It’s another Motivation Monday! I hope you had a great weekend! In addition to the busy Saturday that I told you about yesterday, I also ran another half marathon yesterday! As I’ve mentioned, I select my “A” races carefully and give them my all, but yesterday’s Dallas Running Club Half was not an “A” race since I just had one last weekend. However, that didn’t mean that I didn’t try hard, and have a blast!
Despite not wanting to get out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, and REALLY not wanting to get out of the warm car to get started with the race, I made my way through a 1 mile warm up jog and got in line at the start. The race turned out a bigger crowd than I had expected, but it was very well-organized, and there were plenty of port-o-potties at the start, plenty of water stops, and great volunteer support throughout the course.
I started with the 1:40 pace group, but quickly realized that my legs weren’t recovered enough from last weekend to try for another PR, despite my lower mileage this week. I had a little bit of calf/ Achilles’ tendon tightness in my right leg after last weekend’s race, and even though it hadn’t been hurting the past few days, I wanted to be very careful to prevent a “real” injury. I loved the first 9-10 miles of the race, which looped around White Rock Lake (which I’ve run and biked so many times before … the benefits of a familiar course!) and went through the rolling hills of some surrounding neighborhoods.
In the last several miles, I did experience some minor pain, which altered my stride – it started with my right calf, but went to my left hamstring/ knee/ glute, and back to my right hip flexor. I know from experience that if I am tight anywhere (like my right calf) I’ll often compensate by altering my stride and running a little differently, which probably caused the tightness on my left side. So, I listened to my body, and kept pushing as hard as it wanted to let me go, but not beyond that. I slowed down and concentrated on my stride when I needed to, and before I knew it, the race was over! I finished in 1:44 or so.
After the race, I got to see my friends Barnabas (who WON the race!), Enoch (who just started his own blog to document his path to the Olympic Trials – check it out!), and his wife Angela (who is incredibly supportive and so sweet!). I was also spotted by readers Jessica and Rachel – sorry we didn’t get to say hi, ladies! Despite me telling him to sleep in since it wasn’t going to be a PR race for me, Kevin made the trip out to White Rock and was a wonderful supporter, as always. All in all, a great day and a great race – half marathon #23 is in the books!
So what does this all have to do with Motivation Monday? As I was driving back from the race, I got thinking about how different my mentality towards fitness is now, from what it was several years ago. Before I met Kevin in 2003 (and, really, for year or so after that), running was considered punishment, and aside from fitness tests in gym class or an occasional lap around the football field for conditioning on my dance team, running for exercise really never occurred to me. I never would have gone to the gym – I danced a ton, and kept in shape just fine that way.
Fast forward to my first half marathon in 2008, and I had caught the running bug, but my mentality was still different. I think I rode the high of that half marathon finish for a full year (and that’s great – a half marathon is a huge accomplishment!). I was perfectly happy taking a few weeks or even months off after the race because I had “checked the box” of the race.
Well, somewhere between that first race and now, fitness has become a lifestyle for me. I no longer run or exercise just because of a race (although I sure do love racing!), or just to keep in shape, or just to burn calories, or just to get faster. I exercise because it’s part of my life; it’s just what I do. I think this is such an important milestone … to treat your body with enough respect that healthy eating and exercise is just what you do. (And YES, I definitely “slip up” or “live a little” or “give in to my cravings” or whatever you want to call it. Trust me! But the majority of time, I like to eat nourishing foods and exercise in a way that works for me).(picture source)
Yes, I truly do WANT to wake up at 4:45 am, get outside in the cold and run 13.1 miles on a Sunday. I love seeing so many people of all different types gearing up for the start, love how I feel while running, and especially love how I feel afterwards. I love seeing myself grow and continuing to challenge myself through exercise. (picture source)
But if it’s not a lifestyle for you, yet, that’s OK! Don’t give up yet – please! It takes perseverance, patience, and practice … and mostly, time and consistency. It doesn’t just click on the first try. And you may have to experiment a lot before you find what works for you – whether it’s running or lifting weights or Zumba or tennis, or anything else, it can (and will!) become a lifestyle for you. Hang in there, and keep working – we’re all on our own journey towards becoming better versions of ourselves. (picture source)
So tell me in the comments … what is something that has become a lifestyle for you, that you never would have imagined several years ago? Is there anything that still seems unnatural to you, that you’d like to become more of a lifestyle?