Humility, or learning to stop

I went for a long walk today, I felt good , the weather was comfortable and I nearly passed out from heat stroke.

Hubris is the main reason. I was convinced I could keep going because I felt fine and because I had done it before, when I was in better condition. And I didn’t take any water because I am just an idiot.

I did accomplish a long walk, which was my goal. However I had to stop about 4 times because I could feel my heart rate was too high, I was weary and at one point I was barely sweating in 90 degree heat.

Stopping and taking breaks is almost against my religion. It smacks of laziness, weakness and I know I can keep going, power through and ride it out. I am stubborn and tenacious, I do not give up or give in, I will push my
self harder and go farther. These can be good qualities, in some cases. In others, stupid and potentially dangerous. Today was a stupid and dangerous day.

I did that, but forced myself to stop awhile and sit under a bridge for a few minutes. I tried not to think about the poor quality of Oklahoma ‘ s bridges and waited for the heavy breathing to stop and for my heart rate to slow. I forced myself to sit for 4 minutes before getting up. I took 4 breaks, not counting the time I spent at the most wonderful and beautiful convenience store in the world. Each break was like a tiny defeat, proof I was not the badass I thought I was. But my body knew it needed short rests and it humbled and saved me.

There is no shame in taking breaks or in slowing down. If you need to, do it.

This insight came to me while I was walking, trying to get to the bridge ahead. I was listening to Depeche Mode as is my habit; Dave, Martin and Fletch were out there with me. I realized that Dave took breaks during concerts, he would wipe his face with a towel between songs or take a swig of water. He would even let Martin sing a couple of songs while he had a cup of tea or just sat. If it was okay for Dave then it was okay for me too. Neither of us is as young as we used to be.

I took one break when my son called from Vietnam. I was breathing hard and he noticed, so it was a good time to stop. After that I had another break and told myself I would make it, only one more street left.

That’s when I knew I wouldn’t, not without some water. It was now in the 90’s and I hadn’t drunk anything since 8am and it was noon. Then I saw it, the most wonderful and beautiful convenience store in the world.

I could make it, I would make it there. It was an oasis, a paradise with water, food and most of all, air conditioning.

It exceeded my hopes. They had water, food and air conditioning. They also had bathrooms, with toilet paper and soap. I had made a necessary pit stop at the scary port-a-potty near the halfway point and this was almost enough to
make me weep.

AND THEY HAD TABLES AND CHAIRS.

I bought a liter of water and energy bar. I chugged the water, it was cold and I couldn’t help myself. I had to force myself to eat the energy bar, which told me I was most definitely in trouble, because eating has never been a problem. Stopping eating has, and my Indian name is “Yeah, I can eat.” It sounds all noble and impressive in Muscogee, trust me.

I sat there and recovered for awhile, even bought my first coconut water. An unusual taste but I drank about half. I finally got up and finished my walk.

I was so glad to see my car and just sat there for a moment, checking my pedometer. I felt better but was still thirsty. I started the long walk at 8:44 and it was 1:10 when I checked my phone in the car. The walk should have been over about noon. I am still a little worn out.
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