Running through summer.

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From technorati.com

Running. Fitness. Goals. Not me, generally. However, this past spring I took on a bunch of new fitness goals. Why not? The pockets of time I possess need to be filled with something. My casual saunter through life needed a bit of direction. My mother thinks I should rest. “You’ll wear yourself out!” she says. To be fair, being on the petite side she was always afraid I was sicker than other people or not strong enough to compete or would get hurt. Becoming a parent I realized, those are her issues. I was not sicker than other children. I kept up with those bigger than me. I even played field hockey and was a decent wing player. So, I reassure her I am fine and head out the door to run 5K after my wee ones are tucked into bed.

Others applaud me on. Mr. L encourages me and does not bat an eye when I tell him I am heading out to run, again. He has learned to back off the coaching. At first he gently nudged me to get my yoga, nap-loving, television show catch-up butt out the door. He would email me work-out plans and sign me up for races I could not hope to finish. He would frown when another chocolate cookie was popped into my mouth after dinner with a sarcastic comment. We both quickly learned although well intentioned, him being my coach would not work. I appreciate his input and ask him for opinions but his way and my way of welcoming fitness into our lives are different journeys.

After all, he did it about a year ago. He went on a fitness life change-over that I am extremely proud. He changed his eating habits and how he spent his free time. I love looking at my buff husband and glad he has found something of his own besides family and work.  However, I am one of those people who just has to figure out her own way. The kids take up a lot of my energy and I am generally exhausted at night. When I took on my journey to a more fitter Mama, I had ease myself into a routine that I felt comfortable with and celebrate the smaller milestones. I am not trying to lose weight. There are no apparent health reasons for me to get moving. It is a lifestyle choice to welcome regular physical activity and fitness into our lives and our children’s lives.

Life is also full of schedules, (other peoples) that interfere with my own. Being the main caretaker of house, home and well, our lives, there were some weeks if I got out to the gym or for a run it was an amazing feat of creative scheduling. But I kept plugging along, ignoring that little voice telling me “why bother?” June was crazy with end of year activities, school wrap-up, planning and packing for our family trip. I ran on the beach in Israel. Loved the camederie of seeing other runners sweating in the blazing heat at eight am. One of my favorite, personal memories of our trip is going for a run and then spontaneously going for a swim (yes, in my running clothes) in the choppy waves of the blue Mediterrenean to cool off. I was by myself and felt wonderful, powerful even as droplets ran down my legs walking back to our apartment. But in that moment I felt for the first time that I could do this. I could reach my fitness goals and maybe even learn to like it.

Upon our return home life slowly returned to normal. The kids were driving me crazy and we were all suffering from jet lag. But I kept going out even when my body was up at 4 am, I would be out by 6 am running by Lake Ontario seeing the sun rise knowing I have my first 5K run this Thursday so had to “ramp up” my training. I had forgotten how beautiful Ontario can be in the summer.

Sun rise over Lake Ontario

Sun rise over Lake Ontario

Four days until my first race of the summer. I have run the course twice, bettering my time by shaving four minutes off the total 5K. I can finally see the improvement Mr. L and others have told me about. My lungs do not burn and my legs keep pumping. Will I ever learn to love running? Who knows. But I can say, I have learned to appreciate it.

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