Thursday, September 26, 2013

Remember Where You Came From

Today I want to take a walk down memory lane and look at why and when I started my fitness journey. I haven't been in the mood to do any of the things I love lately and I think looking back at why I started this lifestyle will be the motivation I need to pick it back up.
The first time I ever walked into a weight room was at 18. I was a freshman in college and the gym on campus was designed for women (I went to an all-girls college.) My roommate and I said lets go ride the bikes. That's where it all started. We would spend an hour on the bikes then get ready for our next class. This wasn't a sweat inducing workout at all...I mean we texted and watched TV the whole time. Then one day I went in and it was empty; just me. So instead of getting on the bike I decided to do some basic crunches and free weight squats. This is where my love for the gym come in. College was stressful enough, with 2 jobs it was almost unbearable. So to get some "me" time and release some stress, I would hit the gym. I would go at 1AM when I finished my last shift or get up at 5AM to make it to the gym before the day started. I loved it. I think I would have been less relaxed if the gym had been co-ed. I know even my first time stepping into a gym with men there was intimidating and I had been lifting over a year at that point. When I moved to Iowa, my love for lifting only grew stronger. I still love going into the gym. Pushing myself beyond what I think I can do will never get old and seeing how much my body has changed in just a few years is astonishing.
But a girl can't just lift right? So what was my next big adventure in this fitness journey?
What have I been missing for 19 years of my life. Why didn't anybody tell me how perfect running is? It's a shame I went so long without knowing what it feels like to be in the moment of pure bliss. This is how I feel when I run. Where did this start you may ask? Well one cold rainy morning, I set my alarm earlier than usual. For whatever reason, I rolled out of bed, put on the only pair of tennis shoes I had and hit the door.
Believe it or not, I used to say this ALL the time. And I meant it. That one day changed it all. And it was awful. The whole entire MILE I ran was slow, cold with a lot of walking. And you wanna know what, I really have improved that much since then. I know I know I'm not giving myself credit. That very first mile last about 18 minutes. And for someone who never ran a day in their life, I thought that was amazing. Over the last 2 1/2 years, I have bought actual running shoes, a GPS watch, an arm band for my phone and sports bras. I know these things don't make a person a runner but for me these things help me run better. I have slowly increased my mileage over this time span...from one mile to 3 or 4 miles. I'm not a distance runner...yet. Trust me, this post already makes me want to get out there and log a good 10 miles. I love running. I love races because the moment you cross that finish line is a feeling that only a runner can describe. Running never takes more than it gives and it requires no special skills or equipment. Running is running. As humans, we are built to run. I think a lot of people forget that or fail to realize it. I know I did for 19 years. All it takes is that 1st step out the door and you're hooked. I know there are some days when stepping out that door feels just as hard as it did the 1st time I did it. I also know that there have been a few miles that felt exactly as daunting as that very first one but as runners we keep going. We learn to analyze what went wrong, what we could have done better and then just leave it. When we hit the pavement, we give it our very best and then leave it on the pavement when we're done.I have a feeling 5AM runs need to start happening more often.

Ok so we have weight lifting, running....what else can you do? What more do you want to put your body through? This last thing is my reward to my body. It is my way of saying thank you for all that you have do and will do. This wonderful thing I'm talking about it yoga. I remember the very first time I stepped into the only hot yoga studio in Cedar Falls IA. My friend had asked me to join her for a yoga class. Why not? I had always done light stretching for lifting and running but an actual class. What could it hurt? Plus the 1st time was I wasn't losing anything if I didn't like it. What my friend had failed to mention was I would be in what felt like a 2x4 box with other people in a 105 degree room. I was shocked and thought "OH HELL NO!" Little did I know that I would find more peace within myself in that one hour that I have ever in my life. I felt every ounce of stress, pain and worry melt off my skin just like butter...because I know butter would melt in that room really fast! :)
AND I WAS HOOKED. It's funny how all these things are addicting. The endorphins are like a fix that you have to have all the time. Yoga is that fix for me. After lifting and running, the best way I can repay my body is melting into my yoga mat and deep breathing until everything is all ok again. Yoga has helped me in so many ways, with little worries to major life decisions. I know when I need the answer to something, I just have to roll out my yoga mat and go to that place where it all makes sense. I've moved away from the hot yoga studio, the price is a little too steep for me. But I have moved it into my living room where I grow stronger and experiment with what I can do. I love yoga so much I have Namaste tattooed on my spine to remind me that I am one with the universe and everyone in it.

All these milestones in my life have lead me to this. I haven't ran since the Warrior July. Part of the reason is because I didn't train/hydrate/prepare for that race to be as intense as it was. I was dehydrated and delusional by the end of the race and I knew I would need time to recover. Now I'm recovered (have been for a while) and just can't seem to hop back into it.
I haven't lifted in three months (SAD SAD SAD.) My gym membership ran out and I just haven't gotten a new one. This def. needs to happen sooner than later.
Yoga: Oh my sweet yoga! This  is one thing I haven't abandoned. I do this as often as I can and especially whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed.

So this is my journey. And I know it will continue, I have no doubt about that. I love fitness way too much to ever give it up! We're just going through a rough patch right now, a breathing period if I can. :)

Unrelated news: I start fertility testing on Monday. Fingers crossed all goes well.

Question of the day: When was a major fitness milestone for you?


  1. aww what a great story!! its so important to look back, see how far you've come and remember that its a journey, not a quick destination type trip :) everybody goes through down swings with their fitness routine, you'll get back into it. at least you've kept up the yoga- thats everything right there! in about a week i'll have done barre consistently for exactly a year, and im pretty psyched about that milestone :)

    1. Congrats on the milestone! I really need to get on the Barre train sooner than later! It was amazing :) And to me, yoga is everything. :D

  2. amazing! i love this perspective and i feel the same.
    great blog!