Check out this guest post from my dear friend, and fellow blogger, Anna Aligood! Enjoy!
My husband, Nate, and I spent part of our Memorial Day weekend in Central Virginia for his cousin’s lovely wedding. We stayed at his parents’ house, in Lexington, Va., where he grew up, right near Washington & Lee University (W&L) and Virginia Military Institute (VMI). It’s a beautiful place where I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to spend some time.
I love exercising and have no trouble making it a priority in my everyday life. The challenge lies in finding something else that works when I’m away from my 21 Day Fix DVDs and free weights, classes at the gym, and favorite running route. I blogged here about how to live well over Memorial Day weekend and suggest packing exercise clothing. So I did just that with plans to hit the trail for a run.
As planned, Nate and I ran on the Cheesie Trail, which connects W&L with the back side of VMI.
Lexington is tucked in the Shenandoah Valley, next to the Blue Ridge Mountains, so it offers some hilly terrain – unlike the terrain in Arlington, Va., where we lived for five years until recently, and Augusta, Ga., where we live now.
Whenever I run with Nate, I’m always eating his dust. No, wait – is dust has already settled by the time I come shuffling by. He recently completed five years serving as an officer in the Navy, where maintaining a certain level of physical fitness was a requirement for the job. There’s my excuse. Seriously, though, I’m thankful to not just run with but also be married to someone who challenges me. For instance, he always tells me that I need to take longer strides, which I don’t argue. God gave me long legs, but I just don’t seem to want to use them. For some reason, I think that I’m conserving energy by taking smaller strides. Myth = busted.
He also told me yesterday that I need to dig deep to tackle the hills and reminded me that I’m a health and fitness instructor and need to “lead from the front.” This particularly resonated with me and really made me think about my next step with running and my physical and mental stamina but also my ability to help others to achieve their health and fitness goals.
I recall two distinct times when I tried to talk myself into finding enjoyment in running. The first was during my junior year of college. My best friend and I would run a couple miles, and we’d set goals to run from point A to point B without stopping to walk. The second was after I moved to Washington, D.C. and met Nate. I was embarrassed about how I performed during our first time running together, which was more like me desperately chasing after him while heaving. This was just about a couple of months after we met and when he was preparing to move to Pittsburgh for a six-month training. While he was away, I vowed to myself to increase my endurance, so there were weeks I’d run four miles six days each week, and I’d come home and pig out. I overdid it and didn’t know how to appropriately fuel my body. Needless to say, both attempts were unsuccessful.
The third time was a charm, when I started running again after losing a considerable amount of weight in 2012. I suddenly felt lighter! It’s no wonder that running didn’t stick the first two times.
I’ve undoubtedly come a long way, but, still, when I go out on a run, I spend the first mile asking myself why I thought that it would be a good idea. However, after that first mile, when I find my groove – and definitely after completing my run – I remember why: running reminds me of what my body can do and that it’s strong.
Question: What motivates you to run or exercise, in general?
About the Author
Anna’s a health communicator, health/fitness coach, Les Mills RPM instructor, and blogs about health and wellness at www.charmedwellness.com. Health is an important part of her life, especially since losing 50 pounds in 2012 and keeping it off through various life events, such as making a job change, getting engaged, earning a master’s degree, getting married, and moving south. Anna met Susan through their coursework in the master of arts in communication program at Johns Hopkins University. They enjoyed being classmates so much that they became good friends. Susan inspired Anna to run her first race in November 2013, a 10k in the Annapolis Running Classic. Since then, she met her goal of increasing her distance and ran the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in April. She plans to run her first marathon within the next six months to a year. That’s progress, considering that Anna signed up for a 5k in November 2009 that she blew off.