It’s Monday and that means STORY TIME!!! We usually do the whole Marathon Monday thing but since I am currently not training for anything and had an entire week of doing absolutely nothing but eating, we are going to skip it. I’ve actually been meaning to write this post for a while because I like sharing all parts of my journey and not just the ‘training’ part of it. It’s great that I write recaps and record my weeks of workouts but there’s a lot more behind why I do what I do.
I honestly don’t know what triggered the beginning of my exercising journey. I played no sports in high school, dreaded gym class, and much preferred reading over breaking any sort of sweat. When I started going to university, I had full access to a pretty sweet gym/training centre and it so happened that on some days, I had a lot of time in between classes. For some very strange reason I thought it might be a cool idea to try working out and kill some time. I was scared of all the fancy machines so I would just run laps around the track until I got tired or use the stair master because that was basic enough. Exercising was just exercising, nothing more. It still didn’t excite me but I didn’t absolutely hate it either. It just became a part of my schedule.
Fast forward a few years….and somewhere along the way exercise became everything. I got a gym membership once I was done school and sweating was something I needed to do at least six days a week. I would feel like my day was ruined if I didn’t get the chance to sweat. I remember when I used to wake up at the crack of dawn, take the bus to the subway station (I didn’t have my car yet), take the subway downtown (where my gym was), exercise for about two hours and then take the subway all the way back uptown to work. By the time I got to work I had already been up exercising and commuting for at least four hours. I wasn’t training for anything. I ran 6 miles on the treadmill and spent an hour on the bike every day. I was just going to the gym for the sole purpose of burning calories and getting skinny.
At some point along the way I switched focus and I wanted muscles and abs so I started doing things like pretending to lift heavy weights and eating things that bodybuilders eat. Egg whites, chicken, fish, cauliflower mash (no matter what people tell you, it does not taste the same as mashed potatoes), protein pudding, Quest bars…you name it. I wanted to look like a fitness model and wear a sports bra and tiny shorts and not have anything jiggle.
Well that didn’t last long. Something eventually clicked and I asked myself what the heck I was doing. Why was I putting myself through workouts I hated? What did I love doing? So I started running again and discovered I was kind of good at it. Sure, I had some bumps along the way – minor injuries, small periods of down time/loss of motivation, doubt in my direction and abilities, etc. But I finally enjoyed something and found purpose in my workouts. I train to get better, faster, and more confident. I want to get to Boston and I will bust my ass until it happens. I train hard. I run. I cross train when I feel like it. I take rest days. I eat whatever I want (within reason…usually). I’m happy.
My goals are now related to ability and performance versus aesthetics. I want to remember all the times I crossed finish lines, not the times I fit into size 00 jeans. I want to remember being paced by friends during a marathon, not doing everything in my power to try and be skinnier than all my friends. I want to remember how hard I worked to get to Boston, not how hard I worked to deplete myself. And I want to remember eating delicious meals, not forcing tasteless and calorie-less food down my throat just to have abs. I may not be the skinniest or the most shredded anymore, but I am sure as hell that I am happier than ever before.
And I’m not hating on people who find joy in doing the things I don’t like doing or eating things I don’t like eating. Everyone has their passions and works towards goals that are important to them. I respect and admire those who have discipline in areas that I do not. I’m just saying that for me, my reasons for exercising no longer have to do with what it makes me look like. That has taken a backseat and I have chosen to focus my energy on the way exercising makes me feel and how every run, every workout takes me one step closer to my goal.
Not THAT was a wordy post. Like always, thanks for reading my rambles. I think it’s important to share stuff like this sometimes. Maybe I’m wrong. Who knows!! Either way, have a great Monday!!!