It seems like I've shared this story at some point before, but feel it's a good time to revisit.
Post-collegiate running days, I took a planned year off of running completely...which turned into more like 2 years. Not to mention at the time, I ended up battling a severe eating disorder, leaving me with no muscle to speak of, out of shape and barley hanging onto life. Needless to say, regaining my fitness started from ground 0.
Sound familiar? I may have been at the other end of the spectrum, but my struggle to reclaim my life, health and level of fitness are something I know many of you can relate to.
I knew it was going to be hard, but this girl (me) has always liked a good challenge. What did I do? I put on my big girl pants and went to work. No excuses.
My fitness plan started with what I considered a pathetic walk/run program and a foundational strength routine. Physically it was hard, mentally it was the excruciating. I had gone from an elite level athlete to remedial training.
It took me 2 years to be able to complete a 5k without walking. Though I've come a long ways since then, when I take the time to think about it, the memory is painfully vivid.
The point is, I DID get out of it. My fitness returned along with my life. It was a slow progression and a bumpy road, but it happened. How did I do it? It's complicated, but here are few keys.
#1 - Focus on moving forward. Every year, I set goals that scare me. Goals that challenge me to be stronger mentally, physically and emotionally. Goals that force me to get out of my comfort zone, goals I'm fearful I can't accomplish, uncertain they are attainable and doubtful I have the resources and means to accomplish them. These are the kind of goals that lead you to the person you want to become.
You see, goals that are in your comfort zone, that you know you can achieve and within your realm of expertise are the kind of goals that bore us and most often abandoned.
#2 - Not allowing mistakes to define me, my progression or keep me from my dreams. Yes, I have weaknesses and am far from perfection, but I refuse to let those chinks define me. I believe in hard work and perseverance.
#3 - Support. It has become increasingly apparent how important it is to be surround with support. For me that support is incredibly diverse. The first layer of support is family, friends and mentors. I rely on them heavily for feedback, both positive and negative as well as keeping me grounded and balanced. My second layer of support is much broader and includes books, podcasts, blogs and other resources that keep me inspired, motivated, confident and humbled.
Don't let your circumstance define you. Choose to live the life of your dreams. Sure, it's not easy, but I promise, you won't regret it!