I'm an all or nothing gal. It's either happening or not. I'm all in or I don't want to play the game. I either love you or hate you. I'm committed or I quit. I'm 100% or 0%.
It doesn't really have to be that way. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I can find the middle ground and find happiness there. The trick is to find out how. Easier said than done for me. One way I've been working with this concept is with my exercise program. For the past few weeks, I've been on my treadmill running. It's been great! I'm sleeping better and my body is not quite as achy as it has been. I just have to keep telling myself that if I miss a day, it's okay. If I don't feel like running "hard," it's okay. If I need (or want) to walk a little bit, it's okay.
You see, that's not quite how I've trained, ahem, exercised in the past. In the past, I had to sign up for a race to motivate myself to run. A race with Team In Training (with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) was especially motivating because I'd be commited to all of the people who helped me raise money. If I had people asking me how running was going or how much money I'd raised, I'd certainly better keep up the training. I needed that to get up in the morning to run.
The past half-marathon I ran back in February was a bit different. I trained with a friend and my motivation was to get back into shape after having CC. She was only a few months old and I was ready to hit the pavement to try to get my body back in shape. Part of the motivation was also to get out of the house and have some alone time without having to take care of my two children and husband who was recovering from a broken hip. All of this seemed like good motivation, but the reality was that I'd get out there and start the run, but throughout the whole run, I'd be focusing on the end. The stories in my head were: I didn't want to be there, I wasn't in good enough shape for this, my side hurt, I couldn't wait to be done so I could get coffee. That last story was the most prevalent, "Just keep on going, not much longer and you can walk and enjoy a wonderful, hot non-fat latte!" It became so obsessive that I barely noticed the gorgeous landscape that I was running past. I was enjoying the conversation with my friend, but in the back of my mind I kept thinking of that latte. Lattes became my motivation.
It took a while, but I finally realized that all of these diversions weren't serving me well. What happened to running for the sake of running. Running because it made me feel good. Period. My running was competitive. I wasn't competing with anyone else, just myself. It was crazy. I noticed this and the very next run in Golden Gate Park, I tried not to obsess about lattes. (Of course, I thought of them, but only 2 or 3 times.) Everytime I found myself fantasizing about my java, I'd divert my attention to my beautiful surroundings. I noticed the trees, the other runners, the smell of the park. It was liberating. Don't get me wrong, we went out for lattes after the run, but it wasn't consuming me:)
What I'm learning through all of this is that I don't have to be obsessive about running. I don't need a race to motivate me to run. I don't need a latte at the end to motivate me to "get through it." It doesn't have to be all or nothing. It can be somewhere in between. I don't HAVE to run every day. If I skip a day, it's okay. As long as I'm true to myself,and actually get the exercise done, it'll all work out.