|This looks just like a picture I took, but I had to take this from Wikipedia because all my phone pictures are rotated. Not sure why.|
I ran along the Kal Haven trail in Southern Michigan, fuming. I had just been told that I had an unhealthy obsession with fitness and food, and that "bodies change. Embrace your new ass!" The speaker was a long distance friend, one who can be a gem because you never have to check your words and you always know what she is thinking. That can be a gift, especially with women, who tend to hint and get feelings hurt. The flipside is that with friends like these, you get to hear exactly what they think.
Where I'm visiting right now, daily exercise isn't a priority for everyone. I am probably the eccentric relative who years later, it will be recalled, swam halfway around the lake, took numerous walks, and ran on the Kal-Haven trail. At home, I am surrounded by a unique community where seventy year olds shred it on the slopes and people are always talking about their next run or day hike. So it's always an awakening to come to a different place and see that most people don't live that way. It's not wrong, it's just that for me, if I don't exercise six days a week, my body doesn't feel right.
Obsession? Maybe. I tend to think people call it that when they know they could be doing more, but don't want to. I certainly don't exercise as much as some people I know. I don't run ultras, race across the continent on a bike, or even run marathons anymore. And as far as your body changing as you get older and you should accept it? Nope. Not happening. To me that is not an excuse. If things start to hurt or fail, I can see how that could slow a person down. But because I'm old, I should gain weight? No.
However, it didn't take long for the magical Kal-Haven to make my world right again. This trail is FLAT.It goes from Kalamazoo to Grand Haven, all 34 miles of it, and while I was only running a small part of it (see? so not obsessed), I had forgotten what it was like to run a completely flat trail. And at sea level! So easy!
I wondered what kind of person I would be if I had met my husband years ago and he was still living here. I wouldn't be a long distance hiker, because those opportunities just don't exist here. Nearly every morning I swam across the lake and back. Would I be a swimmer instead? Would I have kept running marathons? For now it's just dipping into a world that I did not choose.
I came to my turning point, near the town of Bloomingdale, and headed back. As always the act of running made me feel better. Obsessed? Maybe. But I'll take it.