When my children were younger, I had a recurring dream that my family was being chased by something, a lot of somethings.
I carried my youngest kids and did my best to put myself between the horde and my oldest kid.
I got them onto the roof of a shed and then I had to climb this chain-linked fence right behind the shed. I couldn’t do it. My arms just didn’t want to carry me. Something grabbed me from behind and I woke up.
There was a time when I could climb chained-link fences. I could do pull-ups and climb monkey bars. It wasn’t the happiest time in my life but it was when I felt the most free. My body did whatever I set out to do and then some. But my mind, that trickster, talked my body out of a lot of things.
Now as a mom of three, I struggle with some simple tasks. Some of it is age related. But I let fear and insecurity win and rule for almost 20 years. My mind convinced me I needed certain things to be an adult — exercise wasn’t one of them.
Since 2012, I have been relearning to love exercise. I have trained primarily through running and walking, with yoga and plyometrics as an afterthought.
Then in 2016, I was introduced to practical fitness through Hoorah 2 Heroes, a group of mostly military veterans and law enforcement personnel and their supporters.
Jay, a veteran of the British military who specialized in training soldiers, held workout sessions at dark o’clock every week. When I could go, it was awesome. We worked on our entire body, not just running. I felt stronger and more capable of doing things. These exercises were designed to help the emergency service personnel do their jobs without getting injured.
It also helped me prepare for climbing that chain-linked fence from my dream.
Running and walking (via rucking) are still at the core of my fitness routine. I love the freedom of exploring on foot.
But I’m a little more diligent about adding plyometrics and other strength building exercises. I want to be able to do things on a boat, like rescue my kids if they fall overboard, if the need arises. I want to be able help move the furniture in our house or maybe a friend’s house. I want to be able to sit with my kids on the floor of our living room, deep into whatever they are fascinated by, and get back up easily.
Some days, my love of cooking and taste-testing overrule my exercise. Sometimes, I get hit with a bout of depression that makes me question my existence and need to exercise. There are days when I just want the zombies to win.
But, somehow, I keep coming back to exercise. A good walk or run immediately settles my mind. When I complete a sweaty workout session, I remember my worth. I’m also reminded of my relatives and friends who have/had medical issues related to obesity. I am reminded of friends and relatives who struggled with their mental health.
I have a chance, maybe not to make things right, but to make things better. Every day I am given the opportunity make choices to be apocalypse ready — whether it’s taking a longer walk with the dogs or opting for two plates instead of four at the Chinese buffet.
Zombies are defeated by putting in the work, even on days when you don’t want to. Being consistent is key, something I have not mastered.
If the zombie horde chased me today, I’d probably get further in my dream. But not by much.
I’ve let their slowness lull me into a false sense of security. I have time, I can do it tomorrow, I often think to myself. But really, I don’t know if I have tomorrow. No one knows.
It’s best to be as ready as possible. I need to implemen a plan so I can get over that fence.