This morning when I was out for my morning walk (one of my favorite parts of my weekends), I was being passed by runner after runner…after runner. That then got me thinking about how I used to run….and the last time that I had actually went for a run. If some of you may remember, I decided to take a little break from running. I decided it was best for MYSELF to stop. Just a few minutes ago, I looked at my planner to see the last time I went for a run. (Yeah, I used to write down all my work outs that I did each day in my planner) My last run, which I marked down, was July 7th…over a month ago. I honestly can’t believe it’s been that long already! So, do I miss it?!
I can honestly say that I don’t.
In analyzing the reasons why I had been running so religiously prior to my hiatus, I realized that I was doing it for ALL THE WRONG REASONS. Granted, I did get some benefit from it, I liked the feeling of running, I liked the sense of accomplishment I received from running, and I felt that highly-desired ‘runners high’ afterward. But the main reasons I was choosing to run were for the wrong reasons. I ran because I needed to burn calories, because I needed to get my heart rate up or I wasn’t ‘really exercising’, or because I had eaten more than I ‘should have’ on any given day, and needed to make up for it. Running for me, went hand-in-hand with my eating disorder’s twisted and contorted thoughts. I wasn’t running for the pure joy of running, I was running because my eating disorder told me I had to.
It feels refreshing to be able to distinguish those thoughts and the reasons why I chose to run. I am also so INCREDIBLY proud of myself for not giving in to my eating disorder and making myself run. There was a time where I couldn’t go more than a day or two without running or I’d feel like a fat, lazy girl or that I’d gain weight if I didn’t. But now, I have gone 42 days without running. And I am okay! Nothing bad happened as a result of me no longer running. If anything, only good has come from it.
I have recently been enjoying my walks and yoga so much. These two forms of exercise I truly enjoy and love. While I find myself sometimes still using walking for the wrong reasons, it is more often just because I really want to enjoy the beautiful weather or some serenity in my day. These two forms of movement are for my well being as a person. They relax me, calm me, and allow me to feel rejuvenated. They don’t make me feel exhausted, they don’t make me feel run down, they don’t make me feel like my legs are going to give out on me, they don’t make me feel like I need to push myself and do more than I did the day before. They make me feel good.
So jumping back to the beginning of my post a bit. Another thing that came to mind, while I was walking (and being passed by many runners) was the thought of comparing myself to those runners. For a long time I rationalized, ‘if they can run, then I certainly can/should/need to run’! But now, today, I can honestly say that I don’t think that way or feel that way. If they want to run, then they can run. Most likely they are in a healthier place than I am anyway, so for them it’s okay. For me, right now, it’s not. Just because someone else can run or chooses to run, does not mean that I should run or am healthy enough to run. I need to be able to decide for myself when I am at a point that I can do so, not basing it off of someone else’s choices. This was a hard thing for me to come to terms with. I always compared myself to others and what others were able to do as far as exercise. Yet now I can truthfully say that I DO NOT feel the need to compare myself to others with my exercise. That is one of the most beautiful feelings.
Not only does happiness occur when you stop comparing, but also a sense of inner peace and calm. I can’t tell you how exhausting it is to constantly be comparing yourself to others, and then pushing yourself to do things in order to be ‘as good as’ someone else. It is the most tiring thing. I have done it so often in the past and it just beats you down. I feel such peace of mind now that I can go for my walks (or do my yoga) and not compare myself with anyone else’s exercise routine. I can go for a walk and have runner after runner…after runner pass me by and NOT feel like I should be running right along with them. I have finally accepted that what I do needs to be done for myself and my needs, and not based off of someone else’s decisions or choices. You do your thing, I’ll do mine.