Some friends and I went snow shoeing the other day. Normally when I go snow shoeing, or hiking, I go alone, so going with three other people was an oddity for me. I was freaking out about how I was going to be the slowest, the least fit, the one panting for breath, the one struggling to get up the side of the mountain, the one holding every body else back, the one the others wished didn’t come.
I wanted to cancel.
But I didn’t.
I did, in the week leading up to the day, send joking type comments to our group chat about how I’d be the one left for the wild animals to eat if something starts hunting us. Things like that. We were all joking and teasing but my sub-text for those messages was to remind them I am not in as good of shape as they are. I wanted to lower their expectations of me.
Turns out I was actually fine. I was able to keep up, even led the group for part of the trail. I was pretty much matching them for fitness level, I think I was actually in better shape than one of them.
How in hell did that happen? I mean yeah I go the gym and I have my team practices (of which I had one that morning), but I am woefully out of shape.
The next day we are all messaging in our group chat and they are comparing sore thighs, and calves, and glutes, and hamstrings, and I’m silent because nothing hurts. I’m fine. And I don’t mean that in my defensive saying I am fine when I’m really not kind of way. I really am fine. Nothing hurts, nothing got pulled, I don’t feel like I need a rest day, or extra time to recover, I just went about my normal day and was fine. I did feel a bit hungrier than normal which was annoying…but that was the only thing I noticed.
This happens after my team practice, others will be talking about sore muscles, how tired they are, things like that, and usually I am silent because I don’t feel that pain or level of tired and I always assume it is because I am not working hard enough, not putting in as much of an effort as everyone else, not doing my technique properly and therefore not using my muscles the same way as everyone else. So as they are chatting about sore muscles an stuff I’m wondering if I did something wrong because I don’t feel like that but then I realized that it was freakin snow shoeing, there is no right or wrong way. We all did the same thing, went at the same pace, climbed the same distance.
How could I do that wrong, or not the same as the others?
I don’t think I could have…which means I am not sore not because I screwed up but because what? because my muscles are more used to working out? I’m in better shape than I thought? I’m not quite as much of a fat lazy slob as I think I am?
I’m not sure why, but it is something I keep thinking about.
Something else I noticed was just how differently I think about food, or not think about food I guess I should say.
All three of them brought snacks for the trail, they didn’t eat them but they brought them just in case. Which just confused me. Then, when we are back in the car and headed down the mountain they all pull out food and start eating and sharing and eating some more and I’m all “what the fuck? where did this food come from?”
And I mean serious levels of food! Cliff Bars, crackers, cheese, nuts, fruit, and more! They all offered to share with me but I didn’t want to eat so I used the excuse of wanting to keep my hands on the wheel while on the winter roads as a reason to not be eating.
Never, in all the planning for this day, did it ever cross my mind to take snacks, something that all three of them thought was a natural thing to do.
I figured since I had eaten something between my morning practice and going snow shoeing that would be my food for the day and I’d be good.
They all had breakfast, and lunch, those snacks, and dinner.
How in hell did they fit all that food in their bodies? And how are they all so much smaller than me when they eat so much?
I’m so confused.
I’m not upset by their eating, or by the realization that it never crossed my mind to bring food, it just sorta keeps popping up in my head as a thing to think about with wonder and confusion…like I’d glimpsed such a crazy alternate way of living I just keep thinking about it, not with judgement, just…thinking…