I have been trying to figure out what I should write this month, and it finally came to me while on a run. I had a lot of time to think since my goal this morning was to run 10 miles. I am “training” for a half marathon. However, the only thing I do differently from my regular exercise is that I add in a long run here and there so the day of the race is less painful. You may ask, why do you run half marathons if you hate running so far? This is a bit hard to explain, but I feel strong and empowered to be able to achieve this, and it is really fun! However, to be honest, I did not feel very motivated to run 10 miles this morning. You see, I have had a love/hate relationship with exercise over the years and have used exercise to change the appearance of my body to try to attain a virtually unrealistic version of myself. During those times, it felt obligatory and not very fun, and this morning running was feeling obligatory as it does sometimes during training. Several years ago, I injured both of my feet over this obligation and continued to run until I was no longer able to wear most shoes and even the weight of the bed sheet on my feet caused me pain. It became pretty loud and clear that I had a problem. You only have one body, and I ran mine into the ditch to the point of needing surgery!
I have spent many years changing how I view exercise from obligatory and burning Calories to honoring my body. I now focus on how it feels to run and move and am thankful for my feet that have now healed and allow me to continue to run and be active, albeit I now run less and much slower. I admit, I love to push the line and see how far I can go because I am in love with the feeling of breathing hard, working up a good sweat and clearing my mind; I love the energy it gives me. However, the difference now is I listen to my body, and I give it rest when I am tired or if something hurts. I now have been able to exercise primarily for the stress relief it provides and the feeling of being strong, fit and empowered. However, I keep one eye open at all times because I never want my exercise to feel this obligatory again. Now that brings me back to my dreaded 10 mile run. I tend to be competitive and worry too much about what my time will be in this half marathon. So, I purposely told myself that I was going to go out on this nice, crisp, sunny fall morning and enjoy nature and run at a slower and comfortable pace, and if I needed to stop before 10 miles I would. I even stopped to take pictures!! I felt great when I was finished and I enjoyed myself along the way! I think sometimes when you live in an area for a long time you start to take things for granted. However, through my mindful run I noticed how beautiful Iowa is in the fall–even though this picture of the lake was actually a gravel pit when I moved to AmesJ
Workout because you love your body not because you hate it.
Blog provided by: Alison St. Germain MS, RD, LD