Thursday, September 4, 2014

When Life Gets In The Way, It's Best To Just Go With It.

On August 7, 2014 Hawaii’s Big Island braced for the arrival of Hurricane Iselle. For those of us living on the island’s eastern shore, we were especially worried, as we would take the first hit. Checking the NOAA website to see the eye of Iselle was aimed directly at my area of Puna, I finished up criss-crossing all the windows with duct tape and moving as many objects to higher shelves and rafters as would fit. I packed the car for escape in case that need arose. I felt protected somewhat by the cliff at my yard’s end that put my house about 25 feet above the ocean’s surface, that is until the first 25-foot-plus wave came right over it and hit the house. It was 4 hours before Iselle was ready to land, but the ocean had breached the cliffs already. I jumped in the car and headed for a friend’s house 7 miles up the mountain.

The next morning a normally 15 minute drive took more than an hour, with hundreds of trees, snapped power poles and wires blocking roads. When I did get home, thousands of rocks and enormous boulders covered my lawn, right up to my house. The cliff had collapsed and the debris thrown through the air, somehow miraculously sparing my windows. My neighbors were not so lucky.

The weeks following, with electricity, phone and internet down, it was a trial of clean up and hunting down people in person — no one was available by phone — who could fix things that I could not. Fitness took a back seat, physically exhausting as it was to try and get things back to “normal.” Deciding to go for a run a week into it, I didn’t get far as wires were still down and lots of debris waited to trip up pedestrians.

Friends actually agonized over the interruption in their fitness routine, irrationally believing their muscles were going to atrophy if they didn’t get back to the gym. This stress only added to their hurricane clean-up problems, and knowing my own limits, I refused to worry about it. I’d get back to fitness when the long days and physically challenging work of clean up were behind me. Sometimes life gets in the way, so having a rational, balanced attitude about your fitness regimen is important to your mental state. During this time I also comfort-ate, something new for me. It felt good to dig into the ice cream, chips, and whatever else I wanted for the two weeks it took to repair and clean. But once things were caught up and I wasn’t so stressed, I stopped running to the supermarket for my fix.