Tuesday, July 19, 2016


I have never been a runner. In fact, I always sort of prided myself on hating exercise.

At the beginning of this year, though, I felt a very strong push to be more physically well. I didn't make a New Year's resolution to work out every day, or anything like that (because that never works for me), but I started by seeing a chiropractor for the first time, getting some massage therapy, had some other stuff taken care of, and went to the dentist again (which I hadn't done in a couple years). I was motivated all around to get in better health. I was tired of having problems and not feeling great. I was tired of my back aching and pulling muscles when I would pick up the kids. Little by little I am figuring things out and setting goals and making plans. Each month it seems I have tackled something new, and I am seeing some great results and feeling better about my direction. I have even tried to get outside more, as much as possible! The kids and I go on long walks and just stay in the sunshine as much as we can. Rexburg winter really hit us hard this year. The cabin fever struggle is real.

Exercise was still in the back of my mind, and I had reached out to a friend who is a Beach Body coach and asked about her routine and joining 21-day fix. I wasn't worried about losing weight, but I knew that I wasn't in shape, and after having 2 kids I just felt squishy. I wanted to feel toned and physically fit so that I could keep up with my kids and myself. We talked about options, but we didn't have money in our budget to start a workout plan. I know that exercising really doesn't cost anything, but sometimes it's hard to be motivated. By yourself. In an apartment with toddlers.

Then in May I was informed that I had severe depression.
Does this look like the face you would expect for someone with depression? I didn't.
This is not something that I have taken lightly talking about, because I didn't want to seem that I was "just another person" talking about their depression or using it for attention. Believe me, it is not that at all. This wake up call was not something that I was expecting, but also wasn't completely surprising. I've always been a pretty introspective person, but this made me reconsider how I was approaching my life. This year had started off with me trying to take care of my body and help it run as naturally as possible, so I felt again this big push to tackle exercise.

I decided immediately to start working out like I hadn't done in years. At the peak of my life's physical shape (age 17-18) I was in marching band, spent the fall season as drum major, and had taken weight training. I really took my health for granted. After high school I stopped working out completely because I was working full-time (not that this is a good excuse) but I coasted on my petite build and great metabolism.

Off and on over the years I have exercised here and there, but never totally consistently. I found a great love for yoga, and I do ride my bike in the summer. (Believe me, pulling kids in a bike trailer is no easy task!) But I've just never caught the workout bug. I watched my friends doing Cross Fit and marathons, and just thought, "They are so inspiring! But that is not for me."

Now, exercising has become a great outlet. I have even woken up early to go running before Jon leaves for work, or before we go to the temple. Who is this girl??

Our apartment community has a great workout room, so I'm able to have some alone time in the morning while Jon is with the kids before work. I started by running for 30 minutes. I took it slow and ran a 15 minute mile. I'm pretty sure my fastest 2-mile time in high school was 16 minutes, so I realized that this was sort of pathetic, but the point was that I was doing it. The next day I did some weights. I combined my exercising with listening to some awesome Christian rock like Five Iron Frenzy, and it was amazing how the combination of working out to beat my depression combined with uplifting and positive music became an incredible spiritual experience.

When I beat my distance goals today by running 3 miles, I did a fist pump in the gym! It felt amazing :D Since I knew the record break was coming up, I put on Cake's "Going the Distance" for the last couple minutes of my run, and I felt pretty rad. ;)

Then I had this CRAZY idea that I could run a half-marathon. Let me tell you, running in a marathon is something that I never ever wanted to do. Ever. Not interested. I even own a book on "non-running". I am very serious about it. But I thought that maybe working toward something crazy that was totally not my natural inclination might be really good. So...

I have seen my friend Morgan Joyner run in the Tinkerbell half-marathon at Disneyland before and have loved her posts. It became a goal burned into my mind that I would do this. Because it was a sacrifice. Because working out had suddenly become my way to beat Satan. I was going to round house kick him in the face with this marathon. The ladies-themed marathon weekend in Disneyland happens every May, so I had exactly a year to reach this goal. I decided on the more realistic 10K (also because that race is on Saturday, vs the half-marathon run on Sunday). It's definitely happening!

I've been working out now for a couple months and seeing some great results! Of course it is hard to work out for a few weeks and not see the 6-pack I was expecting ;) haha, but seriously I'm already so pleased with how I feel about my body, realizing that this is a long term adjustment and a slow climbing health goal.

When I started:
Plank 30 seconds
5 lb weights
15 sit ups
Run 15 minute mile

Plank 2 min
12-15 lb weights
40 sit ups
Pilates/ab workouts
Run 9 minute mile
Longest distance so far: 3 miles!!!! (farthest I have ever run at one time)

I even rewarded myself with some "new" workout clothes from D.I. ;)

It's a long process, but I've been happy to get started, finding my comfort zone and pushing myself a little bit. The main goal has been consistency! I work out every day except Sunday, for at least 30 minutes. Usually I do stretches and warm ups with sit ups/abs and planking. Then I lift weights for at least 15 minutes every other day (mostly small sets to work on my arms/shoulders) and then I do the elliptical or treadmill for 15-30 minutes.

I have also found that certain music is way better for me to workout to than others. Relient K is a huge favorite. I also am still enjoying Five Iron Frenzy, but "The End is Near" has always been my favorite album of theirs (not live, prior to the double release combo of The End is Here-which is also good), so I find myself listening to it on repeat. Some days I sprinkle in a little non-religious music like Arcade Fire, Cake, or Coldplay, but I have found myself just so much more motivated when listening to songs that remind me of WHY I am doing this in the first place, that I just go back to Relient K the most (they have a good album spread on Spotify).

While that is probably more than you really wanted to know about my exercising experience, I just wanted to share in case it helps motivate someone else who has been in my position. I never loved seeing others post pictures of themselves at the gym everyday, but now I get it. I feel so pumped and I'm actually sad if I miss a day or two. It's been a huge milestone for me, and an enjoyable experience that I never thought I would have. I can't wait to see where I am next May in Disneyland!

1 comment:

Emily said...

doing the disneyland half marathon has totally been my unrealistic running goal (i detest running) because i want the cool medal! and boy can i relate about marching band years being the best shape of my life. oy.
it sounds like you and my sister are going through a lot of the same - she's been struggling with anxiety and depression and occasionally blogs about it (http://latterdayphysicist.blogspot.com/)
i cannot wait to see where your journey and year of america takes you! that alone makes me want to plan my own america road trip :)