What is it about exercise that makes it so easy to start, then quit, then start again, only to quit again? I absolutely love exercise in its purest form – simply being active – and yet I can’t seem to keep it as a consistent part of my life.
As a kid I spent just about every free minute outside. I rollerbladed around my neighborhood, played roller hockey with my brother and the boys, ran cross country all through junior high and high school. As an adult though, my exercise patterns have vacillated between being representative of a 500 lb sedentary sloth and a world-class triathlete (well…that may just be a bit of a stretch).
Back in 2005, I landed a spot in the New York City Marathon, and spent a very hot and humid summer training religiously. 26 miles is not a distance you want to mess with. That shit is hard! During the week I would run up to 10 miles before work; on the weekends, 18 miles before most people had gotten out of bed. I was determined. I finished the marathon with a reasonably good time, and after that I experienced a feeling that I imagine many Olympic athletes must feel following the Games. What now? I had accomplished a goal I’d held since I was 15. And not only had I run a marathon, but I had run one of the world’s premier marathons!
Last year, I got hooked on the Nike+ device. This little gadget tracks your speed, distance and time, and lets you compete with other people who have it as well. A few friends and I set up challenges, and for nearly five months we were fervent competitors. Our Nike+ competitions got me out of the house in the middle of winter, through bone chilling temperatures, in the pitch black (and yes - I know - unsafe) darkness of pre-dawn. The feeling of camaraderie – that we were all in this together – was strong. But honestly? My will to win was stronger. Pride can be so motivating!
This winter I fell victim to the cult following of Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred DVD. I got over the slight embarrassment at being one of ‘those’ ladies who works out in her living room. The abject difficulty of the workouts quickly took care of that. In its place I encountered humbling feelings of ‘Holy shit! I can’t lift my arms above my head!’ But once I had conquered all three levels of the Shred, or perhaps more precisely, once our tropical winter getaway had passed, Jillian’s workout gathered dust in the DVD player.
So now what? Spring is here. My Nike+ buddies seem as ‘over it’ as I am. I want so badly to be motivated. And yet. The laptop won’t budge off my lap and my ass won’t budge from the couch.