Exercise, Running

The Thing About Exercise

My opinion about exercise is this: if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it.  That’s not to say that I’ve always got a huge smile on my face when I’m huffing and puffing through my run, or that it’s always hearts and flowers.  What I mean is that in order to have an exercise routine that becomes a lifestyle, you have to find something that you actually enjoy doing for most of the time.

For me, my exercise routine is all about running.  I started running when I was in high school.  For awhile there, I wasn’t allowed to run on the roads by my home.  My parents, being the reasonable, responsible people that they are, didn’t think it was a great idea to let a skinny blonde go running on deserted country roads surrounded by cornfields all by herself.  Thank goodness.

Eventually, I was considered grown-up enough to fend off any attackers go running on my own.  I loved running in the country, and I still say there’s nothing like it.  It’s relaxing to look around and see nothing but fields with the occasional cow or barn or tractor.  A car will go by every now and then, but mostly it’s just you.

I kept up my running during undergrad.  I must have had a death wish, though, because during freshman year I thought it was a good idea to go running in the evening when it was dark.  My big brother found out and quickly put an end to that, so I switched to being an early-morning riser.  Suburban running was strange to me.  All those sidewalks and streets and cars!  I didn’t particularly care for it, but it beat trying to hack my way through the masses in the student gym.  I expanded my running routes and added in some hills and trails, but I never had any desire to run competitively.  I did the rare 5K with my sister, but that was it.  Running just for the sake of running and staying healthy was my reward.

And then I got married.  Funny how having a 2 hour round-trip commute can put a cramp in your running style.  We lived halfway between my grad school and halfway between Chris’ grad school, and it was quite a drive for both of us.  I was also working on campus for 20 hours a week on top of a full class load.  I tried to continue my running, but the small town we’d moved to wasn’t very inspiring: piles of garbage, rusty fences, cavernous pot-holes, and a creeper who always seemed to be on his porch whenever I ran by.  Eventually I said, “Forget it!” and threw in the towel.

This was not a good decision.  I was up to my eyeballs in stress – working, studying, moving, making career changes –  and wasn’t doing anything healthy to deal with it.  I pretty much stopped exercising completely for about 2 years.  Net result: I gained weight.  Shocker, I know!

When we moved to Massachusetts, I was upset with myself for being so out of shape.  I started using the complex’s gym a few days a week, but I’ve never liked exercising with a bunch of other people.  I did some research and found a treadmill on Craigslist that was reasonably priced and within driving distance.  I promised Chris that if I bought it, I’d use it faithfully.

And I did.  I loved that treadmill.  I jogged 5 days a week in my own home.  It was different from running on the roads, but we lived in a pretty traffic-heavy part of town with no sidewalks.  It was very pedestrian unfriendly.  I also started to add the 30 Day Shred DVD, again, keeping the mindset that exercise was something to be enjoyed, not dreaded.  I didn’t do the DVD 30 days in a row as suggested, but worked at my own pace on top of my running.  Net result: I lost weight!  I kept up with the treadmill once we moved to South Bend, but backed off on the DVDs and basically maintained my weight {I did lose a few more pounds}.

We sold the treadmill before moving to New Zealand and bought a new one once we were over here.  I’ve gotten some good-natured teasing about my treadmill from some road-warrior family members and a few of my blogging friends 🙂  I know where you’re coming from – I used to be like you and swore that I’d never run on a treadmill.  But now, I’m really thankful for it.  I love that I can go for a run whenever I want to.  I love that I don’t have to pay a gym fee.  I like that I’m not running on the sidewalks of downtown Auckland.  And I really enjoy it.  I may never be a marathon runner or do triathlons, but I feel good about my running and it makes me happy.  I’d like to be in better shape than I am, and sometimes I read about you wonder-women out there who do all of these races and training and competitions and think, “Wow!  That’s awesome!”  But for now, I’m thankful for what I have and where I’m at 🙂

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11 thoughts on “The Thing About Exercise

  1. Thanks 🙂 I think you have such a great attitude about exercise and parenthood. We don’t have any little ones yet, but I hope that when we do I’ll be able to be a good role model to them in regards to fitness and making time for yourself. I think it’s very wise!

  2. Great post and yah for your treadmill! I loved running at school and then got terribly unfit at Uni (way too much partying!!!).

    It wasn’t till my late twenties that I started running again – on and off between babies!).

    I find it hard to make the time for me with so many demands (little people) in my space, but when I do it feels great. I used to love ballet and jazz too, but spend my time now taxiing my children to classes.

    This spring & summer I really want to make time for my fitness as a healthy Mum is a sane, happy one, that will hopefully live longer and be a good role model to my children – right! I must keep telling myself this… as it’s so easy to get side-tracked with house chores and children 🙂 x

  3. I’m still (slowly) becoming a runner and I appreciate the treadmill. It helps with my pacing and timing. I can’t wait for the day when I head outdoors and just go for a 3 mile jog, but until then, I like the safety of learning on my ‘mill.

  4. i completely agree that you have to love what you’re doing and that’s great that you found something you enjoy so much. I find that for me, i have to mix it up.

  5. I totally agree with you!!! I never worked out until I found my kickboxing instructor. Now that he’s only working 2 nights a week I can’t seem to make myself go to any other classes. But I’m working at getting my love for running back. Keep up the great work girl!! XOXO

  6. the only exercise that i’ve ever really enjoyed was the kind that makes you feel like your dancing (one dvd i has is called yoga booty ballet) but i’m just not a fan of exercise in general. maybe you’ll inspire me. keep up your momentum!

  7. When I have the space, I’d love to get my own treadmill and not have to pay a monthly gym fee. I adore running outside but when it gets dark around 5pm, I have to shift my running inside, for safety reasons. When I was in high school my parents would insist that I ran along main streets instead of in our local park.

  8. Running is my thing too. I prefer to run outside of course, but we do have a nice treadmill that will do in a pinch (if hubby isn’t around to watch the kids or the weather is severe or whatever).

  9. I love this post and I so agree! I actually like to work out (has to be in the mornings though) but even though you won’t see a smile on my face it gets me ready for the day and I fell better! However, I do it for me and not to train or win anything so like you I am happy just running my 2 miles! Anyway, new to the blog and stopping by after seeing your comment on another. Your so cute and I look forward to visiting more!

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