Sunday, March 6, 2011

How Do You Do It? Why Do You Do It?

When it comes to training and racing, I am frequently asked "how do you do it? and/or "why do you do it?" And I'm still not sure how to answer that. Do I copycat Nike and say "just do it?" Do I lie and say that I have an unlimited amount of energy? The truth is, I don't know sometimes. It's not easy that's for sure. Look up at the title of this blog. I am not one of those people that is naturally athletic and really enjoys working out. I really don't like it most days. Sometimes (like this past week), I just don't have any desire to work out. I just want to sit and eat Dairy Queen Blizzards. How's that for some reality?

"Why do you do it?" I feel like I don't have a choice. I realized back in 2004 that I was way too young to be that out of shape so I trained for my first 1/2 marathon but that wasn't enough. In 2007 it became even more real that I shouldn't take my health (or ability) for granted. It finally sunk in that I have no choice. Obesity, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol all run in my family. If I don't "just do it," then I'm going to go down the path of having all those challenges. In 2007, the doctor told me I was pre-diabetic and my cholesterol was borderline high. Now, all of those important numbers are well below average and while I still hold onto some extra weight that just doesn't want to leave, my overall heath is pretty darn good. My resting heart rate is down 15 beats from 2007. I can't beat genetics and despite the hard work I put in, I might still end up struggling with things like high blood pressure and cholesterol but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying.

"How do you do it?" I don't necessarily have more energy than the next person. I don't love working out that much. Sure, I love the feeling of finishing a race or making it through a difficult work out but I don't usually feel the urge to workout like some people do. The character flaw that I've done my best to turn into a positive attribute (and what might answer the "how do you do it?" question) is stubbornness. I won't quit. I just keep trying until I make it to the end. I'm usually in the back of the pack during races. I'm a slow walker and even slower runner. I'm a slow swimmer and a slow cyclist. But no matter how slow I'm going, I don't stop.

So what's a Gym Class Dropout to do when motivation is running low? As much as I really wanted to not go to spinning class today and sit on my butt and eat a Blizzard, I didn't. For two reasons. I didn't want my coach/teammates to harass me (because I already missed the swim practice earlier this week), but today is also the one year anniversary of Seth Jenkins' death. I only met him once but in his 13 short years in this world, he manage to inspire a lot of people. Despite being sick, he just didn't quit. He didn't have a choice so he just kept going until his little body couldn't fight any more. My body is still going. I can't let my lack of motivation get in my way. I just have to keep going.

Why do I do it? Because kids like Seth can't. Because if I don't, then my body might stop fighting.

And why the hell not? It sure beats sitting around, eating fast food and keeping my fingers crossed that the genetic Russian roulette doesn't get me!

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