Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I Used to Exercise

Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars.” - Henry Van Dyke

I used to exercise.

For me, exercise mean plodding along on the treadmill or elliptical machine, bored, counting down 30 minutes until I could check this self-imposed mandatory drill off my to-do list. It was sort of about weight maintenance, sort of about being 'healthy', sort of about feeling good. In any given week I would inevitably pull out all of the well known reasons for skipping a workout and, inevitably, nothing much would happen. I didn't really look better. I certainly didn't get any faster. I didn't ever really feel whole.

I used to exercise. I now go play.

Fellow blogger Tri Greyhound writes about his triathlon training as recess. This year, I couldn't agree more. Riding solo this past weekend in the chilly winter air (outside on the bike for the first time since last year's big race!), squeezing in three workouts yesterday in between my full-time job, and running long this morning watching the sunrise, I found myself transformed:

I used to find all sorts of reasons for skipping a workout. Now, I find all sorts of creative ways to squeeze in one more lap, one more new route, one more set. I used to plod along, bored, counting down the minutes until it was over. This week, I've actually been sorry to see that my planned time for the day has elapsed. I used to question myself, my body, my ability, my place, my space in the world. Now I swim and bike and run.... and walk and work and love with the childlike sense of freedom that only play can bring.

I used to exercise. I'm so thankful that I no longer do.