Monday, February 6, 2012

Strong Enough To Be Hers

I've never been a very active person. I mean, I'm active in the sense that I never sit down and hate sitting still (I'm by no means lazy), but exercise hasn't ever really been a priority for me, and I've always been lucky to have an insane metabolism. After I had Sammie B, I never exercised, yet still fit back in most of my work clothes by the end of my 4 month maternity leave. I'm having a harder time losing the pregnancy weight this go-round, but still . . . I'm thin. But, I know I'm not healthy. Other than the exercise my regular life gives me (I do lift a certain 30 lbs of magic many times a day, so I have strong arms!), I haven't set foot in a gym in 4 years, haven't ran in 4 years, haven't done a single thing that would qualify as a cardio workout in 4 years. I've joked that I exercise once a year -- the 3 mile March for Babies walk we do every spring. But, joking aside, that IS the most exercise I do. And, I know it is not enough.

The thing is, exercise just doesn't come naturally to me. B introduced me to hiking soon after we started dating, and while I always enjoy the views from the top of a hike, the climbing part is so very, very hard for me, and I always feel so frustrated that it seems to come so easily for him. That it seems so effortless to him. That he's practically running up the mountain while I'm making my way slowly and am totally out of breath. I'm the furthest thing from an athlete you can imagine. As soon as I feel my heart rate get faster and I start sweating, I want to quit. Exercise is hard for me. I don't like doing things that are hard for me, and almost as soon as I start, I want to quit.

Yet, every week, before Sammie B's physical therapy appointments, I remind her that I know that therapy is hard for her sometimes, but even when things are hard, we still have to cooperate and try. (As part of this little pep talk, I actually always ask her, "if we are going to cooperate, what do we say instead of 'no, no, no?'" And she says, "yeah yeah yeah!" She also gets to pick a surprise each week after therapy as long as she "ties berry hard" as she says, and she always does). My girl tries so very, very hard. Even when things are hard for her. Even when I KNOW she wants to quit.

So this year, my goal is to do as I say. To TRY even when things are hard for me, simply because they are good for my body. To run, even when I don't want to, because I can, and that's not something I can take for granted. To take care of my body. To eat healthier. To exercise. And, not just because I want to be skinnier, but because my body deserves it. My fitness inspiration won't be weight loss -- it will be longevity and strength. It will be Sammie B.

So, for us, this year is about taking better care of ME, and also modeling a healthier lifestyle for BOTH of my girls (we've started having fruit every morning and a veggie every night, and talking about how good they are for our bodies). Even when things are hard, we still have to try.

And, to kick off this new season of me, I am training to run my first ever organized race. In March, I'm going to run a 5k. Pushing my little inspiration in the jogging stroller all the way. It is time to start taking care of me -- for her. For the little girl that has shown me what "tying berry hard" really means. So that I can be strong enough to be her mom* for a long, long time. She deserves nothing less. My sweet girl, I will always be your "yes."

* The link is to a must-read post by Rachel Coleman of Signing Times that I'm keeping close for additional inspiration. I read it with tears streaming down my face. I will be my girl's "yes." I will take care of me so that I am strong enough for her. I cannot imagine any greater motivation.


Jen, Paul and Gracie said...

Love, love, love this!! My husband and I have been talking about how we need to get in better shape for Gracie's heart surgery in a few months because we will need to be carrying her even more than we do now. And, we need to be emotionally strong and exercise goes a long way towards stress relief. Thank you for sharing your motivation and the "strong enough" post.

Erica said...

love this, love you! run on up here to northern cal and we can run together! I hate running. but i would do it with you!

Cristina said...

This is such a great post. It really echoes the past year of conversations Matt and I have had. Since April, he has lost 50 pounds and is in the best shape of his life (and getting better). I'm slowly but surely integrating more exercise into my life too. Even when Bertrand reaches his 6'1" projected height some day, if I still need to be lifting him, I absolutely will!