Breathing Change

In the tenth grade, I was hospitalized for bronchial pneumonia. What I remember of the hospital stay is a persistent wondering:

why is my mother is stationed in my room watching soaps, and
why is the teenage boy from the down the hall sending me notes,

when there's a vast expanse of reading time lying before me on my adjustable bed?

Only occasionally did I give my mother a "turn off the television" look, and only once did I agree to meet the boy in the lounge. But romance in a time of congested lungs must surely be doomed; I would never again see the boy, whose pneumonia came about from lying drunk in a ditch. Hopefully he recovered, is doing well, and no longer going on dates wearing a blue and white gown.

After that time my illnesses would go to the lungs, as they say; moving to Michigan six years ago would not help my breathing any, as I picked up allergies to everything except an exotic grass that grows in Texas.

These factors surely contributed to my poor performance at aerobic exercise, but, too, I was out of shape for quite some time. I was skinny but not fit, early on; fat and not fit during the baby years; and strong without any endurance not too long ago, when I'd tell people my cardio workout came from lifting heavy weights. Look at my face after floor presses with 50s, I'd say. There's some cardio for ya!

And it was, but nothing like the boxing workouts I've survived these past couple of months. Heavy lifts, sprints, and boxing rounds are considered anaerobic activities, but boxing takes the cake. I've heard of 100-mile runners who try to go three minutes and collapse.

And certainly I was often on the brink. But somewhere around week 12 I started to notice something: I wasn't getting winded so soon. The stair runs, the mitt work--no heaving. I'm not saying it was easy; just a lot easier. I noticed progress I never really expected or allowed myself to hope for at my age. Tonight, I finished the hour of boxing and then went and did some hanging sit-ups for fun. I still had something left in me. Crazy.

All this to say that work pays off, and change is possible, so keep on keepin' on.


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