Saturday, May 21, 2011

The History of Me - Why I Move

Background for Post
Today is going to be a super hectic day for us in terms of two events in two cities. My nephew's birthday was Thursday, and his party is today in one city (an hour away). It's supposed to be from 12-2. Then we have a wedding to attend back in our city at 4. So, I'll pretty much be gone all day today.

Alison had a post recently (Just *move*) that sort of got me thinking about why I (or we) workout the way I (we) do. I have had chats with my friend Jessica talking about concerns about people maybe thinking I'm too over the top with workouts. I get comments about being a machine or hardcore. Sometimes that can sound more like insane and over doing it.

She thought maybe I should do a few posts on over-training syndrome, because I mentioned I've been there and never want to hit that spot again. I've posted about it in the past, and maybe I'll revisit that again. But, then Alison replied to my comment on her post and that got me to thinking (I'm always thinking mind you). I realize what seems normal to me, may seem hardcore to others. But maybe if you understand my outlook on working out, it might make more sense.

So...Why do I workout the way I do? What drives me? Why do I move?

Asthma
I grew up with severe asthma. It was never really exercised induced, more allergy related. When I had an asthma attack, it was never as simple as just taking a few puffs of an inhaler. I would literally be sick for a week or more at a time. The medicines had plenty of side effects as well. So combined with not being able to breath, then being sick from the meds, I was one sick kiddo.

I remember having to be carried to the bathroom because I couldn't breathe well enough to walk that far. I would lose so much weight during such a short time that my panties would fall down. Now, this doesn't mean I wasn't active as a child. I got out and played with the best of them. I took gymnastics and later ballet. But I could never do quite as much. I could never run for any length of time. Most of my "exercise" and play time had to be fairly anaerobic. Short bursts with lots of rests.

Again, I was active. I started ballet in the fifth grade. I even did cheerleading and dance teams later in junior and senior high. But I was never ever considered athletic. There was never ever any hope or fantasy that I could ever run more than a mile. The first time I did run a mile, you would have thought it was my first half marathon.

Also, I was always the super skinny, scrawny girl. I hated hated hated being that way. I actually started going to the gym in high school not to lose weight, but to figure out how to try to look more muscular. Not that I had a clue what I was doing. Dance helped with my legs, and gave me toned arms at least. But I hated being "that skinny girl."
Source

As I grew up, I didn't always have the same extreme asthmatic episodes, but I had annual bouts with either bronchitis, pneumonia, or both. Eventually my doctor put me on Singulair after one particularly bad (scary for Jason) asthmatic episode. It seemed to be a miracle drug for me.

No more yearly bouts of bronchitis and/or pneumonia. Almost no seasonal allergy issues even. So, now when I get a cold or have a sinus infection, I probably downplay it more than I should. Because, in my mind, it simply pales in comparison to any other illnesses I've lived with throughout my life.

Overcoming Overtraining
With the Singulair in my life, I was suddenly able to go hiking without stopping and using an inhaler 2 and 3 times up the mountain. I can now scale that same path up and down twice in less time that it used to take me to make up once. And running, I started out slowly, very slowly (hating it by the way). But, wow, I could do it. I started getting more into weight lifting and other forms of cardio like step-aerobics. It was like, the more I was able to do, the more I wanted to do. If 1 hour is good 2 hours is better right?
Source & Overtraining Info

Eventually, I did up experiencing overtraining syndrome. I just didn't seem to grasp the concept that every workout didn't have to be balls to the walls. But I could do balls to the walls now. That was the key I think. So, been there, done that and don't ever plan on hitting that wall again.

So now that I've moved past the full on balls to the walls, 8 hours a week working out issue. I quite obviously still workout and train hard. But I try to train smart. I get comments all the time about my motivation.

But am I super happy and giddy about working out all the time? Well hell no. I have days when I'm less than enthusiastic feeling about it. How do I stay motivated? I don't know. I just do it. I don't think about it. I just get in there, get it done. I almost always feel so much better after a workout. Energized, accomplished, strong, successful.

I have tried to learn from my overtraining mistakes. I vary the intensity of workouts. I try to cross-train. I pay close attention to how much cardio I've been doing. I also try to lift wisely. Fuel and refuel properly. Basically, take care of this body that is now capable of doing things I never thought possible. I think the variety helps keep me motivated too. It's not just the same old workout over and over and over again.

Do I still screw up? Of course. We all do. No one is perfect. I do stupid things like legs then spin the next day or not take a rest day when I should because I want that stupid rest day on a Friday. But I try.


If I hadn't changed my mentality for working out, I never would have succeeded with one of my greatest accomplishments this year. For me, completing my first half marathon honestly trumps any college degree, ballet solo, or award. It's something that I never could have dreamed possible.

It was more than just running 13.1 miles. It was the fact that my body, my lungs, muscles, tendons, joints, were capable enough of that sort of challenge. Oh yes, the mental aspect was there most certainly. But for a child who couldn't run more than a mile or who got winded walking stairs? Monumental.



Just Human
So, I'm not a machine. I don't think of myself as hardcore. I'm not always motivated to be quite honest. I'm just human. I'm just me.

Perhaps it's my history of being sick that keeps me moving. I know what it's like to physically been incapable of being active. I know what it feels like to try to recover from an illness, a recovery period of weeks not days.

I know what it feels like to not be able to walk up a flight of stairs without being so winded you have to rest at the top. I know. I also know that there will probably come another time in my life when I'm sidelined again. So in the meantime, I plan on continuing to move.

I know this was a super long (partially rambling) post. If you bailed on it, I understand. If you stuck it out...Why do You Move?