Matt went back to work about a week ago and since then he’s only had one day off. Luckily for me, he usually goes in super early and gets home by 2:30. But those who know me are fully aware that I am not a late-sleeper, so his schedule leaves me with ample time and not a whole lot to do.
Mostly I have been looking for jobs, baking goodies, watching a little TV, and reading up on the various athletic clubs and facilities in the surrounding area. Winter in Aus for me has meant day after day of wonderful 60-65 degree weather. I can only imagine how unbearably hot it will be in summer. So I have been obsessively seeking indoor fitness classes and outdoor lap pools and comparing their prices of admission.
Though I’ve had 7-8 hours sans Matt most days of late, I haven’t exactly been 100% alone. Usually his brother, Kieran, is around (though he sleeps pretty late) and his mom is almost always home. I still get plenty of moments to myself of course, but the only time I get to be completely on my own is when I workout.
On Saturday I was so excited to get out for a run that it wasn’t until about 10 minutes in that I realized I’d left the house without music. My ipod and its armband are ALWAYS with me when I run. My instincts told me to go back for it, even though I’d already made it to the park. But nagging curiosity urged me to press on, to see how long I could last without the bad dance and hip-hop hits motivating me and keeping the beat.
I quickly let my mind go blank. My hot, even breaths seemed to take on a rhythm of their own, though with slight syncopation. Usually when I run, I breathe or at least mouth the words along with the songs I hear. My theory is that it forces me to exhale regularly, like counting reps when doing ab exercises.
Along with the breathing, I focused on the sound of my feet hitting the pavement. It encouraged me on, calling attention to the pace and flow. Since it was a Saturday, there were people everywhere. Children playing, footy teams practicing, dogs trotting ahead of their owners…I reveled in my being so alone among so many.
Usually when I run, I am using the activity as a way to de-stress. I let it strip me of all that nags. But this experience was even more thorough. All thought seemed extinguished; my mind was a complete blank. It was wonderful!
Yesterday I went to Beatty Park to use the 50M lap pool. It’s outdoors and quite a grand facility. Stadium seating surrounds 3/4 of the pool. I felt like I was swimming in a professional arena. I’m guessing the city initially built it for some major sporting event. My arms and legs burned almost the entire hour I spent in the water. The immunity they’d built up during my weekly swims in France was long gone. I bought a pass for 10 visits, so I know I’ll get it back.
Since Saturday, I haven’t chanced another music-less workout in the park. I went on Monday and made sure my ipod was fully charged. I mouthed the words to the songs and let myself dance when no one was looking. (I get overwhelming urges to jump, twirl and throw my arms in the air when I run. Go ahead, picture it. I’m not embarrassed!) But one of these days, maybe another warm Saturday, I’ll try it again without the tunes. It’s the only time I can remember my mind being so blank.