Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Running on Empty

In gearing up to write a post about my deceased elliptical (I know…it was dreadful), I jotted down some notes about why I work out in the first place. 

Though my motivational level has varied, I started to work out regularly a few years before I got pregnant with JT.  I liked the way it made me feel and so I continued after he was born.  I don't work out so that I have a svelte figure (and if you could see my backside, you'd vigorously agree).  I don't work out to lose weight.  That would be nice, I guess, but it's not why I run.  I work out to feel good.  It's as simple and as complicated as that.

When my life shattered four years ago, working out went from being desirable to being essential.  For starters, it helped tire out my mind and body and therefore to combat the insomnia that plagued me.  By providing a routine, it gave some meaningful structure to my summer days.  It allowed me to forget the moment-to-moment hell in which my mind felt trapped.  It also helped to keep depression at bay.

As a side effect, I lost some weight (I have no idea how much but none of my clothes fit anymore).  I began to feel stronger; more durable and more tough, both physically and emotionally.  For the first time in my life, I came to regard my body not as an enemy to be conquered but as an ally.  The intensity and duration of my workouts increased.  I went from a 20 minute jog on the elliptical to a 55 minute run.  I used the time to relax and let my thoughts wander.  My daily workout became an opportunity to think creatively; to brace for life's difficulties.  And at the moments of greatest stress, running ensured that I could keep going.

In short, I was hooked.  I still am.  So the death of my elliptical was bad news, for both my mental and physical health.   And that's a story for tomorrow.

1 comment:

Nichole said...

55 minutes? You sadist. I'm happy with the 27 plus 5 minute cooldown I do on the eliptical. God, I hate sweating.