I've never been athletic. I've always been the creative kid – signed up for art projects, creative writing, and all music-related classes. But after graduating from college in 2012, I was living at home and realized I needed some time to myself to do something positive just for me. Chris was living at home with his family in another city, and we rarely saw each other that summer. I began running. I don't know what made me get started, but my parent's neighborhood has a great sidewalk, lots of trees and a park close by. My dad would let me borrow his iPod and I would take off every day after work. As I was adjusting to spending most of my day sitting at a desk or sitting in traffic, getting outside and doing something active was insanely satisfying.
Running became so therapeutic to me that summer, and I worked my way up from half a mile runs to three and a half mile runs. I was so amazed at what my body could do! When I moved to Dallas in the fall and got engaged, wedding planning and fear of being hit by a car stunted my willingness to get outside for a jog. I ran a few times after that summer, but certainly not often. When the weather began warming up again this past March, I started running again. Again, I'm not entirely sure what pulled me to get going... but the joy of being outside a few times a week is so blissfully restorative. Even if I'm feeling weak and my jog turns into a walk, I never regret going outside. As I've realized I can go further and further, I asked Chris if he thought I could handle a half-marathon. Always a sweet but practical encourager, Chris insisted I could if I began training bit by bit. So... I'm a runner?
If you had asked me in college if I would become a runner, I would've said "no way". I certainly don't see myself as a "runner" in the way some people do... I don't have a crazy amount of gear, and I'm not exactly addicted to burning down another mile. But I will tell you what I love about it :)
- I'm amazed by what my body can do. After neglecting to really care for it most of my life, in the past few years I've begin eating so much better and began to pursue exercise and it has been so rewarding. I feel so wonderful, and I can't believe how much it can do if I just push it gradually. My confidence has been restored over and over seeing my body respond and repay me by having more energy, being stronger, feeling lighter, and sleeping better. I see how far I can go and realize I can do so much more than I think.
- In that same vein... I'm honored to be able to have the body that I do, and I'm paying God respect by being a good steward. Ultimately, the Lord is in charge of my health (no matter how well I do or do not take care of myself, I know I could still fall ill or experience major injury) but I'm so happy to be able to take good care of what's been given to me. There are so many details about my body that I take for granted every day. I can walk. My body knows how to adjust my breathing for me. My blood is strong enough to let me run four miles without me passing out. My skin is really good at producing sweat – nasty, but this means I'm staying cool enough to keep going in the Texas heat. I'm honored to have the body that I do, and I love taking care of it as a way to give God thanks.
- I'm preparing my body for whatever might come later. I'm not as afraid of crazy disasters, and my fears don't hinder me as much from trying new things. If I was asked to go on a hike for a few hours, I could handle it without fear of passing out. If there was an insane disaster that happened to me, I feel more confident in my adrenaline keeping me alive. And real talk, I feel confident now about being able to handle childbirth. Not that anything can really prepare you for that, but I'm so proud of what my body has shown me that it can do. I want to keep it healthy and strong so that in those hours of labor I don't get as discouraged or begin to fear my body failing me, and I can trust more that God has already provided me what I need. And I'm providing a healthy, strong home for our future children. Nine months is a long time to have a person literally living & growing inside of you, and I hope to give our children the best home for those nine months that I can offer. For me, that means starting to strengthen and prepare my body now by eating well and keeping all of the working parts working well. It sure will make it easier to keep doing this later than for me to say "I'll start being healthy once we're in that season of life"... we're not planning on having children anytime soon, but I know me and procrastination are not really the best of friends :)
What's your motivation for exercise? Are any of you out there new to it, like me? How did you get started? I'd love to hear your stories!
All images via That's Pretty Ace