Focus on What You CAN Do

Back in April, I wrote a post about how I had been consistently running for an entire year.

Today, I’m sharing a post explaining why I may not be running anymore at all.

First, a little history. If you read my blog, you know that my husband and I recently got to go to Japan for 11 days to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We left May 11 and returned May 21. Among the many other things we did there, we also did a ton of walking! I don’t remember a specific instance of injuring my foot, but about halfway through our trip my left foot was hurting pretty badly. So much so, that I opted out of doing some of the things we had originally planned to do on our trip.

I hadn’t been running or exercising on our trip, so after we got back I decided I’d wait a few days and then try going for a run. My foot still hurt, but I pushed through the pain (being stubborn comes in handy sometimes.) I ran two more times that week, and then decided that the pain was getting worse. I told myself I’d take a week off of running to let my foot heal. I wasn’t too happy about this, but I had done this before in the past for injuries, and figured this was just another one of those times. No big deal, I’d just wait a week or so and then get back into it.

I actually ended up waiting a week and a half before I got back out to go running one morning. I had not been having any pain for 4 or 5 days, so I was optimistic as I headed out on my 2.7 mile route. I think about halfway through my run was when I could tell that left foot was beginning to hurt again. By the time I made it home, the pain was bad. And this time, my ankle was swollen too.

Some people might have chosen that day to make an appointment to go to the doctor, but not me (remember, stubborn!) I thought I’d rest it, ice it, etc. and see if it got better. After an entire week of having a swollen ankle, I made the appointment.

“If I had your feet, I think I’d cry every day I had to walk on them.” 

Not exactly what you want to hear from your doctor, or anyone for that matter. He told me that I had most likely sprained a muscle or ligament and wanted me to wear a boot for a few weeks. He told me that I should never wear flip-flops or cute shoes again – I needed to go for the “ugly old lady shoes.” He also told me, that because of the way my feet are designed, my left foot bends too far to one side, which means I overcompensate and put all my weight on one spot on the other side of my foot – which is what caused my injury. He told me I was not built (literally, my feet were not designed) to be a runner, and that I should look for a new sport.

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Still Running – One Year of Exercising!

Last year in April, I decided to start regularly working out. I have definitely always had an on again/off again relationship with exercising. At the beginning of 2018, I was in an “off again” phase. I had just started grad school towards a Library Science degree, and as it turns out, grad school added a bit of extra stress to my life. (Go figure.) 

I decided to start exercising mainly as a way to cope with stress. I was in the midst of a stressful group project with school, and I was so stressed out that I had literally started losing my hair. Exercise was one of those things that I knew was going to help my mental and physical health, but I had convinced myself I didn’t have the time. I worked full time, I had a young child, I was tired!!! Until one day I just decided I was done with the excuses, and I would just start doing it. (Read more about how I motivated myself to start exercising here.)

I started out running 2-3 times a week – and I surprised myself when I had kept it up for a month, and then two months, and three… I surprised myself even more when I started to look forward to it. (I also surprised myself when I began having major hip and shoulder pain from running… a reminder I’m not as young as I used to be!) 

I told myself if I made it to the year mark, that I would write a post about it: so here it is. 1 year of exercising. 1 year of staying steady with a goal. 1 year of not giving up on something. It feels good.

I did have one major low point in past twelve months about Christmas-time through February. I had gotten a cold and had stopped exercising to recover, and I had just finished a really stressful semester at school, and things in life kind of seemed like they were falling apart for a bit. My energy dropped, and for a few months even when I tried to exercise, it was hard. I had lost progress and speed on my runs, and even just doing a slow jog felt like I was running underwater. I know my mental health was at a low point too – it’s so interesting how our bodies and minds are so intertwined. I really thought this was the point I would give up running.

During this time, I still managed to go on runs, though some of the time it averaged only once a week, and some parts of the run I would just walk. But the point is, I kept going. Really by the end of February I started noticing the runs were getting easier again. The weather started getting warmer, and I was enjoying running outside again.

Today, I went on a run around ACU’s campus – my normal route. From my house and around the trail it’s about a 2.7 mile run. I don’t run it very fast – I average between 9-10 minute miles. I wish I could say that after a year of running, I’ve made some amazing gains in strength or speed, or even my physique. I haven’t really made any of those gains, but I have stayed steady – which I think is also a worthwhile goal. Sometimes that’s the best we can do – and it’s good enough.

I am good enough. 




It’s Just What I Do Now…

Well folks,  I wanted to share that I have actually been consistently working out since about April of this year. (Yay me!)

Back before I began working out, I read a blog post by my cousin Will – who is an avid workout-er… I guess you could call him an athlete – and he talked about how so much of our actions revolve around instant gratification, and how it’s hard to buckle down and do something when you know you won’t see results for a while. His blog motivated me to stop thinking and wishing that I was working out, and just do it. So I started telling myself that exercising was just “something I do now.” Like brushing my teeth or taking a shower. It’s not something I have to wonder if I’m going to do, I just do it.

Honestly, this mindset has been a great strategy for me. Other times when I began trying to work out consistently (my longest stretch in the past was 6 months before I gave up cold turkey), I was always in it for some goal. I wanted to get to a certain weight or look a certain way or be able to run a certain speed or distance. But this time, there’s not a distinct goal – it’s just what I do now.

If I’m honest though, I did have two motivations for starting working out: one was my physical appearance, and the other was my mental health. If you’ve read my blog before, you know physical appearance is something that I can get consumed with. I sometimes struggle to accept how I look. Well, I knew working out would not make me look worse, and I hoped it might improve how I felt about my body as well. I actually have read that working out can make you feel better about how you look, even though you might not look any different at all. I don’t remember the science behind it all, but that intrigued me.

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