Running in circles.

I am no fitness buff. Oh, sure. I played basketball in high school and spent many, MANY a night in university dancing up a storm.  In combination with some of the worst eating habits ever known, you get an out of shape 23-year old woman with gall stones. On top of that, due to a basketball injury, you have a 23-year old woman with an impending gallbladder surgery undergoing major knee surgery mere months later. All of these factors should have combined to do nothing but be a further detriment to my health; however, thanks mostly to one very determined and honest physiotherapist (as well as my wonderful boyfriend, family & friends), I turned my health around. After the initial grueling months of physio just trying to get my range of motion back, my PT put me on a stationary bike to test my cardio. He returned 15 minutes later, took one look at me, checked my heart rate and quietly exclaimed, “I have 65-year olds in here that are in better shape than you.”  WHAM. Right to the jugular.

I made a very conscious decision that day. The time for stupidity was over: I lived like a complete glutton long enough and it was time to grow up. I mean, who wants to be 23, gallbladder-less and compared unfavourably to a 65-year old? My PT helped me strengthen myself physically & mentally. In the last month, he got me on the treadmill. I loathed running. LOATHED. It was the activity I hated the most in junior high. I had no stamina. I thought it was boring. I just did. Not. Like. It. Also, I was kind of terrified. My knee was just feeling right again: what if I fell and messed it up all over again? Ultimately, I decided that my PT knew best and that I should just go for it. Lo and behold,  MUCH to my shock, I enjoyed running on a treadmill. It was difficult, but I liked the challenge. I liked that I could pace myself, that I could see the calorie count racking up, that I knew exactly how much longer I had to go. Mostly, though, I loved how I felt afterward: I was energized and exhausted at the same time, the endorphins running rampant, triumphing over achy muscles.

Fast forward to 2008: I am in much better shape, cooking at home much more and getting a decent amount of daily exercise walking the dog. But I’m now getting married in 10 months and a) want to look and feel great and b) need to be able to burn off the impending stress. So I sign up for a gym membership and restart my relationship with the treadmill. Over the course of 10 months, I hit that thing 2-3 times a week, roughly 20 minutes at a time, and I feel freaking amazing. Granted, I overdid it a bit and the likelihood that I’ll ever be as mini as I was after all that time is, well, nil. But, importantly, I learned that exercise made me feel great. I now run twice a week at a friend’s gym and we have set up a great system: run once during the week and again on the weekend. We encourage each other, support each other and, when it’s clearly necessary, we give each other a break. Sometimes that glass of wine and sushi with a good friend is more beneficial than sweating it out at the gym.

My problem is that once I hit my target, the “MAN, these jeans look fantastic” look, I slack off.  I push myself less, I indulge in unhealthier food, all the while quite conscious that I am sliding down that slope back to a place I don’t really want to be. I don’t need to be skinny: I need to be healthy. I don’t weigh myself regularly. I tend to go my the fit of my clothes as a guide. As always, within two weeks of falling off the (treadmill) wagon, I haul myself back up and resolve not to slack off again. I wonder if it’s because I know that I can get back into shape relatively quickly – within 2-3 weeks – that I let myself go. “Ah, I’ll get to it,” kind of thinking. I have less energy when I don’t run, my clothes don’t fit as well and I just…I feel wrong. I think it’s okay to skip the gym every once in a while, but I allow it to go on too long. Ultimately, the sore muscles feel better than knowing I’m doing myself a disservice, even if it allows to me hang out on my awesome, giant couch.

I have returned to my more healthy ways.  I am motivated not only by my own health, but I see the progress of others and know that I should be able to do the same.  Keeping track of my exercise – whether it’s a solid run or a leisurely walk with the pooch through the neighbourhood – has been a big help. I get weekly emails with a full tally of the distance I’ve traveled, the time spent doing it, and the calories I burned off in the process. Occasionally my knee keeps me from getting those endorphins going, which is terribly frustrating. But it is straight up, occasional exercise apathy that keeps me from maintaining what I feel is my ideal weight. Fortunately, I have an excellent running partner who keeps dragging my butt back into the gym (and sometimes I drag hers, too). I’m hoping that by acknowledging this pattern on behaviour, I can change it. This whole running in circles thing is getting ridiculous.

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~ by foodNURD on July 28, 2010.

3 Responses to “Running in circles.”

  1. Mutual butt-draggery FTW!

    Also: best blog illustration EVAR.

  2. I can certainly attest that all of your hard work and dedication has paid off. You’ve never looked better. Go you!!!

  3. Keep rockin’ it sistah! One day I need to crash you two-some running and make it 3 🙂

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