Embracing Change, Part 2
The fitness community is a funny place. Lately, my social media feeds are littered with updates from people about training, upcoming events, daily “accountability” posts, etc. etc. It’s awesome and interesting to see all of the different activities happening within my friend-groups. Just two days ago, I took a stroll downtown and ran into a friend and a group of his soon-to-be teammates, armed with rucks, about to embark on a GORUCK challenge. It was a surreal experience for me; shaking hands with the cadre, watching them line up and bust out burpees, explaining to passersby what was going on– I couldn’t believe it’s been almost three years since my own GRC. But, although there was a part of me that wanted to slap a ruck on my back and run with them for 12 hours, something bigger than that clicked into place in my brain.
A few months ago, I wrote a post on here about how my goals were shifting. How the idea of training no longer interested me, and races were becoming something that bored rather than excited me. And for the past several months, I’ve waited for that feeling to go away. I’ve felt some guilt over it, thinking, “This is who I am. I find weird-as-shit events, and I do them cause they’re fun. What’s wrong with me?” As I watched my friend and the group of strangers in front of me get ready to have this great experience, I felt nostalgic. And with that nostalgia, I finally got it: Nothing is wrong with me — I’m evolving, and this is the next phase of my journey.
I started running competitively five years ago. I thrived on the competition, the goal, the timeline. My anxious, neurotic personality was well-suited for the rigors of training. But over the years, exercise has become a pathway toward peace for me. And in the process of mellowing out a bit (in some ways), my goals shifted– rather than obsessing about being “race-ready”, my major goal is sustaining life-long health. I care about being fit enough to enjoy my life fully. If I get invited to participate in something like hiking a giant mountain, or going surfing, I like being able to accept with enthusiasm, without worrying that I’ll be unable to physically do it. My fitness goal is to simply have every awesome life experience that I can.
What has that meant for my workouts? Funnily enough, nothing’s changed. I still push myself on my runs. I still fling kettlebells around and wake up way too early to fit in some PiYo before work. These things make me happy– that’s the motivation. Do I want to do a tri this summer? Sure! But I’m interested in it because it’ll be a shared experience with someone I love. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up doing some crazy mountain marathon at some point? All I know is that I’ve finally realized that it’s okay to grow and change. It’s okay to go rock climbing instead of going to the gym. It’s okay to do backflips in the pool and body surf in the ocean for an hour without doing an organized lap swim, too. It’s okay to explore new avenues without having a schedule and an agenda attached to them.
I’ve seen this issue come up with others lately as well, so that’s why I wanted to share this. Embrace wherever you are in your journey. If you’re knee deep in a training plan– awesome! Keep doing that! If you’re super stoked on your newest P90x adventure– cool! If you’re quietly practicing asanas in your backyard each morning with no other purpose than freeing your mind–fantastic. Allow yourself to just simply be.
And as always, Remember to breathe.