My fitness philosophy: part I

I’ve felt the need to write this post for a while, but was waiting until I was in a good place to do it.

If you remember, after my first full marathon, I immediatley signed up for anther race.   They really should have a question that pops up when you sign up for a marathon that reads:

Have you just ran a marathon in the past two weeks and are you still riding the runner’s high?

Then if you clicked yes, there would be a pop up that said, Check back in two weeks!


Personally, signing up for a full marathon immediately after running one was like asking your inebriated date if they want to go back to your apartment.  In other words, I wasn’t thinking completely clearly.

I was still riding that amazing runners high of accomplishment.  Running that marathon made me feel like I could do anything.  It was wonderful!

I’m still pretty confident that I can reach athletic goals I once never thought possible.  I just know now that sometimes I shouldn’t; at least without considering how it might affect my life and my body and more importantly my psyche.

So with all the reasons not to run the Vermont Marathon, my second marathon, stacked against me and growing more in number at every run, I deferred.  I felt an incredible weight lift off my shoulders the minute I decided to just skip it.  I should also point out that I’m one of those people who have a really hard time quitting something and hold myself up to high (sometimes impossibly high) expectations.  Once I finally cut myself some slack, it’s like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders.  I felt great about my decision and I still do.

However, when I deferred marathon training, I also deferred running.

I didn’t run for almost 1 1/2 months!

You see, around the time I decided to defer the marathon, I started a new job; a job Uptown where I live and also where I can walk to work.  And so I walked; and walked and walked and walked.  I walk about 45 minutes a day; about 2.8 miles total, back and forth to work and home for lunch and back.  When I got home from work, I would often walk Rascal for an hour or more that evening.  I also biked everywhere.

You: Even in the foyer?

Me: Okay, maybe not everywhere.

After being super active for quite some time, then only engaging in pedestrian type movement, I must have gained a ton of weight right? And became a jiggily mess with no muscle tone, uh huh?

Actually, wrong.

My appetite decreased quite a bit and I actually lost a couple of pounds, despite not being able see any real decrease in muscle tone.

I was happy this way for over a month and a half.  When I heard about other people running, I didn’t get pangs of regret and longing like you think someone would who is a real runner.  I didn’t miss strength training or yoga.  My beloved Jillian Michael’s videos became dusty.

And then one day, I did miss it.

So I put on my trusty running shoes, after digging them out from under the bed, laced them up, and went on a little over three mile run.  The next day, I went down to the gym and did a 45 minute self-created circuit training session.   The day after that, I ran four miles.

Did I do it because I felt guilty for not engaging in purposeful exercise for many weeks? Did I do it because I was afraid of eventually gaining weight?

Not at all.

I did it because, for the first time in a long while, I wanted to exercise.

I always feel bad when it comes up in coversation that I am a runner and the other person’s response is a long explanation of why they can’t or don’t run.

I hope you non-runners out there are comforted by this: In my opinion, running is not the end all be all.  It is not the gold standard of fitness.  As a runner, I am essentially no better and no fitter than someone who does aerobics, swims, bikes, walks briskly, does yoga…you get the picture.  I have friends who can kick my tail at any of these activities, but running just isn’t their thing.  And I really don’t know how I’m better off than they are because I run.  In other words, there’s more than one way to skin a cat (sorry, I couldn’t help myself).

There’s more than one way to be fit and healthy.

To be continued…

Have you ever taken some time off from your activity of choice?  I don’t mean for an injury, but a conscious decision to take some time off.