I Am An “Exerciser”… And I Am Perfectly Ok With That

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I have mentioned before that I am a part of a women’s group here in Pensacola called SBL. It is by far the most loving and supportive group of women I have ever encountered, and over the year and a half that I have been a member, I have made some of the best friends a girl could ever ask for. While the group was originally started to be solely a weight loss support group, it has evolved in to a true sisterhood that supports each other the way all women should.

SBL

This week a topic came up for discussion that has been on my mind ever since. One of our members asked “When is it ok to start calling yourself an athlete?”

Thing is, many of us have begun training for upcoming triathlons, iron mans, marathons, and more. Our days are filled with swimming, biking, running, crossfit, zumba, ReFit, POUNDFit… you name it, the SBL girls create a LOT of sweat on a daily basis. And the question generated a pretty amazing conversation about what being an athlete “means” and where we all fall. Then someone commented with this post about “Are You An Athlete or an Exerciser?” It hit a nerve with a lot of people when they realized that … they might in fact not be an athlete and more of an exerciser. I commented on the thread that “I am an Exerciser… and I am PERFECTLY ok with that.”

Thing is – I am not going all of this to try to come in first or to eventually do an Iron Man or some extreme fitness challenge. I am doing it for fun. And because I enjoy it. And because I enjoy these ladies. And because ultimately I love the way I feel, and am even starting to love the way I look.

SBL collage

I care nothing about PR’ing – in fact even back when I did my 12 5ks in 12 months I wasn’t concerned with time. My best time that year was my run in September. Not the one in October… or November… or the two I did in December. Yep, my time got increasingly worse instead of better… and I could not have cared less. My goal was never to get sub-30 or to even beat my best time. I just enjoyed being there, getting the Tshirts (literally), and marking off the goal for the year. That’s it. I had a blast at every single one of those runs – laughed until my sides hurt every time (when you are laughing, shin splints are much more bearable) and enjoyed a well deserved cocktail at every finish line. *ahem*

12 5ks in 12 months

But what really stands out to make me an “exerciser” more than an “athlete” as the above writer points out so well is the schedule and priorities. See, when given the chance to work or work out… I choose work. Every time. When given the chance of hitting snooze or getting up to run… I hit snooze. And while I may get up and head to the beach on a Saturday morning to take the bike for a spin, I know that the reason I drive all the way out to the beach is not because it is a better ride – but because as soon as I am finished you will find me laying in my beach chair soaking up the sunshine right afterwards.

Do I exercise a lot? Yes. Do I do more than most people? Maybe if you compare me to the general population and not solely to the SBL girls (because let’s face it – they all absolutely rock!) Does that make me an athlete? No.

I do not know if I will ever be an “athlete” because at this time in my life, I do not care to be. It is not because I do not think I am capable – I am simply uninterested in putting training over my family, or my work, or my social life. Simple as that. I have no dream of completing an Iron Man or a marathon – although I DO plan to do a half marathon next year… but again just for fun. Well… and for a medal.

I am an exerciser… and I want to thank Greg for his post, and showing that being an exerciser is perfectly ok.

BOLD Goals #11 & #12… Completing My BOLD Goal

Today on Facebook I made mention of my “12 5ks in 12 months” goal in 2013… and realized I never blogged about the last two runs.  I DID complete both to make my goal of all 12 runs… in fact I did the last two in the same day.

I don’t recommend anyone do that… ever.

The last two runs were the Blizzard on the Beach 5k and the USO Runway 5k.  Cayce did both of them with me – her boyfriend joining in as well. Even Mike joined in for the second one so we could all celebrate the completion of all 12 together.

blizzard 5kThe Blizzard on the Beach – which was actually done downtown and no where near a “beach” – was… well… a disappointment.  Not only was it brutal cold, but the wind was blowing at what felt like 100 miles an hour. Also the “blizzard” turned out to be small bubble foam blowers randomly stationed throughout the course. This however turned out to be a very good thing – I am not sure anyone would have appreciated being wet in that weather. As it was, we cursed most of the way – half freezing to death.

After the run however they had trucked in hundreds of pounds of ice to make “snow” for the kids to play in.  We stood and watched the total chaos of giggles and airborne snowballs flying through the air for a few minutes before heading off to breakfast… and to thaw out.

After eating and warming up we had just a few hours until it was time to head back out for the USO Runway 5k.  I took Cayce and Arturo home and went home to wait for Mike… wondering why in the world I chose to do two 5ks in one day. Not only were my shin splints screaming, but the forecast was calling not only for the temps to drop more… but rain to come in as well.

Awesome. 

But I was only 3.1 miles away from my goal. 3.1 miles from 100% completing my goal. A goal I have worked on all year long. A goal that everyone told me I was crazy to attempt.  A goal that on numerous occasions I had tried to come up with valid excuses to let myself off the hook for.

3.1 miles.

So at 3pm we left for the airport. The temps had dropped, and it was drizzling rain. The wind had also picked up. We knew this was going to be brutal.

runway 5k 2We got to the airport and parked in the Economy Lot which they had reserved for all of the runners.  This was great (and free) except that it was literally like a half of a mile from where the race would take place.  So just getting there and back was a hike. Ugh. I did mention we had already done one 5k that morning right? And it was cold. And raining. And getting dark.

3.1 miles, Lynsey. Only 3.1 miles.

