Friday, April 22, 2011

A matter of perspective,or it's all relative

As I was leaving the gym this morning at 6:30, after running 3.5 miles and doing a weight routine, I first thought "I wish I could convince myself to do something really crazy hard (to me anyway), like run a marathon or go vegan for a month, just because."

Then I thought, "Most of the people I know think I am already doing crazy stuff for getting up at 5 AM to go to the gym."

Nowadays, I don't think I am crazy for doing such stuff, because one of my cousins has decided to train for an ultramarathon (for more about his running and training, check out his blog), and his brother was almost a Navy Seal and loves Crossfit and working out until he thinks he is going to die, as does their sister's husband (who was also in the Marines and served more than once in Afghanistan). But if last January, when I was first trying to get more exercise and had just started getting up at the early hour of 5:45,  you had told me that I would get up at 5 to go to the gym 3 or 4 days a week, and that it wouldn't feel like enough, I would have thought you were crazy.

I have never really thought of myself as athletic, although one of my favorite activities is hiking, and I love playing volleyball, racquetball and tai chi. I always thought of myself as sort of lazy, physically, not able to really push myself. I am not sure where this came from, except that I guess I bought into the idea at some point that I was more of a bookish nerd than an athlete. I didn't fit in with the athletic kids at school, and I wasn't very good at team sports (partly a problem with being told what to do and getting blamed when the team does poorly, partly I am just a really bad loser - although I am getting better at that). It isn't that I didn't have any role models - my dad played lots of sports while he was growing up and he was always there to play frisbee or go swimming or bike riding or hiking with me, and my mom's dad was a champion football player and track athlete in college, who was playing golf until about a month before he died. He and my grandmother also both hiked the Grand Canyon - after they retired. And even my mom, who I don't think of as liking to exercise that much, was on all the early hikes and bike trips, and spends hours gardening.

Now, as I work on being more mindful and treating myself and others with loving-kindness, I am finally shedding that damaging self-judgment and becoming more fully who I am meant to be. A defiant athlete (who happens to like reading books, a lot of books). It feels amazing.


Shane said...

I love the fact that you're shedding your self judgement because I really believe that's something that holds us all back. Self acceptance is a hard habit to make. What would you think are the key factors in shedding your self judgement?

Beckie said...

I love that you are challenging yourself. (Plus, it's awesome that you are another one of the crazies like me who gets up early to exercise.)

Since you ran 3.5 today, I'd try and do a 10K. That's a hard race and a tough one. I'm gonna do a half in a couple months, then hopefully a full marathon in November. If I can do it, so can you!

Hope said...

Shane - I have been reading a lot of great blogs about self-acceptance, mindfulness, and meditation. All of those contribute, as well as my very Daoist philosophy professor husband. And getting older and realizing that I don't have to keep feeling as awkward and annoying as I did in junior high.

Beckie - 10K huh? I'll think about it. I was actually thinking more about a 5K, since my morning run is not full running the whole time - intervals on the treadmill.

And getting up early to exercise is awesome (when I don't just fall back asleep) - I get to feel proud of myself, get the exercise high, and I can feel smug, even as I am eating the Easter brownies in the break room at work!

Anonymous said...

I think you know my answer to the "should I do a marathon?" question :) Realistically, however, I think the best way to do is build up -- 5K, 10K, half-, full marathon. That's how I did it, and it not only helped with scaling up my training schedule and physical endurance, but scale up my confidence as well. After doing a 5K, I knew I could do a 10K, but a half-marathon was a stretch. After doing a 10K, I knew I could do a half-marathon, but a marathon still sounded impossible. After the half . . . Well, you get the pattern. And it wasn't until after my second marathon that I decided I wanted to tackle a 50K.

Hope said...

That seems like sound advice. And there are a lot more 5k races out there than anything else. I printed out the forms for two - maybe I can get Benjamin to go too. He's faster than I am though, and better built for distance.