As I lay in the bed of my Orlando hotel room on the final vacation night, sniffling and fighting off the feeling of being burning hot and freezing cold, my feet bandaged and throbbing, I let out an exasperated moan.
“My body betrayed meeeeee.” I rolled over and buried my head in my pillow, hoping the muffled coughs wouldn’t disturb the friends I was sharing a room with.
Preparations for my Disney World and Universal Studios vacation began months ago, barely before the first sunburn of the summer. My travel companions and I vowed to study every park map, read every blog and listen to every podcast. No stone would be left unturned. Every ounce of magic would be squeezed out of this trip. We planned to visit five theme parks over the course of four days, and discussed which rides and shows were must-do’s. We had a solid, albeit ambitious, plan of attack that also included a plan for germ avoidance. I was determined to come home feeling well from the Happiest Place on Earth, but slathering myself in sunscreen and hand sanitizer was no match for what was to come.
The first official day of our trip, we bounded off into the sugary sweet world Walt Disney had created, but it wasn’t long after my new sneakers began to rub. A few more days into the vacation, I became convinced my feet might actually be broken, and I began sitting down every chance I got —on a railing, on the corner of a planter, and in my most desperate moments, the ground.
Staying hydrated and cool was also a challenge, since the weather was 90 degrees, sunny and very humid every day. I was having a blast exploring the theme parks I hadn’t seen since I was 8-years-old, but I was also keenly aware of the toll this was taking on my body. The pedometer app on my phone reported we walked nearly 13 miles our first day at the parks — a far cry from the one to two daily miles I’m used to walking at home.
The following days saw more of the same, this time with a sore throat and aches I couldn’t seem to shake. The more we pressed on, the more apathetic I grew. Haunted Mansion? Skip it. Pirates of the Caribbean? Meh. Splash Mountain? Not unless it’s a 10 minute wait.
I arrived back home a few days later sick, exhausted, aching, and somehow still smiling. Was I being a baby about all of this? Why was I feeling this way? The physical demands of this trip weren’t given a second thought before I left. It’s just a theme park, right?
And then I realized it was me.
My body hadn’t betrayed me. I had betrayed my body.
All told, we walked nearly 40 miles, at five parks, in 90-degree heat. We were up each morning at 7 a.m., and meals consisted of whatever we could grab between ride lines. The fact of the matter is, I was in no way prepared to walk as much as I did, and under the conditions we saw.
In the days following my vacation, nursing my cold with a Netflix marathon, I grew antsy. The truth was, I had become so used to an increased level of activity that sitting and doing nothing, despite current limitations, just felt strange. Who was this person I was becoming? A usual embracer of couch lounging, I felt something stirring inside of me. While I was not willing to beat myself up about how much we crammed into each day, knowing that I could walk five miles each day with minimal discomfort was enough to motivate me to try to do more with my fitness routine. Life was passing me by, one Parks and Rec episode at a time.
I decided enough was enough.
And so I took the plunge. I purchased a gym membership at ProMedica Wildwood Athletic Club with a promise to be good to myself. This blog post will be one of many as I continue on my fitness journey, no doubt through all the ups and downs. There’s more to come, so bear with me as I navigate getting back on the wagon, discuss self-esteem and all the ways fitness should be positive and rewarding.
It’s time to earn my body’s trust again.