Today’s one of those days I’m stepping away from travel and photography and writing about something else a little more personal. Now, before you get all excited after reading this title, it’s actually going to be about – dum, dum, daa – fitness.
Still with me? Good!
If not, I’ll be returning to my normal travel/photography posting next week. Besides, the sheer physical task of biking in hilly Tuscany for four straight days and 20-30 miles at a stretch got me thinking about this.
From kindergarten to junior high, I was pretty much chubby kid. My stepmom, feeling sorry for me because she couldn’t really connect with me as a parent, gave me whatever I wanted for food. That centered around a lot of fast and junk, especially McDonald’s, and not moving around much. OK, I did get up and change the channel on the TV every now and then. It was the days before remote control units were standard.
It wasn’t until high school that I lost a significant amount of poundage, and that was because I started to run. There really wasn’t an “a-ha” moment where I just couldn’t take it anymore. I think I just wanted to feel less crappy, so walking and eventually running fit the bill. I also did aerobics (remember Jazzercise? I did that with one of my cousins, even though I felt silly jumping and dancing around to awful 80’s music), weight training, biking, swimming and tennis. And finally, I started eating better with more fruits and vegetables and less meat.
Fast forward to today. After two pregnancies, longer-than-normal exercise breaks, twisted ankles, torn ACL’s in my knees and bouts of consuming way too much comfort food, I still struggle with my weight, even though people generally say I look thin. I still love to eat food that’s not really good for me, like full-fat cheese, ice cream, desserts, chips and guacamole and onion rings.
And to those low-carb zealots: you can’t take pasta and bread away from me for any price.
I’ve tried to be a vegetarian, but I love bacon and In-n-Out cheeseburgers too much, which I thank God every day they’re not in Colorado yet. And it’s hard when my kids and hubby don’t really want to go the meatless route.
All in all, I love being active, and now it doesn’t matter what I do. As long as I get the heart rate up and can sweat a bit, it’s all good. I still pretty much do everything I mentioned above, except the Jazzercise and the swimming, which I find exceeding boring now. Yoga, hiking and downhill skiing have now joined the my list of options. I’d count in golf, but only if we don’t have cart.
My goal is to run at least one more marathon and finish it, but I’m not sure where that’s going to be yet. The possibilities: Seattle in December (yeah, given that I could be miserable and soaking wet for 26 miles doesn’t really sound appealing, either), Austin in February, Los Angeles in March and San Francisco in July. There’s also my vendetta with the St. George race, where I couldn’t go on after mile 20, and I’d like to enter that one and finish it. Why I’m still running, I don’t know. It’s sure not because I’m fast and can get any faster. But I’m still going, more than 30 years later.
It’s probably this: For the constant sitting down I do with writing, it’s super essential to keep physically fit, because it really helps with the mental fitness I need for this work. I also still get to eat more dessert than the average bear. That makes it all worth it.