Finding balance with family and exercise is a post I’ve been asked to write several times and a question that gets posed to me often. Although I enjoy this topic – a single Mom with 11 children I’ve most assuredly had to find balance – there’s another closer topic that I personally dissect more often. How do I find balance with fitness within myself? I can attest to a couple of things. #1 We are our own worst critics. #2 Support and an unbiased opinion from friends, workout partners, teammates, etc… is exceedingly helpful. I had been struggling with my fitness goals for about two months but had never voiced it. I was mulling it over and being overly critical instead of just verbally vomiting to someone who would give me perspective. Interestingly, my Endurance Reno running coach must have felt a vibe from our team because he posed this question:
“Who is happy with their current fitness level and who feels like they are behind where they would like to be for now, in May, 2013?”
The response was instant and intense from my teammates. Most people wanted to improve which is expected. My question was – in what way am I unhappy and in which directions do I wish to see improvements? This was my reply
“I’m fine with my overall fitness but my mindset might be different. I’ve always wanted to push for PR’s (personal records) and get faster but really honestly (although that would be cool), I’m usually in the top 10% of races and often place for my age group. I don’t feel like I’ve gotten any faster this last year but I feel like I’m a much stronger runner, smarter, better trained, harder training. Then I get to a race and because everyone wants a big PR I feel like I’m a disappointment because my speed doesn’t seem to change although I watch my teammates all improve their speed. I push hard all the time, I think I train smart, I feel overall pretty well rounded with fitness and diet. I’m starting to wonder if I’ve just leveled off and won’t get additional speed but if I maintain my fitness, my time and being injury free and I’m able to have longevity that wouldn’t be a bad thing, would it?”
His response: “Jennifer you are doing great and have the right perspective about it!”
Goal setting is a mental game. Sure, in races I’d like to be faster every single time. I want to PR, set records, stand tall on the podium. It feels fantastic! The truth is that I won’t. Some races are hard, some days I’m not at my peak. Sometimes it’s someone else’s day. Evaluating and reminding myself of what my overall values are is important:
I want to experience the race environment. The people, the vendors, the atmosphere, the energy, being surrounded by like minded people who are living a healthier lifestyle and also setting their own goals.
I want to experience the race itself. All the time and effort behind the scenes to create an event is vast. Even if I’m having an off day I need to be mindful of the effort so that I could even be there.
There are people who would like to participate but can’t. Injury, accidents, stress, lack of support, etc… can lead to an inactive life. It’s not that I can do it – I GET to do these races.
I’ve been running, doing fitness competitions, living a healthy lifestyle since I was on my own at 17 which has meant remaining healthy, better sleep, confidence, energy and longevity. I am truly blessed.
I am my own worst critic. Knowing how things should look logically does not mean emotionally I am exempt. I naturally see areas that I think need improvement, I assess my fitness level and goals regularly, I strive to be a better version of myself every day. To be accountable, I need to remind myself that goal setting and pushing for those goals isn’t the biggest issue. In the end, I need to remind myself to enjoy the journey.
Fitmark Ambassador 2013