Thursday, June 12, 2008

Inspiration from the track

Last evening I set out to do sprints at the track. Upon arrival I noted a small group of people congregating outside the gate. A little dismayed as I would now have an audience, I wasn’t going to let my insecurities or the hot, humid weather deter me from doing HIIT. I proceeded to do my warm-up and set out to do my sprints and noted that the small group was now growing larger and amongst them was a group of mentally challenged individuals. Exhausted, I finished 12 sprints and spent a few minutes watching these individuals conquer the odds as they partook in laps, sprints and hurdles. They all had this contagious energy and faces that were aglow with smiles. After my last sprint, the father of one of the boys said his boy had wanted to race me. I laughed and said he should have and he would have probably beat me. I inquired about their events and was told it was track and field night for a group of mentally challenged individuals.

They were lined up – three young men. Prepping to race down the track. His boy (the one that wanted to race me) was the middle one with the red shirt. Each one ran as fast as they could giving everything they had in them. The boy with the red shirt ran back to his father announcing his time. It wasn’t his best he said, but nonetheless he was pleased and ran off to his next event. In the words of Olympics founder Baaron Pierre de Coubertin, “The important thing is not to win, but to take part. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well.” And fought well I’m certain they all did. I was told they race against themselves and the next time he races, the goal will be to beat his own time. Not that of another. This for me is so humbling. How often do I yearn for what others have and compare myself to them. How often have I wished for bigger shoulders, tighter thighs and defined abs only because this is what I see on someone else and I covet it for myself. In that short time on the track I learned a lesson. My efforts to improve my body composition are an ongoing pursuit. I set goals and I reach for them. Rather than try to reach for someone else’s ideal, I need to focus on what my gifts and positive attributes are and work with them and not let my desires be my handicaps. I believe that no matter what I set forth to do, regardless of how it turns out, I must give it my best effort. From these words evolved the Special Olympics' athletes oath... "Let me win, But if I cannot win, Let me brave in the attempt."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Went for my run tonight. Not sure of the distance...but it must have been at least 5k. Running against the wind should be considered resistance training.

Believing in Yourself

“If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won't, you most assuredly won't. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.” Denis Waitley

It’s not a feeling I have to often in the gym and it’s certainly one I am not comfortable with. Disappointment with my workout. Now it’s not for a lack of trying, but when circumstances in life become overwhelming, your body seemingly deals with daily stressors however it chooses and for me, its fatigue and a lack of energy. Regardless of how motivated I was to do well in my workout, my body failed me. In my attempt to do overhead reverse/forward lunges, I was fatigued by the 3rd set and my quads started to burn and tingle in pain. Regardless of how my body felt, I pushed through that workout and today I feel all the better for it. But I left the gym feeling defeated and disappointed. But I didn't give up.

Giving up is something I know a bit about. How many diets did I try only to give up and resign to “normal” eating again. I think many of us who carry extra weight don’t believe that we can lose it. We hang on to this belief like that of a moldy old sofa, so familiar that it has an imprint of your arse on it. Rather than extracting it to find something better (healthier), we hang on to it for its familiarity. There’s an old saying I tell myself, “We remain the same until the pain of remaining the same exceeds the pain of change.” (author unknown).

Changing my thinking and eating habits was the only way I finally succeeded. Back in 2005 when I first embarked on this diet, I didn’t know this was it. I knew I was fed up with the weight being a barrier for me and I was determined to lose it, but I didn’t know how successful I would be at this attempt. Something clicked this time and it felt right and it worked. Eating healthy is no longer optional. It’s a given. It’s the cheating/deviating from plan that I struggle with. The guilt feelings associated with this are still difficult to overcome, but it’s getting better.

What I am learning is that I have a choice, either I can let my thoughts dictate my emotions or not. So, back to my disappointing workout...I believed in myself to see it to the end, regardless of how crappy I was feeling through it. Today I’ll go for a run and tomorrow I’ll be back at the gym because there is no giving up.