Kamis, 30 April 2015

Running: My (Almost) Identity Crisis


First off, how cute & monstrous is this baby that D & I babysat last Friday night? 

I'm not quite sure this pic even does the largeness of this 5 month old baby justice but my aching back will testify that he is rather robust but oh so cute! Right now it seems like almost every one of our couple friends are having babies so we thought we'd give some of our friends a night out & watch this big little guy; let's just day it was definitely a good reminder for D & I to appreciate the time we have alone together right now. 

I'm really excited to share with you today something I recently went through that I would suspect maybe others out there have struggled with as well. 

Prior to training for my first 5K, I pretty much did a wide variety of activities at the gym (the elliptical, lots of spin classes, and some strength training) and I would say that if my fitness activities effected my sense of identity in any way, it was just that I saw myself as a "gym-go-er." 

However, I noticed that as I began running & training for my first 5K, as well as reading some running blogs & picking out running gear (which I will be sharing my faves of in an upcoming post!), that I began to form part of my identity around being a "runner." 

Running was something I never thought was even a possibility for most of my life so when I discovered that I actually could do it, it was as if I was discovering a whole new part of me- it was a big deal. 

And if all that wasn't enough, race day definitely sent me over the edge. Seeing myself among so many other "fit" people & being able to do the same thing they were was probably one of the proudest moments of my life. 

Everything about that day just felt epic to me- call me the biggest goober ever but I would probably have framed my race bib if it weren't for me turning it in for free tickets to a game! 

I guess I just felt like I finally belonged to some exclusive club of fit people that I had only dreamed about before that day. And it felt amazing. 


I started asking myself if I wanted to continue running and register for another 5K that some of my friends from church are doing & it was honestly a really hard decision to make. 


Because I don't love running. While running may have given me one of the best feelings of my life on that one day, I don't love feeling like a slave to training for a race, worrying if I have to miss a training day, dealing with the various injuries, & just the overall pressure...and did I mention I just don't like running all that much? 

So, I decided I would be taking a break from running. And then I almost had a meltdown. 

The thought of no longer being identified with other "runners" or that I would no longer be able to identify myself as a runner was extremely disturbing to me. I had begun to develop a sense of pride & perhaps even superiority in regards to running & the thought of not doing it anymore just sent my world spinning. 

If I wasn't a runner anymore, what was I? Had I failed? Was I moving backwards? What else would I do? All of these thoughts plagued my mind for a good week until I got a healthy dose of reality. 

I had begun to allow being a "runner" to become form part of my identity, which in my mind is never a good thing. I do not want to define who I am based on the things I DO because those things can change (whether voluntarily or involuntarily) & they just aren't solid enough to determine something as precious as my self- identity. 

My identity is found in WHO I am and not what I can DO. 

When I began this journey 3.5 years ago I simply wanted to get my life back. I wanted to fight for me, I wanted to fight to be free from the control of food & old habits and that's exactly what I've done. 

I AM healthy & victorious because that's who I AM and not because of an activity I DO. 

If doing an exercise DVD, working out on the elliptical, hiking, spinning, running or biking will cause me to look like this: (sidenote: I am a firm believer that if you still look pretty after working out you clearly haven't worked out hard enough- can't you tell by this picture?! haha). 

Then I would say I am more than successful enough in my book. 

For the record, I do plan to continue incorporating running in my fitness routine; I currently run between 1-1.5 miles a few times a week & still plan to participate in 1-2 5K's each year because of how much I enjoyed participating in this last one and to keep me on my toes but I will not allow myself to feel ANY less healthy, successful or proud of how far I've come just because I don't love running. 

AHHHHhhhhhhhh....okay, now that I've got that off my chest, I feel much better! 

I still have my last 5lbs to lose to reach my goal weight so that, coupled with my newly gluten free diet, have me coming up with some pretty creative culinary concoctions: 

Breakfast this morning: a GF cinnamon rice cake, 2 tbls. PB2, 1 tbls. strawberry preserves & 1/2 an apple (a whole apple is pictured but I got full so I only ate half)= 175 calories 

Followed by a mid morning snack that had some people in my office giving me a weird look; it's okay though, I've gotten used to be the token health nut girl who eats weird looking things and I'd much rather be that than the girl I used to be: 

Hummus Filled Hard Boiled Egg Whites= 104 calories 

I've been getting more creative with my snacks lately as I kinda hit a wall with my usual go-to snacks of apples & peanut butter and just desperately needed a change. 

I'd like to know: 

  1. Has anyone else ever struggled with building your identity around something you shouldn't? 
  2. Have you ever felt "left out" of the fit community because you didn't enjoy a particular activity/food? 
  3. What are your go-to snacks?