Sunday, June 30, 2013

Fitness Check-in

I should preface this blog entry with three words: I hate running. The ironic thing is, running has changed my life and for that, I am forever grateful and must remain loyal to this form of exercise. Approximately two years ago, I decided to get serious about setting some fitness goals and actually stick with them. It wasn't necessarily about losing a certain amount of weight or changing my diet entirely, but about making smarter eating choices, controlling food amounts, and most importantly, establishing a regular exercise routine. I started one May afternoon running as many laps as I could around the track outside of school. I remember just about dying but that I covered exactly one mile according to my Nike Plus App and iPod. We all have to start somewhere, right? From that day forward, I continued to return to that track and run lap after lap. Eventually, I built up to two miles, and then finally three. By the time I reached three miles, I joined the YMCA and continued on my fitness journey. Eventually, I was training for a 7-mile run and couldn't believe the progress I have made in what seems like such a short amount of time. Admittedly, I have had my ups and downs when it comes to working out--especially when the school year is crazy busy, Dj is traveling, the kids have a hundred things going on, and I am exhausted. Despite the struggle, I have committed myself to continue on this path and it has become a habit that I am proud of. I started out playing the comparison game. If I was as skinny as this person, then I would feel good about myself. Or, if I was as muscular as this person, I would be completely happy. The thing is, no matter how "thin" I have been in the last two years, there are days when I feel unhappy. There are days when things just don't fit right or I can't find anything to wear. We all have our insecurities and I have my fair share. But things started to change when I stopped comparing myself to others and their bodies. Once I realized that my body is MINE and that I have to work out a certain way or accept my curves for what they are, I became so much happier. It wasn't about what size she was wearing vs. me. It was about doing my own thing and finding happiness in my own accomplishments. And that is what fitness goals are all about--finding that place where we can accept ourselves and our bodies yet challenging ourselves when we want to see certain results. It is about working hard and celebrating the small and the large victories as they come. So I guess I was a little surprised to see 818 miles show up on my Nike Plus App today when I was syncing my iPod...two years--818 miles--SAY WHAT? This is huge and yet, I shouldn't be terribly surprised. I have covered a lot of mileage. I do run quite a bit. This is a moment I must cherish. Yet, despite my victory, I have a lot of summer and a lot of running left to do. I have committed to an 8K at the end of this month--I have set a long-term goal of running the Rock-n-Roll half marathon by next June--I didn't reach the goal this year, so it's still something I would like to accomplish before I am too old and my knees decide they don't like this running business anymore LOL. Running has changed my life. I am thinner, I feel better, I feel stronger, and I feel empowered. I get to listen to kick ass music everyday. I wear smaller clothes; I have special fitted soles & shoes that are making a big difference--these are little things, but important. There are days when I feel sluggish and tired and worn out--but I return to the pavement or that treadmill to make sure I am running at least a couple of miles...because I am committed--and because we are old friends. This form of exercise is awesome, but it's not the only thing that keeps me entertained. Running can get that's why I add in strength training classes, Jillian Michaels DVDs, kickboxing classes, sometimes Yoga, and hopefully this Friday, a Barre class. I throw in races now and again just to make sure I am training and setting certain distance goals--it's not about time--just the # of miles. So the running and working out continues. It is not easy and there are many days that I would rather just not exercise and wish that my body would remain in the same shape even without sweating. But, as my serious swimming students tell me, it takes only three days to get out of shape--and that statement haunts me often. Alas, I run on and have hope that it will continue to nourish my body & soul in ways that I can only begin to describe.