I’m borrowing this post idea from Tamara at fitknitchick.com after reading her post of the same title this morning. Tamara is a personal trainer and fitness guru extraordinaire and she’s been leading a fantastic 40+ Female Fitness Group where the topic originally came up and got her thinking… how have her fitness goals changed over the years?
I really enjoyed seeing how her goals have evolved and how she got to be such a focused, fit woman today. I found myself hoping my own fitness journey takes me to the same place and that I’m fit and focused and healthy as I age too. Since getting hurt, how my body will age has kind of started to scare me. An injured body tends to “age” faster than an uninjured one because you’re already starting from a broken or weakened state. My doctors have always stressed how fitness will be the biggest factor in how I feel as I age.
Anyhow, I know my own goals and reasons for exercising have changed over the years too so I’m hoping it’s okay that I borrowed Tamara’s idea and am putting together the same kind of post…
In elementary school, I only exercised if I was forced to. I was the book worm, my sister was the athlete. Running a mile for gym class darn near killed me.
|Not very active and not terribly competent
walking on the snow at Blackcomb Mountain either (1990)
In high school, I played basketball and volleyball mainly because I was “so tall” but the drive and ability really wasn’t there. I wasn’t doing it because I wanted to, I was doing it because people told me I should.
|I’m that awkward looking one on the far right of the bench (1992)|
By grade 11 & 12 I dropped the team sports and since some girlfriends joined a local gym, I did too. My exercise goals still weren’t my own though, I was only doing it because they were.
In college, I decided I was going to run the Vancouver Sun Run 10k. My only real goal was to run the race to try and impress the guy I liked. I ran a little bit here and there but had no focus and didn’t know how to train. I registered for it but never actually ran the race.
|Maybe I should have spent more time running than biking
with that guy I liked! (1997)
In University, I finally took some interest in my own health and was going to the gym regularly and loving it. I’d made new friends who were active and fantastic and I loved discovering new sports and activities with them.
|Day of the Longboat was a big event at UBC
(That’s me in the very back right with the blue bandana)
They inspired me to want to be fit and it all flowed naturally from there. My goals became about becoming active too. University was wonderful in this regard because there were always fun events to join in and I totally came out of my fitness “shell”.
|That’s my big round butt getting heaved over the wall at
Storm the Wall, another big event at UBC (1998)
Near the end of University, I was still going to the gym but a heavy course load was getting in the way. Running came back into the picture again when a group of friends wanted to run the Sun Run. In hindsight I was likely doing it out of competition with Runner Leana (we studied engineering together at UBC) but regardless, it was enough to get me actually training to run 10k.
|Don’t we look cool on this hike up the Chief
in Squamish? That’s me at the top and Leana
just below me (1999 I think)
I crossed the start line that day and about 5 mins down the road was crippled by horrible side cramps. I ended up walking most of the race. I think I was having a hard time finding any success because I hadn’t really found any true goals of my own. Turns out keeping up with someone else isn’t a very inspiring goal.
In my 20’s I continued working out at the gym with the simple of goal of wanting to look good. Never having been athletic, I had a pretty soft figure and was hoping to change that. It was enough to keep me motivated at that stage of my life. I kept up with my running, doing local races and organizing our office Sun Run team.
|Mike & I after the Sun Run (2004)
(Maybe my plan was working, I had the confidence
to run in just a sports bra top!)
At 26, we had our accident and that’s when everything changed. During recovery, exercise wasn’t an option. It was critical if I ever wanted to heal and live normally again. My goals changed overnight from looking good to survival.
|A few days after the accident, I don’t think I had even walked yet (2005)|
It was a tough change at first. Sure I exercised before the accident but never with the kind of dedication or focus I needed to recover from these kinds of injuries. I didn’t know how to work that hard. Thankfully it was a struggle that I would eventually overcome.
|Pool work was of the more enjoyable rehab (2005)|
Fast forward a few years later. I was 28 and pretty much recovered but left with little enjoyment and hardly any confidence. This is when my exercise goals switched from survival to triumph. After being broken for so long I wanted to find some transcendence and show these injuries that they couldn’t beat me.
It was a slow process but I had an intense desire to succeed at this running thing and drew on all that determination I found during my recovery to stay motivated and stick with it. My goals were finally steadfast enough that I was able to achieve them.
|Finishing my 2nd half marathon (2008)|
I have to say that I owe my current exercise goals to having had that horrible accident. They say that necessity is the mother of invention and in my case that kind of rings true. I was able to find a strong, true desire to get fit when it mattered most and it sticks with me today. In running, I continue to set honest and realistic goals and that makes it so much more fun to try and achieve them.
I can say with confidence that my current exercise goals are:
- To keep my back healthy and strong (to manage pain and maintain my mobility)
- To strengthen my body as a whole (you’re only as strong as your weakest link)
- To stay happy and healthy mentally (exercise was key in beating PTSD & depression and remains a huge mood-booster for me)
- To keep pushing for progress not perfection (I love that saying)
- To find happiness and fulfillment through working hard
- To be a positive fitness role model to my kids
- To impress anybody
- To do it because someone tells me I should
- To keep up or compete with anyone else (except myself)
- To get skinny or look good
I love that exercise has become a basic part of my life. I love that working so hard at something makes me feel happy instead of defeated. I love that I feel good about my body because of how it feels and functions not just for how it looks. I love that my kids see that running makes me happy and they get excited about it too. I love that I can look back on our accident and be thankful for the lessons it taught me.
How have your fitness goals changed over the years?