I decided to go home to Virginia to visit my mom’s family for Thanksgiving. My family is very small. We seem to be missing some generations and continually getting smaller. Here’s what I have left on my mom’s side… 3 great aunts ages 97, 93 and 87 and my mother age 70. So – just us ‘girls’ for Thanksgiving. Just like any family – we have our share of disfunction, and I had some apprehension about the trip. While in Atlanta waiting for my connecting flight I hit the restroom – charged right in and walked past the five folks at the sinks and right past the urinals before I realized I was in the MEN’S ROOM!!! Did I mention I was distracted and apprehensive about this trip – well add mortified to that now! I pretty much sprinted out of there and hoped none of the 10 or so men I had encountered would be on my flight or especially not sitting next to me. (we’ll count this as my first workout of the trip- speed work!)
Once in Virginia and I arrived at my Aunt’s house, I was greeted by a large cow or rather bull. My aunts live on an active farm and the pasture is only about 5 feet from the front door. I should also mention the farm house is on the national historic registry – so not the most up to date accommodations. I’m pretty sure the bed I slept on was older than me.
My aunts have assistance around the clock – aids that work various shifts so there is always someone there. After reading “The Help” recently- I kind of felt I had stepped into the book. I was not supposed to lift a finger – if I wanted water- the Help would get it for me. When I said I was going to add a little gravy to my turkey, I was told to remain seated – my plate returned to me swimming in gravy. I had really wanted just a teaspoon or so on my turkey but now my asparagus was swimming in gravy too. (good thing I did my bathroom sprint earlier that day!!) I am so used to taking care of myself, it was difficult to acclimate to giving orders to the Help – and getting back what wasn’t always exactly what I wanted in return.
The morning after Thanksgiving, I knew I needed to go run after my gravy train meal. Since my Aunts live in the country- there are no sidewalks and the roads between farms are narrow. Pickup trucks tend to drive fast as there is really no fear of getting a ticket in these parts. I was instructed by my 87 year old aunt that it would be best if I just ran up and down the driveway. It is about .25 of a mile long… but that wasn’t going to cut it for me. I ventured out on to the road and took my chances. I soon discovered I was in the land before invisible fences … and what’s more fun for a dog than to chase down a runner? (Speed work session number 2)
That evening I was asked what I would like for dinner and I requested white meat turkey and black eyed peas. I was told by the help- “you must have two vegetables”. When I politely declined a second vegetable (beets and sweet potato are just not to my liking), I was told “well then you’ll have to have a double helping of black eyed peas!” I found it very bizarre at my age to be instructed what I must eat. The Help even came back and clarified that I did indeed want white meat not dark. And here’s what I found on my plate… skin, bones, and greasy dark meat turkey, sweet potatoes and a small portion of black eyed peas. Hmm….I don’t know if the Help- all quite overweight – felt I needed fattening up or just didn’t like having other folks to attend to?
So day three – now I needed to work off greasy dark turkey from the day before. I headed out for my run and had been warned by my Aunt that is was rabbit hunting season. Gun shots could be heard all around as I set out down the country road this time picking a different direction. I saw no less than half a dozen pickup trucks with men in cameoflage and guns at the ready. Hunting dogs were running through the fields hot on the trail of an unsuspecting rabbit … when they caught the scent of something more interesting… ‘girl runner’. I’m sure this did not please the hunters any more than it pleased me! (speed work session number three… to the tune of gun shots!)
When I returned from my rabbit chase one of my aunts was doing her therapy with the Help. She had back surgery some months ago and much of what she was doing really could be described as Pilates. I had tried to no avail to explain to my aunts what I do and what Pilates is … now I had something concrete to point to! It just goes to show- you are never to old for Pilates, and I hope my practice will prevent me from ever needing back surgery.
Needless to say during this trip home- none of my workouts were particularly great and the meals I ate were not what I would have chosen. But the important thing is – I made an effort to workout some and made the best choices I could for food. Sometimes that’s all you can do! Be adaptable and don’t beat yourself up or give up when the odds are stacked against your diet or exercise plan. My aunts were so appreciative I made the effort to fly out and visit and that’s worth an extra long, hard workout today.