Apparently my winter workout regime of skiing down a run that is over in under a minute has not kept me in top physical condition. To be exact, I appear to have gained 8 pounds. My husband, because he is wicked smart, calmly states "it is muscle mass, you have been working out more." Letting himself off the hook, he quickly exits the room. I have been working out: shovelling snow, blowing snow, skiing in snow, and snowshoeing in snow (exactly once). I'm not sure any of those activities add muscle mass.
So that is the backdrop to my story today. I went to the Y to get a run in because I am running a ridiculously short race in March and I need to run at a certain level; the not walking level. I decided to run for 45 minutes, nice and easy. The beauty of running at the track in the Y, is your buddies will see you and most likely comment on your progress. My friend noticed that I was laboring and anxiously asked if it was OK that I was running. I think she might have been referring to my heart surgery or maybe my stroke but underneath it was compassion.
I have watched my dad, who lost the use of his legs at age 11 due to polio, struggle with this his whole life. I am not comparing my small trials to his but he has been a great example of exceeding everyone's expectations. When he was in his early twenties, he applied for a job at Exxon. They calmly told him that they didn't hire "cripples" and he said OK and went on his way. I could give a 1000 examples of his bearing with dignity other's assumptions about his health or his abilities. The thing is, I was paying attention.
So when my friend expresses her concerns about my health and she attributes it to my heart, I know that I don't have to set her straight. I don't have to tell her that it is really some extra weight brought on by a really tiny ski slope masquerading as an aerobic workout. I know to smile and say "I'm OK, thanks for checking."
You have to boldly go, in spite of people worrying about you, in spite of your own fears. You have to boldly go.