I have been wanting to type up a formal introductory / about me post for quite some time now, as my blog shifts in to that of a lifestyle blog. As my 32nd birthday came to pass last month, it was a great time for reflection on my fitness journey and how it has changed tremendously over the last year.
In March of 2014 (coincidentally, my 31st birthday) I set out to run a 25K race (a 15.5 mile race, partially roads, mostly trail that particular race). It had been a brutal winter, weather wise. Through the course of the late autumn and winter seasons, I woke up a few times per week, layered up, and then layered up again, to put miles on the pavement to train.
[photo above, obviously, pre-race, ha!]
After having three babies in four years, I desired to feel strong again, and be confident in my body image. Putting those layers on and running in temperatures that many times were darn near 0° F made me feel like I was strong. But truth be told, I was weak. I was eating way too much sugar during each day, probably way too much fried food, and my body did not feel physically strong to me and jiggled in too many places, and created a negative body image. And it just wouldn’t go away. I knew my heart and lungs were becoming stronger because of the training, but my mentality and my body weren’t.
Approximately nine or ten miles into the race, my mental game completely crumbled. I stopped at the top of an intense hill and gave myself about thirty seconds to let out an ugly cry and decide if I would keep going, or not. I decided not. Right in that moment I decided that I had nothing to prove to anyone but myself and I wanted nothing more to do with that particular challenge. I made it to the upcoming aid station, handed a race official my bib, and burst in to tears. I think that they were tears of relief, more than anything. I realized during that race that ultra-running is not “my thing”.
I started lifting that month. On a good week, I was able to find motivation to get to the gym three to four times a week and head outside for the occasional three mile run, or so. There were some not-so-good weeks, too. Weeks with one or two workouts. But, I was seeing progress. My body was feeling and looking stronger little by little. With each lift session, I was becoming stronger physically and mentally.
When I handed my bib in on that sunny, but chilly, March day, I made a commitment to ME, that I would go in to the gym and move heavy things. Heavier than the last time or one more rep than yesterday. My commitment to train three to four times a week turned in to five days per week and then six days per week, with a day to allow my body to rest and recover.
A full year later, I look stronger, and I feel stronger. I don’t care what size my pants are. The “mush” is turning to muscle mass, and I am finally running faster during cardio workouts.
I have become more aware of my food choices. I am making choices that help me recover from today’s workout, and better fuel tomorrow’s, all while allowing myself occasional indulgences and refusing to restrict any certain type of food. I didn’t (don’t) do a fad diet. I didn’t go carb free. I’m not on a juice cleanse, and there’s no such thing as #whole30 in my vocabulary.
What I am doing is getting OUT OF BED EARLY and choosing dumbbells over my pillow. I am lifting all the heavy things (well, heavy-to-me things). I am making sure I make healthy choices to promote health and muscle growth, and I am listening to my body when I have cravings.
I have a long way to go. But I am confident that I will get there and that this is a lifestyle, not a temporary fix. And, I don’t get these workouts in because I am a stay-at-home-mom. I get them in because I get up at 4:00 AM. [I wrote more on how I stay motivated to keep up this habit, here.]
I find my motivation in being better than me. Better today than I was yesterday. I find my motivation in three boys. Three boys. I cannot take it lightly that God, in His infinite wisdom, chose to give me these three boys to raise in to young men. In to warriors for his army. If I am going to keep up, and ENJOY keeping up, I need to be strong while I am able. This body God has given is a temple, and right now, it is disease and handicap free and I am going to be a steward of that incredible blessing.
side note: while this is not a post about running or trail-racing, I can say that the shoes I used for training were fabulous “door to trail” shoes [by that I mean, you can run on pavement or trail]; Salomon Women’s XR Mission W Trail Running Shoe.