I have been doing a good deal of soul-searching this week about what being healthy (and fit) means to me… I don’t have any definitive answers. And you may have to indulge me with a few more postings as I work this out in my head…
Here’s Part One – Reflections on childhood and youth experiences with exercise…
- I always hated gym class… mostly because it was my weakest subject (no pun intended). Like most people, I typically gravitate towards what I’m good at. I was never good at sports and so naturally, I stayed away from them.
- In those obligatory annual fitness tests in school, I usually came in dead last in everything – making me hate gym class (and fitness tests) even more. I dropped gym class from my schedule the first chance I got.
In high school I did some long distance running… I decided I wanted to run a marathon. I mustered up the courage to go talk to the track coach about it, he just looked at me and said, “I don’t think that’s a very good idea.” And he refused to have any part of it.
So, I asked my English teacher (also a long distance runner) instead. She gave me some tips and then I just went and ran my little heart out… blindly. Most of the time, I had no freaking idea what I was doing and it's a wonder to God that I didn't seriously hurt myself.
After the marathon the English teacher, Coach and I curiously ended up in the same hallway at the same time one day after school. Mrs. Williams said, “The marathon was on the weekend. I saw Sarah there. She did O.K.”
Well... she lied a little bit. I was the second last person to finish the race. The guy behind me was howling at the paramedics, “Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me!” Knowing he’d be disqualified if he was assisted. Me, I was just slow.
My time was about 4:44, I think. I’d have to look it up to be exact. Anyway, the course closed at 5 hours, so I was cutting it close. That was almost 20 years ago and it was a small marathon in Halifax. There weren’t as many people running or walking marathons then and it wasn’t so unusual for a course to close after 5 hours back then… Supposedly, you didn’t even think of doing a marathon unless you were a “real” runner.
Anyway, Coach’s reaction in the hallway was, “Didn’t think you’d do it, kid. You’ve got pluck. I’ll give ya that.” And he walked away.
So, when I look back at these experiences with exercise as a young person, I can see that there’s not a lot of positives to look back on.
No wonder I was happier with my nose in the books!
Now, in my 30’s, I’m trying to create a balanced, healthy life (and lifestyle), that includes regular exercise. I realize that I am still very much affected by these early gym class experiences.
I am consciously trying to create a life that balances mind, body, soul, emotions and whatever else one can balance. My question is… How do I balance those early negative experiences with current good experiences so I can maintain this over the long term??
The irony of all this, of course, is that as I'm thinking about this, I realize that I am of course... thinking (inside my head again!) Mind you, at least I'm trying to think while maintaining good posture...