Recently I have been reading the book Tudors: The History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I by Peter Ackroyd. It is all about one of my favorite time periods in history and full of gory details about how people of the “wrong” religious faith at this time in England were tortured and put to death. It goes into great detail about the cantankerous Henry VIII and his whims. It details how his daughter, Elizabeth I, could not let down her guard lest she lose her power and her crown. For my Candy Heart Writing 2017 post, I’m going to connect two hearts I pulled out of the bag — NOT NOW and TRUE LOVE — with some of what I am reading about, especially as it pertains to Elizabeth. First, there were two great dilemmas that Elizabeth faced as queen: (1) whom should she marry? and (2) what should she do with her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots? When she first became queen, Elizabeth’s courtiers urged her to marry, promoting a match with the king of Spain and also with a duke of France. She would frequently put off discussions of the topic of her marriage by essentially saying to her council and Parliaments, “Not now!” (As in, “I don’t want to discuss it!”) Additionally, she would instead say something to the effect that the country of England was her “true love,” and that she was wedded to the country and its people. Marrying another, she argued, would distract her from her true purpose, which was to live long to serve and guide her people. As mentioned, Elizabeth’s cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, was caught numerous times conspiring against Elizabeth to seize the crown of England, to unite the crowns of Scotland and England. Elizabeth’s cabinet approached her, asking what to do with Mary? Should they execute her? Elizabeth answered again, “Not now,” until she could put off the decision no longer. Finally, after eighteen years, Elizabeth had Mary executed. If you enjoy learning about the exploits of Henry VIII or reading about strong women in history, this is the book for you.
Why? Why is today going to be so awesome? And, you might be asking yourself, how can you know this when it is not even nine o’clock in the morning? Here’s why:
(Some backstory . . . ) I have been trying to get healthier since June 9 of this year. Over the summer I gave up Diet Coke (and all the caffeine that comes with it!), and I started jogging. I wake up at 5 a.m. in the morning and I go out with Mrs. Olivolo about three days a week. After a bout of shin splints earlier this year that left me stationary for three weeks (see this blog post and scroll down to Random Thought #5 where I complained), I haven’t quite been able to get back to the level I was at before my injury. But today I had a breakthrough!
Mrs. Olivolo and I run a 1.25 mile loop through my neighborhood twice, so we run a total of about 2.5 miles when we go out. For the last ¼ mile, we are running on an incline. Additionally, for the last ¼ of that, we run up a very steep hill. At no time have I ever been able to jog up this hill without having to stop and walk. Never ever. Even walking up the hill makes my heart rate speed up and my breathing to get heavier. Today was different, though. I was feeling good all throughout our run, and when we got to the steepest part of our run, well, I just kept going! My leg muscles began to burn, and my breathing became labored, but I. Just. Kept. Going. Even when my brain was thinking to itself, “You can’t do this,” I ignored it and kept moving my feet. Making it up the hill was an awesome achievement that I unlocked, but it get’s better . . . because I DID IT AGAIN! When we made it to the peak, we stopped to walk and to catch our breaths, and then we began the second circuit of our loop. Still feeling good, I decided to make a go of it a second time . . . so, yep, two times today I made it up that steep hill without stopping to walk.
I can’t tell you how awesome I feel! It makes me feel better, too, because Mrs. Olivolo, a few other teachers here at school, and I are going to run in a Ragnar relay race later on this school year (in the spring). I feel like I am the weakest link in our relay, but maybe not? If I keep pushing on, I’ll be a worthy team member, for sure.
(I also feel great because I managed to stop at Sprouts yesterday to get fresh turkey and ham for a nice sandwich today at lunch. I also bought a garden salad to eat as a side. It is always awesome when I have a lunch I can look forward to while I am at work.)
Why is today going to be a good day for you? OR, how was this a good day (if you are reading this at the end of your day)?