A few weeks ago, over lunch, Mrs Hempel told me that it in order to receive the maximum stress relieving benefits from exercise you have to pant. Not breathe heavily but pant.
“What? Like a dog?” I enquired.
“Yes, like this” she explained and demonstrated panting into her haloumi.
Since that fateful lunch date I have pondered panting, and (coincidentally) become extremely stressed.
Aside from the obvious exercise that involves panting; I have been running.
Lots of panty, pant, panty….. running (actually, if I’m honest it’s more like jogging).
And it is not just me, since Dashkin slipped his 3 year old feet into his new red running shoes (thank you big sister Nina) he has been sprinting thither and yon.
This boy can run. “Good Job Mama!”“ You are so fast Dash” and other such motivational slogans rang out as we held hands and sped through the Botanical Gardens, down Tinakori road, up Hill Street, over the motorway bridge and down to the market. I pulled out a sweaty five dollar bill from the back of my running shorts and treated the young master to a celebratory croissant (and yes, I realize how incredibly white middle class that sounds).
Running with my son is wonderful. Stress? schmess!
I woke up this morning feeling very sad about my darling Dad and decided I needed to run for the hills. I needed some time to think, to reflect and to have a bit of a cry, once the sunglasses were on and my cap pulled low I jogged out (to quote Iron Maiden) some “pain and misery”.
Past the newly blooming Magnolia tree, past the man sleeping off the excesses of the night before, past the huge statue of Seddon, down into the city and along the waterfront. The morning was glorious, I quickly found my rhythm and ran out to Point Jerningham and then up the crisscross trails to the top of Mount Victoria. Pant? Did I ever. I loved sucking in great lung fulls of air and I thought about how lucky I am to be able to do so.
Mum and Dad came around for lunch and after the salad had settled we took a stroll around the Gardens. Dash wanted to show them the big blue slide and of course how fast he could run. Dad’s liver is so swollen now it is pressing on his lungs (well this is how explained it to me) and making breathing difficult. “ I’m only at 50% girl and my thigh muscles are giving me hell”.
Dash sprinted off ahead but seeing his grandfather walking slowly he ran back took his hand and said “ Don’t worry John- John I’ll help you, just take a deep breath and go slowly”.
The park benches have taken on a new poignancy ; each slated seat donated by someone’s grieving family, brass plaques embossed with messages of remembrance. As I read my eyes fill with tears, “There is a D for Dashkin and a J for John-John !” my son says picking out letters he recognizes as Dad and I warm oursleves in the Winter sun.