Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Resolution #3: Fitness

Disclaimer: This post is a little embarrassing to write, which is why it's February and I'm just now going for it.  So let’s just get it out there, rip it off quick like a Band-Aid: My third resolution this 2013 is to get into shape.

Oh, the cliché!  The mediocrity!  The humiliation!

PHEW!  Now that’s over, let me tell you that I’m really excited about this one, and the other day I realized why.

On Sunday, an acquaintance asked if I was a runner.  I had been talking about a race I’m entering this weekend, and when she asked, I paused.  Well… no?

I mean, there was this whole thing about training for the New York City marathon.  But that got canceled and I never got to do it.  

This strikes me as a funny question because it’s confusing.  You see, I run every week without fail.  When I trained for the marathon, there was a six-week period when I would have considered a half-marathon distance to be short. Pending no hurricane-caused cancellations, I’ll be running 26.2 miles in November, and just last week I let myself spend an hour designing my new training schedule, savoring the idea of those early Saturday morning runs.  But runner?  Me?  Eh…

When I think about why I’m not a runner – I do recognize what a self-deprecating thought that is – I come up with a few reasons. 

First, I do have a pretty conscious commitment to humility.  In my mind, runners are people who run MARATHONS!... which I have yet to do.  So saying I’m a runner is a little too boastful, like bragging about landing a new job before you’ve got the offer.  In life, I tend to think the literary technique of “show, not tell” is really best.  And I haven’t shown anyone I can run.

But I have to admit the real reason is that, ever since college, I haven’t really exerted myself… you know, physically.  For the past three years (this post is getting pretty cathartic) I didn’t push myself.  When I ran, it wasn’t for speed.  When I practiced yoga, it was with resistance.  And when I did boot camp… well, I didn’t do boot camp.

So 2013, what’s changed?  Well, I’m not doing anything too special – yoga, boot camp, running and weights – but what I am doing I’m doing consistently.  A few of my self-imposed guidelines:

  1. Work out four times per week.  Anything less than vigorous DOESN’T COUNT.  (I had to add this clause because in my marathon-training days, to be able to squeeze in a million runs per week, I’d let myself off with something super easy, like a 20 minute relaxed run.  Might as well have given myself the day off.)
  2. Write down my workouts.  This part I love: I keep track of them on a calendar on my fridge.  Probably the most satisfying part of my entire workout routine. 
  3. Mentally reframe.  One of the most important changes I’ve made is to look forward to my workouts.  In January, I looked forward to them because I was excited about the New Year.  Now I look forward to them because I’m getting better at them.  It also helps, when I’m feeling too tired to lace up and head out the door, to remember that pent-up feeling I get when sitting at my desk.
So there you have it.  Well, there I have it, in all my clichéd New Year’s Resolution glory. 

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