Finding motivation to stay fit

By Jennifer Davis Rash
Managing Editor, The Alabama Baptist

Picture it — a cold, rainy, miserable Saturday morning in 2009. And uncoordinated, out-of-shape me attempting to run my first 5K race.

It wasn’t pretty but I did it.

Sure, part of my motivation to finish the 5K while still running (more like slightly bouncing) rather than crawling came from the fact that the only person behind me was a sluggish 10-year-old attempting to run his first 5K also.

But most of my motivation came from those encouraging me and running with me.

My husband was on one side and a dear friend on the other. Both could have finished the race in less than 20 minutes but they didn’t leave me. They slowed their pace to turtle speed and stayed right by my side, talking me through it.

While I love how much my hubby supports me in all that I do, I have to say it was almost as discouraging as it was encouraging for him to run with me. Just because he’s some super athlete who hasn’t met a sport or exercise he can’t do doesn’t mean he should be able to walk up to a 5K starting line and run the entire thing with no problem when he didn’t train one single day ahead of time. That just can’t be fair.

My friend, however, was an encouragement. She is the one who encouraged me to give it a try. So, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to run a 5K that year. Amazingly enough, I ran it in March — again not pretty but accomplished.

And so you might think the rest of my column will be filled with inspiring words of how I moved on from there to be a world-class marathoner and that you can do it, too. But you would be wrong.

I actually stopped exercising consistently after that 5K — not sure why but I did.

Maybe it’s because I’m goal-oriented and I set a “too achievable” goal. Granted I never would have believed I could run a 5K before I did, so I certainly didn’t think it would be as achievable as it was.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t have a pacing/accountability partner at the same level.

Maybe I wasn’t doing it for the right reasons, not looking at it as part of my overall health maintenance plan. Maybe I just did it to see if I could.

Whatever the reason, I did stop exercising on a regular basis and that’s not good. From there, time got away from me, work became busier and other life issues happened. It was easy to just ignore exercise, at least until late last summer when my sister-in-law asked me if I had been able to regroup on my exercising. She is my husband’s twin so again athletic genes! But she also is the mother of my 3-year-old niece, Belle, who is fighting cancer.

I explained how I would love to make a regimented exercise routine work for me but I just have all of these things going on plus with Belle’s cancer, I’m spending all my extra time helping with her, etc., etc.

Wait a minute! There I was using Belle’s cancer as an excuse not to exercise when Belle’s mommy was consistent with her exercise.

It was when I heard myself say it that my perspective changed. While praying for God’s help, I resolved to figure out how to make exercise work in my life. And so here I am.

If you, like me, are interested in learning about various exercise programs, how to get started, how to take yourself to the next level and/or some specific lifestyle changes to make to be more heart healthy, then check out http://www.thealabamabaptist.org for fitness-related articles.

Be sure to e-mail me at jrash@thealabamabaptist.org about how your exercise routine is working and share any tips that have made a difference for you. Or just post a comment here.

I’m interested in hearing your stories.

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This entry was posted in Snapshots of Belle, Snapshots of life, Snapshots of The Alabama Baptist and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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