Saturday, June 13, 2015

Can Fitness Be Sidelined?

You might think you know the answer to that question. Fitness can be sidelined, we say, because Crazy Job, because New Relationship, because Babies Be Babies*.

Ok, yeah. But no.

It's been about 5 years since I contributed to this blog, mainly because I stopped contributing to my fitness. After a series of really annoying injuries and issues (at one point I had a tweaky right knee and a painful left shoulder, which pretty much put me out of any game) I decided to hit the pause button. 

Damn that pause button. It's sneaky - it says Pause then changes to Stop, and life doesn't have a helpful transitional screen saver. Eventually I stopped feeling the need to work out, lost the giddiness of a personal best, misplaced the delicious habit of knowing my own metrics by heart. My V02, heart rate zones, target rpms and pace per mile, almost as dead as the dodo. 

Almost. Because the real answer to the question is this: No, your fitness cannot be sidelined.

Once you have a sense of your own fitness, once that is stamped onto your DNA, injected into your bloodstream, embedded under your skin or tattooed on the back of your neck, that sense doesn't leave you. Your fitness habit will slip next to you in the soft gentle light some dawn and like a delicate kiss, whisper "You're going to age really badly and that's not what I had planned..."

Then it will taunt you when you rise from a good night's sleep and don't feel rested, stand accusingly when you notice your gut popping over your jeans and laugh like an ass when you face plant on the sidewalk.

When we interpret fitness as physical beauty, sculpted abs or Perfect-Butt-in-30-Days! we miss a crucial point. Fitness is feeling incomparable. Fitness is being energized. Fitness is balance, flexibility, grace in handling life's weird twists. Fitness is us: happy.

After a frustrating and stressful job, never feeling quite rested, massaging my waist fat like it was bread dough and quite literally falling flat on my face on Howard Street to great humiliation (Hi guys across the street at Kate O'Brien's, drinking beer and watching me bleed) and expense (emergency room, ambulance, stitches), it finally dawned on me during that delicate dawn kiss that I really missed being fit.

So I'm back at it. New personal metrics, adjusted zones, different targets. My former personal best will stand, but not quite as high on the scale as the simple act of taking my fit self off pause.

*My Tiny90 blog partner, Sara, just had her second baby. She kept running until a month before her due date and will likely start running again the very minute she can. Babies be Babies, but Mom Needs a 3-Mile Run, Dammit :-)

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