The Hatch-Palucks, Week 28: My Endorphin-Fueled Epiphany

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

amy hatch fitness photo

I only walked 1.75 miles, but I came a long way in terms of understanding why people love to exercise. Credit: Amy Hatch

My husband, Channing, and I celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary last week.

We didn't have time to go out for a fancy dinner, because our daughter, Emmie, also had her very first soccer game that evening. We did, however, go to the gym.

For about a month, we were working out together every Monday and Wednesday at the Activities and Recreation Center on the University of Illinois campus. Channing was swimming for 30 to 45 minutes in the pool there, while I would hit the treadmill.

Our groove was disrupted by a series of events both personal and professional, and, long story short, we hadn't exercised together for more than four weeks. Channing was much more conscientious about getting back on the workout wagon than I was, mostly because it was increasingly difficult for me to carve out time during my truncated work days -- I basically am able to work only from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., which are the hours Emmie is in school.

The rest of my work gets shoved into the corners of my days, wherever it fits. It was creeping into the hours I had previously set aside for exercise.

Then, our wedding anniversary fell on a Wednesday (April 13 to be exact, and yes, some years it does fall on a Friday), one of our designated workout/lunch-date days. I reluctantly agreed to join Channing at the ARC that day, only because we would otherwise not have had a quiet moment together until after the kids went to bed.


It was with creaking knees that I began my walk on the treadmill. I started really slow, but at least this time I had better tunes to motivate me. I made it through Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry" to Donna Summer's version of "McArthur Park" and by the time I got to Lily Allen's "LDN" I made a discovery.

I stumbled upon endorphins.

I started my walk worrying about a series of problems for which I had no creative solutions. I was feeling burnt out -- worn out, really -- from juggling all these different work projects and, then, coming home and resenting the way my kids swarmed me when I walked in the door.

There has been no breathing room for me, personally, over the last several weeks. I was running from meeting to phone call to job interview to media appearance and back again, and then I spent my remaining waking hours tending to my family.

Don't get me wrong -- being a wife and mother is very, very important to me. But when you're in the eye of the hurricane, sometimes it can look like there is no way through that wall of wind.

Suddenly, as I chewed on these thoughts, I found myself saying, "It will all be OK. This will all work out. It won't be like this forever, and I will find the right solution for me and my family."

Not normally a Little Miss Sunshine, I was astonished to find myself in such a sunny mental place. Then it dawned on me that I was sweating, my heart was pumping and I'd walked more than a mile at a 3.5-mph pace.

I was experiencing that Holy Grail of exercise.

Endorphins.

I kept going for about 15 more minutes after my epiphany, and it felt great. I get it now. I see why you'd rearrange your schedule to do this. I understand why people rise at 5 a.m. to go for a run (not that I'll be doing that).

What I will be doing, though, is chasing that amazing rush again, very, very soon.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.