Friday completed a week of consistently making it to the gym. Four out of five weekdays to be exact. This is the most consistent I’ve been about my morning gym routine since I got back from my holidays in September.
And this is coming from a lady who loves to exercise. I love moving my body in all sorts of ways, though these days it’s mostly in the form of hockey, weight training, walking and hiking and the occasional gym cardio day (okay and maybe frequent dance parties to some good tunes when I’m home alone).
But I also really love rest. And actually one of the biggest lesson I’ve learned this year is that rest is vital and important to me and my body and there are times in life where you need it more.
My long lasting relationship with exercise began in the ninth grade when my mom convinced me start running. I still don’t know how she did that, I hated running at that time, but there I was on a cold January day running my darndest on a 2km. And up it went from there. As I began running longer distances, and over the course of the next decade I can honestly say my self-worth and self-value became tied in with being athletic. I defined myself as a long-distance runner; an endurance athlete; someone who was fit (and someone who was fitter than…).
So when a couple years ago my body began to suffer I really struggled. I’d gone in the course of a couple years from exercising 1-4 hours a day to suddenly struggling with a single sub-one hour workout. Instead of the gratifying soreness of muscles well-used my legs would scream in agony (if you exercise for long enough, consistently enough you can recognize the difference). And recognize the difference I did, and pretend it wasn’t different I also did.
Admitting to myself this past year that sometimes in life some things are bigger and more important than how fit you are was tough. But having the time, and energy to do other things I loved but had forgotten about (painting, writing, reading, and just plain-ol’-daydreaming) has been worth smacking up against my belief that running half-marathons or being able to work out twice a day proves my worth (hint it doesn’t – exercise should be about how you feel, not about proving your worth). I admit I sometimes shy away from places (and by places I mean blogs) where I might compare myself to what others are doing: while I might be comfortable with where I am, that small nagging voice that says I’m worth-less than my marathon running or two-a-day-working out peer can get a bit loud in the right environment.
So while I might feel I’m not hitting my old fitness habits out of the park, I know I’m honouring my body and myself in a way I was never able to when I used to exercise so much.
And that feels pretty damn awesome.