I’m An Athlete

So I’ll confess I had a different title for this blog… then I saw this statement on a t-shirt a friend was wearing… and decided it would be my new title.

I told him I needed that shirt… he said he could get me one…  I think… that would be wicked cool.

I guess that statement resonated with me ’cause I haven’t always thought of myself as an athlete.

For years I was this middle aged woman out for walks to help knock some weight off. Even as I eased into running and picked up working with weights a little, I was still just a middle aged woman doing some exercise.

And that’s fine… I mean really… I didn’t give it a thought. I just did my thing.

Besides, weren’t athletes professionals who made a lot of money for their sport and were on cereal boxes ?

I cooked along in my own little happy exercise zone until one day, about a year or two back, someone asked me if I had run that morning.

I told him yes, yes I did, just 5 miles.

His response? “You eat 5 miles for breakfast. You run before some people are out of bed. You run more miles at once than most people ever will. You are the only athlete I know !”

That kinda brought me up short. I mean in the last couple years my running has certainly geared up a lot, my cross training has deepened and I’ve tried to add more cycling in. My nutrition has definitely come into line with my athletic endeavors…. my training more dialed in to what I was doing… but it all just felt normal to me.

Like… you know…  a middle aged woman starting to get some things… right…..

Yet he referred to me as an athlete.

I'm an athlete
I don’t currently rock a mustache 😉

It was the first time someone had specifically referred to me that way and when I shared that with others their response was… “of course you are!”

I guess I was slow accepting something I thought was only set aside for the elite….. the famous….those….were athletes.

However, in these last couple years, I’ve allowed that description to settle on me… to define me somewhat.

Why? Because I got that I was, that I am.

Perhaps I began to understand that being an athlete in it’s truest sense is a lifestyle, a way of living, covering everything from physical activity, to nutrition, rest, recovery and caring for your body in a very intentional way. You think like one which carries over into actions and attitudes in ALL of your life.

eat and train
When you begin to think like this… you’re moving that way to getting it.

It’s taking on a sport and learning all you can and striving to be the best you can be in it, regardless if you get paid or if you’re ever really known for anything.

After this past year with some amazing new personal goals conquered, I’m ok with wearing that statement on my chest.

As an athlete, I’m learning to deal with my body during peak training, and off season. Running a zillion miles a week keeps me super lean, off season as I’m finding out this year, I’m adding more muscle ( now all those calories can go to muscle building and not just getting burned off as fuel 😉

It is a change I have to be able to roll with.  A change that is relatively new to me. I physically can’t train at a high level year round, no one can. I probably need to enjoy it ’cause once I start back to serious training in a few months, my body will once again, go through a changing process.

This is what it is to be an athlete. Hard work…discipline…..change. Repeat.

A lifestyle. A choice to pursue your athletic goals with passion. Learning to embrace every aspect of what you do.

I’ve also found the same dedication, focus, perseverance, strength, sacrifice, mental strength, and commitment needed as an athlete carries over into all aspects of my life and that’s not a bad thing.

So, I’ll just remind you, as you pursue your passion and learn to live, train, and breathe what you do, you too are an athlete.

How do you view your physical activities? Is it a hobby to you? Just some exercise?  Or do you consider yourself an athlete?

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8 years ago I began what I now refer to as my "journey into lifestyle fitness". After a yearly check in with my Dr he said I looked "really good on paper, but I might consider losing a few pounds" I wasn't offended... I knew I needed to but it seemed like to much work at the time. In that year we had adopted 2 girls out of foster care, plus caring for my 3 sons & husband sort of left me on the back burner taking care of "me". I told him I "used to" walk & he encouraged me to at least get back to that. I left his office that day, started, & never quit. As time moved on my walks increased in length & speed. I started mingling some jogging into it...then after more time some short sprints. One day I realized I was doing more running than anything else. I learned to run longer and farther. I constantly challenged myself to do more. I realized I had turned into a runner & was loving it. I have since run 6 half marathons, 2 full marathons, and my first 50K scheduled for March 1,2015. Not bad for a girl who just started off walking not quite 2 miles! My body was now beginning to show the results of my work as weight & inches dropped off. I began to add in boxing & weights on days I wasn't running. Over time as the fat left, my new muscles were waiting underneath =) Obviously, I also made some food changes. Nothing drastic..just started eating less and trying to eat better.. I hated diets and how they made me feel....deprived & left out of all the fun...so adjusting & eating less of what I liked and moving more.. I found myself getting in decent physical shape. It began my thinking of lifestyle and not "dieting". As I got stronger,healthier & more fit it was an easier process to "let go" of some of the foods I had enjoyed. I had more energy, strength and confidence in what I could do. It was empowering. It made me realize that I probably wasn't the only one who wanted to lose weight, be healthy & strong but not always be on some sort of "diet". Maybe my journey & what I had learned & been doing might possibly help others to success in their lives... I consider myself to be rather normal and ordinary ( meaning I haven't always been into fitness and healthy eating) it has been a steady, daily, learned process with good days and bad days and my hope is that you too, will see the greatness in you, and that you have the ability and power to change and do anything you put your mind to. If you want change, you can make it happen. It's just one day at a time, making smart moves and better choices, and before you know it, things are happening. Get started on your journey, really, what do you have to lose ? And yet, so much to gain =)

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