Sunday, May 1, 2011

Staying Motivated

Today is the day.  Not a cloud in the sky, nice cool breeze and  as I sit and write this I should be rounding City Hall in the Broad St. Run.  Sucks!!  There I said it.

Two years ago I was registered to run and I came down with a wicked chest cold 5 days prior.  I tried and tried to find supporting information that said, " with a chest cold that is keeping you up at night and has you coughing up crap similar to the projectile vomit featured in the Exorcist"  But, alas, I could not.

I remember waking up early that morning, getting ready for the run, thinking it would be a "game time" decision.  It didn't help that it was raining and cold that day.  I decided not to run.  In some ways that decision was harder than dealing with this.  At least I don't have a choice this time   Although, don't think that I didn't consider trying to crutch my way through it!!

So, you might think I am one of those committed great athlete types.  One that runs every race, faces every physical challenge, competes in multiple competitions.  The fact is, nothing could be further from the truth.

For the most part, Broad St in the only consistent race I do.  Although I may challenge myself here and there, I don't particularly like competitive games and have never joined any type of league.

So, you might wonder..what keeps me motivated?  I think it is more about feeling good, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  The best advice I could ever give anyone about exercise is:   Don't do anything you don't enjoy.  It defeats the purpose.

Trail running is a great example of exercising for the soul.  I am lucky enough to live within 3 miles of Philadelphia's section of Fairmount Park known as Valley Green.  Valley Green not only has a bridal path that is great for running, but also multiple trails that wind up into the hills and back down into the valley as you cruise along parallel to the lower path.

Sometimes, when I am cruising up one of those hills, I feel like my legs are going to give out underneath me and my heart is going to beat right out of my chest...and then I get to the top.  I pick up my pace as I feel the sun on my face and look out over the valley below...I feel like I am flying. 

That is what keeps me motivated.  It is a feeling of being connected to your body in a way that only mindful physical activity can achieve.  It isn't about winning or losing or being better than someone else.  It is about connecting to yourself.

Since I won't be running any trails in the near future though...I am trying to find other things to maintain this connection. 

Yesterday I used the exercise ball.  If you have an injured foot or leg you can find some great exercises to do on the ball, especially for core and upper body work.  Today I plan to do P90x chest, shoulders and triceps with my husband.  Another upper body workout that I should be able to do with some modifications. 

In the end, the best motivation is knowing that whatever I do is going to make me feel good.  This is what kept me from running Broad St two years ago when I had the chest cold and this is what keeps me exercising on a regular basis.  Even with a broken foot.

By the way, don't you think that it is ironic that I run those trails, navigating rocks, snakes, trees and deer yet I break my foot stepping off a curb (18 months ago) and again stepping off a step??  Weird.

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