I ran my first half marathon almost 2 years go. I’m not sure why I did it, other than a friend asked me if i wanted to. I said yes because I couldn’t think of a good enough reason to say no.
Little did I know when i said yes to that adventure, I was saying yes to a full-on lifestyle change. I’ve always considered myself an active person. I love the outdoors, hiking, going for walks, etc. but life didn’t always make an active life easy. Crazy full-time jobs. An energy-sucking pregnancy. Ambitious house renovations. I can admit that sometimes, even with the best intensions, the couch was more appealing at the end of a long day.
While life still doesn’t always make exercise a priority, I know its up to me to make sure it happens. Some of the reasons I workout are silly, some are more serious, but at the end of the day, I know there are a million good reasons I should be moving my body and I still can’t really think of a good enough reason to say no. This is why I workout:
So I might be having a little bit of a “fear of missing out” moment when it comes to working out. I have some pretty amazing friends who go on some pretty amazing adventures. I want to be able to go and i want to be able to keep up. I want to be able to climb that 14er with everyone or make it to the hut without holding the group back. I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have friends who push me to be the healthiest person i can and experience things others can only imagine.
I run most of my races with two of my best friends from college. the last race we did was through a canyon in moab. what do most people do on girls weekends? spas? wine tasting? not us. we run 13.1 miles through the desert. staying in touch with your college friends years later is a gift, but having those friends to make you better, to laugh with when it hurts, is a blessing. I workout to be able to do the same thing for them.
2. I am a work in progress
I used to be so mean to myself when it came to running. no time was good enough, every distance was too short. but then i realized something: there are enough people out there to be mean to you. It's up to you to be your own biggest cheerleader. If you celebrate every time you go for a run, no matter how far, or every time you make it to barre class, it’s WAY more enjoyable. I firmly believe in the idea that you are lapping everyone sitting on a couch somewhere, even if you just go around the block. Celebrate that!
Working out is still hard. Runs are still absolutely exhausting. But if I look back to where I was two years ago when I said yes to that race, I have come so far. I am so much stronger. And I am, and always will be, a work in progress.
3. it's ok to be selfish
Sometimes I feel selfish when it comes to making time to workout. I’ve always subscribed to the idea that saying yes to something means saying no to something else and I hate the feeling of putting my time ahead of anyone else’s. I’m extremely lucky to be married to someone who supports my work out time and he makes it possible. But If being selfish means making my health a priority, then I think more people should be selfish.
One of the biggest lessons I learned having a child is that you have to take care of yourself to be able to take care of anyone else. It’s not a natural feeling, but if i want to keep up with Mason as he gets faster and faster and be able to hold him when he needs to snuggle, I have to work for that. If that means running and lifting weights to be there for my kiddo, i can’t think of a better reason. Also, every time he sees me lace up my running shoes he sees me choosing to be healthy. I can only hope he lives a healthy, active life, and I’m choosing to teach him by example. I always think of the phrase “little eyes are watching” and with this one, and I hope he is.
I feel like the simple, “selfish”, act of choosing me, is me choosing everyone I care about.
4. my mental health depends on it
Mental health is something that a lot of people don’t feel comfortable talking about, yet most people have dealt with at some point or another. I’ve struggled with depression most of my life to varying degrees and now know that as much as working out is good for my body, it’s just as important to my mental health. Running is my time to clear my head, to get it all out and leave nothing behind. There’s something about the most exhausting part of your day being the most peaceful part. I get to know me again and I feel like clarity is restored. They say the person who starts the race is not the same person who finishes the race, and I find that true with every run, always for the better.
5. god gave me the ability.
If you’ve ever loved someone dealing with physical pain, who couldn’t run if their life depended on it, you know how hard it is to watch. God gave me a body that is able to push itself and do amazing things. I run because I can and I run for everyone who can’t. Health is a gift that i never want to take for granted. It’s a strange analogy, but I feel like every workout I do is an investment in my future. I want to always be active and enjoy life to the fullest and if that means saying yes to crazy races, then I will every time.