I lined up at the very back of the race. The last one. I didn’t care.  Today was about completion – not glory. When the shot went off to start the race … I walked. And walked.  And walked.  In fact, not one time did I break in to even a jog.

I began last, but I did not finish last.  There were actually quite a few people that I had passed along the way.  The runway was actually a really cool place to run/walk – every few minutes the roar of another huge plane taking off at the adjacent runway was pretty amazing. Mike stayed with me the entire time – sometimes talking – sometimes walking in silence as I reflected back on the 11 other runs I had completed that year. The good, the bad, and the muddy. Through 12 5ks I had battled shin splints, near heat stroke, a stomach virus, rashes, chafing, blisters… but that was all about to come to an end. Just 3.1 miles around a runway.

One of the things I love about all of these runs is how no matter how long it has taken you – there is always such a wonderful cheering squad waiting for you at the finish line. When I crossed over that finish line everyone just saw someone who had finished WALKING 3.1 miles… but for me it was so much more than that.

For me it was the completion of 37.2 miles. Twelve 5ks. A BOLD Goal I had set and achieved. Were they all pretty? No, not by a long shot.  Did I even get any faster between Run #1 and Run #12? Nope. I think slower in fact. Did I care? Not.One.Bit.

I had finished. I had set a lofty, crazy goal – and achieved it. For someone who is a great starter, and not a great finisher, I had finished. I was done. And THAT was amazing.

12 5ks in 12 months

lynseysig

BOLD Goal #10 – The Jingle Bell 5k

jinglebellNumber ten.  To be honest I was not sure I would make it this far.  When I set this BOLD Goal – on a total whim when I was put on the spot during a live Conference Call with my Divas – I just KNEW I would make it.  Then I did that first run and nearly froze to death while secretly thinking of what excuse I could use to skip out on the rest of the year… but then I did the second.. and third… and well, here I am at ten.  In case you want to read up on all of them – the good, the bad, and the muddy -

When Cayce and I registered for the Jingle Bell 5k the weather showed it was going to be 75* and breezy… however as the weekend approached the temperatures dropped, and a wind out of the North decided to show up late to the party. The morning of the run it was a crisp 46* and wind that nearly knocked you down.  In fact a few times I nearly changed lanes because of the wind on the bridge heading to the beach.  This was going to be fun.

The Jingle Bell 5k was a themed race – meaning everyone was supposed to come in costume.  Now, I know most of you roll your eyes about 46* being “freezing” – but it seemed only fitting that we go as… well… snowflakes.  A few Target dollar bin raids and some sparkly eyeliner for snowflakes, and voila!

jingle bell 5k run

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Bold Goal #9 – Seville Wild Turkey Trot

turkey trotWell… I am on the home stretch… and thank God for that.  For those of you who are new to MoscatoMom, I set a goal last year to complete TWELVE 5k runs this year as part of my “BOLD Goal” series with Party Plan Divas. (side note: I am NOT a runner…I discovered this after setting the goal) BOLD Goals are all about breaking those “SMART” Goal rules (specific, measurable, realistic, blah blah) because they are devastatingly boring and I think Goal Setting should be fun and exciting.  I was very optimistic when I decided on a whim to complete twelve runs this year and all I can say… is I have sure learned a lot along the way.  In case you want to catch up -

Like Run #8 I suckered convinced Mike and Cayce to run with me.  Even though I really want to be left alone when I am trying to run through nearly debilitating shin splints, I do like knowing that I have friends in the crowd suffering with me… or at least there are people there to carry me to the car…

turkey trot 5k 2013

The run began a few minutes late because they had to “change the route” last minute.  Now, this doesnt much matter to me (three miles is three miles…right?!), but I saw a few people look less than pleased at the news.  I would soon understand why.  However once the National Anthem was sung and the horn blew – off we went…

Now… let me backtrack just a bit.  Run #8 – the Don McCloskey 5k – was in the beginning of September. I beat my own best time by seven minutes.  It was fantastic.  I ran good, I felt good, my shin splints somewhat behaved… it was amazing. In September. 

October I was gone most of the month. 

Here we are at the end of November… so you see where I am going with this? 

So the horn blows and off we go… for about a half a mile – if that. And then it literally felt like my legs were breaking off at the shins. I wave to Cayce to keep going. Mike slows and I told him to stay with Cayce.  I slowed to a walk – people whizzing past me. And then the self bashing kicks in.

“You knew you weren’t going to be able to do this Lynsey.”  

“You have a legitimate excuse for not making your goal this year.”

Those are not shin splints – they could be bone spurs… or the doc even said hairline fractures.”

“WHY do you keep putting off the Xrays.”

“What if you are doing more harm by continuing to push this?” 

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Seafood Festival 5k – Blowing My Own Mind – BOLD Goal #8

don mccloskey 5k 2013Yesterday I completed my BOLD Goal #8 running (and I mean really RUNNING this time) the Seafood Festival Don McCloskey 5k in Downtown Pensacola.  As with the first seven 5ks I have run this year to complete my BOLD goal of running 12 in one calendar year, I learned another lesson about myself and my habits… and not the good ones.  You can read about my other runs here:

With my hectic schedule over the last few weeks I registered for this one totally on a whim and at the last minute – literally the final day of registration.   Fearing I would be the only one running it from our little 5k Running Divas group I registered Mike.  I then coerced convinced Cayce that it would be fun too… especially since she has not run an official 5k with us yet this year.

don mccloskey 5k 1

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