Since we’ve moved out to the burbs last year, I’ve spent a lot of time exploring all the great trails in our area, but I had yet to go for a run. With the crazy heat wave we’d been experiencing finally behind us, I thought I would get my first run in over two years under my belt this morning.
After lacing up my shoes, grabbing my iPhone and doing a quick bounce test to make sure my sports bra was still functional (it was – yay!), I hurried up and left before I had a chance to change my mind about it. After a minute or two of walking, I picked up the pace to a jog and was surprised that it still felt natural. And that my boobs were staying put. #SportsBraWin! After making it to the first red light, I was pretty excited that I managed to get that far without a break but happy to have a good excuse to stop for a few seconds.
It’s not always about the chase
I made my way to a nearby trail that loops around a small lake, excited that my lungs were allowing me to run this far! Sure, I used to be in much better shape before I had kids, but not long before that, the idea of running would have scared the shit out of me. I actually used to make fun of people who run. I didn’t understand why on earth anyone would run if they weren’t being chased!
Obviously I got past that, but it took A LOT to learn to run. And I use the words “learn to run” very loosely here. I’ve never trained for a very specific goal, unless you count running through the underground of Toronto’s financial district to catch a train after work. But there is something really rewarding about being able to run without a break even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Why I exercise
My reasons for running are pretty simple – I like running, even if it’s just in 30 second spurts, with some aggressive music blasting in my ears (the Foo Fighters were my tunes of choice this morning) to help me chill out a little bit. I know, that doesn’t sound relaxing, but I feel so much better after.
I realized this morning though that one thing has changed since the last time I ran. Up until recently, a big thing that I enjoyed about exercising was the idea of pushing myself, to try and achieve more than I did last time, to go faster, further, heavier. It used to drive me, inspire me, push me through moments that would have otherwise been unbearable. Which is kind of good I guess, but it used to be a fine line between betterment and punishment for me – a line that I have since redrawn with a big-ass permanent marker.
I don’t have time for injuries. I don’t have time to feel anything but my best – because let’s face it, when I’m short on sleep (which is often), my best isn’t anywhere close to awesome. My purpose for being fit has shifted too. While I used to view pushing myself further and further in a workout as a metaphor for what I could achieve in my life, seeing things that way just isn’t worth it anymore. I can accomplish all kinds of amazing things – and if I want a reminder, I just need to open my eyes and look around. These days, I want to be fit so that I’m capable of living the life I want. So that I can have the strength and energy to chase after my kids when they bolt on me at the playground (that happens a lot). To be fast enough to actually catch that bus that’s always 2 minutes ahead of schedule (damn you GO Transit!) and to carry whatever it is I need to haul somewhere (infant car seat anyone?). To clear my head, let go of my troubles if only for a few moments. To live in my body instead of my mind. To breathe.
Being fit and being kind to myself
So was I surprised today when after a few minutes of running my hip flexor started to hurt. No. I was just thrilled I could still run in the first place after such a long hiatus! Did I push myself to see if I could keep going? Hell no. And that’s the difference between my mentality now and what it was only a few years ago. As I walked the rest of the trail, stopping to stretch a few times along the way, I was really happy to realize that this drive I used to have to go beyond my limits had finally subsided. Although I may not be as fast or as strong as I once was, I think my state of mind is much healthier. Being fit is about knowing and respecting your body, not pushing until it breaks. My body has done some pretty amazing things for me, and it’s high that I return the favor.This post may contain affiliate links.
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