I ran. I full-on sprinted, until my lungs burned and my heart thudded painfully. I slowed down, caught my breath, and speeded up again. Faster slower faster slower faster faster faster. I cannot escape, but I can run.
After the treadmill, I worked my way through a weight lifting circuit I’ve been working on. And while I usually spend the entire time battling boredom and basic laziness, this time I powered through like a machine. Like a soldier. I met my own eyes in the mirror and worked really, really hard.
I left feeling sweaty, a little shaky, and able to think a little more clearly. Or better still, to not think a little more clearly.
And that, friends, is the best reason to work out. So when you need to run, you can really run.