For The Love Of Exercise

On June 12th I competed in Eagleman 70.3 in Cambridge Maryland. The race consists of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride followed by a 13.1 run. This is not the first time I have done a 70.3 but it was one of the most challenging due to the elements. The wind and heat during the race, mostly the heat, really got to me.

It was about 90 degrees and full sun when I got to the run portion of the race. It was the first time ever the though crossed my mind that I didn’t know if I was going to complete a race. With in the first three miles of the run I was feeling nauseous. I think my body was over heating and truly felt like I was going to get sick. Thankfully the aid stations were well prepared with cold water, ice and sponges drenched in ice water to help all participants cool down. The cold water I drank and dumped on me as well as the ice I put in my hat at each aid station helped me to cool down enough to be able to finish the race successfully.

Someone asked me later how the race went and I told the above story. Their response was “I bet you regretted that decision to race”. My answer, “absolutely not!”

I realized from that response that some people just don’t understand why I exercise or do what I do and that is totally okay. Why do I exercise and subject myself to these situations where I feel like I am pushing my body past its known limits to finish something I started? The simple answer is because I enjoy it. I love the feeling of knowing that my body can do amazing things if I give it the proper training. I love feeling the strength in my body that I know I have. It is also a time for me. I enjoy the rhythmic nature of a steady swim and quietness it brings focusing on my breath. I clear my mind and recharge on long runs. I find joy riding my bike and seeing beautiful views and areas I may not otherwise drive.

To me, exercise is not a punishment it is a reward. So for every hard swim where I feel like my heart is going to leap out of my chest, for every run where my quads say stop and every hill I climb on my bike that makes me push harder, I say bring it! It makes me feel strong, powerful and confident in myself knowing that I can do this.

That is my why. What’s yours?

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