Y esterday was my second anniversary of making that fateful step towards living a healthier lifestyle. On my first anniversary I wrote extensively about the changes I had made, the success, the struggles and my hopes for the future and so for year two I thought I would do the same.
On one hand looking back over this last year it wasn’t very successful, especially compared to the first year. I didn’t make huge strides forward in my fitness, I regained some of the weight I had lost and my struggles with healthy eating have continued unabated. My run in Vegas was a dismal failure and I ended up walking almost half of it and subsequently these last two months I haven’t worked out at all as I have been plagued with injuries that I can’t seem to shake.
But frankly I don’t see it that way. I see this past year as a success story of a different kind; one that I have never been able to achieve before, a story of perseverance in the face of adversity. Okay so that’s a bit lofty and my story is unlikely to make the annuals of epic athletic achievement. What I mean is I didn’t give up on my fitness goals even when I had some damn good excuses to do so.
This past year I lost my dad and my grandma. And my mom moved to Australia which of course is much less finite then death but none the less a form of loss. It’s hard to describe the level to which this has affected me but to invoke my 12-year-old self- it sucks! At this point the “old me” would have probably just given up and gone back to a sedentary lifestyle, something I excel in.
But this is where the triumph of the human spirit comes in. Okay again that’s a bit much but how many occasions do you get to use the term “triumph of the human spirit” unless you are a sports writer reporting from the Olympics? Picture an epic film clip put together by Ken Burns with me running, falling and then rising again and the story being narrated by James Earl Jones or Morgan Freeman, nice hey?
But I digress. I didn’t go back to my sedentary lifestyle. In fact I kept running and working out through it all. On one of my dad’s last days I tried to run on a treadmill in the YMCA conveniently located in the hospital. I kept stopping to look at my texts on my iPhone in case one was about my dad. As a result I couldn’t get into the run and after about 30 minutes I left disgusted. On the day that my dad’s ashes were interred I also went for a run. A hot, mosquito infested run during which I got lost and almost showed up late for the service.
The runs sucked, I couldn’t force myself to run more than a minute at a time but I was out there and for me that was a huge change in behavior from my former attitude to exercise. Before all my forays into fitness would go along well until I hit some major stumbling block that upset my schedule, my mood or my whole life. And then I would drop everything to focus on getting through whatever challenge that presented itself and forget all about my goals. I didn’t see exercise as a way to get through stressful times I saw it as something that was taking my attention away from what needed to be dealt with.
And then there is my disastrous attempt at the Las Vegas half marathon. It was not my proudest movement limping across the finish line with tears in my eyes and ungodly pain in my legs. But again it really is a glass half full sort of story. First it was my second half marathon in just over a month. And it was – get this – a FREAKING HALF MARATHON. The previous year my goal was to finish a 5k. And a half marathon is 21.1k so that’s over a 300% increase. So yes, I didn’t break any speed records but I set out to do two half marathons and I did.
This last couple of months has been spent eating way too much sugar and not working out because of my injuries and that is not a good trend. But again I never contemplated just giving up and going back to a sedentary lifestyle. I’ve visited a gazillion medical types and tried to diligently figure out what is going wrong with my body. And this week I made and kept a date with the gym. Just one mind you but it’s a start.
So this year was a different type of success than my first year, one with a few less outward signs of achievement. But one I will take pride in knowing the things I had to overcome to achieve it. And now on to year three! I will keep going – Fortsätta.