I still remember the way the evening light shone off Madrid's Cybele Place as I ran past it on the best run of my life.
When I first arrived in Madrid, I hated that the sun rose and set so late. It shifted the entire day forward. By the time the Spaniards had lunch at 3pm, I had nearly passed out from the hunger! And a 9pm sunset irked me to no end—until I realized those extra hours of light were an ideal time for running.
The day I set out for what would become the best run of my life, I was feeling upbeat and ready for a stroll through the city. With no pressure to hit a certain amount of miles or be back home by a particular time, I set out to do one thing only: enjoy myself.
The playlist I had prepared was doing wonders for me that day. With every new song that came through my earphones, I felt a surge of energy. I ran from my apartment in Argüelles to Castellana, over to Plaza Cibeles to Santa Ana, up to Puerta del Sol and the Royal Palace, and finally back home. Tourist spot to tourist spot, I zigzagged my way through the city in my white Hollister hoodie. Other than the photo at the top of this post, here are some photos I took along the way:
The city of Madrid, with its beautiful architecture and puzzle-piece neighborhoods, provided plenty of diatractions as I made it from one mile to the next, gliding past my personal record without even noticing. Because distraction truly is the key to willpower, isn't it?
But distractions are hard to come by now that I'm starting to work out again after bringing our little guy to the world. Running, squats, pushups, P90X. It's all "new" to me again. It's been almost a year since I'd been able to do any of it safely. Now that I'm picking it back up, I'm not starting where I left off—I'm back at the starting line.
When I run, I feel every step in my sore ankles. When I do squats and pushups, my muscles feel sore before I've even finished the workout. It's as if they know what's coming and get a head start on the pain. I'm rediscovering what it feels like to struggle. Better than that, I'm rediscovering my willpower. Along with my leg and arm muscles, my willpower is growing with each session.
After so long, my workouts aren't the same. With the little guy calling the shots on my schedule, I've decided to let him in on the fun. It's the only way I can sneak in some decent body movement! During a recent workout with Antonella, he served as my replacement kettlebell. But no, I did not swing him! He's a great workout partner. :-)
Is it strange that I love how I'm rediscovering what it feels like to struggle? Better than that, I'm rediscovering my willpower. Along with my leg and arm muscles, my willpower is growing with each session. Every time I decide to put on my gym shorts instead of settling in for a nap, I feel the willpower muscle get stronger—and less noticeable. Because when my willpower is at its best, I don't even realize I'm using it.
It's been fun to be a newbie again—to feel the resistance and to act anyway. I may not have the streets of Madrid to run through, but I have something even better: my little guy's company, watching my form.