Sunday, September 9, 2012

Why I Do What I Do

When discussing my training and racing, I am often asked by less active people why I do it.  My first thought is usually, "you won't understand."  But, then I attempt to explain, using one or several reasons that motivate me to seemingly torture myself.

My most common explanation relates to staying healthy and looking fit.  I generally do better when I have a goal to work toward, so I race.  Over the years, the goals have become loftier and the races have become tougher and thus, more intimidating to others who don't train like I do.  They don't realize that I started out like everyone else, trying to run just one mile or swim one lap, for example.  While this response is still very true, now I emphasize it less in my own mind because I have reached the point of maintenance with respect to these goals.

Now, I have other goals to maintain my focus.  I want to push myself and discover new limits; see what I can accomplish.  I think these struggles help me in other pursuits as well, rising to the challenge, learning life lessons.  I also appreciate the mental health benefits, when a hard or long workout cheers me up and eliminates frustration or anger.  It can be meditative at times.  I often solve a lot of problems during long runs by myself.  I think I am a more productive person as an athlete.

There are still other reasons: the feeling of accomplishment and pride when I do well, the recognition.  It validates my hard work and my approach to training.  It is frequently a culmination of all my education and experience.  The successes are personal and professional.

By the way, I thinks it is fun too!

But...why?  Why should anyone else care?  Well, because they can earn these benefits also.  This is my blog, it is all about me.  Some might see it as bragging, just like some of my Facebook posts.  Of course, I smile when I receive acknowledgement of my athletic successes, but I am trying to show others that these things can be done.

Everyone can improve themselves. It is possible to lose pounds, inches, body fat; increase strength, endurance, flexibility; feel better and sleep better; decrease the risk of heart disease, diabetes, preventable cancers, and a multitude of other maladies saving health care costs and improving the quality and longevity of life.  It is not easy.  It may not happen quickly.  But, it can be done.

Choose to change your life for the better.

Start right now.

Set a goal.

Make a plan.

Start simple, earn some small successes and build upon that.

Be consistent and diligent in working your plan.

You. Can. Do. It.

Helping others to realize this starts with me setting a good example, illustrating these points.  I am proof.  I did it and you can too.

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